ABQ Warehouse District

February 14, 2011

798 art district.

Filed under: Arts & Warehouse Districts — celladdition @ 7:17 am


Also called Dashanzi Art District is a part of Dashanzi in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, China. (That two-million-square-foot complex)



The Dashanzi factory complex began as an extension of the “Socialist Unification Plan” of military-industrial cooperation between the Soviet Union and the newly formed People’s Republic of China.

When the factories were being built the Chinese turned to the East Germans who were renowned for building much of Russia’s infrastructure at the time. The East Germans, left to design the factories themselves, eschewed the more decorative Russian style for the functional Bauhaus style. This resulted in the famous saw tooth roof design, the plans, where form follows function, called for large indoor spaces designed to let the maximum amount of natural light into the workplace. Arch-supported sections of the ceiling would curve upwards then fall diagonally along the high slanted banks or windows; this pattern would be repeated several times in the larger rooms.



The Joint Factory produced a wide variety of military and civilian equipment and produce advanced technology for militar purposes.

The factory came under pressure during Deng Xiaoping’s reforms of the 1980s. Deprived of governmental support like many state-owned enterprises, it underwent a gradual decline and was eventually rendered obsolete.

This industrial area quickly became desolate: businesses moved out, leaving empty factory shells behind. Like a graveyard the place was eerily quiet and dead.


Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), looking for cheap, ample workshop space away from downtown, set up in the now defunct Factory 706. The temporary move became permanent and in 2000 Sui Jianguo, Dean of the Department of Sculpture, located his own studio in the area.

2001 Mr. Tabata Yukihito from Japan’s Tokyo Gallery set up Beijing Tokyo Art Projects.

A mixture of both old and new styles of architecture can be seen at the 798 Art Zone, which mixes 1950s design with a blend of the new.

The perservation and revitalization of valuable landmarks has played out many of the greater metropolises of the worls.

798 Art district

The art inside covers the entire Chinese scene, from photography to installations to the popular cynical realism style of painting and sculpture. The art is mostly Chinese, but Westerners are well-represented.

The district’s popularity has exploded since the opening of BTAP and 798 Space in 2002, with scores of galleries, lofts, publishing firms, design companies, high-end tailor shops, and cafés and fancy restaurants setting up. In 2003, around 30 artists and organizations had set up studios or offices in the area, with 200 more reportedly on the waiting list to move in.
they generally sustain themselves by hosting profitable fashion shows and corporate events.

The walled compound of red brick factories, warehouses and offices set on a tree-lined grid of streets and lanes.

798 contains (if not preserves) remnants history itself. Fading slogans exhorting the toiling masses can still be seen on some of the factories’ walls, reminding artists and visitors of the fervour that fuelled the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76). A scattering of sculptures and paintings from that era provide other historical echoes.

The success of periodic art festivals has contributed to 798’s viability. In the past three years, these festivals have lasted between three and four weeks, with performing artists and traditional and modern musicians added to the attractions.

Tourists started coming just to see art, which was still immediately accessible as many of the artists opened their studios, adjacent to exhibition spaces, open to the public. For this reason, many artists, hoping to gain more international attention, followed the wave of creativity to “798”.

Factory 798 has become a center of consumption as well as a stage for parties.








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