Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Modernism by the Wall

Today we moved the arts meeting to The Commune at the Great Wall. It's less a hotel, more a private collection of contemporary architecture nestled in the hills around the Badaling section of the Wall, north-west of Beijing. There are 40 villas designed by 12 Asian architects, all commissioned by China SOHO in 2001 (and exhibited at the Venice Biennale the following year). I stayed in one of Antonio Ochoa's five Cantilever Houses (see right), while other colleagues were in one of Kengo Kuma's Bamboo Wall villas. 
Beautiful, tranquil place, with most of the buildings blending in sympathetically with the surroundings. That said, I found some of the more austere, modernist examples somewhat jarring, the interior fit-out of our villa a bit of an afterthought, and a few were beginning to stain and surrender themselves to nature. The whole concept reminded me a bit of Le Corbusier's experiments in Chandigahr in the '50s.

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