China has been a curious place of stories and mysteries. History adds veils of identity and mystery to much of its culture and architecture. From dynasties to war times to present, China has taken on so many distinct identities and has archived many tales and stories on the walls of houses, arches of bridges and tiles of roofs. One of the cities that portrays these identities would be Suzhou (sorry, same city as the previous post but we went to different places so equally as exciting!)

Our impromptu Suzhou trip started off with an early G-train ride (I’m still not sure if this is bullet train or not because I was told otherwise but I can’t feel it when it starts moving, it’s like floating).

So apparently, train stations here are a big deal, I mean at least to us Singaporeans, it is a big deal. The architecture of the stations are elaborate (I don’t have a good shot of Hangzhou’s station because we were rushing and it was too huge to fit into the tiny lens of my iPhone 6 : /).  But here’s a photo of Suzhou’s train station!

Suzhou’s Train Station

Suzhou is a beautiful watertown and has her own characteristic architecture of plain white walls and black Chinese tiles. This combination adds a quaint and calming atmosphere to the streets. Let the pictures do the talking.

White walls and black tiles
Houses along the river
While this side of the bridge is really pretty, the other side is plain ratchet…
Pretty sight
We saw this on our way to the first destination
This reminds me of Japan

And with that, things just got a little more exciting, and challenging. We took to a gib street-side vendor in hope of getting cheaper tickets. All is well…

Boat ride!

Until… they decided that we were definitely interested in buying silk and pearls, and wasted our afternoon. But the rest of the ride was still pretty cool.

Suzhou is famous for the gardens
The uglier the rocks, the prettier it is considered (as should be for most scenarios)
More gardens!
Even more gardens! wow-y

And so we rushed. And we rushed for our main purpose of going to Suzhou was to see the Suzhou Museum, the architecture is a perfect mix of traditional Chinese and modern Western influences.

Lo and Behold, we made it just in time (2 minutes and the doors would have been shut, so yay!). Now, enough of me talking because I don’t think my words will be enough to describe the ingenuity of I.M Peh.

Front view
Front left
Front right
Filtered natural lighting against the warm artificial lights of the rooms
mad skills
Back view

All was worth it in the end. And so, we left the museum deeply impressed and inspired. Grabbed dinner (xiaolongbaos and a whole goose) and rushed *again* to the train station.  This time, we missed our ride, so we had to take the normal 4/5-hour train ride back. Quite an experience!

And so we bade our farewell to lovely Suzhou.

– Daniel

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Team members: Chan Jia Hui / Cheong Yi Lei / Chow Khoi Rong, Clara / Daniel Yong Kaijie / Joshua Lim Wen Yao / Ng Jin Xi / Quek Wan Juan, Gabrielle / Tan Chu Er, Joey / Teo Mei Qin, Elizabeth / Yap Zi Qi / Yeow Zhi Wei Michael Augustine Through the footpaths of charming Hangzhou city, Chinese Urban and Architectural Environment aims to develop, in the students, an understanding and appreciation for Chinese urban styles and the exciting developments of her architecture through history. The project also involves small-scale landscape architectural design practices that builds key fundamental design skills, concepts and thinking that is necessary for the making of an architect.


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