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OBLIVION I Ningxia in Liquid Time

Part 2 Dissertation 2013
Zijiao Qiao
University of Hong Kong, China
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region today is in a state of potential conflict. Prevailing central government fosterage known as the Great Western Development Program, aimed to close the income gap and increase the social mobility of the west. The challenges in Hui-Han dualistic structure rooted in the recent socio-political history of the country and thus have further relevance. It became clear that increasing solid development of Ningxia raised question of transparency and a series of reformation which led to an exaggeration of assimilation and cultural discontinuity, an exploitation of power by the political and religious institutions and a confusion of people's values and needs. Many of these observation leads to question of visual and spatial identity of Ningxia, arguing for formal quality contribute to the discourse of architecture to this discussion.

The thesis searches for a dialogue between construction and destruction, faith and apostate, oblivion and rememberance, dream and reality, seduction and fear, thereby functioning as a reflecting pool of oblivion in liquid times. Ningxia’s recent past reappears in the vision of the project, transformed.

The thesis is concentrating on the unstructured boundaries between the private and public realm of Hui-Han by employing ahistorical syntax as a tool to pinpoint the value of civic responsibility for the confrontation of an ethnic crisis. Through its journey within an explorative narrative, the project argues for a possible world, both imaginative and articulated. The physical presence and order of ceilings and columns in current moment reveals a new identity of the city, which is beyond people’s imagination yet through a possible reality.

This poetic criticism is meant to be dynamic as part of an ongoing dialectical process. It drives and propels both parties toward a new synthesis, striving for a liquid, dynamic balance. Prevailing renovated mosques, collapsing Jamaat, gobi desert, Yellow River and so on, constitute the multidimensional spaces in the city, which are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meanings. Those multidimensional spaces are interwoven with nature, history, economy and politics, which are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.

Zijiao Qiao

Thomas Tsang
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