Showing posts from October, 2023

Thames Town, Shanghai

"...there’s some corner of a foreign field t hat is for ever England" This is Thames Town in Songjiang, an extended suburb of Shanghai. It was built to house  10,000 well-heeled people from the growing city and is a mash up of  facsimiles of places from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, Canada, Netherlands and Germany.  What a great idea! Maybe we could solve the housing problems in our decaying towns and cities by building replicas of, say, Lagos or Kinshasa, Potosi, Chisinau or Caracas?  Anyway, back to Thames Town.  Pictures speak louder that words, so that is what I am going to give you. Let's start the tour.  All of those pat phrases about chocolate box architecture apply. The mix is there. Tudorbethan a la Chester, Georgian terraces, Victorian Gothic; all the styles you can't see if you look out of your window.  This is The Truman Show meets Portmeirion or Poundbury. There are even statues of icons of British history like Churchill, Princess Di, James Bond and Harry Po

Norilsk, Siberia

 Looking for interesting places online, I stumbled across a blog run by a news agency of the Russian State. They seem to think they will be blocked any day now but in the meantime this is soft power at its soggiest; propaganda in the style of a travel agent's window dressing. But I loved these photos of Norilsk in the Siberian Arctic, the world's most northern city with some 200,000 people. It was built as a centre for the mining industry by forced labour.  The Arctic is only really known for two colours, grey and white, so ignore the derivate and pretentious grandiosity of the Stalinist architecture and focus on the real gift of the Architects - the colours.  Then think of other mining towns. Maybe the Black Country or Merthyr Tydfil.  Sadly, I thought about their origin and decided to convert the web images into jpegs just in case the originals had an little nasties in them alongside the subliminal messages in  Tchaikovsky's ballets. I hope that works!  Don't wander t