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.
I didn’t really cut anything from the presentation included below. So, yeah, there’s a lot of slides. It’s (almost) the entire final presentation. I left it pretty much intact because not only 1) I can never edit my own work, but 2) the project is conceived more as a sci-fi narrative of Beijing and it will hopefully make more sense if read in complete order. And you can always just scroll way down to the end for some sweet images. This was for Ed Keller’s SpeedTerritoryCommunication studio, Spring 2009.
quick project description:
Architecture is a system of control predicated on limitations. This project is a study of the existing control systems in Beijing and a projection of how architecture and technology will merge to change not only prisons, but also the urban environment, the social stratification of society. Also addressed are what confinement and freedom will mean in relation to our relationship with how we build our world.
Post-Olympics, these signature, totally specific buildings sit vacant. Both the Bird’s Nest and the Watercube have already been reappropriated as museum spaces. Tourists can pay admission then be carefully herded through spaces we saw on television – the field of the National Stadium and the pool where Michael Phelps won gold.
See more images from Tokyo and Beijing at my flickr page.
edit: thanks to John Hill at Daily Dose of Architecture for making this image Daily Dose #299.