Global Practice and the Transnational Flows of Knowledge: A Case Study on Diwang Tower, 1996


Diwang Tower built in 1996 was the tallest building in Shenzhen before 2011. Its image waswidelyusedasasymbolofpropagandashowcasingthesuccessofChina’sopening up policy and Shenzhen’s economy. As a result of international collaboration Diwang Tower was a crucial node where transnational flows of knowledge intersected. Many foreignfirmsandexpertscontributedinsuchaspectsasarchitecturaldesign,structural technology, and construction and property management. Diwang Tower showed ”Chinese” characteristics in subtle ways, while being ”modern” and ”international” at the same time. This paper focuses on the transnational flows of knowledge and the adaptation of modern aesthetics in the Chinese cultural context. It concludes that Diwang Tower is an important milestone in the contemporary architectural history of China since 1978, especially regarding the introduction of Western architecture and its adaptation in the Chinese context.

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