Work details
Application Number 0000801650
Author fenster, daniel leon, United Kingdom
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Work title: The boundary we''ve made (0000801650)

The border between the globalised building industry and the localised lives that inhabit its products is often one of conflict. Where the vibrancy daily activity meets the obstinance of the new building, there exists a threshold that is the unspoken conflict of city life. It will be resolved either by reshaping lives or re-appropriating building elements. The cities that form the world’s new standard – spreading through much of Asia and, tentatively, Africa, are almost uniformly planned along lines of practicality, efficiency and cost to profit margin. The ‘new world’ where the ever increasing number of city dwellers need to be housed to democratically middle class standards need a controllable means of city planning. And why shouldn’t it? ‘New worlds’ are always opportunities to rationalise. The gridded and numbered streets of the previous new world, America, introduced the idea of a city of convenience. Grids accumulated stripmalls which evolved into mega malls and mega churches riding on a sea of parking spaces. Soon, Mumbai’s slum towns will be replaced with medium-rise apartment blocks. The international vernacular, coated in facades that hide their ubiquity, is designed to be statistically convenient and manageable – and make the city ever expandable. Roads and utilities are laid out, plots sold and developed, and when they are all occupied, a new ring road is added and the process starts again. A globalized architecture with an international design method and globally sourced materials meets highly localised lifestyles. I''ve chosen to focus in on a small instance of this border - a cluster of apartment blocks in central Shanghai, an area in which I previously lived. Above, I have imagined a time when the once gleaming blocks become decrepit and deteriorate: the moment when the border becomes most apparent and yet the very moment that the new method of building doesn''t design for.