Archinect - Big Character Poster 2023-06-04T02:40:07-04:00 Update andreas viglakis 2011-09-26T21:07:57-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> Hey all,</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I thought I would take the re-launch of the blogging platform to re-launch this space.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I spent the summer working for an office in Hong Kong, and decided to take a bit of time off from the GSD, and stay on for an as yet undetermined amount of time. Obviously, I liked the work and the city, but it also seemed like a good opportunity to get some more work experience before returning to and then graduating from the GSD, whenever that may be. It wasn't an easy decision, but I am pretty sure it was the right one.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As to my plans for this space, it will sort of depend. Unfortunately, I can't really post much about work since a lot of the work is confidential, but I am researching for my eventual thesis, and will use this space as something of a clearinghouse for any thinking and work generated during that process. Hopefully, using this platform as a part of my research will keep me honest on both. Depending on how long I end up staying here, I would also like t...</p> Generic City/Country andreas viglakis 2011-04-23T12:05:11-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:20-04:00 <a href="" target="_blank">Malls Across America</a><br><br><br><br><br><br> Beijing Studio Trip // Day One: Hutong, Wheretong, Whytong andreas viglakis 2011-03-28T03:14:57-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>The second half of our first day in Beijing was spent touring several of Beijing's hutong neighborhoods. For those that don't know, the hutong is one of the traditional forms of courtyard housing in China. I do not know how widespread the type is, Shanghai for example has its own variation, but it is certainly all over Beijing's center.<br><br> As is surely the case every time a historic housing stock is threatened by new development, defenders spring up to defend the structures and the way of life they house. In response, others, accusing the defenders of excessive nostalgia, argue that new development is good because the old structures are over-crowded, lack proper sanitation and provide a quality of life approximate to the date of their construction.<br><br> Beijing has not been spared this debate. Intellectually, I side with the latter, but emotionally (particularly after seeing the quality and peripheral location of new development), it becomes hard not to side with the former. As is always ...</p> Beijing Studio Trip // Day One: Adaptive Re-use andreas viglakis 2011-03-21T02:55:46-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:20-04:00 <p>Hey all,<br><br> This is a continuation of my considerable more negative post from <a href="" target="_blank">yesterday</a>. <br><br> Olympic host cities always struggle to find creative and profitable ways to re-use the many stadiums, arenas and complexes built for the games. The real test for a host city starts once the events have ended and the number of people willing to pay money to visit the buildings dries up. Some cities like Athens, handle this challenge <a href="" target="_blank">poorly</a>, while some, like London for 2012, have placed it at the center of the planning efforts. I suspect Beijing falls somewhere in the middle. Clearly, they were not going to value engineer out the grandeur of their big coming out party, like I would argue London has done with the design of its main <a href="" target="_blank">stadium</a>, but, as I found out, they are not just shuttering these places like the Greeks either.<br><br><br> First, the National Stadium. The only images I had of the space were the bombast of the opening ceremonies from TV and the busy monotony of the qualifying track and field eve...</p> Beijing Studio Trip // Day One: Beijing Welcomes You andreas viglakis 2011-03-20T03:12:19-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>Hey all,<br><br> This is the first of a number of posts about my studio trip to Beijing at the end of February. Some will go more in depth about our project and what we did and saw, and others will be more of the "crazy things I saw in China" variety. There are a lot in that second category.<br><br> This first one is a little of both. Our first two full days in China were spent in Beijing seeing the sights, or at least the kind of sites designers go and see when they are in Beijing. Our first afternoon was spent on the grounds of the Olympic Stadium. I was lucky enough to be in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, so I had been to the site before. However, between the cold weather, pollution, relative lack of people and two years of neglect, it felt a little different this time around.<br><br><img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> The site was eerie and dystopian. I kept telling people that, if in 10 years the country has collapsed, someone will use these buildings as a metaphor in the introduction to a book detailing China's fall. Dirty windows,...</p> Dharavi and Beijing andreas viglakis 2011-01-30T00:58:25-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> The GSD and Harvard's South Asia Initiative kicked off a program of lectures and panels organized around the common theme of South Asian Urbanization Thursday with a screening and panel discussion of the documentary film <i>Dharavi, Slum for Sale</i>.<br><br> The film explores many of the issues that surround informal settlements by following the efforts to develop the Dharavi slum in Mumbai. The mixed-use plan envisioned by the American trained Indian Architect Mukesh Mehta (who, it was sneered, used to design luxury homes on Long Island before moving back to India) distinguished itself by providing the slum's population with housing and a place to work, free of charge, alongside new presumably wealthier commercial and residential populations. This is, of course, also the downfall of the plan, as it becomes clear that this is neither spatially or financially feasible. Mehta's heart is in the right place, but his plan would likely have ended up removing the slum population.<br><br> In any case, what I... Guangdopolis andreas viglakis 2011-01-30T00:13:13-05:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:19-04:00 <img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br><br> It turned out to be too good to be true. It seems as if China is <a href="" target="_blank">not planning</a> on merging a number of cities in Guangdong Province into a single "city" of 42 million after all. I'm not sure why the "Turn the Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme was originally <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> as fact, but I am not sad to see the news, as the idea struck me as rather silly. <br><br> If, as it was reported, the idea behind this scheme was to allow residents of this new city (I like "Guangdopolis") to "use the health care and other facilities in the different areas" and to distribute "public services...more fairly," local governments would be better served by reforming the crazy way such services are delivered to people, not shifting the administrative boundaries to work within the current system. The problem facing local governments is not one of small underpopulated cities, surely, but a system that makes it extremely difficult for the average Chinese to get services outside of their official city of residence.<br><br> Als... Back andreas viglakis 2011-01-26T21:49:34-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> Hello Archinect!<br><br> First, an apology. It has been 2 long months since my last post. Despite strident statements about how I was going to post every day when I started, I should have realized that studio crunch time was going to get in the way. Perhaps I should have waited until the new semester to start the blogging. Mea culpa.<br><br> After a break full of sleeping, eating, shoveling snow and then three days of lottery anxiety last week, we are back, sorted, and seated as of Monday. I am pretty excited. Between my first choice in studio, more and better electives, and what seems to be a better lecture series, this semester is looking good.<br><br> I am particularly excited because I have been able to give the semester a real focus. My studio is in Beijing, I am taking Peter Rowe's seminar on modern Chinese architecture and urbanism and I am planning on cross-registering for a MIT seminar dealing with Asian cities in a more thematic manner. I came to Harvard to study this subject, and I am lucky... Goodbye Shanghai andreas viglakis 2010-11-24T13:17:33-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> Synopsis: "While embezzling $14 billion from a Chinese bank for the US government, two Western bankers grab $15 million in cash for themselves. They store it in an upright bass case and wander the streets of Shanghai, waiting for their morning departure. When the more experienced of the two insists they spend their last night partying in a local club, the night takes a wild turn. Goodbye Shanghai explores the negative effects of Western imperialism on modern Chinese culture."<br><br> Not sure how well or deep it goes in its exploration these negative effects, but the (short) film has a nice aesthetic and good music. Incidentally, I recall Bank of America selling its stake in China Construction Bank, but I am not sure to what extent the events in this film are, or could have been, a "true" story. I am also not sure if the average Chinese was as elated about the news as the man in the opening scene. Anyway, it makes me miss Shanghai, if nothing else.<br><br> Desk Crit Porn andreas viglakis 2010-11-23T16:48:22-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>[storyboard]<br><br><img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br><br> [urban design!]<br><br><img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br><br></p> 1+1=3 andreas viglakis 2010-11-23T01:42:58-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> The Museum of Fine Arts' (MFA) new Arts of Americas wing opened last weekend, and I was lucky enough to spend last Friday morning previewing the extension before it opened to the public. I received the invitation because I spent a day, about a nine months ago, helping them test the handheld interactive audio/video guide they were developing for the new wing. I wish it was exclusive as all that might sound, but it was actually pretty packed. I had to wait in line. No red carpet for me.<br><br><img src="" alt="image" name="image"><br><br> [my way in.]<br><br><br> The major challenge of a project like this is to create a new identity for an institution without eclipsing its past. This is certainly easier said than done, especially with an old institution in an even older hidebound and traditional city like Boston. I went into this visit expecting to be sort of bored by the muted confidence and competence I have come to expect from Foster+Partners, but I was happy to find that the extension managed to both fit in with and, more importantly, take ... Hello Archinect andreas viglakis 2010-11-19T21:43:29-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>Hey all, I thought I'd introduce myself and talk a little about my plans for the blog.<br><br> So my name is Andreas. I grew up in the Boston area, and am approaching the end of my first semester at the GSD's Urban Design program. I have an M.Arch from Washington University in Saint Louis and before that studied American History as an undergraduate at Boston University. I've worked a little in Shanghai and Brooklyn.<br><br> Obviously, a school blog is going to deal primarily with the goings on of my time here, but it will also be a way to work out my own ideas on the topics I care about, ideally in coordination with classwork. I am in an urban design program so this is likely to mean a general slant towards cities, rather than buildings, but really, I suppose the fun of these things is not knowing where they are going at the outset. I'll try to post for real sometime this weekend.</p>