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Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Heritage Trail project

Courtyard Institute Heritage Talk Series (No. 4, 2014):Learning from the collaborative rehabilitation of a Beijing Dazayuan

During Summer 2013, Sinapolis conducted a unique rehabilitation operation on a “dazayuan” (大杂院,  courtyards highly densified after 1950 and often dilapidated) in the heart of the city.


The dazayuan stands for between 60 % and 80 % of the surface of the zones involved in the heritage protection programme in the centre of Beijing. Understanding the evolutions of these specific urban forms seems therefore primordial to provide solutions for the preservation of the ancient centre. In this view, the project seeks to promote new rehabilitation practices meanwhile pursuing a reflection on the general applicability of the suggested arrangement plans. Within this micro-area for community residence, Sinapolis set out a process of rehabilitation which is both respectful of the specificity of the site as well as innovative from a social and economic viewpoint, with an emphasis on the active and continued participation of the inhabitants in the project.

What does this participation in the rehabilitation process reveal? What can be the impacts of the establishment of a “micro-urban planning” in the heart of Beijing? These are the several points that Jérémie Descamps will raise throughout the talk.
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Dilemmas of the Hutong Residents: The Homes They Lost

Beijing’s hutong residents had participated and witnessed the glorious past of the Old City, but unfortunately, most of them are now being reallocated to the suburban areas (due to the real estate development in the Old City). Some of them did not want to give in to threats or bribes, and they decided to fight for their rights and interests. Their deep love for their homes and their ceaseless efforts to preserve the Old City has greatly enriched the meaning of its local cultural heritage.

The stories of these protestors have constituted a very important part of the Chinese history of modernization. A thorough study and analysis of these stories will be helpful for us to understand this great social transformation we are experiencing, re-evaluate the essence of Chinese culture, and nurture the social responsibility of our citizens. With these thoughts in mind, Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) organized a lecture called Residents of Old Beijing, and its Preservation on September 7th, inviting a hutong resident to introduce her bitter protest experience. The purpose of this lecture is to inspire and encourage other protestors and also connect the researchers as well as preservationists with the residents, who are the “real heroes”.

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Event:Residents of Old Beijing, and its Preservation – Personal Experiences from Two Ma Dajies

Within the Old City of Beijing and its historical neighborhoods, old Beijing residents have been both builders and owners. Now, in the process of being evacuated, they have also become the area’s most persistent preservationists. Their deep love for their homes and their ceaseless efforts to preserve the Old City has greatly enriched the meaning of its local cultural heritage. Chinese laws and government policies have declared their full commitment to protecting the legal rights of local residents, and fully encourage active public participation for the preservation of cultural heritage. To share their memories, deep affections, and devotion to preserving their historical homes, and at the same time, help the public provide constructive support and advice to the government on its law and policy enforcement, Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is honored to invite Ma Xiuming and Ma Xiulan to recount their own personal experiences.
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Architecture award to Beijing’s futuristic Galaxy Soho slammed by heritage group

By Xu Donghuan  South China Morning Post

Critics say professional body’s decision to award Galaxy Soho building is a setback for efforts to preserve vanishing old Beijing


A visitor photographs the new Galaxy Soho building. Critics say the building is out of context in old Beijing. Photo: Reuters

A Beijing heritage group says it’s still waiting for the Royal Institute of British Architects to explain why it gave a large, futuristic mall and office complex in the heart of old Beijing one of its most prestigious honours.

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Zaha Hadid’s mega mall accused of ‘destroying’ Beijing’s heritage

The RIBA’s decision to award a prize to the Galaxy Soho shopping centre has incensed Chinese preservation groups

Alien arrival … the Galaxy Soho complex is accused of destroying Beijing's historic streets.

Alien arrival … the Galaxy Soho complex is accused of destroying Beijing's historic streets. Photograph: /Zaha Hadid Architects

Beijing’s street names can be deceptive. Visitors to No 7A Small Arch hutong, just inside the city’s second ring road, might get a little more than they bargained for. Long gone is the stone gateway that once marked the entrance to this network of narrow streets. Now, it’s been replaced by a sinuous white arc, jacked 60m into the air, that loops and twists, connecting a cluster of vast egg-shaped buildings in an improbable acrobatic leap.

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