Ronald Knapp: Discovering China's Forgotten Bridges

Department of Architecture Fall 2010 Lunch Lecture Series

Ronald Knapp is a distinguished professor emeritus of geography at the State University of New York–New Paltz. Among the least known and understood of China's many wonders, bridges are in fact extraordinary feats of building prowess that reveal pragmatic solutions to what often appear to be impossible challenges. Drawing from Knapp's recent book on the subject, this illustrated talk will focus on an exceptional collection of recently 'discovered' covered bridges, many of which have structures once thought to have been lost in the 12th century and known only through a depiction in a Song dynasty scroll preserved in Beijing's Palace Museum. His talk will situate these bridges within the full range of bridge structures built throughout China. His talk will examine many exceptional stone bridges found today in remote areas that seem to be improbable sites for such structures, and suggest how bridges as material objects can provide insights into Chinese historical processes.

Pizza will be served.