Displaying Socialist Cosmopolitanism : China’s Architectural Aid in the Global South, 1960s–70s

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-577
Number of pages31
Journal / PublicationArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number3
Online published13 Apr 2023
Publication statusOnline published - 13 Apr 2023


After World War Two, modern architecture was disseminated worldwide by western architects. However, the role of Chinese architects in Asian and African countries during the Cold War has been largely overlooked. Chinese-aided projects were initiated by communist leaders and executed through state-owned design institutes and construction companies. This article explores these projects as a cultural expression of socialist cosmopolitanism, as China sought to reshape the world order of the 1960s through political, cultural, and material interventions. It argues that architects from state-owned design institutes helped newly independent Guinea and Sri Lanka form national identities through architectural intervention by adopting cosmopolitan ideas that maintained sensitivities to differences and appreciation for others. By embracing situated cosmopolitanism and socialist ideologies, Chinese political leaders and building professionals saw themselves as partners with revolutionary ambitions who respected others with geographical and cultural differences on the global stage.
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Research Area(s)

  • Socialist cosmopolitanism, construction aid, ChenDeng’ao, Dai Nianci, GlobalSouth

Bibliographic Note

Research Unit(s) information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.