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Monthly Archives: December 2011

GSA Masters Group 38 Exhibition

Group 38 Exhibition, GSA.

Its the last day of 2011, I’ve returned home and I’ve been reflecting on one crazy year.

After finishing up with university I was worried about the current climate in the UK, thinking about unstable jobs, even worse, unemployment, but after this year, I’m thinking its not all doom and gloom if you use it to your advantage…it’s a chance to do different things and look outside the box. I have spent the year meeting many interesting people in the field, been to Toronto and had a chance to see great architecture, met a few starchitects, had time to visit and take part in exhibitions, completed my first book, graduated with masters, worked with 3DReid, spoke at a conference representing Glasgow School of Art, designed a small house in Pakistan, produced the drawings for a book with Robert Mantho from GSA, went to Beijing for an internship with Pansolution International, made connections with people from Tsinghua University and lastly I’ve started this blog which I’m really loving doing …not had a moments spare! I’ve earned a living while doing what I have chosen to and what I enjoy. I’ve had a variety of experience, which has kept the year interesting and exciting.

So to all the architecture students graduating in 2012 looking ahead and worrying, don’t, it will be ok, you just need to get up and go for it!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the year.

B.

GSA Degree show party

GSA Degree Show Party – last with the Foulis & Newbery Tower buildings before new Steven Holl & JM architects addition.

Toronto

Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

Graduation 3

Graduation, University of Glasgow.

with Zaha Hadid

Meeting with Zaha.

Glasgow Transport Museum

Opening of Zaha Hadid’s Transport Museum, Glasgow.

Glasgow Transport Museum 2

Opening of Zaha Hadid’s Transport Museum, Glasgow.

Velodrome Glasgow

3DReid construction site, Velodrome arena for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Hutong 2

Looking at hutong life, Beijing

Hutong 1

Looking at hutong life, Beijing

George Square

Glasgow’s George Square turned Philadelphia for Brad Pitt’s movie, World War Z.

Beijing has a museum dedicated to urban planning in the heart of the city, it has been one of the places I had been meaning to visit since I arrived. Finally I made it…

Beautiful model of Beijing on the wall of the atrium and circulation space of the museum.

Beautiful model of Beijing on the wall of the atrium and circulation space of the museum.

I was blown away by this HUGE 1:750 model of Beijing.

I was blown away by this HUGE 1:750 model of Beijing.

Every individual building was incredibly detailed.

Every individual building was incredibly detailed.

Not only detailed, but individually lit up too for the lighting show.

Not only detailed, but individually lit up too for the lighting show.

The Olympic Park.

The Olympic Park.

It was great to see all the iconic buildings and historic sites within their context.

It was great to see all the iconic buildings and historic sites within their context.

As my last few weeks in Beijing were dedicated to exploring as much as possible, I will be posting a blog a day with the run up to Christmas, sharing the weird and wonderful!

B.

Climbing to the top at Badaling.

Climbing to the top at Badaling.

Some haze and the Great Wall, you can certainly tell its China!

Some haze and the Great Wall, you can certainly tell its China!

Looks clear from this angle.

Looks clear from this angle.

So there has been so much debate lately about the smog and the pollution in Beijing…I think it adds character to the city. No?! Ok, perhaps mystery when you cannot see what’s a few hundred metres in front of you. I think yes, the pollution is bad, but there are also so many simple things that make Beijing a ‘green-ish’ place too. Main roads are tree lined and many hutongs too, so simple but makes it a much more pleasant environment with an improved microclimate and aesthetic. The streets and hutongs are vibrant and mixed-use making it a more walkable city. Cycling is so common here and easy with cycle lanes along every main road, it is safe and one of the more preferred modes of transport. The high population here has its advantages too, in accordance with the ‘compact city’ model, higher density cities are more sustainable as it means there is more shared facilities. Public transport is fantastic, cheap, reliable and well-used (0.4 kuai a bus journey and 2 kuai a subway journey). As in all cities, cars are expensive to run, but here you have to win a lottery to be able to buy one and then you can only drive your car on certain days of the week depending on your registration plate. With stand still traffic, I wonder why people would even want a car here anyway. I have found the city to be very well connected, but there are planned further improvements; by 2020 there are to be 30 subway lines in total (I still cannot quite believe this).  There are also recycling bins along with every single waste bin – I’m a strong believer that small steps like this go along way.

Obviously there are many reasons why the pollution here is still a huge problem. Many are worried that the dense haze is only getting worse and what kind of health implications it has.  You can tell everyone here has a desire to do something about the pollution, however there is still always a gap between the words and action, its not only the government but individuals that make a difference too. Certainly more awareness of the issues and better education will improve the situation for a start.  I’m in an optimistic mood I have faith in Beijing.

Architects and urban planners here clearly have a responsibility in changing this too; to design more individual environmentally friendly buildings within a (much) more sustainable city.

I’m sure we will be reading many more stories on this debate in the news in the coming weeks, but I’m much more interested in how Beijing as a city will pull together to tackle the problem. Only time will tell.

B.

PS. I was supposed to write about visiting the Great Wall and how fantastic it was, but got a little distracted! It was nice to see not only architects getting excited about a wall…