Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China = Необычайно восхитительно: архитектура и власть в Китае
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Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China = Необычайно восхитительно: архитектура и власть в Китае
Вид издания: Научно-популярная литература
Mao once called the Chinese «a blank sheet of paper», and the modernising that came with the Cultural Revolution treated cities much the same. But Mao’s destructive impulses were as nothing compared to the liberalised policies of his recent successors. China has undergone urbanisation on a scale never seen before — much of it speculative, some of it a brazen display of power. In this incisive analysis by the acclaimed Sinologist Julia Lovell, we get inside the politics of architecture and city-making in China. There is a colourful cast, from the Western starchitects rushing into the land of opportunity, to political dissidents such as Ai Weiwei, to rebellious residents singing defiantly as the bulldozers advance. In this trenchant critique of urban policy, Lovell wonders what good all this thrusting ambition will have been if the property bubble bursts.
Ловелл, Д. Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China = Необычайно восхитительно: архитектура и власть в Китае / Ловелл Д., - 3-е изд., (эл.) - Москва :Стрелка Пресс, 2017. - 45 с.: ISBN 978-5-9903364-5-2. - Текст : электронный. - URL: https://znanium.com/catalog/product/972665 (дата обращения: 23.06.2021). – Режим доступа: по подписке.
- 07.04.01: Архитектура
- 07.04.03: Дизайн архитектурной среды
- 07.04.04: Градостроительство
- 07.00.00: АРХИТЕКТУРА
- 07.03.01: Архитектура
- 07.03.03: Дизайн архитектурной среды
- 07.03.04: Градостроительство
Текстовые фрагменты публикации
ДЖУЛИЯ ЛОВЕЛЛ НЕОБЫЧАЙНО ВОСХИТИТЕЛЬНО: АРХИТЕКТУРА И ВЛАСТЬ В КИТАЕ 3-е издание (электронное) Москва «Стрелка Пресс» 2017
JULIA LOVELL SPLENDIDLY FANTASTIC: ARCHITECTURE AND POWER GAMES IN CHINA 3-rd edition (electronic) Moscow Strelka Press 2017
УДК 72 ББК 85 L94 Lovell, Julia. L94 Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China = Необычайно восхитительно: архитектура и власть в Китае [Электронный ресурс] / J. Lovell. — 3-rd ed. (el.). — Electronic text data (1 file pdf : 45 p.). — М. : Strelka Press, 2017. — System requirements: Adobe Reader XI or Adobe Digital Editions 4.5 ; screen 10". ISBN 978-5-9903364-5-2 Mao once called the Chinese «a blank sheet of paper», and the modernising that came with the Cultural Revolution treated cities much the same. But Mao’s destructive impulses were as nothing compared to the liberalised policies of his recent successors. China has undergone urbanisation on a scale never seen before — much of it speculative, some of it a brazen display of power. In this incisive analysis by the acclaimed Sinologist Julia Lovell, we get inside the politics of architecture and city-making in China. There is a colourful cast, from the Western starchitects rushing into the land of opportunity, to political dissidents such as Ai Weiwei, to rebellious residents singing defiantly as the bulldozers advance. In this trenchant critique of urban policy, Lovell wonders what good all this thrusting ambition will have been if the property bubble bursts. УДК 72 ББК 85 The source print publication: Splendidly Fantastic: Architecture and Power Games in China / J. Lovell. — Moscow : Strelka Press, 2014. — 43 p. — ISBN 978-0-9929-1466-0. ISBN 978-5-9903364-5-2 © Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, 2014
As autumn turned to winter in 2007, Beijing was transfixed by its newest landmark: the leaning twin towers of China Central Television’s half-finished headquarters. Masterminded by Rem Koolhaas for the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), the building was a startling departure from the straight-up-and-down skyscrapers that dominated the rest of the capital’s Central Business District. Koolhaas’s massive structure was to be an angular loop: a pair of asymmetrical legs (234 and 194 metres tall) linked by a crowning L-shaped tube. That November, the city was buzzing with rumours that any day now the towers — two black, diamond-patterned chopsticks tilting unsteadily towards. each other through the smog — would be joined. Enhancing the mysticism of the event, the project’s engineers (the high-priests of this architectural cult) had decreed that the connection had to be made at dawn, to ensure the equal temperature of both sides. Obsessed bloggers and amateur photographers stalked the building in both the virtual and real worlds; journalists eked out their nights at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club bar, listening for tip-offs that the dawn to come would be the dawn. When spectators weren’t generating pseudo-facts about the building — about how it was supposedly the largest building in the world (besting the Pentagon), dependent on untested engineering wizardry, resting on a site the size of thirty-seven football fields — they were debating its controversial politics. By designing the headquarters of China’s most censored media outlet, was Rem Koolhaas — architecture’s philosopher-king — giving a glaze of avant-garde sophistication to an organisation that was Maoist in its commitment to controlling information? Was it appropriate to let a building that some have described as a monumental “twisted pretzel”, a “deformed doughnut”, or even as a sci-fi monster overshadow an historically low-rise imperial capital that was already being smashed — 5 —
to pieces by the Olympic modernisation drive?[¹] What did it say about the Chinese Communist Party that it had cleared a Maoist motorcycle factory (and hundreds of ordinary civilian dwellings) to make room for a totem to Western modernity? Or that it was spending on a single building perhaps twice its annual budget on rural healthcare? More pressingly: would the thing actually stand up? In 2007, OMA’s iconic design became China’s most spectacular piece of architectural theatre to date, outshining even Paul Andreu’s futuristic, domed National Theatre (inaugurated that September) and the most radical works of Olympic architecture (the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium; the Teflon-coated Swimming Centre, or “Watercube”). Its celebrity (or notoriety) has lessened little since, thanks in no small part to CCTV staff burning down much of a wedgeshaped sister building, a cultural centre and hotel also designed by OMA, during an illegal fireworks display in 2009. (The fact that Koolhaas’s co-designer was a highly photogenic young architect called Ole Scheeren — who is currently dating one of China’s most famous actresses and is given to posing moodily in designer clothes in front of his great work — has probably helped the media stay focused on the project.) The CCTV building also seized imaginations because it expressed so perfectly the strange politics of contemporary Chinese architecture: the Communist government’s twin obsession with image-boosting monumentality and cutting-edge design; its addiction (whatever the cost) to both national power projection and to kowtowing to foreign know-how; and the curious collaboration between globe-trotting starchitects and the world’s last great Communist dictatorship. The recent history of China’s architecture has reproduced, in microcosm, the paradoxes of the country’s political system: in which state domination is veneered with free-market — 6 —
capitalism; in which cosmopolitan glamour coexists with, and often supports, one-party authoritarianism; and in which a Communist government is legitimising itself by erasing its proletarian past and building shrines to capitalist modernity. *** Architecture has always projected power. “It is a means for inflating the individual ego to the scale of a landscape, a city, or even a nation,” writes Deyan Sudjic. “What architecture does, as no other cultural form can, is to glorify and magnify the individual autocrat and suppress the individual into the mass. It can be seen as the first, and still one of the most powerful forms of mass communication.”[²] Ambitious architects and dictatorial regimes have long formed a mutual-support act. For architecture, more than any other creative industry, depends on concentrations of wealth and power; on the state’s special ability to marshal resources and manpower. “Architects are pretty much high-class whores,” Philip Johnson (who himself had a thing for fascism in the 1930s) famously declared. “We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we’ve both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business.” Hitler’s relationship with Albert Speer is the locus classicus of the affinity between architecture and power: the link between the two was so confused in the Fuhrer’s mind that it is unclear whether he (a frustrated architect himself) saw his buildings as a way of creating his state, or created his state in order to erect the buildings of his dreams. “A strong Germany must have a great architecture since architecture is a vital index of national power and strength,” he pronounced in the 1920s. Ten years later, he remade his point from a position of command: “Our enemies will guess it, but our own followers must — 7 —
know it. New buildings are put up to strengthen our new authority.”[³] As Speer’s half-built Germania lay in ruins after 1945, the Allies’ judges deemed his architectural schemes an ideological weapon of mass destruction. The last-but-one Nazi prisoner of Spandau, Speer languished in jail longer than other high-ranking Nazis with arguably more blood on their hands.[⁴] The Chinese have invested more meaning in the built environment than any other civilisation. For more than two millennia, imperial architecture was ruled by an elaborate body of rules called fengshui that — in the interests of maximising political auspiciousness — shaped every detail of building location and design. The Chinese emperor claimed to be the Son of Heaven; his power derived from his ability to commune between the natural and the human worlds. His palaces and temples were an important part of fulfilling that brief: they had to demonstrate the ruler’s skill in balancing the forces of nature and man. A succinct six-syllable formula, tianling dili renhe, summed up the cosmic demands on the empire’s architects: “Heavenly influences must be auspicious, geographical features beneficial, and the actions of man in harmony with the social, cultural and political situation”. In their position, layout and decorative schemas, palaces needed to be not only functional, but also symbolic of emperors’ potent combination of worldly and supernatural authority.[⁵] Imperial Beijing embodied this complex of ideas about power projection. The decision to build a Chinese capital there was made at the start of the fifteenth century by one of China’s most ruthless rulers: by the Yongle emperor of the Ming dynasty, a usurper who murdered his nephew, the designated heir, and massacred not only his critics, but their friends and relatives up to ten degrees of association. — 8 —
Yongle’s Beijing was, one recent historian has judged, “the product of the most authoritarian imperial court in Chinese history.”[⁶] The site of the city was selected with utmost care for its geopolitical symbolism. It lay on the hinge between two worlds that Chinese emperors had long aspired to control: agrarian China to the south; and the nomadic steppe to the north. Within the capital’s thick walls (the first part of the city to go up), Beijing’s design figuratively recreated the centralised order of the empire itself. Yongle’s capital was sliced in two by a central north-south axis, some seven and a half kilometres long. At the mid-point of this line was the imperial palace, the Forbidden City (itself named after an auspicious constellation, traditionally the home of the supreme deity around which other stars revolved). The palace lay at the heart of a triple set of square walls, all orientated to the points of the compass, forcing visitors towards one conclusion: that the Chinese emperor, the Son of Heaven enthroned within his capital — the universe in harmonious microcosm — both physically and spiritually represented the cosmic centre of the world.[⁷] Almost every regime that has ruled China from Beijing since the Ming has, in its own way, subscribed to Yongle’s spatial vision of power. When the non-Chinese Qing dynasty deposed the Ming in 1644, its new ruler’s first act on reaching Beijing was to slip inside the Forbidden City; to assume the emperor’s rightful place at the centre of the universe. Through the eighteenth century, Qing emperors also built to the northwest of their capital an imitation Versailles as a summer pleasure palace, expressing their omnivorous appetite for any cultural or technical display (whether Confucian, Buddhist or European) that would enhance their own prestige. — 9 —
Even Mao Zedong — modern China’s great destroyer — instantly identified with the physical symbolism of the Forbidden City. His predecessor, Chiang Kai-shek, had taken the south-eastern city of Nanjing as his capital; after driving Chiang’s Nationalist government off the mainland in late 1949, Mao soon chose to shift the capital back to Beijing. On 1 October 1949, Mao announced the founding of his new People’s Republic from Tiananmen: the Gate of Heavenly Peace just south of the Forbidden City, which for the Ming and Qing dynasties had been the portal between the emperor’s inner sanctum and the outside world — the venue at which imperial decrees were proclaimed to the populace, and from which military campaigns set out. But Mao was also bent on remaking Beijing in his own revolutionary image: on retaining the parts of the architectural past that were useful to him, and on demolishing those that were not. The Forbidden City’s principle of political seclusion had an immediate appeal, and Mao quickly moved himself and his Politburo behind the vermillion walls of Zhongnanhai, an imperial park that for thirty years since the start of the republican period had been open to the public. “The emperors lived there,” he is supposed to have observed. “Why can’t I?”[⁸] But others things had to go. The old city wall was quickly pulled down, because it held up traffic. Mao — under the influence of Soviet planners — was determined to turn the centre of Beijing into an industrial powerhouse. “From now on,” he vowed, looking out from the Forbidden City in 1949, “there will be a forest of chimneys to the horizon.”[⁹] The centrepiece of Mao’s radical makeover was his transformation of Tiananmen into a grand theatre for the Communist state. The area that Mao surveyed from a viewing — 10 —
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