Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Word or Two about Architecture

Shanghai has some incredible architecture. Many, many competing styles crowd the skyline and lower elevations. From modern glass and steel to ancient warrens consisting of limestone two-storey houses with dormers. It's a bit of an assault on the eye, and the sensibilities. One unique feature of many buildings is a modern skyscraper with some oddball item stuck on the top

A great place to start is the Bund. This is the colonial waterfront, and all the buildings along it were built in turn of the century Victorian style. These are the original office buildings, banks and customs houses of Britain and the other Sphere of Influence nations. Lots of Opium was traded through here on its way from India. In this shot you see a bit of the contrast - limestone tradition contrasting with the building known as "The Pineapple." Guess why?





This is the well known Pearl of the Orient Tower on the Pudong waterfront. Twin earths on the bottom, one at the base and two more up the spire. Even I cannot decipher the true meaning behind this design. If anyone finds one, please let me know










Are we missing a Space Shuttle? If so, it might be found at the end of Nanjingdonglu






I included this shot to provide a bit of insight into standard construction methods. The scaffolding is bamboo - 10s of storeys up into the skyline. Steel - who needs it? Need more bracing, grow some. Most of the skyscrapers under construction here are framed in Bamboo. I know a Russell who would be a Bamboo Tycoon if he only lived 6500 miles to the west.







This line-up evokes the idea of several giant chess pieces towering over the city. R-B7, RxQ, Checkmate.



Found this beauty down by the Counterfeits Market. It appeared old, and I'm sure it was a Russian Orthodox church at one time. Checking for signs, we discovered it was now a combination disco-restaurant.















This beauty exemplifies the finest in Russian Bureaucratic style. Note the corrugated steel pagoda that seamlessly melds the cold Eastern European efficiency of pressed concrete with the sensuous mysteries of the Orient

In this example students, we get the cross between the Plains Indian Aesthetic and late Neo-Swiss industrial post modern zeitgeist. Or maybe not.




And finally, after more than 50 years we now know where the spaceship that carried Michael Rennie away from Earth went when it left Washington - the Hongqiao Business District.

















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