Juan van Wassenhove
Istituto di Cultura Italiano, Embassy of Italy
Sanlitun Dong Er Jie no. 2 Chaoyang District
朝阳区 三里屯东二街2号 意大利大使馆 文化中心
We are thrilled to announce a talk from co-founder of Temple Dongjingyuan, Juan van Wassenhove, on restoring some of Beijing’s most iconic architecture.
Juan van Wassenhove first moved to China in his mid-20s with a corporate job. Many years later, he co-founded The Temple Dongjingyuan in the heart of Beijing.
The Temple brought together three very different friends, each with a special interest in renovating the 600-year-old Zhizhusi temple or “Temple of Wisdom”. This was in the late 2000s, when modernization was China’s driving force, where old was considered unattractive and new was glamorous. Yet van Wassenhove and his co-founders embarked on the daunting task of reclaiming a part of Beijing's history and cultural heritage by renovating the old buddhist temple to its former glory.
By re-using the temple’s original materials and changing as little as necessary, the building now stands closer than ever to what it once was. In 2012, the restoration received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation and it’s considered one of the best examples of heritage conservation in Asia.
Tonight, Juan will run us through the exciting and challenging moments of his thrilling journey in China, from the fire-damaged piles of rubble in 2007 to the temple’s rebirth from the ashes. A journey that brought Juan to the discovery of historical heritage, its protection, preservation and its empowerment, which, when united with innovation, bring about new forms of public art.
Juan van Wassenhove
Juan van Wassenhove, originally from Belgium, has been living in Hong Kong and Mainland China for over 20 years. Juan was a banker with JPMorgan for many years but has always been passionate about art and architecture. He currently lives in Beijing, and is widely known as co-founder of Temple DJY, home to TRB Hutong which is owned by Ignace Lecleir and recently voted as 2019 Travelers' Choice Best Fine Dining Restaurant in the world.
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Membership desk open 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm lecture.