The prevailing attitude [in China] is chabuduo, or ‘close enough’. It’s a phrase you’ll hear with grating regularity, one that speaks to a job 70 per cent done, a plan sketched out but never completed, a gauge unchecked or a socket put in the wrong size. Chabuduo is the corrosive opposite of the impulse towards craftmanship...it implies that to put any more time or effort into a piece of work would be the act of a fool. China is the land of the cut corner, of ‘good enough for government work’.
Beijing and Amsterdam-based studio NEXT architects have won first place in a bridge design competition for Meixi Lake near the Changsha capital in Hunan, China. The shape was inspired by the Mobius Strip and Chinese knotting.
For Anting New City, China asked for an idealized theme park of a Teutonic village, but instead they got a modern Bauhaus inspired ghost town. Only about 1,000 people live in this Shanghai mega-suburb that was built to be home to 50,000 residents. (via)
One of the most striking features about daily life in China is how much of what one encounters has been appropriated from elsewhere. It’s not just the fake iPhones or luxury watches . . . . Above all are the physical spaces. . . . New architecture, when it is notable, is nearly always by foreigners or copying foreign styles, a tendency that has led Western architects to flood into China, often with second-rate projects for sale. . . . These are not just individual buildings but entire streetscapes, with cobblestone alleys, faux churches (often used as concert halls), towers, and landscaping designed to reproduce the feel of European and North American cities. The city of Huizhou features a replica of the Austrian village of Hallstatt; while Hangzhou, a city famous for its own waterfront culture, now includes a “Venice Water Town” that has Italian-style buildings, canals, and gondolas. Other cities in China now feature Dutch colonial-style townhouses, German row houses, and Spanish-style developments.Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China from the NYRB blog.
WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
China is the new Dubai (when it comes to architecture)
Unintelligent Design. The History Images of Sze Tsung Leong. "Then there's the other type of history that is recorded in the fabric of cities. This includes the houses that are being destroyed; it has to do with the history of quotidian things, really, the layers of history that have slowly accumulated. The loss of this fabric the spaces and histories particular to different cities means that the particular cultural value and artistic qualities they contain, are lost." also here and here.
Tu Lou, ("earthen structures") are massive, fortress like dwellings, native to the Hakka people of China's Fujian province. Distinguishing features include a central courtyard, multiple levels, a lack of windows on the ground floor, a single, heavily fortified entrance, and dozens of homes all wedged together. The buildings are ringed with a one meter thick outer wall, feautre no concrete or steel; living quarters on the upper levels are largely built from wooden beams, jointed with pegs. A typical structure would take several years to build.
Chinese Pop Posters. More :- Guangzhou's racing track, patrolling despair, Cuba, under New York, Bombay bazaar, and Chinese rural architecture. All from the excellent Atlas magazine - more here.
Bomb Shelter Gets Makeover Got an old bomb shelter sitting around? Wondering what to do with it? Why not turn it into a shopping mall? Across China, more than 3,700 hotels and dormitories and 1,270 shops and restaurants have been created in former bomb shelters, according to an article in Beijing Youth Weekly last year. In Beijing, a youth hostel has been established in a bomb shelter below Wangfujing, the glitziest shopping street in the city. An estimated 20,000 workers are employed in businesses in former bomb shelters in Beijing alone.