Modern Eyes──The Exhibition of architect Chang Chao-Kang Centennial & The Architectural Exhibition of Hand-drawn Working Drawings of post-war Taiwan

2023.04.22 - 2023.06.11 KMFA Gallery B1 KSpace & Culture and Education Hall

1. Modern Eyes──The Exhibition of architect Chang Chao-Kang Centennial
KMFA Gallery B1 KSpace
Mr. Chang Chao-Kang is one of the most legendary architects in the history of modern Chinese architecture and he was among the first generation of avant-garde Bauhaus educated architects.
Originally born in Zhongshan, Guangdong, China in 1922, he lived mostly in Hong Kong. His great-grandfather was a local official in the former Qing Dynasty and his grandfather managed real estate in Hong Kong, such as On Lan Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Kai Tak Airport and other Hong Kong harbor districts. However, during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong Between December 25, 1941 to 1945, the family began to decline into hardship.
Being the eldest grandson, he was constantly doted on since he was a child and attended elite private schools. He was influenced to study Chinese literature, such as the Tang Poems, Song Ci, Four Books and Five Classics, as his grandfather was steeped in these Chinese traditions and was an avid collector of Chinese antiquities. Even though Chang was raised by adept businessmen, he always leaned towards art and literature as his strengths.
In 1946, he graduated from the Department of Architecture at Shanghai’s St. John's University. This was the first architecture department in China to adopt the Bauhaus education method. Chang was the first to graduate and he joined the Kwan, Chu & Yang. Architects & Engineers afterwards to follow architect Yang Ting-Bao for two years.
Before the mainland regime changed hands, Chang traveled to the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in the United States to further his studies, where he was taught by Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) . Chang then matriculated in the Graduate School of Design (GSD) of Harvard University in 1949, where he studied under Walter Gropius (1883-1969), and simultaneously minored in Urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Planning and visual design. His fellow Harvard GSD classmates included Wang Da-hong and Pei Ieoh-Ming.
After completing his master's degree, Chang worked at Gropius’ Collaborative Architects (TAC) for two years, and then was employed at Thomas & Worster in Boston. In 1954, at the invitation of I.M. Pei, Chang participated in the campus planning and architectural design of Tunghai University with Chen Qikuan. This was Chang’s first major contribution towards Chinese Modernism.
From 1959 to 1965, he returned back to Hong Kong and joined Eric Cumine’s (1905-2002) United Architects practice, where he still accepted invitations from Taiwanese architects to collaborate on their designs. After meeting and marrying Zee Wei-Ming in 1967, they relocated to the United States to start a family, yet Chang still maintained travel between New York, Hong Kong and China.
During the mid-1970’s, Chang moved his family back to Hong Kong where he started a private practice. He broadened his scope of work in 1983 by teaching at the Department of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong. The topics of his lectures were on traditional Chinese architecture and he led numerous student field trips to study the architecture in rural landscapes. Chang traveled a total of 12,000 kilometers with fellow Hong Kong University lecturer Long Bingyi and these travels provided materials for a collaboration with Swiss architect, Werner Blaser (1924-2019). Chang and Blaser co-published in 1987  China: Tao in Architecture (Birkhauser).
With Chang Chao-Kang’s latter years, there must have been a mysterious force that pulled him back to the land and to the culture that molded his outlook.  As he studied and recorded these traditional Chinese dwellings for his book, he brought a new and contemporary perspective to them. The book was not simply a survey and mapping record, but It also included new interpretations nd vision. Chang knew that if there is any meaning in reviewing tradition today, it can only be interpreted with "modern eyes".
2. The Architectural Exhibition of Hand-drawn Working Drawings of post-war Taiwan
KMFA Gallery B1 - Culture and Education Hall
This exhibition is the outcome from our close follow up, starting 2006, on those elderly architects practiced in Taiwan post WWII.
Disconnecting from the past generations, the young architects and students nowadays omit precision and delicacy during processing the architectural production; as result there is lack of integration of elegance and taste in contemporary architecture in Taiwan.
Magically, we found such missing essences from these manuscripts drawed by those predecessors, long before the era of digitization. Thus we feel it’s necessary to reorganize and promote their brainchild, presenting it through the means of this exhibition. That is our original aspiration.