Wenhua Academy of Wuchang (zhaiyage fitness center) – Wuhan architecture of the Republic of China


Located near the entrance to the north gate of Hubei University of traditional Chinese medicine in Wuchang District, Zhai Yage fitness Institute (Zhai Yage Museum) was built in 1921

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Zhaiyage fitness center: zhaiyage Museum; purpose: Gymnasium (original), Museum (present); address: near the entrance of the north gate of Hubei University of traditional Chinese medicine, Wuchang District; design: Bai Jiamin; structure: brick wood mixture; number of floors: 2; completion time: 1921

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Designed by American Christian architect J

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van wiebergamini, jayage fitness center was built in memory of James Jackson, the first president of Wenhua University

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It is also called jayage fitness center because of its Chinese name

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Zhai Yau fitness center is the first batch of new Chinese buildings in modern China, which embodies the characteristics of the East and the West

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It is also one of the earliest Gymnasiums in Wuhan

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It is the product of one of the few existing local Christian cultural movements in China

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In 1993, the building was announced by the Municipal People’s government as one of the first batch of class II excellent historic buildings in Wuhan

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The building faces east and West, with a two-story brick and wood structure

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The roof with the visual effect of “double eaves” and the clear water red brick wall are in contrast

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There are high side windows between the eaves

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There are four windows on both sides of the middle door on the first floor

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The doors on the left and right sides protrude like ear rooms

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Two chimneys in one side wall rush out of the eaves and stand high side by side

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From the appearance, the whole building has the charm of both oriental architecture and Western architecture

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The exterior wall of the building is made of fair faced red brick (with the mark of “Fucheng”, made by Fucheng brick factory, adopting German craft)

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The first floor has no column, and the second floor veranda is a traditional Chinese form of nine Bay empty colonnade

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There is a stone column base under it, a beam head and a sparrow on it, and a single hook between the columns

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The dragon pattern is engraved on the pillar, and the phoenix pattern is engraved on the sparrow

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The doors and windows of the building are in the form of Southern dwellings, with various window lattice shapes

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There are eight windows on the east side of the first floor, which are divided into four groups

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The second floor is a floor to floor wooden door connecting the interior and the corridor, with a push-pull rotary light on the top of the door

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Zhai Yaya fitness center combines the architectural form of Chinese style veranda roof with western style steel wood and masonry structure system

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It can be said that “middle school is the body and Western learning is the use”

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The bold exploration and attempt of the integration of Chinese and Western culture is the most valuable and characteristic of the building

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On April 20, 1921, the foundation of zhaiyage fitness center was officially laid

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On October 2, the 50th anniversary of Wenhua University, zhaiyage fitness center was officially put into use as the school’s sports teaching and indoor sports ground

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James Zhai was sent to China in 1882 by the American Christian Church (American Israel American Church)

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Before that, he was appointed by the British Protestant Methodist Church in 1876 to preach in Guangzhou, China

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Since 1901, he has been appointed as the dean of Wenhua college

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During his tenure, Zhai introduced advanced western education concepts, expanded the scale of the school, improved the education system, and supported the establishment of the school choir and football team

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In 1909, he registered as the first president of Wenhua University in the United States

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He retired in 1917 and died in Jiujiang the following year

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The new Mandarin gymnasium was named after the succeeding president

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Over the past century, zhaiya fitness center has always been an important building to undertake teaching tasks

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Later, due to years of disrepair, the wall surface was weathered, some walls cracked, and some wooden floors were rotten, which had some potential safety hazards until the beginning of the 21st century

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From 2015 to 2016, funded by Wuhan engineering design industry alliance of China, the ICOMOS shared heritage research center of CITIC architectural design and Research Institute was responsible for the renovation design, and the maintenance and reuse project of “zhaiya fitness center” was launched

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In addition to the original restoration of the building, the surrounding environment was transformed

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At the end of 2016, the renovation project was completed

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The renovated building has become “Jaya Pavilion Museum” and “living room of Wuhan Design City”

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Cultural activities are regularly held in the building to share creative design achievements, which has become one of the cultural symbols of Tanhualin historical district..

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