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So here we are! The 1st edition of DOCEXDOCE India has finally started. As you already know, all the participants who are currently reading this text are in the same situation, working under the same time limit and not knowing the competition topic beforehand. It is time to face a new challenge, demonstrate your ability to adapt to a new context in an agile and clever way. Don’t pressure yourself too much, this is a competition to enjoy and maybe to try things you are not allowed to do on your university. Good luck!


Tianducheng is one of the many suburbs in China that resemble to faraway places and include copies of foreign historical landmarks. Located in Hangzhou, capital of the Zhenjian Province and 2 hours away by car from Shanghai, Tianducheng is already part of the cultural heritage of early 21st century China due to its particularities as a ‘simulated heritage site’. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and is often referred to as China’s tech hub. Hangzhou is home to the headquarters of popular e-commerce giant Alibaba alongside with countless other cutting edge multinationals and start-ups. Besides e-commerce and technology, Hangzhou offers a wide range of industries including fashion, sports, education and international business. However, Hangzhou’s appeal does not only lie in its economic power; the city is also one of China’s most popular tourist destinations, boasting the famous West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Leifeng Pagoda, Xixi Wetlands National Park and countless other sites and attractions. A tremendous change in the population has been taking place in China since the 1990s. For the whole city of Hangzhou, the total population grew from 5.8 million in 1990 to 9.4 million by the end of 2018, resulting in a population density of around 554 people per kilometre square in spite of the rapid expansion of the urbanized area size in the meantime.

A fast search at any architecture online platform confirms the astonishing urban development that Hanzhou is experimenting.


Hydrographic Map of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province (1864-1874)

Rapid urbanization also results in lessen natural water elements and increasingly fragmented natural water system in this area, where ironically its rich history about their close relationship with water are well-known and now lost in transition.

Guangsha Group, one of the biggest real-estate companies in China, initiated the enormous project of Tianducheng in 2001. They wanted to build a selfsustained satellite city around the northeast suburb of Hangzhou. In an promotional article written by Guangsha Group on its website, the company claims: “Tianducheng relies on tourism as a driving force and real estate development as a goal, to realize the model of large-scale development and lead the development of satellite cities. It formed a path of innovation and development for the business management city.” They even advertised this project also in the same article as “taking France culture as its city culture” while “setting ‘bussiness, tourism, residency and education’ as its pillar industry in this city”. They present a clear image of French culture to attract people to buy properties and settle down in Tianducheng. However, they never had into account the potential issues that this simulated heritage site in Hangzhou will bring. A pioneering project back then, is nowadays one of many suburbs in China that resemble to faraway places and include copies of foreign historical landmarks, reflecting Chinese imaginations of the Western lifestyle. By 2008, the completely new Eiffel Tower and the parks around where finished way before

the apartments were sold. Interestingly, the construction of both the original and the Chinese Eiffel Towers were hotly debated. Opened in 1889, the French tower was widely criticized by the cultural elite at the time. Intended to be dismanteled after 20 years, the 324 m tall tower became a valuable asset for the city. Built in 2007, the 108m tall Chinese Eiffel Tower went through a similar controversy: “On 20 November 2010 Guangsha Group started to dismantle the tower without notice, which caused a blacklash among resident “Many resident called the media to report what was going on and hung protest banners on the tower. After negotiation, the company decided to cease dismantling and returned the tower to its original conditions.” Nowadays, despite Tianducheng fulfills some of the same functions of heritage in Hangzhou as the original sites fulfill in France, in relation to placemaking, for example, the neighborhood is far away from its maximun capacity. Tianducheng remains almost empty like a ghost town. Original plans had an expected capacity of 10’000 residents. Today the town’s population is around 20% of that. The streets are unoccupied, shop fronts have been boarded up, iron railings are rusted over and the famous fountain is bone dry. This is another issue independently to the apartments not being completely sold out.

“In the Yangtze River Delta, 108-metre replica of the Eiffel Tower graces Champs Elysées Square in what has been branded the “Oriental Paris”, a faithful reconstruction of GerogesEugène Haussmann’s City of Light”


Architectural mimicry often goes hand in hand with periods of cultural change, and comparable exercises in imitation are not unique to China. Japan produced its own collection of Western-style developments, such as Huis ten Bosch in Nagasaki Prefecture. Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and other rapidly developing nations are likewise experimenting with using Eastern architectural and structural paradigms to construct their own themed residential suburbs. ‘Chinatowns’, ‘Germantowns’ and ‘Little Italies’ that do exist in many american cities are the product of immigration, rather than imitation, and reflect the cultural roots and traditions of their primary residents. By contrast, in contemporary China, the dominant target of appropriation for residential enclaves housing the chinese is a geopolitically, temporally and culturally alien and remote civilization. The agressiveness with which these architectural issues are playing out the number of projects that you see and the unprecedented pace of all these phenomenons are what distinguishes China. For example, in 2000 Shanghai officials devised a plan for “One City, Nine Towns” that calls for ringing the metropolis with ten satellite communities, having up to three hundred thousand housing units and each built as a full-scale replica of a foreign city.

Striking both in the minuteness of its attention to detail and the ambitious scope of the replication. Western-style structures are found not in isolation, scattered throughout the existing urban fabric, but in dense and extensive themed communities that replicate identifiable Western prototypes.

To reflect replicas for the monument, group of buildings, or tourist spots that hold a distinguished position in the tourism and marketing industry for their universally acepted value and global fame.

The originality of these landscapes consits also in the novel circumstances of the historical moment in which this architectural mimicry is occurring: The technology available to China for copying alien lifestyles is unprecedented. It has the financial resourcers to underwrite massive housing projects. It has a powerful government able and willing to support urban planning projects of extraordinary scales. And it has a client base for these simulacrascapes: a growing middle class that includes a population of between 100 million and 247 million consumers. These duplitectures try to re-create not only the superficial appearance of Western historical cities, but also the ‘feel’ of the originals through such devices as foreign names, signage and lifestyle amenities. Despite all these qualities on how China is facing a pragmatic solution to the problem of housing swelling and newly affluent urban populace, the Chinese intellectual elite have followed these developments with confusion, criticism, controversy, and no small amount of disbelief. Rejecting these themed communities as “kitsch”, “fake”, “temporary”, “backward”, “insecure” or “unimaginative and cliché”: “Why should we have foreign styles in these new

towns? Why not Chinese? It’s not a good feeling for some Chinese people, primarily those from cultural fields and intellectuals.” “Life is too short to be copying someone else’s work. We refuse to do these copycat types of design” ‘The epigonic architecture of the past is characterized by more selective and partial appropriation of Western typologies and styles. By contrast, the contemporary examples of architectural mimicry duplicate both discrete buildings or building types and the very communities within which these were originally embadded. This critics has evolved so much, that quite recently the Chinese Goverment has decide to prohibit any kind of foreign replica! This is a completely change of paradigm.


“Consumers (or inhabitants) enjoy replica touristic experiences more than they enjoy genuine touristic experiences - specially as the genuine touristic experiences tend to have restrictions�

This book proceeds from the paradoxical premise that in the way it copies the west, contemporary China manifest its tremendous originality. This originality stems, first of all, from historical precedent in theory and in practice. The ontological status and value of the copy in China differ substantively from corresponding Wersten notions. The copy in China is not stigmatized, as it is in the West, and this lack of stigma is manifested in a number of cultural institutions and practices which is also supported by a philoshoophical system.


For the next 54 hours you will work over one of the most important architectural symbols in the world: the Eiffel Tower from Paris Tianducheng. We invite you to rethink a new use for this emplacement that can work as an urban activator of Tianducheng, as well as the production of an overall picture of your ‘building-architectural solution’. Remember to include an explanation of its functioning. It is very important to understand our workplace as a unique opportunity in a unique context: With a recent law that prohibits new ‘copycat architecture’, plus the negative connotation that this Eiffel Tower already has, we are worried about its future and therefore the futurelife of this entire district. We estimate that in the next few year, its popularity will decrease tremendously and so will happen with the life of a neighborhood already fragile. Can we use it as an opportunity? Can we completely change one specific symbolism and bring a new one, accompanying a new use, that activates Tianducheng? As in this case, this architectural icon is not the ‘original one’, you can work as you want with it: it can be modified, adapted, removed, parasited, etc. You also can simply leave the existing monument and work only on the surrounding circular green area. All depends on your approach!

Almost anything can be built in this city. You can take risks and come out with new realities or transform them and mix everything that inhabits in our collective worldview. Create a new sense, new ideas, push the boundaries, push it to the limit in this place. Will your proposal solve future duplitectures cities from its decay?

Note: the blue buildings on this picture are not existing anymore as these were only used for construction site settlements

“I like it here. But I don’t have any particular thoughts about this France thing... I’ve never been to France. I don’t know what it is like to live in Paris. But I like the surroundings here. It might not have much to do with the architectural style. It’s about the park, the mountain, the environment here”


Participating teams must upload the following to using their team ID and password:

The proposal will be presented in only one horizontal A2 poster (594 x 420 mm). The team ID code, sent via email to your team representative, must be placed on the top right corner. There should also be a tittle for the project, which we recommend to place on the top left corner. The file must be in JPG format, max 20 MB. The graphic resolution must be appropriate for printing and internet publishing. Names of team participants or any other personal identifying information must not be written anywhere in the poster. Vertical format posters, names of participants or no ID codes will not be accepted. The poster must contain all the information needed to understand the project. Participants can decide whether to include graphic representations, images, perspectives, sketches, text, etc. All text must be in English. In addition, a second submission that will be used exclusively for the Audience Award is required. This will consist of a frontal image or frontal short animation of the Eiffel

It is very important for you to follow these proportions to be considered within the submission. The horizontal line gives you the chance to show some perspective from the ground and the vertical line indicates where we want the Eiffel tower antena to end.

The Special Audience Award is chosen through our Instagram account by the general public. As we can’t publish all the projects, a selection of up to 128 or 50% of the total amount of proposals will be chosen and published. Those projects will be coupled randomly and uploaded as Instagram stories where everyone will be able to choose their favorite between the two. The winner of the branch will be the winner of this special prize.

A collective poster will be created joining all proposal submitted.

Tower including your proposal with the given proportion shown on the left (png attached). This images or brief animations must be delivered in JPG or GIF format (this may helps explaining your project better - maintain proportions) and must have a resolution of 3000x3000 pixels (maximum size: 10 Mb) Thirdly, a descriptive text of a maximum of 60 words will be submitted as an A4 PDF. This text must appear as well in the A2 proposal and will be the main text for the jury. Of course, the A2 proposal might contain more isolated texts explaining diagrams, images, etc. Each file must be named with the team code you have been assigned. The jury will take into account the theoretical background of the proposal, an innovative answer to the challenge posed, as well as its adequacy to its context. The graphic quality of the project will also be highly valued. If there is any technical problem or doubts, write us to Good luck!

REFERENCES NOTE: We are not the owners of any pictures. We are just partially the authors of the previous texts. This is not an academic text or profit document purpose. If you want to know who wrote which specific part, please write to us. We will be pleased to answer to info about everything.

TEXTS - Books, articles and other literature about the topic: Bosker, Bianca 2013. ‘Original copies: architectural mimicry in contemporary China’, Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3606-1 Sarial-Abi, G & Merdin-Uygur, E & Gürhan-Canli, Z 2020, ‘Responses to replica (vs. genuine) touristic experiences’, Annals of Tourism Research 83 (2020) 102927 Bernhard, B & Canestrini, D 2018 ‘Copysites: tourist attractions in the age of their architectural reproducibility’, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change Kong, H & Zhao, B & Sui, D 2017 ‘The Development of Copycat Towns in China: An Analysis of Their Economic, Social, and Environmental Implications’ Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Yousaf, S & Xiucheng, F 2020, ‘Copysites / duplitectures as tourist attractions: An exploratory study on experiences of Chinese tourists at replicas of foreign architectural landmarks in China’, Elsevier Ltd. (Oxford, UK) Chen, Z 2018, ‘Learning from Vernacular Watermanagement Practices in Hangzhou’, TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urbanism. ISBN 97894-6366-057-0 Holtorf, C & Ma, Q & Chen, X & Zhang, Y 2018. ‘The Value of Simulated Heritage in China’, The Archaeopress Blog Guangsha Group official webpage ( newsinfor/23/3682)

AUDIOVISUAL - Photographs, images, videos and others about the topic: Photograph David Hogsholt Photograph Francois Prost Photograph Cornelius Holtorf (Video) TIANDUCHENG by Caspar Stracke: (Video) CAMPING THE TIANDUCHENG EIFFEL TOWER: com/watch?v=2lpi6ioNBaA (Music video) JAMIE XX - GOSH: watch?v=hTGJfRPLe08

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