Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thames Town

Songjiang District
Shanghai, China

Oddly enough, there is ample precedent for this type of theatrical recreation in Shanghai: particularly in the boom years of the 1920's, expatriates took shelter in varying approximations of homeland architecture, much of which remains today. For the development of a new university town on the edge of the city, developers looked to Oxford, Cambridge and other picturesque British towns for inspiration. Retained by Atkins Shanghai, the task here was to assist Chinese staff in the analysis and proportional re-creation of the extensive photography of existing buildings, that were reassembled by the site planners into new configurations as facades for their new mixed-use development. With careful construction and unusual attention to detail, everything in China was replicated in concrete. The project was featured prominently on CNN, NPR and other outlets when it opened. And in the British tabloids, many shopkeepers and landlords were startled to see their premises replicated on the other side of the world.

Odder still, this development has found it's greatest success with Chinese couples- as a backdrop for their "western" wedding pictures...

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New York and New Orleans, United States