December 11th, 2019

telephone

SOM's plan for the old town is bunk

https://www.som.com/projects/shanghai_old_town_master_plan

A few years ago I already dissed this plan on my blog, but just for the record, I'll do it again. If you don't let the expressions like "holistic preservation" fool you, you'll see right through these 3D renderings into the cold soul of the Chinese caiptalism. The key expression is "capitalizing (on urban heritage"). Carve it up and serve it. Yuyuan bazaar many times over. Show me how the old town's familial networks, closely-knit communities, small-scale businesses and meaningful, additive historic landscape survive and thrive in an environment like this:


All of SOM's projects are glass and concrete icebergs. You'll have hard time finding even one human-scale, habitable, cozy, adaptable, self-sustaining liveable environment with a potential to nurture human growth and evolution. But that's not what China wants to nurture either, so you'll have SOM proposing ghettoes like this: