Academician He Jingtang Visits HKUST(GZ) and Delivers an Academic Lecture
On the afternoon of October 26, Prof. He Jingtang, a renowned architect, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief architect of the Director of Architectural Design & Research Institute of the South China University of Technology, was invited to visit HKUST(GZ). Prof. Lionel M. Ni, President of HKUST(GZ) welcomed his visit and accompanied him to explore the core area of the Phase One campus. Academician He Jingtang and his team are key construction participants of the HKUST(GZ) campus. The Architectural Design & Research Institute of the South China University of Technology he led is the design unit for the first and second phases of the HKUST(GZ) campus. The Minxin Hong Kong School, an educational institution for children of Hong Kong and other non-Mainland Chinese identities also located in the Qingsheng hub of Nansha District, was designed by the design team led by Academician He Jingtang.
Invited by the Urban Governance and Design Thrust, Society Hub, Academician He Jingtang gave a lecture titled “Place, Culture, Time: Design Leads City, Architecture Records Time”, which was attended by Prof. Xie Danyang, Acting Dean of Society Hub, Prof. Kan Gelin from the Urban Governance and Design Thrust, Prof. Su Quanke, and Prof. Wang Tianyi, both the Chief Engineer of the Science & Technology Innovation Center at HKUST (GZ), as well as students and teachers from all hubs and thrusts.
Academician He Jingtang shares his “Two Concepts and Three Characteristics” Philosophy collected along with his architectural design career. “Two Outlooks” refers to the totality concept and sustainability concept. “Three Characteristics” refers to regional characteristics, cultural characteristics and the spirit of the times.
He believes that the core of a city is people, so urban construction should uphold the people-centered development philosophy. Culture is the soul of a city, and also the root for a city to survive and thrive. The style and taste of urban construction showcase the characteristics, qualities, pursuits and development of a city. Through examples of the Guangzhou branch of the National Archives of Publications and Culture, the Hengqin Campus of the University of Macao and the China Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Academician He Jingtang vividly elaborated how to integrate Chinese traditional culture into modern architecture, how to pursue natural beauty by merging city, architecture with the natural environment, to create a livable environment for working, living and travel.
In his lecture, Academician He Jingtang mentioned several times that the highest possible stage for architecture is a palace of culture, which is the soul of a city. Architecture should show the integration of time. He believes that the symbiotic architecture of a city is it microcosm of a specific historic period, its calling card, and also the carrier of memory for a major event in its history. A symbiotic urban architecture in the new era should demonstrate history and culture with full confidence in Chinese culture. It should reflect regional characteristics, cultural uniqueness and the spirit of the times.
Academician He Jingtang’s sharing benefited audiences a lot and students present were eager to share their feelings.
Lyu Ye, a Ph.D. candidate from the Urban Governance and Design Thrust, Society Hub, said that the lecture given by Academician He Jingtang enabled him to have a deeper understanding of the harmony between architecture and city, between inheritance and innovation, between theory and practice. The personal experience of Academician He Jingtang in the professional world made him realize that the international influence and long-lasting vitality of work require not only a broad horizon, but also the responsibility to display national memory as well as the spirit of the times. Only in this way, there is any chance to showcase unique characteristics on the international stage and have an equal dialogue with masters.
Zhao Yawei, a Ph.D. candidate from the Urban Governance and Design Thrust, Society Hub, said that the architectural philosophy of Academician He Jingtang demonstrated Chinese history, culture and customs. Learning his architectural works was like enjoying a cultural feast. In his 80s, he is still active in the architectural community and gives lectures to students for social causes, which is respectable. His passion and devotion to his career with full energy have also set a good example for college students.