Loading Events

Committee Meeting: Small Practice and Residential Committee


Physicality vs Cultural Essence – A Comparative Study of Preservation Ideologies in the West and East, with a Case Study on Hutong Preservation in Beijing

Darren Chang is a passionate architect with more than 15 years of experience in the design and development of luxury residential and large public buildings. He has made substantial contributions to several large-scale public projects in the US as well as abroad. He is the founder of Darren Vinci Studio, a boutique design studio focusing on high-quality design and construction in the greater Seattle and NYC areas. Previously he served as the design and project lead at two New York-based real estate development firms, and worked at world-renowned architecture firms including OMA, KPF, and RTKL. He is a registered architect in the states of NY, NJ and WA, and a member of the American Institute of Architects. He obtained a Master of Architecture I from Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), dual-master degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and System Engineering from MIT, and a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.

Darren conducted this research as his graduation thesis under the supervision of Rem Koolhaas while studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Different traces of thoughts on architectural preservation in the West have more or less focused on the restoration or conservation of physicality, whereas the Chinese approach has put more emphasis on the preservation of the intangible aspects of culture. Following an evolutionary model of physical renewal, successive generations of Chinese architecture uphold the continuous cultural essence. This presentation attempts to explain how the different preservation ideologies were generated within their respective cultural context. The preservation of hutong neighborhood in Beijing is discussed to illustrate how the preservation of cultural essence might be applied today, in order to render Beijing’s Old City an enriched and multi-layered urban cultural landscape that simultaneously stands for her past, present, and future.

Time: noon to 1:30 pm, January 18, 2024

Limited In-Person Attendance Available: As usual, this monthly meeting will be accessible remotely through the Zoom link below. However, SPARC is also excited to offer limited in-person connection for 25 attendees at Olson Kundig, 159 S Jackson St # 600, Seattle, WA 98104.


Click here to register - white text on red button



The Small Practice and Residential Committee (SPARC) meets the third Thursday of every month at 12pm. AIA Seattle members, allied members, and sponsors are encouraged to join, as well as professionals in the design community.

Click for more information about SPARC and to sign up for their email updates.

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 840 2635 2641
Passcode: 474142


January 18
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm




AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938