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Extra-Ordinaries
:: The Good, the Ugly, the Bad ::


Mostly dating from the tumultuous last 50 years, the extra-ordinaries are treated as outmoded models or 'ugly' buildings despised by the inhabitants and the architects. Despite their outlook, one could agree that some are truly extraordinary stuctures with impressing spatial or programatic qualities.

In response to the increasing number of spectacular architectures and to the facade beauty contest that populates the city, the extra-ordinary buildings are to be treated with respect. The political and ideological agenda they represent advocated a different vision of Chinese modern society that shouldn't be wiped out by the new paradigms. They represent a kind of Chinese 'modern architecture legacy' that should be taken into account in cultural or urban debates that tends to dismiss them.

:: Under construction, coming soon ! ::

面子Mianzi
:: More is just more ::

To gain or loose face is a matter of life & death, you don't mess up with Mianzi in China! The overwhelming importance of architectural outlook has propounded representation and insignia as crucial apparatus of the built environment.

Architecture is summoned to proudly wear rejuvenating masks, makeup, mascaras, jewelry and other accessories, that we once thought were gone forever. Sur(-)facing instigated a new regime of signs where ornaments, slickness and blobness have elected the envelop as the ultimate ambition of a building.

The trend is not exclusively Chinese nor is it new, but it supposes that Chinese architects are compelled to concentrate on the showing (off) instead of the being. Architecture is under pressure, will we loose or gain faith ?

:: Under construction, coming soon ! ::

VIParadise
:: The many many happy few ::

Everyone wants to be a superstar ! Everybody wants to be treated as a Laoban (老板 / boss) who gets the right to drive a tinted-glass black car with a fancy horn and flashlights forcing the other drivers to "make place". Deng Xiaoping's motto "some people will get rich before others" has exacerbated individualist behaviors and widened the classes gap. Individualism is now reaching a completely new level of exclusivity : VIPism is on the rise.

In China, spaces are being chopped between the happy few and the very many others. Night clubs are split between 1/3 of dance floor & bar and 2/3 of VIP spaces ; in residential compounds, a guard is posted at every possible door to ensure the sorting of the wanted and unwanted ; even post-offices have a special cubicle for VIP clients. The "building of a harmonious society", relentlessly advertised and yet never seen, is punctured by VIP hotlines, VIP cards, VIP services, VIP apartments, VIP luxury houses, etc… Any attempt to talk about public space or public services in architecture is seen as a defiance to the newly established order...

:: Under construction, coming soon ! ::

MeGaCuN
:: Building the new socialist countryside's...Megablock ::

If Megablocks have emerged as the ultimate Chinese urban evolutional tool, they might as well propose interesting solutions for countryside's development. Through a careful study of how and why such market-driven monumental projects are increasingly shaping Chinese cityscapes, the MegaCun research proposes to transfer its core concepts to the rural territories. Literally meaning the "Mega village", the MegaCun relates to broader topics of rural exodus and policies of the so-called "new socialist countryside".

:: MORE

2009 :: PDF

Chinoiseries
:: Identity crisis and other obsessions ::

The far east is the new far west ! Chinese cities are in a state of permanent schizophrenia. Eurostyle architectures and "westernized" skyscrapers,exotic products of globalization and open door policies, are up for a fight against Chinese traditionalism, post-traditionalism, regionalism and povincial-nationalism. The endless debate on "modernity with Chinese characteristic" is constantly and wrongly overheated.

History, cultural integrity and tradition have been central to any talk on architecture, the city or society and have been reused as the almighty arguments for a supposedly resistance movement. In front of the total dismantlement of the country's architectural heritage, wiped down to either rebuild fake old or fake new, architects have been literally obsessed with introspection and the creation of a built identity, resolutely modern and resolutely Chinese.

Tradition, preservation and culture are mixed up and conveniently usurped in the call for Chineseness. Although the issues at stake are indeed important, is it really necessary to focus so much energy and thinking on the so-called national identity? Rear-guard, academism and nationalism gives the whole debate about Chineseness a kind of sour taste ...

:: Under construction, coming soon ! ::

A Country's Side
:: Notes on Chinese rural development ::


China is changing, China is growing, China is fast. Skyscrapers are built overnight, cities from scratch appear in unknown places, modern Chinese metropolises are becoming primary global economical hubs. The dazzling Chinese growth is not however without consequences. The development paradigm demands sacrifices.

Environmental, cultural and human realms are increasingly put under pressure and considered as collateral issues. The metropolis glazed façades, despite their transparency, are hiding the tough situation of more than 70% of the population still living in rural areas.

The gap is growing bigger, city and countryside are constantly shifting apart. Urbanity is imposed as the only route to progress ; cities have become the ultimate models and standards of development. Rurality is endlessly perceived as backward, it is doomed to transform into urban areas, no alternative...

:: MORE::

2011 :: PDF

Branding (in) the city
:: Beyond the image ::

:: DOWNLOAD ::

2007 :: PDF

©HINA.unLTD
:: A not so short series of articles ::

:: CONTENT ::

©HINidentité
Sini-cité // Communi-cité // Hybridi-cité

Influx(ences)
Occidentalisme // Soviétisme // Traditionalisme // Retour // Asiatismes et chinoiseries // Toi...toi...mon toit // One World One Dream

Branding ©HINA
MAD(e) in China // Branding the city // Branding in the city

©HINA under construction

ADhouse

:: DOWNLOAD ::

2007 :: 180 pages PDF (sorry, french only !)

Grands et Ensemble
:: "Big and Together", reflexions on social housing ::


La planification urbaine des logements sociaux a été trop souvent synonyme de politique de zoning, provoquant l'émergence de cités dortoirs. Des quartiers « endormis » où la notion d'habiter la ville n'a été pensée que dans un contexte centre périphérie et où celle d'urbanité est ambiguë...

:: MORE::

2005 :: PDF (sorry, french only !)