Institutional transformation brings vigor and strong momentum for development
- Report on CAG’s developments after institutional transformation
By Li Yuyang of Economic Daily
Chen Tongbin, Director of Architectural History Research Institute(AHRI) under China Architecture Design & Research Group (CAG), never forgets those tough days with her colleagues in the early days of the institutional transformation. There were only six staff members at AHRI in the hardest days.
AHRI undertook a project for the preservation planning of a local historical block by chance. Standing on the ruins left by history, Chen Tongbin and her colleagues had a feeling of “rebirth” and found a direction for future development – research and preservation of cultural heritages.
AHRI now becomes a growing star of CAG after 10 years of explorations and efforts. It earned the total revenue of nearly 20 million yuan in 2010, over 60 times as much as that in 2001. However, the significant social benefits created by AHRI are immeasurable: it protects and carries forward the cultural heritages of the Chinese nation, makes outstanding contributions in many key projects for the preservation of cultural heritages concerning state and national interests, and accomplishes many key scientific research achievements, including History of Ancient Chinese Architecture (Volumes 2 and 5) and History of Ancient Chinese Urban Planning.
“The development and the change of AHRI represent a vivid example that demonstrates CAG’s successful institutional transformation,” said CAG President Xiu Long to the reporter.
Thanks to 10 years of explorations and efforts, the comprehensive strength of CAG has been significantly improved. In 2010, CAG’s contract values totaled nearly 6 billion yuan; the actual collected revenues reached 3 billion yuan, 10 times of that in 1999 before the institutional transformation; the profits amounted to 220 million yuan, 5.5 times as much as that before the institutional transformation, and the tax paid stood at 220 million yuan, 10 times of that before the institutional transformation. While creating good economic benefits, CAG has been committed to industrial and public-welfare researches, thus playing an increasingly important role in providing scientific, technological and cultural support for the economic and social developments in China.
Zhang Jun, Vice President of CAG, told the reporter that during the 11th Five-year Plan period, CAG undertook 37 projects and participated in 40 projects with 213 million yuan special funds, including four national-level key special science & technology projects, three projects in the national “863” Program, 28 research subjects of National Sci-Tech Support Plan, one project for International S&T Cooperation Program of China and one project for China Spark Program. It designed and completed many key projects, such as Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) , New Capital Museum and Lhasa Railway Station listed among Top Ten New Buildings in Beijing. In particular, CAG solved the difficulty of unique large-span special-shaped steel structure when designing Bird’s Nest and thus made Bird’s Nest a masterpiece building in architectural circles both in China and abroad. In addition, CAG also designed and finished over 200 large fuel gas and water supply engineering projects, including West-to-East Natural Gas Transmission Project, South-to-North Water Diversion Project and Environmental Protection Project for Reservoirs of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, and undertook over 400 sewage treatment projects accounting for 50% market shares nationwide.
Since the institutional transformation, CAG leadership persistently believes that scientific and technological innovation is the foundation for self development while academic content is the basis for innovation. After the institutional transformation, CAG has been maintaining a team of core research fellows who account for about 10% of the total staff members to continue conducting research on generic technology, and invested over 600 million yuan in scientific research over the past decade.
After the outbreak of Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan Province, CAG undertook and finished overall planning, architectural design, protection of folk houses of Qiang ethnic minority and training on relevant technical personnel, and provided powerful technological support to the post-disaster construction efforts. After an earthquake hit Yushu County in Qinghai Province, CAG assumed a large number of planning and design tasks for post-disaster construction projects.
Over the past decade since the institutional transformation, CAG accelerates the application of scientific research achievements into practical use, promotes technological development and integrative innovation in the industry and maintains a fast yet sound development.
What is most frequently heard during the interview at CAG is “responsibility”. As a national-level large design institute, CAG never forgets its responsibilities in the institutional transformation. On the contrary, while being fully devoted to innovation and creating economic benefits, CAG gives full play to its advantages and provides powerful technological support to the sustainable development in China in an all-round manner. Thanks to its awareness of responsibility, CAG still adhered to the research on generic technology even in the hardest days, reserved AHRI and many other important academic institutes by giving them support and actively explored new roads for development to finally realize a successful institutional transformation. Thanks to its awareness of responsibility, CAG energetically lead housing industry to realize a sustainable development characterized by “low resource consumption, light environmental load, high scientific and technological content and virtuous ecological cycle”. Thanks to its awareness of responsibility, CAG actively contributed its due shares to the post-disaster construction efforts in the wake of earthquakes. From all these we can witness what has been achieved by CAG as a national institute in its institutional transformation and CAG’s persistence to performing its responsibilities.