Bryant U. Poised for Major Initiatives with China; Groundbreaking for Unprecedented Shu Fang Zhai Project Will Be April 2013

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The project, announced in May 2008 during a special ceremony with former President George H.W. Bush, is intricate and complex and draws upon the expertise of Chinese and U.S. architects, construction companies, international logistics firms, and Chinese government officials.

Artist's concept

Artist's concept for Bryant University's Shu Fang Zhai reconstruction

It will be the first time the Chinese government has allowed a section of the Forbidden City to be replicated and reconstructed outside the country.

A Bryant University delegation met Nov. 8 with leaders of China’s Palace Museum, the body that manages the Forbidden City in Beijing, to build upon the three-year collaboration that will bring a reconstruction of the Shu Fang Zhai, a section of the Forbidden City, to the Bryant campus. It will be the first time the Chinese government has allowed a section of the Forbidden City to be replicated and reconstructed outside the country.

Led by President Ronald K. Machtley, the delegation and museum officials established that a groundbreaking on the Bryant campus will be held in April 2013 as part of the University’s 150th anniversary celebration. Madam Xu Lin, director of Hanban in Beijing, plans to attend the groundbreaking ceremony. The first phase of the Shu Fang Zhai reconstruction is expected to be completed before the end of 2013.

The reconstruction will be fabricated in China using the same historic techniques employed in the 1400s when the original structure was built, taken apart, put into containers, and shipped to Bryant, where it will be reassembled.

The project, announced in May 2008 during a special ceremony with former President George H.W. Bush, is intricate and complex – not only in terms of architecture and construction but also in terms of securing government approval – and draws upon the expertise of architects, construction companies, international logistics firms, and Chinese government officials. When completed, the structure’s buildings and courtyard will cover approximately half an acre on the Bryant campus and will be used as part of Bryant’s U.S.-China Institute and Confucius Institute.

The Bryant delegation met with museum officials in Beijing on the opening day of the Chinese government’s 18th Party Conference. Chinese government officials say they are very excited about the prospects for launching the project next year.

Earlier in the week, the Bryant delegation met in Zhuhai and Beijing with directors of Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai to continue discussions on a joint academic venture that will result in Bryant developing a branch campus in China. Plans for this unique joint facility will be the subject of continued meetings among the universities, their accrediting associations, and the Chinese government. It is expected that the Chinese partners will provide all capital investments, including land and facilities, in this new joint venture.

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Tracie Sweeney
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