Xi’an, once called Chang’an, is an ancient capital of China.
During the Han and Tang Dynasties, Chang’an was one of the most open and active cities in the world, acting as a centre of commerce and culture. At that time, a glorious period that had deep impression and influence to the later ages, China was a prosperous and powerful empire. Now, in Xi’an, every corner of the city is full of history and culture.
This project was located near the Greater Wild Goose Pagoda and aimed to build a theme hall from an empty area. Considering the characteristic of the city and the demand for the project, our team implemented researches and interviews both from the paper and the field, and could be divided into a few stages. At first, the researches ranged from the history of Tang Dynasty to the spirit of Xi’an provided background for the project. Then, the focus transferred to the position and cultural theme of the hall. Eventually, the point came to the function division and space layout depending on specific constructions.
From the streets, heritages, ancient city wall to marketplace, Xi’an city is the best illustration of profound Chinese culture. The styles inherited from Han and Tang Dynasties are regarded as the spiritual home for many Chinese. How to involve the spirit of the city to this project was a key point to the theme creation. To solve this problem, the cultural creation started from exploring the scenes of Tang Dynasty. During the peak period of Tang Dynasty, the society with unified nation, prosperous economy, open-minded politics and flourishing culture entitled confidence to the whole country. In terms of diplomacy, exchanges and trades with other countries were frequent and busy.
In general, Tang Dynasty was in China’s prime, so it was energetic, self-evident, powerful, free, creative and idealistic. It showed the characteristics of self-esteem, ambitious and independent, and achieved the aesthetic values of profound, vigorous and outstanding. As one scholar Zehou Li said, even the decadence, indulgence, depression and sadness of this period could give out the lights of youth, freedom and enjoyment.
Among the findings, a marginal area was discovered by the team, which was the exhibition of diplomatic culture. How to connect this type of culture with the theme hall? After brainstorm, the team were stimulated from one verse written by Tingyun Wen of Tang Dynasty, and found the details about treatment, ceremony, and banquet. As a medium of the culture of Tang, the theme hall was named “Xi Yan Tang” and composed of several theme zones, referring to topics like tea, custom, and banquet. Though the theme hall was only a touch of the immense Tang culture, this glorious culture would revive in different mediums.