For our ninth episode, we head to Beijing. As the imperial and modern-day capital, Beijing architecture offers an eclectic array of old and new, visible in the lifestyles of its citizens but also in its buildings. Mei chats with Beijing-based architect, Diana Chan Chieng on Beijing’s wide variety of architectural offerings, from the traditional siheyuan homes of the hutongs, to the gilded roofs of the Forbidden City, to the sleek modern curves of the 2008 Olympic center and the 2019 Daxing airport.
Hong Kong may be modern and Xi’an may have a long history, but Beijing is a mix of both. Serving as China’s capital since the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 AD), Beijing’s past, present, and future are forced together in the crowded neighborhoods and streets of the city.
Despite a divide between new and old, one thing about Beijing has remained constant for centuries: hard-handed political power, as well as thriving intellectual and artistic thought, continues to influence China and the world.
Listen to Episode 9:
- 00:32 – Introduction to Diana Chan Chieng
- 02:13 – The story of Diana’s siheyuan (courtyard) home in Beijing’s hutong neighborhoods
- 03:34 – History of siheyuan in China
- 04:54 – Segments of a traditional siheyuan residence
- 07:00 – Architectural highlights of the Forbidden City (Forbidden Palace)
- 13:40 – Beijing’s modern architecture
- 21:17 – How to create a journey that features both the old and new architecture of China
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