Archinect

Delirious Shanghai

Thoughts on China 2010-2013

  • Shanghai de Lux

    I was recently invited to write a piece for the AA's "colour research cluster," Saturated Space - "a forum for the sharing, exploration, and celebration of colour in Architecture."

    For my essay, I took on nocturnal lighting in Shanghai.

    "In Shanghai, light and colour give designers, planners, and policy makers the freedom to present an idealized image of their buildings, their city. Dynamic, animated lights dance through the haze, but hidden by darkness, massive fissures split the sidewalks, the water is undrinkable, and the air is toxic.  While the idealized image the city seeks to project is one of uncontested modernity, conditions on the ground (in the harsh light of day) deny this. Architectural lighting is thus instrumental – even essential - in the projection of modernity, and represents a key aspect of Chinese society’s reclamation of agency following a long period of oppression and turmoil...."

    Read more at Saturated Space: Shanghai de Lux. Or download the PDF (click "share" then "download").


  • Bootleg Aesthetics

    Tagged china, dvd, bootleg, art

    Life goes on in Shanghai, and I remain so far unaffected by unprecedented PM2.5 pollution levels, the 16,000 dead pigs in the river, or the escalating H7N9 pandemic.  To distract myself from these various apocalyptic scenarios, I've been maintaining a tumblr blog of scanned DVD covers from...


  • 业余建筑:一种新的(建筑)方言

    Thanks to the efforts of my friend, former classmate, and occasional colleague Zhiguo Chen, I've been published in Chinese! Chen translated my essay "Wang Shu: A New Vernacular?" (Originally published on Archinect and mirrored on my website) and worked to get it published in an issue of "The...


  • Wang Shu/Amateur Architecture

      Congratulations to Wang Shu/Amateur Architecture, recipients of the (just-announced) 2012 Pritzker Prize....  I've been working on an essay on his/their work, but it still needs a few more edits- meanwhile, here are a few photos, and my brief essay on the Ningbo Historic Museum...


  • SZ-HK Biennale

    Not much to say at this point, other than that the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Architecture Biennale was well worth the trip. It's nowhere near the scale of say, Venice, but the quality of the work is right up there (indeed, many of the same firms participating, and a lot of overlap in the curatorial...


  • Ruins of an Alternate Future (Jinhua Architecture Park)

    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...


  • CNY

    That's all. Happy Year of the Dragon from Shanghai.


  • Guangzhou: Diverse-City

    [In December, I helped lead a tour of Architecture students through eastern China. The following posts will be my brief impressions of the cities we visited. Today: Guangzhou.] [Shamian Island] Guangzhou, perhaps more than any other city, represents the diversity of urban form present in...


  • Kaiping Tower Houses

      [In December, I helped lead a tour of Architecture students through eastern China. The following few posts will be my brief impressions of the cities we visited. Today: Kaiping.] I don’t have a lot to say about the Kaiping Dialou tower houses: my knowledge is limited to what...


  • Miracle City

    [In December, I helped lead a tour of Architecture students through eastern China. The following few posts will be my brief impressions of the cities we visited. Today: Shenzhen.] Shenzhen’s short history is well known: In the accepted mythology, China’s Economic Miracle began here...


  • City of Dreams

    Tagged macau, china, ksa, osu

    City of Dreams [Note: Over the past two weeks, I helped lead a tour of Ohio State University architecture students and alumni on a tour up the East China coast, from Hong Kong, to Shanghai, and inland to Beijing. The following few posts will be my brief impressions of the cities we...

    Unrelated, aside from the post-colonial subtext...



  • City of Malls

    [Note: Over the past two weeks, I helped lead a tour of Ohio State University architecture students and alumni on a tour up the East China coast, from Hong Kong, to Shanghai, and inland to Beijing. The following few posts will be my brief impressions of the cities we visited…. First up...


  • 12 Cities / 16 Days.

    Tagged china, tour, osu

    (note: this is cross-posted to evanchakroff.com) As mentioned earlier, most of my free time recently has been devoted to the planning of a two-week architecture tour along the east China coast (and up to Beijing). What started as a Facebook-status "wouldn't-it-be-nice" has turned into a...

    China. Two Years in 3 Minutes.



  • Place-holder: Ningbo Historic Museum

    architect: Wang Shu, Amateur Architecture Studio, 2009 photos by the author.   A few months ago, I took a weekend trip from Shanghai down to Ningbo. The recently completed Hangzhou Bay Bridge (briefly the longest on earth, before it was surpassed by another, elsewhere in China) cuts the...


  • Voyage to the Orient!

    CHINA ARCHITECTURE TOUR: December 6 - 22, 2011 two week whirlwind tour of traditional, colonial, and contemporary architecture in China! (Sorry to post this - essentially an ad - here, but I see no better way to drum up interest and get more people involved...) This coming December I will be...


  • Delirious Shanghai

    So, now that Archinect's got a new blog infrastructure, I feel obligated to share some observations on my life and work post-graduation (See previous entries for half-assed observations on life at the KSA). Long story short, in 2009 I moved to Rome. In 2010 I moved to Shanghai. It's a fascinating...


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reflections on architecture and urbanism in China.

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