Construction Frontline

A cultural and artistic palace combining China and Africa

Seetao 2023-09-18 17:23
  • Culture and art have powerful power and can build bridges between people
  • The completion and use of the Central African Culture and Art Center planted the seeds of friendship
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My father once worked and lived in Africa. I have been very fond of Africa since I was a child. As soon as I heard that this project was in Africa, I was eager to try it. Talking about the Central African Culture and Art Center, which he is the lead designer of, Chinese architect Tang Wensheng said that this once again demonstrates the inheritance of China-Africa friendship.

On the Triumph Avenue in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are the People's Palace and the Martyrs' Stadium, which were built with China's aid in the 1970s and 1980s. Across the street, a high-profile new cultural palace, the Central African Cultural and Arts Center, is under construction.

The People's Palace is the seat of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's parliament, and the Martyrs Stadium, which can accommodate 80,000 people, often hosts major events. Mvuni, Minister of State and Minister of Infrastructure and Public Works of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that the Central African Cultural and Art Center is another bright business card of cooperation between the Republic of Congo and China.

The Central South Architectural Design Institute, where Tang Wensheng works, is headquartered in Wuhan and is responsible for the design of the Central African Culture and Art Center. Walking into Tang Wensheng's office, the reporter saw design drawings and panoramic renderings showing the structural ingenuity of major central buildings such as theaters and school buildings.

The main body of this building consists of the cultural center and the Congolese National Academy of Arts, including a 2,000-seat large theater, an 800-seat small theater and a National Academy of Arts campus that can accommodate 2,000 students.

Among them, the core building, the Cultural Center, has a unique appearance, resembling a round African drum. Tang Wensheng knew what an African drum looked like from his father's description when he was young. In the 1980s, his father worked as a Chinese engineer to build farms in Somalia. Since then, the customs and customs of Africa and the stories of friendly exchanges between the Chinese and African people have left a deep impression on Tang Wensheng.

In Chinese culture, a circle symbolizes reunion. Tang Wensheng said that the shape of the cultural center integrates the cultural and artistic concepts of China and Africa and symbolizes the friendship between China and Africa from generation to generation.

The design of the National Academy of Arts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo also has a Chinese-African charm. The Chinese design team found through repeated research that the spatial layout of the school building can be more adapted to the local climate environment by using design techniques such as traditional Chinese courtyards and wind and rain corridors.

Chinese architectural culture emphasizes courtyards, but in Africa we make them narrow courtyards. Tang Wensheng said that long and narrow courtyards can use the mutual shielding between buildings to form a cool and pleasant courtyard space. According to the design plan, the different departments of the National Academy of Arts are not only enclosed independent courtyards, but also related to each other through long wind and rain corridors. The wind and rain corridor has the functions of both rain shelter and sun protection. The combination of narrow courtyard and corridor is suitable for the local climate environment of high temperature, rain and strong sunshine.

The concepts of integration, mutual learning, and adapting to local conditions are ubiquitous in the design and construction of the Central African Culture and Art Center: some walls adopt the hollow checkered tiles common in local buildings, which has the effect of ventilation and heat dissipation, and the traditional Chinese auspicious patterns are integrated into them. Adding elegance and interest; the building facade uses river sand from the Congo River as the main force of the exterior wall paint, showing a rustic style with strong regional characteristics; Congo (DRC) is very rich in copper resources, and copper engraving is a unique skill of local craftsmen , these paintings that reflect the local artistic style will be widely used in the interior decoration of the building.

As one of the eight key action projects of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the construction of the Central African Culture and Art Center has received great attention from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 2019, President Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo personally laid the foundation stone for the project. Since then, he has inspected and expressed condolences to the project and construction personnel many times. During his inspection in 2021, Tshisekedi said that he believed that after this project is completed, it will play an important role in cultural exchanges between Africa and China. In May 2023, during Tshisekedi's state visit to China, the two countries issued a joint statement on the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, which specifically mentioned that the Congolese side spoke highly of China's support for the Central African Cultural and Art Center project. 

We all look forward to moving into this beautiful complex. Mwendanga Musengo Desiré-Salomon, president of the National Academy of Arts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, told reporters that he often comes to the construction site of the Central African Cultural and Art Center and is fascinated by the cultural and down-to-earth cultural center. The architectural design is amazing.

Mwendanga said with great expectation that culture and art have powerful power and can build bridges for spiritual communication between people. This palace of culture and art will make an important contribution to cultivating more artistic talents and promoting international cultural exchanges in the future. contribute. After the center is completed, the teachers and students of the college will move to the new campus to work and study. At the same time, they can also display the knowledge and creative achievements they have learned to the world in the center's theater. He hopes that African and Chinese artists will be able to perform on the same stage and exchange ideas here in the future.

Tang Wensheng was also deeply touched when talking about the significance of literature and art as a bridge between souls. He recalled to reporters a story that happened during the project research: When visiting the National Academy of Arts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the student band played the Chinese classic "Jasmine" to welcome the arrival of Chinese guests. I was very moved and sang an African folk song that my father taught me. The students also accompanied me.

Since then, Tang Wensheng has been called a Chinese architect who can sing African folk songs by friends in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Tang Wensheng said that the seeds of China-Africa friendship buried in his heart when he was young have now grown into big trees and bear fruits. In the future, with the completion and operation of the Central African Culture and Art Center, this seed of friendship will surely be sown into the hearts of more people, and the road for the people of China and Africa to move forward hand in hand will become wider and wider. Editor/GaoLiMei


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