Our photo theme this week: Remaking Baitasi. Baitasi is a monument in west-central Beijing, named after the Yuan Dynasty White Stupa Temple. In recent years, it’s also become a site of Beijing Design Week, an annual, city-wide program showcasing leading ideas in urban design.
We’ll kick off with a photo of the titular landmark itself. Baitasi, aka the Miaoying Temple or White Stupa Temple, is a Buddhist monument located near the western 2nd ring road in Beijing. The jutting white dome was constructed during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368 AD), and today functions as a guidepost orienting those in the densely clustered, residential hutong neighborhoods surrounding it.
Baitasi became one of Beijing Design Week (BJDW)’s “core areas” in 2015, joining the ranks of Dashilar — a hutong neighborhood south of Tiananmen — and 798, Beijing’s major art zone. Dubbing their efforts “Baitasi Remade,” BJDW’s plans for the area amount to a comprehensive facelift, flipping it from residences into a new creative hub. Here’s some background on the project:
Billing it as “Beijing’s new design neighborhood,” BJDW [last year] announced plans to begin a long-term urban renewal program in Baitasi [in 2017], which will conclude in 2020. In typically inflated jargon, BJDW describes the goal of this project — BTS Remade — as creating a “living incubator for a networked community of design professionals and entrepreneurs to take home in the area and partake to the rejuvenation of its cultural and social ecosystem.”
Over the course of this week we’ll inspect how this looked on the ground at this year’s BJDW, which finished on Sunday. For now, enjoy this lovely shot of Baitasi by night, taken by Liu Qilin during a recent stroll: