Thursday, September 04, 2008

Forbidden City

I read some of Master Chu's 'homilies for families' while in UB, preparing for China. Recently, arriving in Beijing, I also read this, cited in Sidh Sintusingha's noteworthy editorial musings for Architects for Peace; "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." (Olympic creed, Pierre de Coubertin) At AfP I also read great news of Sonya Redman's (UNSW) Berkeley Essay Prize win for 'Shaping Identity and Place in Australian Indigenous Housing'.) I read about the list of schools participating in the World Architecture Festival, originally billed as the 'ten of the world's best'. I don't quite understand the criteria for this little league table when I see the list; Bartlett, University College of London (UK); Hafencuty Universitat (Germany) -sic; School of Design and Environment (Singapore); Ravensbourne College (UK); Kazan Architectural University (Russia); Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad CEU San Pablo (Spain) (..six schools, not ten...)

Anyway, I am glad I didn't come to Beijing for the Olympic Games, but I feel like I have fought well for the past year, albeit in a far less glamorous way. The city seems relaxed in the calm after the games and in the lead up to the paralympics. I even feel slightly guilty for enjoying the effortless architectural informality of the labyrinthine Beijing Hutongs. In my mind I have been trying to compare them to the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar... Meanwhile I have been to see the Ancient Architecture Museum in Beijing, and the spectacular 'Birdsnest' Stadium, photographed across a highway. I feel 'philosophical' about the year in Mongolia and have made my first speaking appointment to talk about it near Perth on the first of October.

I have realised the old city and the new city of Beijing are at loggerheads, as I experienced while circumnavigating an enormous city block 'under renewal' on foot - in order to get to the beautiful Ancient Architecture Museum, walled deep inside the super-block. Using the internet here makes for another wearying experience, waiting for the many filters and firewalls to check through every site I request. I'm going back to the Hutongs.

4 comments:

arch-peace said...

are you coming to Melbourne by any chance? Would be great to talk about your work and perhaps a presentation for words@bldg50????

nomadologist said...

I would love to, I would have time, but funds are depleted. There may be a Perth AfP presentation coordinated by Marina Lommerse at Curtin...

arch-peace said...

That would be fantastic Greg. Let me know if they need anything from us here (Melbourne)

samraat said...

sangambayard-c-m.com