Hong Kong’s “cram them in” urban planning strategy, results in what one may call accidental architecture.
Built right after WWII this building revolutionised architecture and defined what we would now call a mixed used building. Through a smart penthouse design, every apartment had views to both sides of the building, establishing natural light throughout each apartment and views that were designed as wallpapers. It contained shops, a hotel, even an elemantary school and a roof garden and solarium. Internal shops delivered right into the apartments through a smart ‘letterbox’ system. Ventilation and heating worked perfectly through it’s unique design on stilts.
Designed by the German architect Günther Behnisch and the engineer Frei Otto, the Olympiastadion was considered revolutionary for its time.
The large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass stabilized by steel cables were used for the first time on a large scale. The idea was to imitate the Alps and to set a counterpart to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, held during the Nazi regime. The sweeping and transparent canopy was to symbolize the new, democratic and optimistic Germany. This is reflected in the official motto: “The Happy Games” (wiki)
Monumental: The city at night is pitch black – except for it’s monuments. People disappear in the dark and are only lit close to the statues or symbols of power, or when a tram passes. During the day cracks are visible, and dried trees are decorated with fairy lights.
Palace for Children is a place where talented children are being put into education programs at 2 years of age to learn a skill fanatically. One of it’s key purposes is to demonstrate that skill in front of a foreign audience – a 5 year old child playing a Jimi Hendrix song to perfection, and others playing the nativity story with a twist: instead of Jesus they celebrate Kim Il Sung their Great Leader.
Highway to the South demonstrates the failure of the system. Large highways were constructed whose only purpose is to move military vehicles. No common Korean owns a vehicle, the streets are empty and used as oversized pedestrian walk ways.
“North Korean Still Life” explores the state’s pervasive propaganda mask. The unbiased straight on views on the temples of propaganda – boulevards, monuments, gates and highways – reinforce the message of failure as the observer starts to take notice of the appearance of cracks. The pictured results are often unreal scenarios that contribute to the overall feel of desolated degeneration.