Wang, 59 years old and now lives in Hong Kong, said he often felt perplexed and his anxiety increased every time he came back to his hometown. Skyscrapers mushroomed and old constructions were pulled down to make room for new roads, commercial complexes and modern residential communities, which had made the city "so unrecognizable". What worried him is that "the history is broken" and people no longer have a real life in a place where "memory is lost".
In 2012, he decided to start the project of the reconstruction of Chongdeli Community in eastern downtown Chengdu, next to Tangpa Street by the Jinjiang River and not far from the Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu, after a long-time study of the location.
By that time, the location teemed with disheveled buildings — beat-up wood and brick houses and old courtyards — that people found it not agreeable for living. In fact, most people had moved out of the place to live in the elevator-equipped high-rises. But Wang was so satisfied that he had at last found the scene where he could make his dream come true.
A complete reconstruction of the site soon took place, with the help of Wang's friend, Du Bing, a successful businessman, and a team of masons, carpenters, plumbers, roof repairers, white washers and so on. Wang was such a perfectionist designer and a strict and sometimes tyrannical supervisor that he took pains to consider every detail of the project, and even once came to blows with a carpenter, who failed to meet the standards but refused to make change in his operation.
"To keep the history intact, and that's my mission," said Wang, "I hate to be condemned for what I have done."
And so he did whatever he could to keep the original look of the community — even that was extraordinarily expensive.
"To replace the damaged or rotten parts is usually much cheaper than to repair them, but I feel proud that we tried our best to do the repair, rather than just having something new to replace the original. The tiles, the bricks and the beams, all old styles," said Du Bing, "everything that reminds people of the old Chengdu remains the same as before. That is the true Chengdu."
The reconstructed Chongdeli Community, with an area of about 900 sq.m and a construction area of 1, 100 sq.m, has emerged as a unique showcase of the old Chengdu life and a popular site for the gatherings of local literati and artists, as well as a tourist destination and a venue for the parties of young white collars.
"The reconstructed Chongdeli stands there, not only to remind me of the memory of the past, but to keep alive a piece of history — once it is gone, it is gone forever," Wang noted.
Folk cultural activities
Grand Temple Fair Chengdu’s annual Grand Temple Fair is held every year during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in Wuhou Shrine, Jinli, the Culture Park, and several other city parks. The 15-day-long festival showcases both traditional Sichuan folk art and modern fashions of the city.
May 20, 2014
15 Historic Buildings in Chengdu
Chengdu city government issued on Nov. 5, 2014 a regulation on the preservation of the historic buildings in the city.
Oct 11, 2018
Chengdu art show to exhibit in Taipei
The Chengdu art show themed “Living in Chengdu" is to be held in Taipei from Dec. 26 to Feb 15.
Dec 17, 2014
2015 Sichuan & Chengdu Mass Jogging·46th Chengdu New Year’s Day Cross-Country Running Race
The 2015 Sichuan & Chengdu Mass Jogging·46th Chengdu New Year’s Day Cross-Country Running Race will take place at 8:30am-11:00am on Jan. 1, 2015 on the Renminnan Rd.
Dec 22, 2014
15th Xiling Snow Mountain Snow and Ice Festival
The 15th Xiling Snow Mountain Snow and Ice Festival opened on Dec. 25. Tourists can appreciate beautiful scenery, play with snowballs and ski in the snow-capped mountain.