Exhibition: Unmade in China

Background

No Comments


Share this post

Although China is known for its incredible building production, with ‘a Chicago of skyscrapers’ being realized every year, a lot of architectural proposals never leave the drawing board or the model room. The Shanghai office of Cannon Design decided to dedicate an exhibition to this phenomena and dubbed it ‘Unmade in China‘. They selected ten Western offices to show their – unmade – work in the exhibition, and combined each project with interviews with the architect discussing the question why the projects were not realized. They asked us to write a prologue for the exhibition catalog.

The exhibition runs from 20 April to 20 June, 2012

Team:

Curators: Michael Tunkey, Lukasz Kos, Henrick Borjesson
Interviews: Lukasz Kos
Exhibition Design: Cannon Design
Graphic Design: Yasuo Kishibe
Prologue: Daan Roggeveen
Text editing: Martin Mevius
Communications: Hu Huifang (Cannon), Clarisse Stulp (The Attention Company)

Read more

Unmade in China – Introduction

Project

No Comments


Share this post

Because the density of pure ice is about 920 kg/m³, and that of sea water about 1025 kg/m³, typically only one-ninth of the volume of an iceberg is above water. The shape of the underwater portion can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface.

From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, lemmaIceberg

Read more

Interview with Business News Radio, Omroep Flevoland

Project

No Comments


Share this post

Last week, we had a studio interview on Business News Radio, one of the leading news stations in the Netherlands, about our plan to change the Dutch province Flevoland into a new metropolitan area, using Chinese models for urbanisation.

You can listen to the whole interview below (note: it’s in Dutch!)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A few days later, Omroep Flevoland made a special about our proposal for a Special Economic Zone in the Flevopolder.

Read more

Reis langs China’s onbekende megasteden

Project

No Comments


Share this post

Op vrijdag 13 april 2012 presenteren journalist Michiel Hulshof en architect Daan Roggeveen in de Amsterdamse Stadsschouwburg hun boek De Stad Die Naar Meneer Sun Verhuisde, dat wegens internationaal succes nu ook in het Nederlands wordt uitgegeven bij uitgeverij SUN.

Drie jaar lang reisden Hulshof en Roggeveen door het binnenland van China. Ze bezochten steden met miljoenen inwoners waarvan de meeste mensen nog nooit hebben gehoord. Ze ontmoetten bouwvakkers die de grootste stad op aarde bouwen, en eenvoudige maïsboeren die hun eigen boerderijen afbreken en vervangen door moderne appartementencomplexen. Ze gingen op de thee bij een miljonair in zijn splinternieuwe Italiaanse villa, bezochten een eeuwenoude stad die eruit ziet alsof hij zojuist is gebombardeerd en liepen rond in een splinternieuw stadcentrum zonder bewoners. Ook spraken ze met talloze hoge overheidsofficials die opvallend openhartig waren over de donkere kanten van het Chinese succes.

Read more

“Lessons from China” in Amsterdam

Project

No Comments


Share this post

In a special edition of WorldTalks, the weekly Urban Mixer for the internationally minded community of Amsterdam, we will present the Dutch edition of our book.
Together with NEXT Architects, an office with extensive experience in China, we will give short, provoking presentations about the lessons that Europe can learn from China’s rise. And we will talk about our plan to turn the Dutch province of Flevoland into a Chinese-style Special Economic Zone…

Friday 13 April | 18:00 | Café Cox | Marnixstraat 429 | Amsterdam | Free entrance | More information

Read more

“China’s New Megacities” in Antwerp

Project

No Comments


Share this post

‘China’s New Megacities’ is a varied program about China’s emerging cities, in which we will give presentations about the world’s fastest developing region. Moreover, we will present the Dutch edition of our book titled De stad die naar meneer Sun verhuisde. Joining us is China-expert and author Jeanne Boden. The program is organized in close co-operation with Flemish-Dutch House deBuren and the Flemish Architecture Institute.

Thursday 29 March | 20:00 | deSingel | Desguinlei 25, Antwerpen | Free entrance | More information and registration.

Read more

“Making City” in Rotterdam and Almere

Project

No Comments


Share this post

During the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Go West will present a futuristic plan that turns the Dutch province Flevoland into a Chinese-style Special Economic Zone. Drawing on our research in Shenzhen, we show the possibilities and chances that a free-trade zone could bring to Europe in terms of economic growth and employment. During the Biennale, this plan will be shown in Rotterdam and Almere in conjunction with other plans to create jobs in Flevoland by MVRDV and Zandbelt&vandenBerg.

April 20th – August 20th | IABR | Rotterdam, Almere

Read more

How the City Moved to…

Background

No Comments


Share this post

Favela, Rio de Janeiro, photo Neville Mars

The New York Times featured an article about the Rio Olympics today, that looks amazingly recognizable: just replace the name ‘Rio’ for ‘Beijing’, and change ‘favela‘ for ‘hutong‘ and you have the story about what happened downtown Beijing between 2002 and 2008:

“The authorities think progress is demolishing our community just so they can host the Olympics for a few weeks,” said Cenira dos Santos, 44, who owns a home in the settlement, which is known as Vila Autódromo. “But we’ve shocked them by resisting.”

For many Brazilians, holding the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics on Brazilian soil is the ultimate expression of the nation’s elevation on the world stage, and the events are perfect symbols of its newfound economic prowess and international standing.

Sports and evictions is a popular combination: the same happened in South Africa two years ago when people from Townships in Capetown were removed to the ‘relocation area’ of Blikkies Dorp (literally: Tin can Town). The Guardian about this ‘relocation area’:

“It’s a dumping place,” said Jane Roberts, who lives in the sparsely furnished structure known as M49. “They took people from the streets because they don’t want them in the city for the World Cup. Now we are living in a concentration camp.” (..)

Campaigners argue that this bleak place in Delft township shows that Africa’s first World Cup has become a tool to impress wealthy foreigners at the expense of its own impoverished people. Residents say it is worse than the townships created by the white minority government before the end of racial apartheid in 1994.

The same sort of phenomena seems to take place in Rio now:

“These events were supposed to celebrate Brazil’s accomplishments, but the opposite is happening,” said Christopher Gaffney, a professor at Rio’s Fluminense Federal University. “We’re seeing an insidious pattern of trampling on the rights of the poor and cost overruns that are a nightmare.”

Estimations are that in Brazil, 170,000 people face evictions. And the way these evictions take place, are also remarkably recognizable..:

In São José dos Campos, an industrial city, a violent eviction in January of more than 6,000 people captured the nation’s attention when security forces stormed in, clashing with squatters armed with wooden clubs.

Although there are similarities between these huge sports events that are used as a legitimation to remove large residential ares, there are also differences between the examples of Rio and Beijing:

Meanwhile, residents in some of the favelas, or slums, who face eviction are pulling together and standing their ground, in stark contrast to the preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where authorities easily removed hundreds of thousands of families from the city for the Games.

Favela residents are using handheld video cameras and social media to get their messages across. And they are sometimes getting a helping hand from Brazil’s vibrant and crusading news media, arguably the envy of other Latin American countries.

Four more years till the Olympic Torch will be carried into the stadium. To be continued..

Read more

Adam N. Mayer: An Architect’s Guide to Working in China

Background, Chengdu

No Comments


Share this post

Last June we met the American architect Adam Mayer in the city of Chengdu. Adam was educated at USC LA and worked for two years as an architect in Chengdu. Apart from producing architecture in the fastest urbanizing region in the world, Adam also writes on his blog China Urban Development. He reflects in an interesting and profound way on the current spatial developments in China. The piece below is his most recent writing, and we’re very happy to be publishing it as well. Hopefully many more to come..

A few months ago I read a piece from Bloomberg discussing Frank Gehry’s decision to ‘turn to Asia for architecture projects as U.S. growth slows.’ In terms of big name architects from the U.S. and Europe turning to Asia for work, Gehry is late to the party. Nevertheless, it is a very telling sign that Gehry, someone who in the past could be highly selective of his clients, is looking to Asia to keep his office busy.

In the Bloomberg article, Gehry is candid about his desire to work domestically in the U.S. yet lacking the opportunity due to the depressed economic situation. As if another reminder is needed about the sorry state of the industry, Salon published a piece about the dire outlook for the profession last month titled ‘The Architecture Meltdown‘.

So aside from returning to graduate school, designing furniture or leaving the profession completely, most architects in the U.S. and other Western nations have limited options, therefore turning to emerging markets where there is work happening. China is by far the largest of these emerging markets for new buildings.

Read more

Start spreading the news..

Background, Chongqing, Hohhot, Xi'an

No Comments


Share this post

Recently, Oriental Outlook, a Chinese news weekly, published excerpts from three chapters of our book: on Mr Deng in his floating village in Chongqing, on the residential compound in Xi’an, and on ethnic culture in Hohhot. Several Chinese news portals spread the stories. An excerpt of our story on Xi’an was published on amongst others Sohu, one of the biggest news portals in China, 565, a popular BBS on international news; and on the news portals dooland and FGS. News portal JSBBS published an excerpt of our chapter on Hohhot.

Read more

Allmetropolis, the booklet

Project

No Comments


Share this post

After the exhibition in the Shenzhen Biennale 2011, we recently published a booklet containing our proposal for a Special Economic Zone in Europe, called Allmetropolis – een Speciale Economische Zone in de Flevopolder. The publication, which so far only is available in Dutch, deals with the narratives of both the Shenzhen SEZ and the Flevopolder. Although both areas have a similar background, they developed in a total different way. Where Shenzhen turned into the ultimate business city, the Flevopolder became the suburban residential dream. What would happen when you would superimpose the concept of the SEZ on the Flevopolder? Contact us if you’re interested in the publication.

Read more

Special Artistic Zone in Asia Literary Review

Background

No Comments


Share this post

Over the past year, we developed the concept of the SAZ, the Special Academic and Art Zone: a concept for the development of cultural life in emerging Chinese megacities. We launched the concept last year in the Global Times, spent time thinking and writing about it and tested it in the Chengdu Biennale last October. We also wrote an essay about it, which is recently published in the winter 2011 issue of Asia Literary Review. You can find an introduction to the essay here:

THE MAKING of ideas follows the same logic as that of laws and sausages: ‘Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion to our knowledge of how they are made’, according to the nineteenth-century American poet John Godfrey Saxe. And contrary to the common notion of a sudden, bright insight, an idea tends to grow gradually, nurtured by reflection and discussion, improved after opposition and setbacks.

Seen in this light it is difficult to reconstruct how the idea for a Special Academic and Art Zone emerged, but I like to think it began on a sunny morning while I was riding my bike to our office in Shanghai. Traffic was chaotic as usual and demanded my constant attention, but my mind kept drifting off. For weeks, one question had been bothering me: would Chinese cities ever become thriving, mind-blowing, cultural hotspots, true metropolises that attract not merely businessmen but artists, entrepreneurs, writers, actors and intellectuals from all over the world?

In 2009 architect Daan Roggeveen and I began the Go West Project, a think tank tracking the development of megacities in China’s hinterland. We travelled to sixteen megacities including Wuhan, Chongqing, Shijiazhuang and Guiyang – fast-growing urban agglomerations with millions of people and impressive skylines comparable to those of London, Hong Kong or Sao Paolo. We were finishing our book, How the City Moved to Mr Sun, which would show the results of our work, and we needed to draw conclusions about everything we had seen.

As I was cycling, I structured my thoughts. All the Chinese cities we had visited seemed prepared for the future: they had promising new business districts, gleaming new airports and endless new residential districts. They were interconnected with high-speed bullet trains that made the American and European railway systems seem like children’s toys from another, bygone age. Judging from their infrastructure and physical appearance, most Chinese megalopolises resembled the world’s biggest, tallest and most modern cities; however, in other aspects of urban life we found Chinese cities lagging behind culturally and intellectually, despite their immense populations.

We were sure this had to change. ‘It’s inevitable that Chinese cities will enter a new phase,’ Daan said. ‘At some moment, their focus will have to shift from physical growth to non-physical growth, from hardware to software.’

Read more

Millionairs in Little Venice in Volume #30: Privatize!

Changsha, Project

No Comments


Share this post

The newest issue of Volume has an excerpt of on of the chapters of our book: about the millionaires on the artificial island ‘Little Venice’ in Changsha. The issue, which deals with the privatization of our cities, is out now. More on the theme here:

What used to be collective care is rapidly becoming private responsibility. At least in the West. Is privatization the one fits all solution to every (financial) problem? Can addressing collective needs be thought of as the sum total of numerous private initiatives? And will the ‘retreat’ of government and state be compensated by other ways to organize the complex organism called society?

Read more

World Wide Book

Project

No Comments


Share this post

You can now buy our book worldwide in the bookstores listed below.
And of course you can buy the book online.

ASIA
Singapore: Basheer Graphic Books

Hong Kong: China Publishers Services

Beijing, CN: Timezone 8
Shanghai, CN: Garden Books
Shenzhen, CN: Stage

Read more

Allmetropolis at Shenzhen Biennale 2011

Project

No Comments


Share this post

Last week, our new exhibition Allmetropolis opened in the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism & Architecture. The show, which is located in venue B10 in OCT Loft, shows a comparison of the urban areas of Shenzhen and Flevoland, the largest mainmade island in the world. The main argument of the project: what would happen if we turn Flevoland into a Special Economic Zone?
To be continued…

Team:
Concept & Research: Michiel Hulshof & Daan Roggeveen
Research assistance: Xia Yixuan
Translation: Song Xinlin, Amanda Wan
Concept graphic design: Job, Joris & Marieke

Read more