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  • L'ADC Monograph Series#1 (eng): Integrated Architecture

    Integrated ArchitectureMonograph by Wu LiangyongForeword by Lucio Valerio BarberaTranslation by Anna Irene Del Monaco, Liu Jian, Ying Jin, George Michael Riddel, Roberta TontiniAfterword by Anna Irene Del Monaco Integrated Architecture is both a historical and contemporary work. The book was first published in 1989 by Wu Liangyong, one of contemporary China’s most influential architects and theoreticians with the title A General Theory on Architecture. His eminence is also recognised by the international architectural community, above all, the group of architectural and urban planning theoreticians battling for a more decisive reform to the concepts, methodologies and practices presiding over the construction and requalification of the contemporary metropolis. I first met professor Wu Liangyong in 2005 at the Faculty of Architecture at the Tsinghua University of Beijing; his Faculty. Wu Liangyong founded the school in 1949 – at the age of 24 – together with Liang Sicheng, the father of modern Chinese architectural studies. From this moment – more than sixty-seven years ago – professor Liangyong has remained a central figure in Beijing’s academic community. He remains a constant source of inspiration, not only national, to education reforms and, above all, theoretical, methodological and operative research into architecture, the city and the territory. He is a rare figure, present throughout a lengthy historical period witness the world over to tumultuous upheavals in society and its cities. A period whose most dramatic and exalting manifestations were perhaps to be found in China; a period of war, of hope, of revolutions, of great leaps forward, of presumptions, horrors, errors, new leaps forward and incomprehensible economic growth; of irreversible social and cultural metamorphoses and – what interests us most as architects – of staggering urban growth and territorial transformations. The intellect of this minute and genteel figure held fast against the storms of history. The observation of events and the humanist and scientific principles of his personal culture continuously nourished an increasingly more effective reflection on the meaning of architecture in today’s world. He also clearly saw its inextricable ties to the substance of the city and the impossibility to substitute the figure of the architect – scientist, humanist and artist. A few years after our meeting, having absorbed direct lessons from Wu’s work as an architect and theoretician, I proposed an Italian translation of an anthology of his writings. The material was to be drawn from his many books and essays on architecture and the city published continuously over the course of his incomparable career. Professor Wu Liangyong responded with a challenge: in lieu of this anthology of texts he proposed a full translation, in Italian and English, of a book published twenty years ago: 1989’s A General Theory on Architecture. Given the pace of cultural debate it would not have been out of place to imagine a book firmly sedimented in history. I understood, instead, that it was a milestone in the expression of Wu Liangyong’s ideas; a benchmark that, in all likelihood, served as the starting point for his later theories, even the most recent. Published in other fundamental essays, they range across the vast field of human settlements, touching on all components of the man-made environment (Lucio Valerio Barbera).   As Architect, urban planner and teacher, Wu Liangyong has played a very significant role in China over the last several decades and has been a source of considerable influence and inspiration to generations of Chinese architects, making them aware not only of the new architectural spirit that was taking root elsewhere in the world, but also of the sublime beauty (and ingenious invention) so manifest in China’s own traditional architecture – and how the life-long endeavour, reinforce by the oeuvre of work he has created in his own professional practice – including housing projects right in the heart of Beijing that are wonderful re-inventions of the low-rise high density courtyard typologies found in traditional Chinese habitat. Besides all this, Professor Wu is a wonderfully gifted artist. In fact, when I first met him he had a sketchbook and was happily recording mountains, buildings and people – all in a few masterful strokes. Today with the range and depth of his invaluable contributions, Wu Liangyong occupies a truly unique place in the architectural scene of China. Charles Correa, Architect, Royal Gold Medal RIBA (1984) Professor Wu Liangyong, a pioneering philosophical architect, who in his century has the qualities Confucius must have been thinking of in 500 B.C., when he said “humility is the solid foundation of all virtuesâ€. Rod Hackney, Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and International Union of Architects There is a highly indicative correspondence between the aims expressed in Integrated Architecture by Wu Liangyong, who is an architect, and the way of thinking of Gustavo Giovannoni, who was an engineer and the founder of the Faculty of Architecture in Rome, and who, as far back as 1916, in his paper Gli Architetti e gli studi di architettura in Italia, gave his support to the idea of a ‘complete architect’, who would be a technician, an artist, and have a full knowledge of the history of architecture. And then it is quite extraordinary how the plan of action and the contents of Integrated Architecture correspond in actuality to the programme and contents involved in the training of an architect which Giovannoni set out in 1920 in his inauguration of the first academic year of the new School of Architecture in Rome. An architect’s education was to be based on a regular analysis of the functional and intellectual interaction between artistic and historical awareness and the structural knowledge of how to build; something we believe in and that defines us even today. Renato Masiani, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Sapienza Università di Roma I met Wu Liangyong in the Faculty of Architecture of Rome Sapienza University during the Study Conference “Housing and Cities†in 2006. I was impressed by the fact that Professor Lucio Barbera had managed to bring to Sapienza university the pupil and heir of the great Liang Sicheng, professor Wu Liangyong, who for all of us, and not only for architects, was a distinguished exemplar of modern Chinese culture. His book, Integrated Architecture, first published in China in 1989, was written during the pivotal years in which I directly experienced the complex, exciting, cultural climate prevailing throughout China, and in Beijing in particular. The enthusiasms and hopes expressed in those years, the realisation of the role that the cities had played in the evolution of Chinese society, but also the understanding of the great cultural innovations taking place and the approaches that were needed to face the future, all these were passionately alive within the pages of the book. I am also grateful that our ex-Faculty of Oriental Studies, with the translation work of Roberta Tontini, has had a part in the translation into Italian of Professor Wu’s remarkable book. Federico Masini, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Sapienza Università di Roma The book A General Theory of Architecture (Integrated Architecture) by Wu Liangyong teaches us many things: to have faith in an open-minded, curiosity-founded, flexible form of education, to explore the borderlands between different disciplines and to trust that such territories will prove fertile ground for research. I value highly the book’s cross-disciplinary approach which, within the context of urban design, prompts us to accept specific viewpoints from other fields of study, since I am convinced that this is the only approach that can allow us to reach solutions that are reliable and long-lasting. Piero Ostilio Rossi, Director of the Department of Architecture and Design, Sapienza Università di Roma It is hard to think of anyone in whose works grandeur of vision and pathos are so profoundly intermingled as those of Professor Wu Liangyong. For almost seventy years Professor Wu has been the voice and the conscience of the Chinese City. A quarter century after its first publication, viewed across China’s endless urban sprawl and environmental degradation, Integrated Architecture seems both wise and naive. Like the writings of Constantinos Doxiadis, Christopher Alexander, and Andres Duany, it strives to place the architect at the center of a vast synthesis of human knowledge, grants him the possibility of understanding the relationship of virtually everything to virtually everything else, then makes him the actor who will bring the wisdom of this synthesis to the making of the world. How doomed. How noble. Daniel Solomon, Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Design, UC Berkeley   
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