While most of the construction going on there is nondescript, standardized, and sometimes even downright atrocious, the 2008 Olympics are bringing about a new image that is none more represented in the some of the new high profile buildings. With the need to show the world that
Our visit to the Olympic area was one of extreme fascination, as we had both known very long about the significance and architectural brilliance of the buildings being erected there. In fact, the birdsnest and watercube were both case studies last year for the incoming class of architecture students, as they digitally modeled and then built scale models of these buildings. A quite astounding feat in its own right. So, of course, we were giddy about getting a good look and being obsessive about pictures and such (for any of you that know architects, you know how we are). But, what surprised me the most was the interest and intensity by which the Chinese themselves were trying to get a look at these new buildings. The whole area is still under construction (it will be amazing if they are able to finish everything, but with a disposable labor force of millions of migrant workers, I have no doubt it will get done), so people were finding any crack, stack of bricks or opening that would help them get a better look. We didn’t even stand out, which I find crazy.
Maybe it’s not that crazy. The buildings within their own right are quite extraordinary. I do also sense a great amount of pride in the future of the
Clearly, the building that is going on cannot be sustained. The pollution across the entire country is unbelievable. While we there in the winter (more coal being burned to help heat), the scale of it is incredible. On the sunniest of days, visibility can be one mile. Right next to the Olympic venues is a huge coal fired power plant. I wonder if they will put total restrictions on pollutions output during the Olympic games. Apparently, the air was much cleaner during the Chinese New Year, when factories shut down and few cars were on the road.
The displacement that is taking place in