Panoramic Bird’s View of the West Lake
On June 24, 2011, 17: 57, local time, the West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou, a nomination for World Cultural Heritage Site in China, successfully passed the deliberation and was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the 35th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee held in Paris, France. By far, the number of World Heritage Sites in China has added up to 41, ranking the third place in the world and thus maintaining a good momentum that Chinese sites were approved to enter the World Heritage List for the ninth consecutive year.
According to the World Heritage Committee, the West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou is an extraordinary model of cultural landscape, which clearly reflects Chinese aesthetic ideology and profoundly influences the landscape design in China and abroad. Even to this day, its core element remains to inspire people to “indulge in landscapes”. The nomination is featured with well-spaced heritage area and buffer zone, has a sophisticated law guarantee system and a sound management system, and has adopted effective protection measures and sufficient monitoring methods. The West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou meets Criteria (ii) (iii) and (vi) of the World Heritage List and satisfies the requirements on authenticity and integrality of world heritages.
The West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou is the first of its kind in China to apply and get listed in the World Heritage Sites as a cultural landscape. As a professional consultant for West Lake’s application for World Cultural Heritage, Architectural History Research Institute under the China Architecture Design & Research Group (CAG) has undertaken the Written Application of West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou for World Cultural Heritage, the Planning Outlines for the Protection and Management of West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou, the Planning for the Protection and Management of West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou, environmental improvement projects and technical guidance for inspection preparations of West Lake’s Application for World Cultural Heritage Status, on-site interpretations for international investigation experts and other series of technical consultation for the application of West Lake Cultural Landscape, and has successfully completed tasks thanks to its five-year-long arduous efforts and unremitting endeavors. These professional consulting achievements have provided important academic and technical support for the successful application of West Lake Cultural Landscape and have effectively guaranteed its scientific and professional application. The Written Application of West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou for World Cultural Heritage systematically expounds its outstanding universal values and its existing protection measures and management of West Lake Cultural Landscape to the world; the Planning for the Protection and Management of West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hangzhou works out systematic systems，measures as well as relevant regulations for protection and management of West Lake Cultural Landscape in accordance with standards on protection and management of World Cultural Heritages; and environmental improvement projects and guidance for inspection preparations provide important professional support for West Lake Cultural Landscape to welcome the expert assessment and evaluation with excellent protection and management performance. These professional consulting achievements have revealed the heritage values of the West Lake as a well-known oriental cultural lake to the world for the first time, laid a solid foundation for the successful application of the West Lake, and given full play to the important role of a large state-owned scientific and technological enterprise in supporting the building of China’s soft power.
As a research and consulting unit of CAG, Architectural History Research Institute was founded by Liang Sicheng more than 50 years ago and has been engaged in the research and protection of cultural heritages in China since then. Architectural History Research Institute, thanks to its years of profound academic strength and rich experience in professional consulting, especially its innovative entrepreneurship, has demonstrated, in the application project of West Lake, outstanding professional skills and services as well as strong social responsibility for the state and national interests, and has been widely recognized and highly acclaimed and recognized by professional world heritage protection organizations, national administrative authorities for preservation of cultural relics, relevant experts and scholars as well as local governments of Hangzhou City.
Landscape of the West Lake by Li Song in Song Dynasty