7 December 2009 | Posted inBlog News & Updates
Posted by Jessica
Posting on behalf of Deborah Rutherford, Operations Leader for HOK in Canada’s Corporate Accounts Practice and President of ARIDO.
December 5th – Final Day in Shanghai
Today we went from pristine public squares near the Science museum to jam packed streets full of overloaded bicycles and people. This contrast is what makes China such a unique place; however, everything is growing at such a rate that the local culture may be left behind or supplanted with western culture. We saw photos of Shanghai from only 15 years ago when the broadcast tower was only half constructed and all of Pudong was flat. Since then it is packed with new high-rise buildings, some of the tallest in the world, and there are 4,000 sites in construction. We went to see the site that Alex and Pierre plan to develop for urban renewal. The plan is to turn a series of old buildings for a kilometre along the creek into boutique hotels, shops, restaurants and cafes or replace some with newer buildings. The locals may have to find another spot to buy oranges off a truck, but the wrong side of the tracks will become the newest trendy location. In the adjacent neighbourhood I could have bought anything needed on a job site, store after store of hardware, piping, wood, insulation, etc. Then we turned a corner and were on the exclusive shopping district, Nanjing Road.
In the old district of Taikang Road we saw trendy shops selling high fashion dog clothing as well as clothing from local designers. Mixed in with them were old style dwellings with narrow steep stairs, cooking facilities on the street, shared public latrines and laundry hanging everywhere. I was a typical tourist snapping lots of pictures, but so were all the young Chinese. These areas are as much a novelty to them as they are to me. Opportunities seem unlimited and change is inevitable; the biggest challenge for both local and foreign designers will be to take care with the changes and not to homogenize the city so it loses its character.
TO BE CONTINUED…