A New Perspective on Eclectic Attributes in Architecture : Taking Eclectic Architecture in Beijing and Hong Kong as An Example

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

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
Online published6 May 2022
Publication statusOnline published - 6 May 2022


The development of society enriches the connotation of various professional concepts and leads to ambiguity in their interpretation. With the increasing comprehensiveness of human exchange activities, this uncertainty has become a common phenomenon present in multiple fields. In the field of architecture, the long-standing over-emphasis on imaginative and instinctive creation has led to a tendency to rely on the judgment based on the architect’s personal experience when confronted with ambiguous concepts. Besides, the “black box” in the professional field has made it difficult for other professions and the public to reasonably express their demands. “Eclecticism” is such a divisive architectural concept that has emerged from cultural exchange. This paper aims to develop a modeling tool that could grasp complex concepts in a clear and comprehensive way. The study constructs the “Eclectic Attribute Models” as a visual translation by using the Cartography of Controversies based on Actor-Network-Theory (ANT). Then tested and enriched models by intuition studies. As a result, this research clarifies the contemporary interpretation of eclecticism: a design concept encompassing the essential attributes of Pluralism, Historicity, Elitism, Decoration, Innovation, and Symbolism. Finally, this paper also discusses the advantages, limitations, and prospects of controversy mapping in future interdisciplinary research practice.

Research Area(s)

  • Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), Architectural attribute, cartography of controversies, eclecticism, intuition