Dongguan: The Latest Architecture and News
White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World
Not every piece of architecture can be an economic and social success. But there is one dreaded term reserved for only the mot wasteful of projects: "white elephants." The term comes from a story of the kings of Siam, now Thailand, who would reportedly gift sacred albino elephants to courtiers they didn't like. Refusing the gift from the king would have been unacceptable, but being sacred, these animals were forbidden from work, leading the courtier to financial ruin—a fact the kings knew all too well.
Of course, in architecture the term "white elephant" is used frequently to disparage certain projects, and whether a project is deserving of such infamy is usually a matter of perspective. Often eyesores or reminders of poorly spent funds, these projects refuse to be forgotten despite few wanting to remember them. Dotted around the world and across history, they all have the same thing in common: although they may (or may not) have once looked good on paper, they probably should have just stayed on paper.
John McAslan + Partners has been selected to design a Botanical Gardens and Research Center in Dongguan, China. The scheme features a large gridshell biodome which engages with landscaped mounds both inside and outside the structure. Around the base of the roof structure, a ribbon of glass will provide views which connect these interior and exterior landscapes.
Read on for more detail on the design