Suzhou and Hangzhou: An Introduction with Bert de Muynck

Suzhou and Hangzhou: An Introduction with Bert de Muynck


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In this introductory seminar, we will explore the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou. Located ideally for a day-trip from Shanghai, these cities are well-known for their scenic beauty and their UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This seminar starts with a short introduction to the history, location, and culture of Suzhou, as well as recommendations for future visitors. We will discuss the design of the Classical Gardens of Suzhou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and I.M. Pei's Suzhou Museum. We will then learn about the history of Hangzhou, capital of China's Song Dynasty and home of the scenic 'West Lake', a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Both the Classical Gardens in Suzhou as the West Lake in Hangzhou have had a profound influence on garden design in the rest of China as well Japan as Korea.
Both cities are today thriving parts of China’s Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, well-known for their beauty, cuisine, scenic spots, and delicate architectural design. Both are metropolises in their own right, with about 10 million inhabitants each. Suzhou is 30 minutes and Hangzhou 60 minutes from Shanghai by high-speed train. We will have time to introduce the local history, culture, and tips for visiting, staying, and eating as well.
Led by an expert on architecture and urbanism, Bert de Muynck, this interactive seminar will introduce the culture of the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou and how these have influenced China's rich traditions in architecture, painting, and garden design. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased inspiration for future visits.

Bert is an architect and writer, and holds MAs in architectural engineering (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium) and cultural sciences (Free University Brussels). Born in Belgium, in the past decade he has lived and worked in architectural consultancy, writing, and academia in Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, and now Lisbon, where he relocated in 2018. He is the co-director of "MovingCities", an independent research organisation investigating the role that architecture and urbanism play in shaping the contemporary city. Bert lived in China from 2006 to 2018, where he held academic positions at The University of Hong Kong (2011-14), China Academy of Art (2013-16), and Xian Liverpool University (2015-18). He has been a Context expert since 2013 (Shanghai and Lisbon) focusing on architectural and urban history and development. He is a prolific writer and public speaker in the field of architecture, urbanism, and culture.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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Noel Stillings (Hollywood, US)
Review

Amazing introduction to these two Chinese cities! I knew nothing about them but Mr de Muynck did a fantastic monk of presenting the history of them. Mr de Muynck is an architect who lived in China for years and I love his use of many slides to show the architecture of these cities! He has a great use of maps so you can see where the cities are located when he discusses the use. He follows up his lecture with additional readings or videos that there was not enough time for and which shed light in these cities. Also appreciated the discussion of Chinese architecture as it is very different from US architecture. Great lecture!

P
Priscilla (Richmond, CA)
knowledgeable speaker but not what I expected

I have visited these two cities, and learned about their layouts and historical background. There were numerous photos of the cities in the 1920's which were interesting, but I would have liked more scenes of the gardens, West Lake, "the Venice of Asia", etc., in modern times.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
50%
(1)
50%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
Noel Stillings (Hollywood, US)
Review

Amazing introduction to these two Chinese cities! I knew nothing about them but Mr de Muynck did a fantastic monk of presenting the history of them. Mr de Muynck is an architect who lived in China for years and I love his use of many slides to show the architecture of these cities! He has a great use of maps so you can see where the cities are located when he discusses the use. He follows up his lecture with additional readings or videos that there was not enough time for and which shed light in these cities. Also appreciated the discussion of Chinese architecture as it is very different from US architecture. Great lecture!

P
Priscilla (Richmond, CA)
knowledgeable speaker but not what I expected

I have visited these two cities, and learned about their layouts and historical background. There were numerous photos of the cities in the 1920's which were interesting, but I would have liked more scenes of the gardens, West Lake, "the Venice of Asia", etc., in modern times.