Originally published on the author’s website and blog on Archinect, ‘Ruins of an Alternate Future (Jinhua Architecture Park)’ was written by Shanghai-based architectural designer and theorist Evan Chakroff.
One of the great, if seldom realized, promises of architecture is its capacity to affect change. The best architects seem to have this potential in mind constantly as they structure career-length narratives around the social impact that good design can achieve. While this is often hyperbole, and most projects are driven by functional or economic considerations, there is the occasional opportunity for artists and architects to create purely speculative work, where radical departures from established typologies suggest alternatives to the status quo. In these rare cases, novelty is embraced not for its own sake, but for its potential to generate new archetypes, to provide a glimpse into a parallel world where architecture truly has agency: where design can change society for the better.
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Architect: Johan De Wachter Architects
Location: Jinhua City, China
Client: Government of Jindong New District, Jinhua City
Organizer: Ai Weiwei, Herzog&DeMeuron
Principal Designer/s: Johan De Wachter
Design Team: Pei Liu
Collaboration: Fundc, ABT Velp
Site Area: 1500 sqm
Project Area: 600 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Iwan Baan, Philip Fung, Johan De Wachter