Spurred by a recent archinect post in light of the indefinite detention of Ai WeiWei, an artist who briefly collaborated with Herzog and deMeuron on the pictured Bird’s Nest in Beijing before very publicly denouncing the project (as well as the pretty much the whole Beijing Olympics show in general), it brought up Jacques Herzog’s defense of his design and accepting commissions in China, and how events have proven him to be either insufferably cynical or just hopelessly naive. I happen to lean more toward the former. His quote:
We see the stadium as a type of Trojan horse. We fulfilled the spatial program we were given, but interpreted it in such a way that it can be used in different ways along it perimeters. As a result, we made everyday meeting places possible in locations that are not easily monitored, places with all kinds of niches and smaller segments. In other words, no public parade grounds.
These images are from a 2009 trip to Beijing and show that his niche spaces can certainly have the potential to be used for alternative uses, but no matter how over-structured, complex or well-intentioned, that use will always come back around to one mediated by parasitic cctv cameras and a surplus of ever-watching, ubiquitous guards.