Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China / Bianca Bosker

  • 31 Jan 2013
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Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of ’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.

Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

Original Copies presents the first definitive chronicle of this remarkable phenomenon in which entire townships appear to have been airlifted from their historic and geographic foundations in Europe and the Americas, and spot-welded to Chinese cities. These copycat constructions are not theme parks but thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford.

Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

In recounting the untold and evolving story of China’s predilection for replicating the greatest architectural hits of the West, explores what this unprecedented experiment in “duplitecture” implies for the social, political, architectural, and commercial landscape of contemporary China. With her lively, authoritative narrative, the author shows us how, in subtle but important ways, these homes and public spaces shape the behavior of their residents, as they reflect the achievements, dreams, and anxieties of those who inhabit them, as well as those of their developers and designers.

Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

From Chinese philosophical perspectives on copying to twenty-first century market forces, Bosker details the factors giving rise to China’s new breed of building. Her analysis draws on insights from the world’s leading architects, critics and city planners, and on interviews with the residents of these developments.A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.

Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Dimension: 235 x 185mm
Language: English
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3606-1

Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press
Courtesy of University of Hawaii Press

Cite: Hernandez, Diego. "Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China / Bianca Bosker" 31 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=305970>

1 comment

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    nice book but theres a free one on google books called shanghai new towns by Harry den Hartog, same theme but more critical thinking. I don’t think they are “thriving communities where Chinese families raise children, cook dinners, and simulate the experiences of a pseudo-Orange County or Oxford” though. If you’ve been to anting(german town) or Themes town you know they are pretty quiet. people just go there to get wedding photos!

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