Geoff Manaugh is senior editor of Dwell and the author of BLDGBLOG. The BLDGBLOG Book is forthcoming from Chronicle Books in Spring 2009.
Amidst the pedestrian-friendly maze of leafy streets in New York City’s West Village, LOT-EK, a firm whose designs focus on the creative reuse of industrial materials, inserted a gut-renovated and intensely colorful new home—getting a facade embedded with truck beds past the heritage commission along the way.
A special bootleg version of Volume magazine will be available at the opening of Urban China: Informal Cities, an exhibition that opens February 11 at the New Museum in Manhattan. The exhibition bills itself as "a multifaceted exploration and physical manifestation of the groundbreaking magazine Urban China... the only magazine devoted to issues of urbanism published in and about China."
There seems to be no end to the superlatives being used to describe cities in China: the buildings there are the biggest, the most, the heaviest, the longest, the deepest, the tallest, always spatially out-performing what came before. But there also seems to be a distinct lack of qualitative discussions—that is, whether or not the Chinese construction boom is anything more than that: sheer construction, not worthwhile design at all. In other words, is there anything really new happening over there—or just lots and lots of the old urban tricks we're sadly used to?
It's thus always refreshing to see something that tries to contextualize China's explosive urban growth, offering an economic, historical, or cultural analysis. Luckily, Shanghai Transforming, edited by Iker Gil, does exactly that.
BLDGBLOG has long been one of our favorite websites for architectural conjecture, left-field landscapes, and dispatches from the bleeding edge of the built world, so much so that we brought author Geoff Manaugh onboard as a senior editor. Now Luddites and linkers alike can revel in Manaugh’s singular weltanschauung as the BLDGBLOG Book, in all its Smythe-sewn perfection, hits bookstores nationwide.