Chongqing - The skyline and architecture of Chongqing rivals among the most spectacular worldwide, augmented only more extensively by the dramatic view of mighty rivers flowing between mountains and past steep riverbanks running for miles along the built-up shores.
However, the unsuspecting visitor may be unaware that many iconic structures in this international metropolis saw the deep involvement of British architectural firms in the design stage, who successfully enhanced the construction projects with innovative concepts which incorporate aesthetic value, green features, and mass transit into the drive for revitalization in former rustbelt areas.
In this unique five-part video series produced in collaboration with the UK Consulate General in Chongqing, we share the inside story behind some of the most iconic buildings that grace the cityscape and how top British architectural firms played a vital role in their popular and commercial success thanks to their creative designs and pioneering concepts.
The Chongqing Industrial Museum, located nearby the Yangtze riverbanks in Dadukou District, was originally the Chongqing Iron and Steel plant first built in 1938 and saw rapid expansion in the latter half of the twentieth century. Later, the factory retired in 2010, following decades of service and a local decline in the steel industry.
In order to preserve the cultural and industrial legacy of this former steelworks, the British architectural design firm WallaceLiu was ultimately chosen to lead the transformation of this 7,500 square meter site into the fascinating museum of today, where visitors can step back in time as they admire precious historical exhibits from the factory’s heyday.
Their most treasured exhibit is the impressive steam engine produced by Davy Bros Engineers from Sheffield in 1905, representing the most advanced technology in world industry from that time in history. Nowadays, only two such machines exist worldwide, with the other held at Kelham Island Museum in the UK.
Among the most significant accomplishments was the successful rollout of the Zhonghua Heavy Rail, which assured completion of the 505-kilometer-long Chengdu Chongqing Railway in 1952, the first to be constructed after the foundation of New China. The DAVY BROS steam engine was only retired in 1985 after completing its lifetime mission.
Following the closure of Chongqing Iron and Steel, the Chongqing Municipal Government led the transformation of this industrial rust belt into the cultural landmark of today to record the industrial history of Chongqing while enhancing the city’s overall cultural essence.
China and the UK have consistently worked on projects in cultural preservation and urban renewal, and the Industrial Museum in Dadukou, designed and built by Wallace Liu, demonstrates how industrial heritage in Chongqing has been given a new lease of life.
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