Embracing that which could dominate us—the city, infrastructure and overpopulation—has been part of the process of Steven Holl Architects as the office has taken on work of increasing complexity and scale in China over the past decade.
The projects featured in this book play a serious game with scale and the dynamic between micro and macro. There is no in-between, no easy hybridity, but a study of contrasting and nested scales that acknowledge the fact that the city-dweller’s perception across a given day necessarily morphs from micro to macro in cycles.
In content and format the book reflects such juxtaposition, featuring large format images and graphic documentation of Steven Holl’s recent works realized in China alongside critiques and analyses offered by a new generation of theorists. Its pages are considered sites capable of handling plurality, contradiction and excess. It reads like the passing views from a commuter train and looks like a rough script for a new notion of urbanism.
My essay, "New Centers, New Peripheries, and the Scale of Hope," focuses on the historical precedents of the hybrid typology deployed throughout China by Steven Holl Architects. In the piece, I write about Edificio COPAN, Karl Marx-Hof, Plan Obus, Gallaratese, Rockefeller Center, and the National Arts Schools.
Within the development of the publication, I researched images for the "books within books" nested throughout, worked closely with the editor on image selection and layout, and coordinated with Steven's office, the graphic designer Christof Lang, the contributing authors, and Lars Müller's office in Zurich.