We braved Beijing’s rush hour to walk to the Stanford Center at Peking University this morning. There was even more activity on the streets compared to yesterday—longer lines of cars, bigger crowds of bikes and pedestrians. We arrived at the Stanford Center, which sits in a quiet corner of the PKU campus, otherwise known as 北大 in local parlance. It’s built as a fusion of Eastern and Western architecture—a traditional Chinese 四合院 courtyard at ground level, with two stories of modern offices, lounges, meeting rooms and a sunlit atrium underneath.
There’s a height restriction in this area because the 圓明園 Gardens are nearby, so Stanford decided to drill down and expand underground instead. The funds for this center were contributed by a number of Stanford alumni, and a variety of programs such as the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Business rent offices in order to use the space. (Sorry, no free lunch.) While inside, we also visited the Highly Immersive Classroom (HIC), the room where we had so many of our teleconference exchange sessions.