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Revival of Lijiao - past and future

OCT . 01 2011

Peking University, Sept. 30, 2011: “It’s so bright, clean and shining inside!” A Peking University (PKU) student exclaimed before the Lijiao Building which has just reopened on September 13, after a three-month repair. “We have longed for this moment for a long time and have to temporally go to other teaching buildings for classes”, he explained.


Because of the weather condition during its construction, the opening had been delayed for one week, and thus many courses had to suspend or change places, which brought some inconvenience to students. Luckily, it was finally put into use now, regardless of all those building materials around it and the two incomplete floors.


Standing before this new but unfamiliar building, some students still cannot help casting back their minds of the former one, which contained so many reminiscences of the past.


Preexistence of Lijiao


The original Lijiao Building was built in 1998 as a key project in the "Ninth Five-Year" Plan of China. Construction completed at the time of PKU’s 100th anniversary, this building was more likely to be a gift than merely functioning as a classroom building. It did not let us down, considering its “Lu Ban” Prize - the most authoritative for constructive project in China. This building was also named as a high quality project in 2000 by the Ministry of Railway.


The airscape of PKU's Natural Science Building Group, where Lijiao occupied the center


A rich cultural ambience emanated from the building’s modest and elegant style of architecture, which coherently echoes with Weiming Lake and Boya Tower. Its steel frame-shear wall structure system ensured the security of the students inside - even when a large magnitude earthquake shakes Beijing.


So a debate has emerged over the necessity of the recent reconstruction, especially with so many honors and excellencies of the old one fully recognized.


Pros and cons - disputed


“I am longing to sit in the brand new classroom of Lijiao”, a sophomore from PKU Guanghua School of Management said to us,” Looking those new tables and chairs shining and gleaming just makes me feel good.” He said this reconstruction can update the old equipment and enlarge the space, perfecting the studying environment of Lijiao. Indeed, one of the major reasons for the reconstruction of Lijiao is surely the aging equipment, such as projections and blackboards.


In addition, the poor ventilation of the old Lijiao harmed the health of teachers and students, which called urgently for improvement.


Furthermore, the added floors of the new Lijiao Building, provides students and teachers a spacious and bright studying environment. It tends to have a clearer structure inside and more classrooms capable of hundreds of people.



One of the corridors inside the new Lijiao, bright and wide


However, the reconstruction did arouse another concern on campus planning of PKU, for the Triangle has just been “twisted”. "I wonder if this project is really necessary," Miss Zhao from School of Economics said, "Lijiao actually is quite young in our campus." She thinks that there may be somewhere else in more urgent need at PKU.


Yet another objection focuses on the use of school funds. These opponents hold a view that school should inform the students earlier and consult the opinions of all. "No matter what kind of decision that school is going to make, we hope our voices being heard", commented some netizens on Weiming BBS.


Moreover, the reconstruction on campus causes direct disturbance to students, even though the major part of the project has been completed in the summer vacation. "Construction noise, volatile odor, delayed use of the new building are somewhat annoying." pointed out by several students on the BBS.


The heated debate is not just among the students studying here. A PKU alumnus called "greenpeony" online published her view, saying that Lijiao is more than a teaching building after years of studying in there, "It carries good memories of many of us".


The yard embedded into the previous Lijiao was an impressive scene in the campus.

Anyhow, the reconstruction of Lijiao is coming to a close. In regard to what students have complained, the school has taken a lot of efforts to meet their needs. The crowded condition on the western road has been changed. A lot of green plants are put in corridors and classrooms to purify the air inside the building, at the same time giving off a flavor of life and freshness. Teaching facilities have all been fixed in advance for the benefit of students. This new building will be of significant effect in the future, witnessing and accompanying more PKU students through their colorful four-year college time.


Reported by: Jiang Zhaohui and Cao Yixing
Edited by: Arthars