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Luke Him Sau, Architect: China's Missing Modern

ISBN: 978-1-118-44902-8
288 pages
June 2014
Luke Him Sau, Architect: China

Description

Luke Him Sau/Lu Qianshou (1904–1991) is best known internationally and in China as the architect of the iconic Bank of China Headquarters in Shanghai. One of the first Chinese students to be trained at the Architectural Association in London in the late 1920s, Luke’s long, prolific and highly successful career in China and Hong Kong offers unique insights into an extraordinary period of Chinese political turbulence that scuppered the professional prospects and historical recognition of so many of his colleagues.

Global interest in China has risen exponentially in recent times, creating an appetite for the country’s history and culture. This book satiates this by providing a highly engaging and visual account of China’s 20th-century architecture through the lens of one of the country’s most distinguished yet overlooked designers. It features over 250 new colour photographs by Edward Denison of Luke’s buildings and original archive material.

The book charts Luke’s life and work, commencing with his childhood in colonial Hong Kong and his apprenticeship with a British architectural firm before focusing on his education at the Architectural Association (1927–30). In London, Luke was offered the post of Head of the Architecture Department at the newly established Bank of China, where IM Pei’s father was a senior figure. Luke spent the next seven years in the inimitable city of Shanghai designing buildings all over China for the Bank before the Japanese invasion in 1937 forced him, and countless others, to flee to the proxy wartime capital of Chongqing. In 1945 he returned to Shanghai where he formed a partnership with four other Chinese graduates of UK universities; but civil war (between the Communists and Nationalists) once again caused him and others to uproot in 1949. Initially intent on fleeing with the Nationalists to Taiwan, Luke was almost convinced to stay in Communist China but decided finally to move to Hong Kong. There, for the third time in his life, he had to establish his career all over again. Despite many challenges, he eventually prospered, becoming a pioneer in the design of private residences, schools, hospitals, chapels and public housing.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 6

A NOTE ON SPELLING 7

INTRODUCTION 8

A Mirror to China

CHAPTER 1 12

A Complicated Birth

CHAPTER 2 36

London Calling

CHAPTER 3 86

Bank Building

CHAPTER 4 178

Architectural Retreat

CHAPTER 5 208

Hong Kong

CHAPTER 6 264

Luke’s Legacy

LIST OF WORKS 270

SELECTED READING 276

INDEX 282

PICTURE CREDITS 288

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Author Information

Edward Denison is an architectural historian, writer and photographer. He has a PhD in architectural history and is the author of Building Shanghai, Modernism in China and The Life of the British Home (all published by Wiley). Edward has worked in China for many years and is now based in London where he is a research associate and teaches architectural history and theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture (University College London).

Guang Yu Ren is an architect, researcher and independent consultant born and trained in China and now based in London. She has researched and published several books on architecture including Building Shanghai, Modernism in China and The Life of the British Home.

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Press Release

May 07, 2014
Luke Him Sau, Architect: China's Missing Modern

Luke Him Sau, Architect: China’s Missing Modern relates the intriguing history of 20th Century Chinese architecture through one of its greatest modern exponents.

Luke Him Sau/Lu Qianshou (1904–1991) is best known internationally and in China as the architect of the iconic Bank of China Headquarters in Shanghai. One of the first Chinese students to be trained at the Architectural Association in London in the late 1920s, Luke’s long, prolific and highly successful career in China and Hong Kong offers unique insights into an extraordinary period of Chinese political turbulence that scuppered the professional prospects and historical recognition of so many of his colleagues.

Global interest in China has risen exponentially in recent times, creating an appetite for the country’s history and culture. This book charts Luke’s life and work, which, owing to prevailing historical conditions, have been largely concealed, both in China and internationally. The book commences with his childhood in colonial Hong Kong and his apprenticeship with a British architectural firm before focusing on his education at the Architectural Association. It then moves on to cover his life in London (where he was offered the post of Head of the Architecture Department at the newly established Bank of China); in Shanghai (where he designed buildings all over China for the Bank before the Japanese invasion in 1937 forced him, and countless others, to flee to central China where he spent eight years); and post-war, when he returned to Shanghai, forming a partnership with four other Chinese graduates, mostly from UK universities. Caused to uproot again in 1949 due to civil war he finally moved back to Hong Kong where, for the third time in his life, he had to establish his career all over again.

Despite the many challenges, Luke eventually prospered, becoming a pioneer in the design of private residences, schools, hospitals, chapels and public housing.

As one of the country's most distinguished yet overlooked designers, Luke Him Sau, Architect: China’s Missing Modern is a highly engaging and visual account of China's 20th Century architecture.

Featuring over 250 new colour photographs by Edward Denison of Luke's buildings, as well as original archive material, it will be of interest to architects, architectural students and those with a cultural interest in Hong Kong and China.

The book is sponsored by the Luke Him Sau Charitable Trust which, in memory of the architect, supports cultural and architectural projects in China.

 Luke Him Sau, Architect: China’s Missing Modern is available in hardcover and e-book wherever books are sold.

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 Notes to editors:

  • Review copies and jacket images are available on request
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