Katherine Ye Hangzhou 2014 Art Class
Unit 3- Change and Transition

Hey! I'm Katherine and I'm a student of CIS HK. Welcome to my process journal for unit 3. Currently our unit is on change and transition, enjoy! Note: Newest posts are at the bottom. Also, none of the photos that I use belong to me (unless I say so)!


Jiang Nan (江南) is a geographic area in China immediately to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River (長江), and Hangzhou is one of the most important cities in this region. Due to its' unique natural environments and history, this area has its' own distinctive architectural culture, and we can still se a lot of examples of this culture in Hangzhou and the surrounding cities, especially in some old towns such as Wu Zhen. In this unit we will study this unique architectural style (中国江南建筑).

Key Concept: Change
Related concept: Boundaries, Visual Culture
Global Contexts: Globalisation and Sustainability

Statement of Inquiry: A community can keep it's own culture identify while adapting to the new or changed world.

1. Pre-research
2. Field trip and investigation
3. Create your own art work: base on all the information you get (your sketches, photos, you personal experiences of Wu Zhen and other sketches, photos, your personal experiences of Wu Zhen and other investigations), by identifying the elements of Jiang Nan architecture which you like and appreciate most and adding changes to anything you want it to be changed, create you own dream Jiang Nan style living space in your art work, which can be in any 2D or 3D medium of your choice.

Pre field trip research:
1. Look into 江南民居 and collect the images that are diverse, make sketches on your DW book and write your comments and analysis on each of the images. Pay attention to things like shape, forms and colours. Try to come up with a list of key words which can be used to best sum up the characteristics of 江南民居 style.

Field trip research:
1. What are things you like most, what are things you don't like? Record them with your camera and explain why.
2. Comparing what you see in Wu Zhen with what is in your native living environments. What are the biggest differences between them?
3. When walking through the space, the streets and the buildings of Wu Zhen, what do you feel? What elements in the space give or cause this feeling? (e.g. the size and shapes of the space and the buildings, the structures, materials, textures, ornaments, decorations, colours, the relationship between buildings, building and people, and so on.)
4. Can you find any connection between what you see in the street and what you know about traditional Chinese culture?

Post Field Trip Investigation:
1. Investigate Leoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘) and his design of Fragrant Hill Hotel Beijing (北京香山饮店) and Suzhou Museum (蘇州博物馆), compare them with the traditional 江南民居 so far you have already learnt. What traditional elements has Pei kept in his design and what changes has he made? What are you evaluation on Pei's design and why?

Assessment Criteria:
You will be assessed on all of the four Visual Art assessment criteria. Please refer to the rubric. You should make a week-by-week plan for the whole project and keep a detailed tracking progress.

江南- Jiang Nan

Jiang Nan is the geographic area referring to lands to the south of the lower reaches of the famous Yangtze River in China. This region encompasses the southern part of Jiangsu province, the northern part of Jiangxi province, and the southern part of Anhui Province. The most prominent cities in Jiang Nan are Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wuxi, Shaoxing and Changzhou.


江南民居 is an important part of Han traditional Chinese architecture. Traditional 江南民居 houses have many unique architectural features.

1. 檐廊 (verandas)
2. 二层楼 (two floors)
3. 粉墙黛瓦 (refers to the material of the white walls and tiles)
4. 公共码头 (public piers)
5. 马头墙 (wharf walls)
6. 吊脚楼 (refers to the specific structure of the houses)

Causes and Origin of the 江南民居
1. The hot and humid climate of the southern part of China influenced the high walls, big spaces to facilitate ventilation, the construction of second floors, the underlying brick structure and the upper wooden structure of houses.
2. In the southern province, the gables of the houses are wharf walls. In ancient times, the area was densely populated and so the high roofs could prevent fires and act as a good decorative effect.
3. In the southern area, the flowers and leaves bloom throughout the entire year and the environment is always filled with rich colours. The white walls of the buildings cause light to reflect off of them and the elegant colour of the walls will give a refreshing feeling to the overall atmosphere.
4. The south of china has an abundance of bodies of water. This architecture allows the water to flow around the houses, which is very convenient for people because it allows them to directly drink and wash.

My Sketches Done in Wu Zhen

#1- This is a sketch of a tradition Chinese tea set which I came across in a restaurant in Wu Zhen. I decided to draw this because I particularly liked the simplicity of the tea pot and the tea cups itself, then the intricate design on the tea pot 'holder'. The two contrast matched each other well.

#2 This sketch is on an area where there was a bridge with a traditional Wu Zhen building in the background. I think that these two elements are Wu Zhen's most significant features and encompass the architectural features of the area.

#3- This is a sketch of the famous 'bridge in bridge' of Wu Zhen, where the bridges where perpendicular to each other and so you could see one bridge through the arch of another bridge. I found this as one of the most fascinating landmarks in the area.