From the entrant’s submission:
China’s aggressive development has swallowed up tens of thousands of historic sites. This demolition has made Shenzhen – where a city has not only replaced individual towns but a complete spatial history – a city without history. Working with the remaining heritage buildings of Shenzhen is not purely the restoration of the physical. By ‘mending an old man’ in Chinese medicinal practices has been used as a metaphor for repairing, rebuilding and bringing meaning to the heritage site of Guanlan Old Town. These old buildings have been redefined by using Chinese cultural references, such as traditional landscape paintings, movies, opera and fiction to bring new meaning to these structures. These interventions create a cinematographic journey through the old town and are mild enough for the old buildings to be rich with expression, it can be summed up as: Repair is a kind of poetry. This is the story of mending.
This project proposes an alternative strategy for heritage sites in China, by seeing architecture’s role in revealing history and culture. The proposal exceeds the two common modes of conservation in China, namely restoration to the original state or minimal intervention.
The proposal of this project exceeds the two common modes of conservation in China, namely restoration to the original state or minimal intervention. The project gives value to the gaps, overgrown ruins and dilapidated façades as found conditions worthy of preserving. Careful interventions and additions curate a journey through, over and between old buildings. A concealed world is constructed to understand cultural meaning and metaphor; from ancient Chinese medicine, classical theatre and arts to contemporary Chinese cinema. A layered cinematic experience is created by day and an immersive and other worldly stage set by night.