Thursday, August 21, 2008

Literary Dose #32

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[Guantang Chuangye Sustainable Conceptual Master Plan, Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China by William McDonough + Partners | image source]
"Nature, whose status as a norm of beauty or as an ideal form waned, has since returned as a condition for the sustainability of all built environment. As such, nature plays a role in the twenty-first century that is as central as it ever was in the past. The challenges are enormous and the markets and demands seem boundless. When Bill McDonough, the famous nature design architect in the United States, plans the construction, from scratch, of cities and villages in China, he connects with his starkly nature inspired buildings in the US -- the GAP headquarters in San Bruno, California (1997), the Ford Rouge Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan (2004), with its half million square foot 'habitat' roof, the largest in the world, or the IBM office in Amsterdam (2004) -- and suggests that he will, figuratively speaking, put entire communities under a turf (or even a rice field) roof, which looks just the same as the landscape did prior to the construction of the city. Residential areas and workplaces will be mixed, energy will come from solar panels, and public transportation will be within easy walking distance. With the airport in the center and a 'Jade Necklace' of parks (Liuzhou), these visions mark a kaleidoscopic return to [Ebenezer] Howard's and others' concentric utopias of the early twentieth century."
- Sverker Sörlin in "Nature" from Crucial Words: Conditions for Contemporary Architecture (Birkhäuser, 2007), edited by Gert Wingårdh and Rasmus Wærn.

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