Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Shopping at Wangfujing Dajie.

Shopping at Wangfujing Dajie.

Wangfujing snack street. These were still moving while on the sticks!

Wangfujing snack street. These were still moving while on the sticks!

Busy street and full of atmosphere - its all about the food!

Busy street and full of atmosphere – its all about the food!

Stumbled upon a photoshoot outside St Joseph's church.

Stumbled upon a photoshoot outside St Joseph’s church.

Then 3 more wedding photoshoots...

Then 3 more wedding photoshoots…

And another bride!

And another bride!

Bride number 6 patiently waiting for a good spot.

Bride number 6 patiently waiting for a good spot. 

So I took the subway to Wangfujing, expecting to spend too much money shopping, I never spent a penny, surprise number one, then went for a walk down Wangfujing Snack street expecting to see some weird and wonderful things to eat…people tell you about it, you read about it, but wow, live snacks on sticks! Then I took a walk to St Joseph’s church which has a busy piazza out front with people sitting on benches, tourists exploring, kids playing…and brides and their grooms posing for photos sharing their limelight with about 10 other couples!  So this is a normal sight apparently, just not one I was expecting…

Lots of surprises, but I love it!

B.


Advertisements
Resting up.

Resting up.

Vanishing Chinese calligraphy street art.

Vanishing Chinese calligraphy street art.

Touring in a rickshaw.

Touring in a rickshaw.

My friendly neighbours always playing games.

My friendly neighbours always playing games.

Finding a busy spot, parking up and making a living.

Finding a busy spot, parking up and making a living.

The pavements are obviously not just for pedestrians!

The pavements are obviously not just for pedestrians!

The solid and void theory holds the idea that volumetric spaces,  shaped or implied, in between the built fabric are important as or more important than the objects themselves. This is referred to as space in between, the breathing space of the city. It can also be referred to as ‘loose space,’ where the opportunities for exploration and discovery occur, where the unexpected, sometimes risky and spontaneous activities happen.

This is a topic that I have been interested in throughout my studies and coming to Beijing has only strengthened this! I love how people use space here.  Sometimes spaces are designed for a particular use, but here, I feel that people reinterpret these spaces and use areas to suit their own particular needs. It is how people use space here that makes it an interesting place to be, it gives character to the urban realm, makes it feel lively and vibrant. Enjoyed walking past a public space this evening with a group of 30 or so people taking a dance lesson outdoors. Then going round the corner to a barbeque on the street and ten or so people lined along selling various things.  People parking up their bicycles and others sitting on the walls relaxing. And that’s me only described one corner…(at Beixinqiao metro station).

Getting ready for some more urban planning at work tomorrow, where did the weekend go?!

B.

P.S. Book on the topic; Loose Space, Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life; Routeledge – Franck, K.A. & Stevens, Q. (2007)

Dashilar Alley.

Dashilar Alley.

Fashion exhibition down an old hutong…

Fashion exhibition down an old hutong…

Loved the pop up exhibitions found in such unexpected places!

Loved the pop up exhibitions found in such unexpected places!

Hopping along...

Hopping along…

At my favourite exhibition – Hutopolis

At my favourite exhibition – Hutopolis

Topshop exhibition.

Topshop exhibition.

Loved the way it was exhibited…

Loved the way it was exhibited…

Luckily I managed to arrive in time for Beijing Design Week where I particularly enjoyed the pop up exhibitions along one of the most charming alleyways, Dashilar Alley.  The exhibitions appeared in amongst the small eateries and shops selling things such as Chinese artwork and stationary.  At times the exhibitions were in very unexpected places – ruined and vacant buildings were given over to the temporary exhibitions.

Hutopolis was for me the most interesting exhibition I discovered. The exhibition used presentation boards and two short movies to express the atmosphere, urban conditions and way of living in Beijing’s hutongs. It’s the hutongs that make Beijing such a special place, the alleyways are full of life and history. They mix people, cars, bikes and rickshaws navigating the narrow spaces in between the seating outside restaurants, clothes hanging out to dry and kids playing. I’m lucky enough to be living on a hutong and experiencing it all first hand.  So far, I’ve seen my hutong full of life first thing in the morning to last thing at night, but I’m interested to see how this will change as the days get colder and we move into winter.

Beijing’s design week had the ultimate goal to change the renowned ‘made in China’ phrase to ‘designed in China.’ Perhaps it will change to ‘B designed in China’ instead… Steve Jobs has shown anything is possible!

See you next time,

B.

First day at the office!

First day at the office!

For Martin Docherty - my desk today…a little more settled with my Coke to keep me going!! Nothing changes…

For Martin Docherty – my desk today…a little more settled with my Coke to keep me going!!
Nothing changes…

So, the downside of the holiday was that everyone went back to work over the weekend, making this a 7 day week! Luckily, I am working on two exciting projects. One of which is a masterplan the size of Venice! Still not managing to get my head around the scale of things here !

The directors took me and two other colleagues who also studied at GSA to the most fancy restaurant I have seen so far here.  Lots of toasts and lots of food…I could get used to this!! Something which has stuck with me though, the kind words of one of the directors… “We are your Chinese family.” Just very nice words I thought!

Until next time,

 B.
Huge temporary flower display at Tiananmen Square.

Huge temporary flower display at Tiananmen Square.

Nanluogu Xiang, the trendy hutong with a history of over 700 years. Apparently a hidden gem within the city, although I think everyone found it!

Nanluogu Xiang, the trendy hutong with a history of over 700 years. Apparently a hidden gem within the city, although I think everyone found it!

By chance, managed to catch one of the many Chinese parades taking place during the week.

By chance, managed to catch one of the many Chinese parades taking place during the week.

...had to do the touristy thing!

…had to do the touristy thing!

The entire city was buzzing the past week! Shi Yi is the first day of a national holiday here, it celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China 62 years ago and is celebrated with a week long holiday where everyone travels. Beijing is a prime hot spot with thousands coming to the city and visiting the most popular tourist destinations such as Tiananmen Square. The whole week was absolute madness but I loved every minute of it, such an amazing atmosphere!

Having a great time so far,
B.