Tianjin/Haihe, the concession zones (1900AD-1949AD)
The concession architecture in Tianjin was rapidly developed after 1860 when she became the major coastal city and open port. The influence of Imperialism from Europe and Japan has influenced the architecture at that period. This quickly formed a unique city-landscape for Tianjin in the concession period. She is also a typical example of a Chinese city under concession from different countries and powers.
To a certain extent, her fruitful context of architectural style made herself as a miniature for Japanese and European cities. There is substantial evidence showing the co-existence of Chinese architecture under Western influence.
Even though difference concession area built up their parts without an overall planning for Tianjin, this, in turn, leads Tianjin into a pluralistic city. The distinct concession boundaries formed by different nations showed the independence, however, the inter-dependent part lies along the Hai River, ‘Haihe’.
On the other hand, the planning of different concession zones reflected a lot about the cultural background and architectural concerns of the nations, and this collides with the traditional Chinese customs that eventually turns out into different resolved solutions for the final form of the concession zones. For instance, the continual expansion of the British and French concession zones exemplified the process of resolving city planning problems, which was clearly not a ‘one-off’ step.
After 1900, there were a total of 8 concession zones. They were all situated alone ‘Haihe’, either to the East or the West. This had imposed great impact on Tianjin in terms of industrial development, railway and road construction and city planning.
Fig. 1.2 Concession boundaries, Tianjin