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The Henan Art Center: From Dilemma to Ambition

  • Lujia ZhangEmail author
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Abstract

In China, the Yellow River is called the “mother river.” It flows through the central part of China and has been a center of agriculture for thousands of years, with the Central Plain Civilization spreading out from its fertile edge. Cities extend across the river plains, forming Henan Province, which has a large population that still mainly depends on agriculture. Zhengzhou, the capital city, has historically been strategically and culturally important.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This chapter is part of a study supported by the Research Grant Council, Hong Kong government, project No. CityU 11658816. I am grateful to Dr. Charlie Q. L. Xue who gave me valuable advice and supported my writing in all stages of this chapter’s development. I would like to thank Manager Chen Zeli, Yuan Dian, Li Ya, Ding Zhimin and Wang Suli for generously offering great help and valuable one-hand materials to me. Special thanks to Sun Cong and Xiao Yingbo for the discussions and suggestions on the improvement during the writing.

I grew up in Zhengzhou. I grow up with the city. When I was a child, my family lived in the southeast region of the old town, not far from where the Zhengdong New District is now. At that time, the area was all farmland. My father took me there by bicycle on weekends to experience nature and teach me some knowledge of crops. I have precious memories of this area.

As I grew up and began to read and write more, my father started taking me to the cinema with him. Sometimes we watched films in the auditorium of his university, sometimes in the Henan People’s Hall; there was no single place for cinema. I consider Henan People’s Hall one of the best high-class places I have ever been. Every time I went there, I was excited, and I could see joy and delight on the faces of others as well.

About 10 years ago, my cousin’s family moved to a new home in the eastern part of the old town, close to the Zhengdong New District. When we go to visit them, we usually have a big dinner in the shopping centre along the CBD area. After the meal, we walk along Ruyi Lake, just as many residents do. Almost every time we pass the Henan Art Centre and the landmark Greenland Plaza, we hear comments from others about the shape and meaning of the theatre and about its performances and exhibitions. Unlike the public media’s reports and judgements, most of what can be heard is praise rather than criticism . Some of my other relatives who live not far from the CBD say that they enjoy the lake and the squares of these public buildings provide. Many of my friends are registered members of Henan Art Centre and go to the theatre more than once a month. To some extent, they represent the voice of the new generation. They can buy tickets to high-level performances, and they benefit from them a lot, whether in daily life or in their careers. The new generation may be critical about the shape and style of the building, but they cannot deny the effects that it has on them and the living environment.

Last year, my best friend held his wedding ceremony on the lake platform of the Green Plaza, with the landmark and the Henan Art Centre as the background. Their ceremony was not a traditional one as most new couple would choose; they had a buffet and their favourite German beers. They said that the place and the background environment meant a kind of new city life and a different future. This is also what I hope that the new district and buildings can bring to this conservative inland city.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Civil EngineeringCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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