Icons of New China

Documentary Photography of the Great Hall of the People

About the Exhibition

The nine historic photographs of the iconic Great Hall of the People in this exhibit are chosen from an extensive archive of over 10,000 photographs collected by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd. (BIAD). These photographs, on display for the first time outside of China, provide a visual documentation of the construction process of the Great Hall of the People from 1958 to 1959.

Serving as the primary meeting location for the legislative bodies of China, the Great Hall of the People today is more than a political symbol, rather visited as a major civic and cultural attraction. It serves as a model for architectural monumentality, aesthetics, technology, and a collective intelligence of that era.

In leading the design of the Great Hall of the People, the BIAD took these initial photographs for the explicit purposes of recording the construction process and the completed work, facilitating discussions among the architects and engineers before, during, and after construction, and demonstrating achievements, especially in professional media. Beyond these purposes as a visual narrative created by close collaboration between the architects and the photographers in BIAD, these images of 1950s Beijing provide a glimpse into the radical shifts and juxtapositions produced within a compressed period of change.

To view this exhibit, please email or call the main office line at 203-432-0884. The exhibit can be viewed by appointment between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (excluding major holidays).

Please note that the office will be closed for winter break between December 24, 2019 and January 1, 2020. Final appointments for the exhibit should be made prior to December 24.

Exhibition on view through December 2019
Yale-China Association
Bierwirth Room
442 Temple Street
New Haven, CT

About our Partner

Beijing ArchiCreation Cultural Media, Ltd. (AC Media) is a comprehensive culture institution dedicated to urban and architecture development and intercultural communication, under the management and sponsorship of Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD). AC Media, designated by the Architects' Branch, Architectural Society of China, engages in publication, exhibition, curation, media and other activities relevant. Previously known as ArchiCreation Journal Press, it publishes a professional bilingual journal ArchiCreation (since 1989), which focuses on "in-depth reports" on architects and their works, explores insightful thoughts and concepts, and reveals breakthrough technology applied. The photographs and contents of the exhibit are profoundly based on the Special Issue on The Great Hall of the People, ArchiCreation No. 180-181, 2014.