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Building in turbulent China: The Baptist Missionary Society and building fusion and localization during the early 20th century in China

Geng, Lin 2021. Building in turbulent China: The Baptist Missionary Society and building fusion and localization during the early 20th century in China. MPhil Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The research focuses on the building practices in China of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS), which worked in China from 1860 to 1952. During these 92 years, the BMS primarily worked at building up the Christian community during the chaos in China, which included the T’ai-Ping Revolt (1851–64), the Boxer Rebellion (1899–1901), the Revolution of 1911, the May Fourth Movement of 1919, World War I, World War II and the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. From 1900 onward, the BMS had missionary stations which rented local buildings and were largely destroyed by the Boxer Rebellion. After the 1900s, the BMS missionaries, as one of the earliest Western groups, set up buildings in China outside the Western-controlled areas such as the colony or concession. In their building works they carried out a series of building practices in which Chinese architecture was mixed with British building elements, instead of the makeshift buildings in China’s missionary stations. Their building practices show these efforts to fuse Western building spaces and functions with China’s traditional building style. The BMS buildings were designed and constructed in the gap between the Catholic churches in China before the twentieth century and the influence of modern Western building in China after the 1910s. This study examines the diversity of Western building practice forms in China. The research also intends to connect the gap between the Catholic ‘hybrid building’ which appeared from the early nineteenth century and Henry Murphy’s ‘adaptive building’ from 1914, and represent the progress of Western building dissemination in China, which continues to influence the appearance of Chinese urban buildings today. This research investigates how the buildings were designed to create a connection with local people and to stimulate the making of a Christian community, and explores the impact of the missionaries’ subjective factors on BMS building style. This research demonstrates evidence of the earliest practices of concessions to China’s environment of Western building, and also reveals the progress of the style’s appearance and examines the building's effects.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: China; BMS Baptist Missionary Society; building fusion; localization; early 20th century Christian Architecture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 April 2021
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 02:13

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