40 years ago, a quake leveled Tangshan City to the ground, turning the 100-yeard-old industrial city into debris overnight. 40 years later, the city, through nirvana, developed into an increasingly modern and livable city, via 10 years of reconstruction, rejuvenation and 20 years of rapid growth. On July 2nd before the 40th anniversary of the quake, an academic forum was held, attended by LI Zhenhong (senior designer of the monument in memory of the quake), Prof. WANG Ziping (founder of Sociology of Disasters and Earthquake), JIN Lei (Director from Beijing Architectural Institute), GUO Weibing (Architectural Master of Hebei Province) and other experts. Also present were GAO Huaijun (Director of the Municipal Bureau of Planning), President WANG Chunyan, Party Secretary WANG Jianhua, Chief Engineer WU Xiaokun and other leaders of the Institute.
Director JIN made a warm introduction of LI Zhenhong and WANH Ziping in terms of their prominent contributions in anti-quake efforts while pinpointing the weak quake-resistance awareness available in the circle of architects. LI Zhenhong detailed on the design ideal of the monument, bidding of its design plan and implications of the monument. Prof. WANG briefed on his personal feelings in the quake and his reflections on 30-odd years of study in his field, proposing a thought-provoking call on “the attitude that should be taken toward Nature, sociologists’ participation in disaster-prevention research, publicizing of its fruits and the main role to be played by proper people in quake relief efforts”. GUO Weibing reiterated that “architects should design their works into shelters from disasters and strengthen people’s awareness of prevention and reduction of disasters”. HAN Zhenping, director of Tianjin University Press, focused on the importance that should be attached by the whole country and society to disaster prevention while stressing that architects should be highly responsible to the people by designing every building with due care and thought. CHENG Shicai, man of letters, introduced his latest book Pioneers on Ruins, sharing with all attendees his ideal of “learning from older generations and carrying forward their traditions in one’s own work”.
GAO Huaijun followed with a keynote speech. He said that Tangshan, a victim of earthquake, should pay more attention to prevention and reduction of disasters and TPADRI has made extraordinary contributions to after-quake constructions and creation of a new Tangshan, accumulating rich experience. He also said that, in memory of the 40th anniversary of the quake, quake-resistance and disaster-reduction should be done in line with integral urban planning to guarantee a safe city for people.
President WANG, on behalf of the leadership of TPADRI,first expressed her sincere welcome to all experts present and her encouragement by the academic exchanges and idea sharing, which she described as distillation of the mind. She followed by saying that it is a manifestation of increasing concern by humans over prevention and reduction of disasters that the quake-resistance levels are being raised, existing constructions strengthened while more experts and scholars devote their efforts to research of disaster prevention and reduction. WANG further vowed that her Institute would build up a firm sense of disaster prevention and reduction at the beginning of every design.
WANG Jianhua and WU Xiaokun respectively shared their thoughts and understandings of the forum.