In various Asian countries, many fine buildings from the colonial period have been destroyed. The urban communities in Asia had been powerless in preventing the fragmentation of their cities. Out of a deep concern over the lack of knowledge, lack of appreciation, and the denial of the colonial heritage in Asia, a new network of scholars and architects with similar concerns and idealism came into being with a first meeting in Guangzhou in 2001. mAAN thus emerged as a much-needed cooperative body linking parties in various Asian countries who are concerned with the issue of modernity and modernism in architecture.
This organism was named "mAAN" for "modern Asian Architecture Network" (with a small "m") to underscore our recognition of and conflicting perspectives on the issue of modernity and modernism in Asia, and our willingness to keep the discourse open. The organization was set up in a spirit of equality, friendship, freedom, and openness -modeled after a Chinese dining table or an Asian food court, where people with similar intentions come together to exchange ideas and to enjoy a wide range of offers and possibilities. This open and loosely knitted network among architects, academics, practitioners, and scholars is the best way to ensure the sustainability and versatility of mAANfs operation in the complexity and diversity of the Asian context.