For China, a boom//bubble/bust in high bridge construction


Clockwise from top left: the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in Qingdao, in Shandong Province; the Duge Beipan River Bridge, in Guizhou Province; the Aizhai Bridge, in Hunan Province; the Beipan River Shanghai-Kunming high speed rail bridge in Guanling Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in Anshun, a city in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Credit Xinhua; Getty Images; European Pressphoto Agency; Associated Press

More via NYT re: China’s New Bridges: Rising High, but Buried in Debt


Recently in domus 4/16/11: Shikantaza, pluralism, the shophouse and media archaeology

In this article Chiara Alessi reflects on Naoto Fukasawa’s decision (post the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake)  to withdraw from participating in the Salone 2011 this year they feature an old quote from Naoto “thinking takes time; feeling is immediate. Focusing on immediacy which does not require the act of thinking is the essence of design“.

Giulia Guzzini in Mutant Architecture & Design reviews the various pavilions brought together by Interni,designed by the likes of Jacopo Foggini, Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier and Matteo Ragni—in the splendid courtyards of Milan’s Università Statale. I was particularly struck by Buon Weekend a collaboration of Diego Grandi with Rosenthal and Sambonet.

Neeraj Bhatia the Director of InfraNet Lab writes The Urban Project of Plurality an op-ed which argues for the importance of the politics of pluralism within the context of contemporary architectures recent focus on urbanism. Bhatia writes: “ The issue of pluralism is even more pronounced today, with more than half the population of some cities consisting of visible “minorities.” This growing situation prompts a design interrogation of how one can provide unity in diversity, reconcile the individual and collective or allow for distinction and equality. ” He then goes on to suggest that what is needed to effectively address issues of pluralism is a fresh approach towards conceptualizing two earlier ideas of the Twentieth century: the megastructure and softpod.

In “all(zone) shophouse transformation” Rachaporn Choochuey reports in from Bangkok and Thai studio, all(zone)’s attempts to transform and solve the problems of the shophouse typology, underutilized in contemporary Bangkok’s urban fabric.

by Piyawut Srisakul

Finally, Ethel Baraona Pohl interviews Lydia Kallipoliti and Anna Pla Català curators of the EcoRedux 02  exhibit in Barcelona. Their talk begins with the term media archaeology and the spate in recent years of exhiibtions, which explore various artistic or architectural movements of the postwar period.  Lydia Kallipoliti believes one reason for this is the fact that many of these movements “are highly resonant to the contemporary discourse and an important tool to understand what is happening now in the architectural world.” The EcoRedux project as she goes on to explain is essentially “an archive that assembles one hundred projects, as a database of ecological materials and experiments of the 1960s and 1970s“. Finally, Anna Pla Català clarifies the duo’s understanding of the term ecology, explaining that “the claim we are making here is that ecology is not sustainability, nor does it have a specific form. On the contrary, ecology is linked with cybernetics and system theory.

Three from Abitare

Norman Foster writing about Foster and Partner’s design for the Beijing airport. He writes “I think that the Beijing airport is an attempt to recapture a golden era of travel; when it was more generous, when it was a luxury experience, but accessible to all. And in that sense, I think it is really radical and also very successful.” Foster also describes a bit of the firm’s design process in terms of evaluation and testing, the iterative development of a design. Surprisingly although a computer is important he writes, “What you can do with a model is also take photographs of the model and you can insert scale references, like figures. And curiously, the photograph of a model is one of the most important tools for usIn the past we worked with two types of models: a model to communicate an idea and a model to explore an idea.” More (here)


Yehuda Safran in Gravity and Grace on Steven Holl’s  Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center in Shenzhen. “Unlike most buildings in this town, Holl’s Horizontal Skyscraper not only resurrects dreams of past generations of Megaform/Megastructure, but it does so in a manner which retains a large variety of interiors and a constant shift in direction. Rhizomatic in plan, it provides an endless play on the inside/outside experience.

Peter Fischli, Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist talk about the photos taken during the Venturi, Izenour and Scott-Brown’ noted trip to the US town. Koolhaas speaking almost nostalgically about the 1960’s notes “At that point there was still a more elegant form of mass culture. That’s perhaps the great thing about the 1960s. It had that kind of perfection not only in high culture, but also in low culture. If you look at the interiors of the largest restaurants, the largest casinos or hotels from that time, they looked exactly like this. It was before the arrival of populism as we know it.” He also distinguishes between the ‘as found’ and Pop art movements thusly, “More nostalgic maybe, too. With Pop, everything was new. But “as found” could also be amazingly touching, or amazingly sad … But there’s nothing tragic to Pop. Whereas I would say that even Ed Ruscha’s pictures of parking lots have something tragic about them.” More (here)