Keep integrity and innovate, ancient buildings lead new trends

——Anqing, Anhui explores new ways to protect and utilize ancient buildings

[In-depth study and implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Party·Chinese-style modernization]

"Anqing is a place with great ruins!" In November 2023, China's Anqing 20th Century Architectural Heritage Culture Series was held in Anqing City, Anhui Province. Shan Jixiang, president of the Chinese Cultural Relics Society and director of the Academic Committee of the Palace Museum, sighed during the inspection.

As a national historical and cultural city, Anqing has a total of 262 ancient buildings in the urban area, including 49 cultural relics buildings, 54 registered immovable cultural relics buildings, and 159 historical buildings. Walking in Anqing, you will find modern and modern architectural heritage everywhere, too numerous to mention.

In view of the characteristics of ancient buildings in Anqing urban area that are "large in quantity, scattered and small in scale", in recent years, Anqing has focused on legislation first, focused on repair and protection, insisted on project promotion and preservation, and upheld inheritance and innovation. A number of ancient buildings such as the Quanyechang Store in Anqing have come to life and become popular, creating a new path for the protection and utilization of ancient buildings with unique Anqing characteristics.

1. "Save it" and use "embroidery" skills

  Thousands of miles of Yangtze River is blocked here.

  Anqing, an ancient city nourished by Yangtze River culture, has a profound heritage and numerous relics. Entering a new era, how to protect and utilize ancient buildings has become a realistic and urgent issue. Facing the issue, Anqing gave an attitude - if you don't do it, it's enough, if you do it, do it well without any regrets!

  In order to find out the "family background" of historical and cultural resources, Anqing City has comprehensively carried out a census and identification of historical and cultural resources. From 2009 to the present, a total of 7 provincial-level historical and cultural blocks and 436 historical buildings (including 262 in urban areas) have been announced. Carry out surveying and mapping, and file and list for protection as required. At the same time, a series of planning measures such as the "Anqing Historic and Cultural City Protection Plan (2010-2030)" and "Anqing National Historic and Cultural City Protection and Management Measures" have been promulgated, and protection efforts have continued to increase.

  Daguanting Block, Daguan District, Anqing City, is known as "the first scenic spot in Anqing Province". Within this small block, there are two municipal-level key cultural relics protection units, 5 cultural relics protection objects, and 21 historical buildings, including Yan Fengying Former residence, Deng Shiru's reading room, etc.

  However, with the acceleration of urban development and the lack of effective rectification in the past, old and new buildings are intertwined in the Daguanting neighborhood. Many residences have various hidden dangers. For example, most residents cook in closed corridors and patios, and houses have serious leaks.

  "In 2017, Daguan District included block renovation within the scope of shanty town reconstruction, and adopted a 'requisition without demolition' approach, allowing 219 residents in the block to move out of their shanties and into buildings, which greatly improved the living environment of residents." Daguan District Culture and Tourism Bureau Introduction by the person in charge.

  After the relocation was completed, the building received "careful work".

  For example, the walls are made of small green bricks. For walls with serious external bulges, the external bulging bricks are manually removed one by one, and those that can be used continue to be used. If the caustic soda exceeds two centimeters, they are discarded and replaced with other bricks; for example, old tiles are used. Old tiles not only have good water permeability, but also visually have a darker and softer tone; for example, the columns are also made directly from old columns, only the rotten parts are replaced.

  In this way, brick by brick, beam and column, a total of 100,000 ancient bricks and 67,540 old tiles were used to complete the renovation of Jiang's old house, Zhang's medicine shop, Yan Fengying's former residence, and Deng Shiru's reading room with "embroidery" skills.

  The scenic spots in Anhui Province that have experienced prosperity and decline in the passing years have now once again stood at a new starting point of the times.

2. "Come alive", ancient buildings usher in new life

  Ancient buildings carry the soul of a city.

  Anqing Modern History Exhibition Hall, Anqing Postal Museum of History, Xicheng Memory Experience Hall in Daguanting Historical and Cultural District... After careful restoration, ancient buildings in Anqing city that have been "sleeping" for a long time have been given a new life and have once again integrated into the rhythm of urban development.

  Located in Yingjiang District, Anqing City, the original East House of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Prince Ying's Mansion has been "renovated to look like the old one" and is now an exhibition hall of modern history in Anqing. Entering the restored British Prince's Mansion, there is a relief wall of the Jintian Uprising on the left side of the courtyard, and a Taiping Heavenly Kingdom-themed mural is displayed in the Qi Garden on the east side. The entire display shows the magnificence of Anqing in modern times through four parts: "the road to self-improvement through years of hard work", "the foundation for self-improvement through hundreds of industries", "the wings of self-improvement when beacons dare to carry out" and "the soul of self-improvement through pen and ink".

  "The vivid figures and historical events displayed in the museum all show the rich modern historical memories carried by Anqing." Wang Guobin, secretary of the Party Working Committee of Yicheng Road Street in Yingjiang District, who is responsible for the renovation and exhibition of the British Palace, said that the coinage Historical buildings such as the factory office building and the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Watchtower pedestal will also be further restored.

  No. 633 Renmin Road - the former site of Shin Kong Cinema in Anqing. As the earliest professional cinema established in Anhui Province, at that time, the business of the cinema was booming and it was difficult to get a ticket. When it comes to good movies, even if they are shown all night long, there are still long queues.

  However, with the impact of the market, the once-unparalleled Shin Kong Cinema gradually declined. In 2006, this historical building was successfully transformed into the Anqing Huangmei Opera Guild Hall, combined with the national intangible cultural heritage Huangmei Opera. The guild hall is antique, simple and elegant, and the cornices and railings reveal a rich charm of opera. The hall is divided into two parts. The front area is a public welfare art exhibition hall, and the center is a performance hall, which can accommodate more than 200 audiences.

  Yan Fengying's former residence, located in the Daguanting Historical and Cultural District, also carries the profound Huangmei Opera culture. At present, the renovation project of the old residence has been completed. In the future, it will become the cultural exhibition hall of Huangmei Opera and the exhibition hall of Yan Fengying’s opera career, creating a "small but exquisite" high-quality cultural venue.

  The renovated historical buildings also provide generous conditions for cultural people. “On the basis of in-depth exploration of regional local history and culture, we have incorporated regional history and culture into teaching courses, compiled local culture readers, and arranged visits to old streets and old streets. Practical operations such as alleys and historical buildings,” said Fang Di, deputy director of the Yingjiang District Education and Sports Bureau Office.

  As night falls, the lights come on. At the Anqing Huangmei Opera Guild Hall, young Huangmei Opera actors were putting on their makeup backstage as Huangmei Opera "Lu Yu" started. The beauty of architecture and drama bloom side by side at this moment.

3. “Getting popular” is history and a trend

  Why has a bookstore become the first choice for tourists to check in?

  "I urge our compatriots to prosper, be diligent in their work, develop business, and create new markets." On the Renmin Road Pedestrian Street in Anqing City, there stands a three-story Western-style old building built with flat blue bricks, white mud joints, and wooden roofs and black tiles. Building, this is the former site of "Anhui Quanyechang" and one of the ten largest and best-preserved modern historical buildings in Anqing.

  In 2014, Anqing City launched the Quanyechang restoration project, which restored Quanyechang to its former glory. How to introduce social capital for protective development and achieve "revitalization" of renovated old buildings?

  At this time, Anqing "encountered" Wanxin Media. In 2016, Anqing leased Quanyechang to Wanxin Media to open a comprehensive bookstore with the "Preface and Postscript" brand on the preferential terms of "free rent for the first six years." The bookstore has a total operating area of ​​1,800 square meters and 12,000 types of books. It has become a cultural landmark in Anqing.

  In 2023, the "Foreword and Afterword" will be transformed and upgraded again. "We adhere to the principle of 'renovating the old as before', and on the basis of maintaining the old appearance of the building, we have carried out termite control, roof repair and wooden floor replacement on the store. At the same time, we have added a special area for local Anqing writers to tell the story of Anqing with their works. The customs, history and culture tell the story of Anqing." "Foreword and Postscript" introduced Yang Zhihong, the person in charge of Anqing Quanyechang Store.

  Traveling through the smoke and dust of history and the baptism of time, today's Quanyechang has transformed into "the most beautiful bookstore".

  Anqing is an important industrial city along the Yangtze River. In 2019, riding on the east wind of the Yangtze River protection, the overall relocation project of Anqing Petrochemical Hazardous Chemical Terminal and oil and gas transmission pipelines was officially launched, and the Anqing Petrochemical Port oil storage tank area on the bank of the Yangtze River was withdrawn. Anqing industrial historical stage.

  "The most important thing when looking at that time is to anchor industrial memory and lock in the residual warmth of history." Wu Min, chief designer of the Oil Tank Ecological Culture Center and professor at Hefei University of Technology, believes, "In the face of the unique industry that carries memories, For the relics, we try to combine Anqing’s urban development direction and citizens’ needs, and insert new ecological and cultural functions into it according to local conditions to continue the city’s memory.”

  For this "industrial memory and historical remnant", Wu Min carefully packed up the "small fragments of urban memory": 4 oil tanks, a group of old buildings, a 117-meter petrochemical pipe gallery and foundation piles, a 153-meter pipe trench, and some An inspection ladder, a vernier scale, and even a small bolt... As the epitome of modern industrial culture, they have been properly preserved and carefully transformed, and transformed into "one museum and two centers" that integrate industry, art, and culture, namely Anqing City Library Museum, Municipal Youth Activity Center, Municipal Women and Children Activity Center and Ecological Wetland Park. The four huge oil storage tanks retain their original visual impact, and clearly create a visual tension between the "new" and the "old" with the new building space.

  Under the warm winter sun, children chased and played on the grass, and bursts of laughter could be heard from time to time. In the distance, a boat-shaped building stands on the river bank, facing the river wind, as if it is about to break through the waves.

(Guangming Daily reporter Ding Yiming Changhe)