Since the past century, there have been countless endeavors exploring the modernization of Chinese architecture. Through a survey of over 1,000 “old-new” Chinese architectural projects, despite the sheer volume of design strategies, it is discovered that both the scope and the means of Chinese old-new architecture are limited. According to the survey, two typologies, the big roof, and courtyard housing, constitute close to 90 percent of contemporary Chinese architecture. The design methodologies are confined to the “decorated shed,” a generic structure with identifiable Chinese motifs, and the “contrast,” the coexistence of historical context and contemporary additions.
Acknowledging the limitations, the thesis aims to explore novel methodologies approaching the Chinese-ness under contemporary contexts. Instead of focusing on motifs or materiality, the thesis intends to probe into the core of Chinese-ness, the spatial organization. Three traditional typologies, overlooked by the mainstream—tower, palace, and cloister—are selected for the experiment. While preserving their spatial logic, the project converts the typologies into modern museums with contemporary motifs and materials.