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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
RIBAworld (frustratingly still only available to architects - why can't this excellent email newsletter become a weblog?) puts together some links and statistics on the Chinese city of Chongqing, which holds the happy title 'fastest-growing urban centre on the planet.' Apparently some half a million people arrive each year, as the shift from rural to urban continues to transform China. RIBAworld quotes the Guardian: 'If today is typical, builders will lay 137,000 square metres of new floor space for residential blocks, shopping centres and factories. The economy will grow by 99 million yuan (7m). There will be 568 deaths, 813 births and the arrival of 1,370 people from the countryside...' Check the (relatively low-res) Google Earth location: 2934'12.00"N, 10634'48.00"E - the city centre takes up the beak-shaped spur of land between the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers,in the midst of a dramatic, striated landscape of vast fault lines. It's also at the head of the vast new 600km long lake created by the Three Gorges Dam project, and the refugees from the flooded land have helped swell the city's population (Edward Burtynsky's images are still the best overview of the impact of the dam). See also the Chongqing Flickr set.

Linked before, but worth revisiting - incredible technical illustration of a cruise liner, the 'Empress of the Seas'. See also the image of the 'Brilliance of the Seas'. Don't cruise liners have wonderful names? These pictures conjure up Sims-like imagery, implying interactions and connections that, in reality probably never happen. David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (review) put the kibosh on the cruise industry's fun-time image, one that has been subsequently eroded by malfunctioning mega-ships, mutinous passengers and violent crew, pirates and sickness. Foster Wallace travelled on the m.v. Zenith, which doesn't look particularly impressive or overwhelming, especially when compared to ResidenSea, which will potentially spawn volume after volume of footnote-laden essays.

Other things. Archinect has an excellent in-depth interview with the photographer David Maisel, whose colour-saturated images of parched, soaked and spoiled lands are masterfully painterly, beautiful yet also extremely depressing / London Underground Geographic Maps (via haddock) / the art of the automobile. Related, page one of our wing mirror project is now complete, having taken ten years or so / a homage to Mies' Crown Hall at Coudal. Like all Mr van der Rohe's structures, Crown Hall is somewhat totemic, a perfect, unblemished object that embodies a high-minded principle (in this case the 'philosophy of a universal space building', with long structural spans allowing vast open floorplans). The fixed, immutable object fell out of fashion for a time, but has returned without the emphasis on technology (Mies' favoured glass and steel), and more on sense of place and materials / also via cp, Pre-pixelated clothes for Reality TV shows / the Cuboro marble toy, via Kevin Kelly.