are proud to break ground by hosting the first interdisciplinary
symposium on East Asian building traditions at the Department
for History of Architecture and Art, Building Research and Preservation,
Vienna University of Technology, Austria.
Nowadays, with China becoming an economically key player, the
Middle Kingdom also claims a leading in role in modern architecture
by providing an international playground for experimental buildings.
Some of them were on display during the 2008 Olympics. The thrilling
design of the Beijing National Stadium by the Swiss architecture
firm Herzog & de Meuron (also known as the "Bird's
Nest") even became the emblematic landmark for a "new
China" and the Summer Olympic Games.
It goes without saying that architecture always conveyed a symbolic
meaning besides providing basic shelter. The Great Wall of China
for instance, became so familiar to the eye of the (Western)
viewer that it came to serve as a symbol for the whole country
itself. It became an icon for the political unity of the Middle
Kingdom, despite the fact that it never was one coherent building
complex but rather the combined result of individual parts built
in different time periods. We would like to discuss the existence
and nature of the traditional and modern symbolic architecture
in China and Mongolia; moreover, to what extent an architectural
monument, an urban design plan, a certain construction method
or material in general can exemplify an entire geographic region,
a time period or a political system.
The hand of the Middle Kingdom certainly shaped the political,
cultural and architectural landscape of Asia in the past several
thousand years. However, it eventually came into being through
a mutual exchange between the indigenous Chinese culture and
its neighbouring regions: For example, the influence of the
nomadic and sedentary peoples from the North, such as Xiongnu
and Xianbei confederations or medieval Mongolian tribes, as
well as the artistic influences from the West such as Greco-Roman,
Sassanian, and Indian vocabulary that existed in Central Asia
at the time.
The fusion of the building traditions in East Asia is one of
the last mysteries within the long tradition of architectural
research in Austria. In the early 18th Century, the Austrian
architect Johann Fischer von Erlach, leading master-builder
of the Habsburg Empire in the Baroque Period, published the
first discourse on world architecture. His copperplate print
A Plan of Civil and Historical Architecture (1721) already included
selected examples of Chinese architecture.
The 2009 Vienna Symposium aims to address the past, the present
and the future of the field, by focusing on traditional architecture,
preservation and reconstruction of historical buildings, as
well as modern architecture and urban planning in China and
the bordering region of Mongolia.
Since architecture is just one of the tools that can mirror
a culture, we emphasize an interdisciplinary approach, and welcome
scholars from related disciplines.
Furthermore, we aim to strengthen the network among scholars,
research institutions and organizations in Austria that are
engaged in East Asian Studies in order to facilitate the cooperation
among them. The interaction between the different disciplines
and experts will enable a profound discussion of the architectural
development in Asia. Moreover, it will provide an insight into
the position of the historic architecture within the current
values of the population and the scope of the regional (state)
Goals and Objectives:
The 2009 symposium "Along the Great Wall: Architecture
and Identity in China and Mongolia" aims to provide an
interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas between the
diverse research fields in Architectural History on the one
hand, and Asian Studies on the other hand. We thus welcome applicants
engaged in the disciplines of Asian Architecture or Asian Studies
in general, including history, political studies, religion,
art history, literature, and anthropology.
invitation : pdf-file
Submissions from all disciplines are welcome.
Please return the forms that are included in the attachment:
- 1-page abstract
(250-300 words, in German or English) and
- Official application
form (telephone, e-mail, mailing address, institution, major
area of research, current CV, list of publications, and any
audiovisual equipment needed for the presentation)
Furthermore, please send them by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incomplete or belated applications will not be taken into
consideration after February 20th 2009.
The conference will take place at the Vienna University of Technology,
Austria, from 15th to 17th May 2009.
Conference Language: German, English optional
Travel Expenses and Living Costs:
A limited amount of funding will be provided for travel expenses
for participants from Asia. We are unable to provide housing
and meals. For hotel recommendations and information about Vienna
please refer to the symposiums homepage.
further information, please contact:
Univ.Prof. Dr.techn. Dipl.-Ing. Erich LEHNER
Professor for Architecture of Asia, America, Africa, and Oceania
Dept for History of Art, Building Research and Preservation
Technische Universität Wien, Karlsplatz 13 /251-1, A-1040
Dipl.-Ing. Alexandra HARRER, MA East Asian Art
Ph.D. Candidate Univ. of Pennsylvania, USA
Tel. : (0086) 13605157704
techn. Dipl.-Ing. Hildegard SINT
Outer European Building Research under sociological and anthropological
c/o Jeanne Stern, 20 Rue du Télégraphe, 75020
Tel. : (0033)148054303