Have you ever considered working abroad in China? The thought may be daunting, but there are plenty of reasons why you should take that thought and turn it into a reality. Originally published on Arch-Shortcuts, here are five reasons to take the leap -- as written by Arch-Shortcuts founder Chen Tang, an architect currently working in Hong Kong.
1. Bigger Projects
Forget about doing houses and deck extensions! Projects in China consist mainly of large schemes and developments – a small/medium sized project in China would be considered a significant project in other countries. You will be more focused on the overall image and conceptual design as opposed to intricate details – due to the short timelines of a project, which leads to our next point.
We had the chance to sit down with Pedro Alonso, one of the curators of the Chilean pavilion “Monolith Controversies,” at the 2014 Venice Biennale, to learn more about the concept and inspiration behind the Silver Lion-winning pavilion. “We were interested in demonstrating that architects didn’t absorb modernity, but rather, they supplied it. The ones who absorbed it were the workers and the people,” Alonso told us, outside of a replica of a Chilean apartment – the entrance to the Pavilion. “The absorption of modernity has to do with the pieces we are exhibiting. For example, this apartment, the apartment of Mrs. Silvia Gutiérrez in Viña del Mar, which is an exact replica – object by object- of the 518 things that make up her living room.”
In Bahrain's pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale, the country uses its position on the eastern edge of the pan-Arabic region to investigate modernity's impact on the Arab world: first as a colonial imposition, then as a local attempt to reconcile global and Arabic culture, then finally as an acceptance of neoliberal ideals.
The exhibition collects 100 projects from across the Arabic states, with the intention of consolidating and preserving knowledge of this critical period. The installation itself, a giant bookcase, is the manifestation of this research, and will later be made available at the Arab Center for Architecture.
Japanese firm Kotaro Horiuchi Architecture's "Fusionner 1.0" was on display this past March at the White Gallery Cube in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The installation consisted of two horizontal floating membranes stretched across a simple rectilinear room, dividing the space vertically into three sections.
The following article, written by Jacob Dreyer and originally published in The Calvert Journal as "Maximum city: the vast urban planning projects of Soviet-era Russia are being reborn in modern China," analyzes a fascinating phenomenon: the exportation of Soviet urbanism — or rather Stalinist urbanism — shaping Chinese cities today.
As I cycled to work on 20 May this year, the Yan’an Expressway — Shanghai’s crosstown artery, named after the utopian socialist city that was Mao Zedong's 1940s stronghold — was eerily silent, cordoned off for a visit by President Vladimir Putin. We discovered the next day that the upshot of his visit was the signing a $400bn contract with China for the export of gas and petroleum. As President Barack Obama had once promised he would, Putin made a pivot to Asia, albeit on a slightly different axis. From Shanghai, the terms of the deal — which was immensely advantageous to China — made it seem as if Russia was voluntarily becoming a vassal-state of the People’s Republic, making a reality of both the predictions of Vladimir Sorokin’s dystopian fantasy novel Day of the Oprichnik and of Russian scare stories about Chinese immigrants flooding into Siberia.
The irony is that models of society imported from Russia during the Soviet period — as realised in popular culture, legal apparatuses and, of particular interest to the cyclist, in architecture and urban planning — are as influential as ever in China. If, as Chinese philosopher Wang Hui observed in his book The End of Revolution, Socialism was the door through which China passed on its voyage into modernity, then it was Russia that opened that door, by exporting models and expertise that laid the foundation for much of what constitutes modern China.
The much anticipatedTime Space Existence collateral event at Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale brought together a diverse group of 100 architects from six continents in an "extraordinary combination." Summoned by the Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation, the exhibitions the architects were asked to produce documents current developments and thoughts in architecture, highlighting fundamental questions by discussing the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence. Featuring well established architects next to lesser known practices, they all share a "dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession."
Led by Madhav Raman and Vaibhav Dimri, Anagram Architects is a growing studio that works in architecture, installation, urban design and material innovation. The firm is often experimental in nature, and each project is developed with a distinct, independent framework. Beyond architecture, Anagram Architects has also designed objects and installations with a strong, cohesive sense of material, detail and execution. Indian Architect & Builder’s interview with the founders, after the break…
As the Syrian civil war continues to rage, more and more Syrian citizens are emigrating across the border to refugee camps in Jordan. While these camps were intended to be temporary, the sheer number of people they support and the uncertainty of when the Syrian crisis will end has leant them a sense of permanence. This article from the New York Times takes a look at how Syrian refugees are prompting urban development and what this means for the future of refugee camp design.