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Shinkyo, Manshukoku Kokumuin Kokuto Kensetsukyoku 1936. Colour printed sheet 54x78cm with colour bird's eye view and panorama on one side; colour plan, smaller b/w photo illustrations and text on the other. Folded as issued, a small knick in a margin, minor signs of use. ¶ In many ways the new capital of Manchukuo was - is - a planner's dream. Here was an empire building militaristic government wanting to both experiment with all that had been learned about city planning and show the west that not only could they do it, but do it better. Changchun, a hybrid Chinese-Russian-Japanese railway town, was appointed the new capital, it was renamed, a five year plan for a new city was drawn up under the guidance of Professor Riki (or Toshikata) Sano in 1932, a quick compromise with a competing plan was made, and building was underway in early 1933. Local interests (ie the Chinese and Manchu population) and business were allowed notional input but the brief was clear: social theory, technology and architecture that made for an efficient colonial capital could be put into place, local self-interest could not. Of course it was not so simple. This was to be a pan-Asian showcase, superior to western, especially colonial western, models - not equal. Confucianism, traditional ritual and Asian racial harmony were to be a central part of the city. What more could any urbanist ask for? Students of the plan might like to start with Yishi Liu's 2011 doctoral thesis, 'Competing Visions of the Modern;' where Griffin's Canberra plan and Griffin's diagrams for road classification are illustrated beside Xinjing's. By 1936 - when our view of the future city was produced - a lot was still dust and open space but, by the gods, whatever else they learnt from Burley Griffin's Canberra - and it was a lot - about planning a city, they certainly learnt how not to build a city. What they already knew is what all architects know - by instinct? - to redraw plans to fit what has been built and what is likely to be built. This is, I think, the third or fourth of such views of the new city. There were similar prints in 1933, maybe in 34, and 35. The city was declared open in 1937. I'm yet to see the first but the changes between 1935 and 1936 are noteworthy. The plan is much the same, mildy shrunk, and some buildings in our imaginary bird's eye view may reflect actual building but what becomes clear is that ambition has been scaled back to come closer to what they thought could exist next year. City blocks of large scale housing are now more sparse clumps of bungalows; elaborate Sino-Japanese modernism is plain modernism.
AUD 750.00 [Appr.: EURO 480.25 US$ 583.24 | £UK 413.75 | JP¥ 63789] Book number 10481

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