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Lhasa Coca-Cola, Transformations Of Tibetan Architecture

Part 2 Project 2001
Joergen Thiel
Sven Liebrecht
Fachhochschule Hamburg Hamburg Germany
Although the Chinese Cultural Revolution in Tibet has become history, demolition of old buildings and townscape in Tibet's capital Lhasa is still enforced. The Chinese economic approachment towards western standards merely shifts the reasons for the disappearance of ethic and cultural foundations concerning Tibetan identity. The Tibet Heritage Foundation (THF) as an international non-governmental organisation sets its aim to oppose to this destruction, keeping alive Tibetan urbanity and capability for development. In our voluntary work at the THF in summer 2000 we documented a monastery in town "Meru Sarba" to make possible proceedings about its preservation as a consequence.
Going beyond the structural fabric this project evolves a concept for the rearrangement of Meru Sarba. During the Cultural Revolution it has been used as a propaganda theatre, since 1986 again as a monastery and zusätzlich as a printery. Tensions, generated by non-conform use, a close connection of monastery and town and the design of an architectural concept referring to alterations and perspectives concerning Tibetan culture and society are the main parameter of our work.

Joergen Thiel
Sven Liebrecht

Communication is a strength of this team, working together for several projects inside and outside the university. The latest project which we nominated for the President's Medals 2001 is based upon the work as volunteers for the Tibet Heritage Fund in Lhasa, Tibet as fellowships of the foreign exchange program of DAAD.
Sven and Joergen experienced this culture very profoundly and their perceptions influenced their work on this design project in a way that leads beyond mainstream concepts. They picked up a trace of nomad life and culture of enormous spontaneousness, abilities of improvisation and a great potential of innovation. Of course this knowledge is transformable to our contemporary coherences as well.
Their design project for the rearrangement of meru sarba monastery is an experiment for this transformation.

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