After writing about the New York Times articles of June 8th in the last two posts, I was contacted by a young woman in London who writes for CNN. She is doing a piece on Steven Holl’s ‘Linked Hybrid’ (LH) development in Beijing, shown below. She wanted me to chat with her about the project.
During our exchange of emails, she asked me for some additional thoughts about the development, which I was happy to offer. And then came the punchline – she had contacted Mr. Holl, and asked him if he thought his LH had “isolationist overtones.” Mr Holl replied that LH was “no more isolationist than Greenwich Village.”
This reply was a bit astonishing to me. Now I will let you be the judge. Take a look at this (taken at almost precisely the same altitude) thanks to Google Earth:
Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid in construction, Beijing. Image from Google Earth.
Greenwich Village. Image from Google Earth.
I looked at these images and found myself recalling a wonderful quote from Alain de Botton’s “The Architecture of Happiness.”
“The great modern houses are happy to admit to their youth and honestly to benefit from the advances of contemporary materials, but they also know how to respond to the appealing themes of their ancestry and can thereby heal the traumas generated by an era of brutally rapid change. Without patronizing the history they profess to love, they show us how we, too, might carry the valuable parts of the past and the local into a restless global future.”
Well said. Worth keeping in mind as Beijing, and all other next cities, unfold with breathtaking speed.