Photographs by Júlio de Matos.
96 pp., Numerous illustrations., 12¼x9¾".
The Hutongs, the traditional Beijing streets, and the Siheyuan, the houses with their square patio that reminds us of the urban vision of Kublai Khan, a contemporary of Marco Polo, are quickly disappearing. Beijing is going through an unequalled phase of rapid urban transformation due, above all, to the urban pressures caused by the accelerated economic development and by the approach of the 2008 Olympic Games. This very special landscapes, and this unique, ancestral way of life are rapidly being obliterated forever. As an architect and photographer, the need to contribute to counter a loss in the collective memory in a personal, subjective way, became urgent and imperative for me; to visually glimpse the past before it gave way to the threat of an urban reality insufficiently valued in the present. This phenomenon is nothing new and has been felt in various ways on a global scale.