Memory & Identity: renovation as narrative

Memory & Identity: renovation as narrative


China Building Restoration, anySCALE, the Courtyard Institute and Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) invite you to join us for a talk on “Memory & Identity: renovation as narrative”. Cristiano Bianchi and Enrico Ancilli, two partners at architecture office studio O will explore this topic while sharing with us their previous building renovation projects in both China and Europe.




Nowadays, thanks to globalisation, similar buildings are being created in different places all around the world, and architecture firms are being transformed into brands. We’ve now entered a new phase where the context (physical and cultural) and the identity of a building have become of fundamental importance. By emphasising the context we create a difference. Difference means richness, and in today’s global era, people need to recognise and identify themselves through their surroundings. Renovation plays a central role in this process as a tool to rediscover memory and redefine an architectural identity.


“Our ‘acupunctural’ interventions aim to translate this content into a clear narrative structure: going into the meanings of things we try to discover the stories that every building has to tell, and then we reveal them by contrast, using a strong contemporary language.” – studio O


Intervening on the existing architectural heritage charges the architect with more responsibility. Architectural heritage is no longer identified only in the context of historical cities or ancient buildings, it also includes the industrial era and even simple, ordinary spaces with a strong identity or of cultural value. There is a necessity for a contemporary architecture able to engage with history while communicating its “beauty” to everyone. This architecture should raise discussions about different methodologies, and should readdress some of the classical renovation issues: respect for the existing, preservation of memory, relationships between old and new… Last but not least it should help translate the regulations and their interpretations which range from the still relatively “wild” China standards to the hyper-protected and ultra-regulated European rules.   



About studio O

studio O ( is an architecture office and creative platform. They focus on capturing pure beauty and discovering the hidden,

rather than repairing the obsolete and searching for the absent.


Cristiano Bianchi

Cristiano is an Italian registered Architect. He is particularly interested in the anthropological and social aspects of architecture, in low energy building and sustainability. Before engaging with studio O he built up his professional profile in Italy, Japan and China by working for international firms such as Studio Fuksas, Studio Archea and AS. Architecture Studio.


Enrico Ancilli

Enrico received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Florence University of Architecture in Italy, where he taught urban planning for several years. Passionate about sustainable built environments Enrico is a big advocate for the realization of Ecological Design. Enrico’s previous experiences with Morandi Architects and studio Archea include international projects for wineries, residential buildings as well as cultural and mixed-use buildings in Italy, Middle East and Asia.


Wednesday, June 29th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Venue :
Courtyard Institute (No.28 Zhonglao Hutong, Dongcheng District)
Tickets: RMB 30/person
Wine, beer and some light snacks will be provided.


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