This program focuses on understanding significant heritage landscapes in China, and planning for their future. These are places that have been designed, developed, and enjoyed by people for decades and centuries, but now face the challenges of the 21st century. They are mainly world heritage sites, including palaces, sacred sites, gardens, historic centers, cultural landscapes, and rural landscapes. They are heritage properties and landscapes that continue to change over time.
By studying, recording and planning for the future of these landscapes and heritage sites, you will learn about Chinese culture over centuries, and its relationship to, and love for, the diverse and dynamic Chinese landscape. You will also gain an understanding of the Eastern concept of the relationship between man and nature, and you will think about how to approach the conservation of significant landscapes and heritage within this complex context of competing priorities. Whether you are interested in landscape architecture, architecture, historic preservation, planning, art history, geography, archaeology, environmental studies, Asian studies, or related field, this program – through readings, discussions, and field work – will provide you with an insight into the interaction of people and place in China.
Throughout the program, you will participate in field exploration; site analysis (sketches, diagrams, and writings); and group discussions. This program is also open to students who do not have a previous design background, but you will learn a lot of design related skills and gain an understanding of conservation through cross-disciplinary methods. The program will be based primarily in Beijing and Hangzhou, two vastly different cities with great histories and dramatic heritage and landscapes. The group will also spend two days exploring classical garden heritage in Suzhou.
The program will begin in Beijing for a week and a half, where the group will visit, analyze, and document sites such as: the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Fragrant Hills Park, Temple of Heaven, Beihai Park, and Shichaihai historic center. You will then travel south to Hangzhou, where the group will examine sites such as Lingyin Temple, West Lake, Longjin Tea fields, Hupao Park, and nearby villages. The time in Hangzhou will also include two day’s trip to Suzhou, to visit and analyze representative classical gardens. The group will return to Beijing at the end of the program. Due to the fieldwork-heavy nature of this program, most of the site visits, site analysis, class discussions, and class work will happen outdoors.