First entries for Tiananmen Square Landscape Architecture Competition

Witney Hedges entry for the Tiananmen Square competition would be invisible by day and spectacular after dark

Witney Hedges entry for the Tiananmen Square competition would be invisible by day and spectacular as dusk turns to dark

The landscape architecture compeition for Tiananmen Square was announced in March 2009 and, seven months later, we are pleased to see the first entries coming in. There are still eight months to go (till June 2010) and we hope for many more. All the competition entries can be seen on Flickr, because it is a Web 2.0 design competition.  A Chinese commentator has said, in effect, ‘leave Tiananmen Square as it is: it is a ‘holy place’ belonging to the PRC and foreigners should leave it alone’. I can understand this attitude! – but the conclusion that ‘nothing should ever change’ does not follow and two of the early entries. from Witney Hedges and Henrychung, go for a ‘sensitive intervention’ approach which leaves the use and spatial character of the Square very much as they are today. Other entries, perhaps inspired by the famous Chinese architect Ma Yansong, go for a radical greening of the space. My own view is that all options should be considered and that they should be discussed both within China and outside China. Civilization, to which China has made an inestimable contribution, belongs to the whole world, not to a group of people who occupy a small geographical zone for a short period in time: they have the right and the power to decide but they can and should welcome debate.

15 thoughts on “First entries for Tiananmen Square Landscape Architecture Competition

  1. Brianne Lord

    I like Whitney Hedges design very is sensitive to all the considerations for this site and yet is quite a dramatic statement of the individuals heroic messages…

  2. Joao Arroios

    bringing one of the most audacious ideas of the nazi architect to life again… I’m not sure that mixing these images of the Speer’s “Cathedral of Light” at the Nuremberg Rally with the image of the Tiananmen Square is a very good idea…. the world has a history and it has to be considered. (and it would be good for the author to at least refer the idea of Speer. there is nothing worse than to forget to mention the authors we copy…)

  3. Tom Turner Post author

    An interesting point, re Speer
    But (1) being surrounded by columns of light is different from being in the midst of columns of light, just as viewing a line of fountains is different from playing amongst fountains as one does at Parc de la Villette (2) the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian does not make vegetarianism a bad thing (3) one might regard China’s current government as authoritarian

  4. stranger

    One day, a visitor comes to your home and say: “your sitting room is useless and I would like to design for you because you have no money to do that.” What will you say… Welcome?

  5. Aga

    No one is redesigning the Tiananmen Square in real (not yet!!) but it’s a great opportunity for the yang designers and a students to think about different aspects of one subject. Should be more competition like this!!!!

  6. alireza zoharian

    im alireza from Esfahan … Iran …. The historic square of NAQSHE-JAHAN is one of world largest historical square just like Tiananmem.we have made a change in this square (adding a pool and watershow in the middle of square)years ago.nothing bad occured!in contrary it caused promoting invironmental quality and sence of place here!so Chinese also can accept such a promoting idea.and be aware that world is changing without any stop! man should admire all situations simoltaneously…

  7. Tom Turner Post author

    Hello Alireza and thank you for your comment. I agree that it is in the nature of urban squares to evolve and change. And I think it is time to consider a further change to NAQSHE-JAHAN!


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