Beijing 798 is a study in contrast--one location, two milieu, fifty years apart. Reflecting on art, architecture, and society, the images and texts in this book offer a microcosm of the radical social and cultural changes that have swept through Beijing (and for that matter China) over the last 50 years. East German-designed military factory turned contemporary art and culture center, Beijing 798 is captured in 200 vintage black and white images of the industrial space and its programs at the height of the revolutionary milieu of the 1950s, and also through an equal number of color photographs of a radically different milieu--50 years later in the present. In the contrasting images of the past--model workers, Great Leap Forward parades, East German state visits, Big Character Posters--and today's images--contemporary art exhibitions, rock and roll concerts, artist studios, galleries, and restaurants--this book bears witness to the birth and becoming of China's new society without losing sight of its past. This unique compilation also brings together texts by top writers in the field of art, architecture, and society, as well as two architectural visions for Beijing 798 as seen by the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the School of Architecture within the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.