UCCA Beijing

Recollecting the International Hotel in the Age of Reform, 1978-1990


Location:  Beijing Design Week, Baitasi, The Global School
Language:  English with Chinese translation

Hotels constituted important if relatively under-appreciated spaces for change in early reform-era China. This round table discussion will focus on the design and construction of international hotels in China, particularly between 1978 and 1990. Topics to be discussed include their significance as emblems of cross-cultural cooperation in design, their broader economic, political, and cultural significance in relation to reform, and the legacy of these projects today.

Round table participants includeLiu Heung Shing (Photographer), Feng Jiang (Associate Professor and Chai, Department of Architecture, South China University of Technology), Lell Barnes (John Portman & Associates), and Zhang Lei(Worked at Great Wall Hotel). Cole Roskam (Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Hong Kong) will moderate the discussion.

This event is being cosponsored by Beijing Design Week (BJDW) and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in coordination with “Accommodating Reform: International Hotels and Architecture in China, 1978-1990”, open at UCCA through October 23.

Ticketing: Free


*Collect your ticket from reception 30 minutes before the event begins;

* Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent.


Liu Heung Shing (Photographer)

b.1951, Hong Kong , Lives and works in Shanghai.

Based in Shanghai, photographer Liu Heung Shing’s (b.1951, Hong Kong) first assignment in China in 1976 came at Life’s behest. He subsequently became Time magazine’s first accredited photographer in China, opening the bureau at the end of 1978 ahead of the normalization of Sino-US diplomatic relations in 1979. In 1981, he joined the Associated Press, moving from Beijing to postings in Los Angeles, New Delhi, Seoul, and Moscow, to cover most major events of the last decades of the twentieth century. In 1989 he received Picture of the Year Award for his news coverage and, in 1992, shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the collapse of USSR, for which he was also awarded Overseas Press Club Award. Liu Heung Shing is the author of China, Portrait of a Country (2008), and co-author (with Karen Smith) of Shanghai: A History in Photographs, 1842-Today (2010). He is the founder of Shanghai Center of Photography.

Feng Jiang (Associate Professor and Chai, Department of Architecture, South China University of Technology)

Lell Barnes (John Portman & Associates)

Zhang Lei (Guardian Investment Holdings Co. Ltd, Worked at Great Wall Hotel)


Cole Roskam (Curator)

Cole Roskam is associate professor of architectural history in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in art and architectural history from Harvard University. His research examines architecture’s role in mediating moments of transnational interaction and exchange between China and other parts of the world. His articles and essays have appeared in Architectural History, Grey Room, the Journal of Architectural Education, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, among others. He recently completed a book manuscript titled An Improvised City: Architecture and Extraterritoriality in Shanghai, 1842-1937. He is currently at work on a second book-length study that explores architectural culture in China between 1972 and 1990. His research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Mellon Foundation/ACLS, the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard University, the University of Hong Kong, and the University Grants Committee of the Hong Kong SAR.