Exhibition features post-earthquake reconstruction

An exhibition opened over the weekend to feature urban planning and reconstruction in the aftermath of the disastrous Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.
Yang Jian / SHINE

A visitor watches photos taken by urban planners and architects after the deadly earthquake in Wenchuan in southwest Sichuan Province in May 2008.

An exhibition opened over the weekend to feature urban planning and reconstruction in the aftermath of the disastrous Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

The exhibition named "Ten Years in Wenchuan, Actions by Planning" is going on at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall through the end of May.

Photos, planning charts and models from architects and planners are on display to show urban planning and reconstruction for the cities in southwest Sichuan Province where a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake took place a decade ago.

The planners have created many miracles to help plan and rebuild the cities hit by the earthquake, said Wang Weiqiang, an architectural and urban planning professor at Tongji University and the curator of the exhibition.

Major Chinese planning institutes including Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute dispatched professionals to the earthquake-hit Beichuan, Wenchuan, Mianzhu and Dujiangyan shortly after the earthquake to help the reconstruction.

"The reconstruction planning for Beichuan New City, for instance, covering 5 square kilometers with a population of 100,000, has been completed within a year and half," said Wang. With the help of the architects, the historical Annunciation Convent built in 1895 in Bailu Town in Chengdu which was seriously damaged by the earthquake has been restored to originally look.

Yang Jian / SHINE

Visitors watch reconstruction plans made by urban planners and architects after the deadly earthquake in Wenchuan in southwest Sichuan Province in May 2008.

A total of 215 photos provided by architects and planners are displayed at the exhibition. Most of them are among the first batch of rescuers entered the earthquake regions.

"I still cannot forget the moment when I stood on the debris of the Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan City," said Yin Zhi, an urban planning professor with Tsinghua University. Yin led a team of architects and planners to Sichuan on May 20, a week after the earthquake.

In one of Yin's photos, a bunch of withered flower is placed on the debris of a building at the school. A total of 278 students and teachers at the school were killed when two buildings collapsed after the earthquake.

Over 4,000 photos have been received during the preparation for the exhibition and the organizer selected the over 200 to display, said Wang.

"We must pay respect to nature and history during the rapid urbanization process," Wang said. "Life and safety are the top priority during the social development," he added. During the earthquake, some historical structures survived while many damaged buildings were newly built, according to Wang.

"These photos and planning projects have recorded experience on post-disaster planning and reconstruction," said Marco Navarra, an Italian planning professor who took part in the reconstruction for Sicily after a deadly tsunami.

"After disaster, architects and planners should think more on safety and future and communicate with survivals to work out solutions for their problems," Navarra said at the sideline of the exhibition.

Ti Gong

One of the exhibits shows the historical Annunciation Convent built in 1895 in Bailu Town in Chengdu which was seriously damaged by the earthquake is being restored to originally look.


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