A building boom and ambitious billionaires are helping to drive unprecedented creativity in Chinese building
In May’s issue of OPP Magazine we pose the question, does grand, eye-catching, innovative design come from building booms or building busts? In the good times when property is being built as fast as people will buy it, or when times are quiet, land is cheap, architects are frustrated and buyers need to be impressed?
According to a report in the weekend’s Financial Times in the UK – China’s design playground gives world’s top architects free rein – both notions are true. Boom times lead to a great burst in courage and creativity for the wealthy, while the masses are stuck in cookie-cutter tower blocks.
The article points to a few bespoke properties, where China’s billionaires can afford to employ the world’s most famous architects (dubbed starchitects) to create something that will impress even other billionaires. As the FT says: “China’s economic boom, rapid urbanisation, and a desire among the country’s billionaires to leave a legacy, has created space for the kind of experimental architecture that is increasingly rare in cash-strapped Europe and the US.”
The same often applies to commercial premises and public buildings …read more