Showing posts with label Architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Architecture. Show all posts

Monday, December 18, 2017

Elevated Arches in Wuhan

I'm hoping to soon return to posts with a bit more text in them. For now, here is another scene from the capital of Hubei:

Zhongbei Road, including an elevated section with many arches over it, in Wuhan
Zhongbei Road near Han Street

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Time of Change and Digging at the Gude Temple in Wuhan

Even after visiting hundreds of Buddhist temples in China, the Gude Temple in Wuhan can catch you by surprise. According to a photo gallery featuring the temple on the Hubei Provincial People’s Government's website:
It was built in the 3rd year of Emperor Guangxu (1877) in the Qing Dynasty.

The present Great Buddhist Hall was built in 1921 and later was expanded into Gude Temple, which covers an area of 20000 square meters and has a floor space of 3600 square meters.

The Gude Temple was built according to style of the Alantuo Temple in Myanmar in an erratic combination of all thinkable architectural styles and traditions, being unique in construction of Buddhist temples in China’s hinterland.
I wouldn't describe the location as being in China's hinterland, but I agree the architecture is unlike any other temple I have seen in China. My recent visit was made all the more special thanks to work affecting much of the temple's grounds — reminiscent of the construction I walked through when I visited the Changchun Taoist Temple in Wuhan six years ago.

Below are some scenes which feature some of the change now occurring at Gude Temple as visitors still make their way around. The temple is easily reachable by going to Toudao Street Station on the Wuhan Metro and then walking down Gudesi Road. But that might not work in the not-too-distant future. Many of the areas near the temple are changing to a greater degree.

excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple

excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple

monk and workers at Gudesi Temple in Wuhan

excavator and truck at Gudesi Temple

excavator at Gudesi Temple

excavator at Gude Temple

excavator at Gude Temple

Gude Temple (古德寺) in Wuhan

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Perspective on a Old Tower in Wuhan

Hongshan Pagoda (洪山宝塔) in Wuhan, China

In 1291 somebody climbed many steep, narrow, and irregular stone steps to reach the highest level of the Hongshan Pagoda in Wuhan, China. More than 700 years later somebody else did the same.

But only one of us is still alive today.

*   *   *

Now that I've confirmed my continued existence, at least up until the time I post this, I will add that, yes, I am now in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. There is an immense backlog of posts I have been wanting to write, but I have been heavily preoccupied with the exploration / collection side of things lately. Also, the amount of change I have seen in Wuhan, Changsha, and elsewhere has left me wanting to digest things more fully.

So on that note, here is a photo of the Hongshan Pagoda taken by Frederick G. Clapp sometime between 1913-1915:

black and white photo of Hongshan Pagoda

And here is a recent view from the tower including the Baotong Temple:

view from the Hongshan Pagoda in Wuhan

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Juzizhou Bridge: A Return to Changsha, Hunan

As recent posts suggest, I am now in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. I arrived here while the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was underway. Coincidentally, I was also in Changsha five years ago during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. At that time I experienced great difficulty using my VPN to get through the Great Firewall and access online sites blocked in China. This time I have had a far more online positive experience. I have not had any additional unusual problems since those I experienced almost three weeks ago in Zhongshan, Guangdong.

When I mentioned some of the internet challenges I faced five years ago, I shared a photo of Changsha's Juzizhou Bridge. A year later, I shared another photo of the bridge, this one from the western side of the river at night. Although a subway line below the river now matches its path, the bridge remains an important link across the Xiang River while also connecting Tangerine Island (Juzi Zhou) to both sides. Below is a fresh series of eight photos taken north of the bridge from the eastern side of the river. The colors may seem a bit off, but they are in part a result of something that hasn't changed much in Changsha since I first visited the city over 8 years ago — heavy air pollution. All of the photos include Tangerine Island, which blocks the view of the shoreline on the river's other side where the most easily visible buildings stand. In addition to people on and below the bridge, vehicles crossing the river, and ships passing by, the sun descends from one photo to the next, eventually to be partially hidden by Yuelu Mountain.

two people under Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

ship and Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

buses and people on Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

two boats approaching Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

ship approaching Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

man under Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

buses crossing Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

sun setting behind Juzizhou Bridge (橘子洲大桥) in Changsha

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Morpheus Hotel in Macau: Architecture Filling a Void with Voids

The MGM Cotai casino resort won't be the only building with a creative contemporary design to open in Macau early next year. A pair of connected towers under construction nearby will be the fifth hotel at the City of Dreams casino resort. The structural steel exoskeleton of the Morpheus already stands out amongst the neighboring towers.

City of Dreams casino resort in Macau including the new Morpheus hotel

The building was designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. According to the City of Dreams website:
Inspired by jade artifacts, Morpheus is a sculpture, mysterious and intriguing in its unconventional architectural composition. A series of voids gives it complexity and volume, a unique appearance as well as exciting internal spaces. Its two towers are connected at the podium levels and the roof, and there are two additional bridges for guests to experience the external voids within the building.
A few different perspectives from ground level on the north side of the building highlight the irregular patterns formed around the hard-to-miss voids:

north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau

north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau

north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau

A City of Dreams video from several years ago more fully reveals the building's design from a wide range of perspectives not available to your average passerby:

And a Kyotec Group video from half a year ago shows some of the building's actual construction without any android-like simulated humans walking around:

Near the top of one of the nearby towers at the City of Dreams is the Count:Down Clock, which appears in the upper right of this photo:

Count-down clock at City of Dreams in Macau

The clock not only counts down to the opening of the Morpheus but also the reveal for the rebranding of the round tower, formerly the Hard Rock Hotel. The hotel there currently uses the placeholder name The Countdown.

In an interview for the Macau Tatler, designer Maarten Baas shared some of the inspiration for the clock, the latest edition for his “Real Time” series:
For this project, obviously we wanted to do something with the theme of counting down. Yet, there are plenty of ways to count down. The first thought was to make it look like real people were each individually making a digit. There are digits for hours and digits for minutes. So some digits have to go very fast, while others only change every 100 or 1,000 hours. So there was this contrast between the activities, which I liked. I gave them all a black suit, as if they are chic servers of time, similar to personal butlers. I was also inspired by the luxury lifestyle in Macau.
Inside Asian Gaming posted a brief video showing a little of how the clock counts down with the help of recorded actors:

So before the middle of next year, the Morpheus with its impressive voids will open and another hotel at the City of Dreams will have a new name. More surprises may be in store as well. The Count:Down Clock hits zero on April 1.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Casino Resort in Macau Turns on the Lights While Waiting to Open

The MGM Cotai, MGM China's second casino resort in Macau, has yet to open despite previous plans to open as early as 2016 and then by October 1 of this year. Reportedly, Typhoon Hato played a role in the latest delay:
MGM China said its previously stated Q4 2017 timeline for the opening of its in-development MGM Cotai resort casino was no longer attainable, and thus the company was delaying the property’s launch date until January 29, 2018. . . .

MGM Cotai didn’t escape Hato’s wrath, and the company says repairing the damage will “slightly” delay the inspections by local government officials that are necessary for MGM Cotai to obtain its various operating licenses.
Even when it opens, the resort casino will be holding back some offerings:
The casino resort MGM Cotai – promoted by Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd – is set to open only with mass gaming tables, but VIP gaming is to be offered at a later stage, said on Thursday the firm’s chief executive, Grant Bowie. . . .

“We certainly will be opening [MGM Cotai with] only mass tables but we are looking to develop relationships and we have already developed relationships with a number of junkets,” Mr Bowie told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Macau Oktoberfest at MGM Macau.
The delays are obviously frustrating to MGM China, its investors, future employees, and anybody desiring to visit the casino resort.

On the bright side, though, barring more delays the resort casino will be open in time for the next Lunar New Year holiday. And the lights already turn on at night at the architecturally intriguing building.

MGM Cotai with its lights turned on

Monday, October 2, 2017

Clouds Over Zhongshan

Yesterday's clouds in Zhongshan caught my eye. Today for the same reason more did. So on this second day of the National Day Holiday period in China, below are eight photos of clouds which also capture a bit of life in Zhongshan and the variety of architecture there.

clouds over Zhongshan, China

clouds over Zhongshan

clouds over Zhongshan

clouds reflecting off a building in Zhongshan, China

clouds over Zhongshan

clouds over Zhongshan

clouds over Zhongshan

clouds over Zhongshan

Friday, September 29, 2017

Moon and Tower in Foshan

moon next to the Bell Tower at Foshan Lingnan Tiandi
Bell Tower at Foshan Lingnan Tiandi

This should be the last post for September. Things have been somewhat light here lately, but I have much bigger plans for October. Enjoy the rest of the month.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Still Around, At Least for Now: The Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai

As mentioned in a post with photos of a woman selling flowers from a cart, last Friday I briefly wondered about the history of the Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai. Although the Hongkou district boasts a variety of architecture, the building stands out there as it would in many other places.

Hongkou Fire Station in Shanghai

Not long after taking a few photos of the station on Friday, I discovered that Paul French, author of a number of books about China including The Old Shanghai A-Z, had coincidentally written a post about the building just two days earlier. Sadly, the news he shared was not great. "Will They Really Destroy Hongkou Fire Station?" includes a bit about the fire station's history and explains why French worries the building completed in 1932 won't be around for much longer.

During a tour I gave in Hongkou to a relative, I pointed out a few areas which have been recently demolished. It would be a shame if this building gets added to the list. Later, I will post about a recently demolished neighborhood in walking distance from the fire station. When I went there last year I saw some of its remaining life. This year, the most lively thing I saw was a demonstration.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"Bonjour" From the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza

Wanda Plaza "Bonjour" sign on a wall bordering a construction site in Mudanjiang, China

Wanda Plaza "你好" sign on a wall bordering a construction site in Mudanjiang, China

Wanda Plaza "안녕하세요" sign on a wall bordering a construction site in Mudanjiang, China

Wanda Plaza "Hello" sign on a wall bordering a construction site in Mudanjiang, China

These signs with equivalents of "hello" in French, Chinese, Korean, and English appear on a wall bordering a construction site in Mudanjiang.

wall bordering construction site for a section of the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza in China

I will share a bit more about the Mudanjiang Wanda Plaza, particularly its completed sections, later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Name for an Unusual Building in Shenzhen

Yesterday's post included a photo of a building in Shenzhen with an unusual design.

Ruihe Building (瑞和大厦) in Shenzhen

I didn't worry about identifying the building when I took the photo two weeks ago. I expected it would be easy to figure out later online. But the best I could do last night in a short amount of time was find the building on Baidu Map's street view where it is covered by scaffolding. No name appeared for the building, and an image search of the photo proved fruitless.

While at the nearby Dongmen Pedestrian Street area today, I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of the building down an alley. Feeling inspired, I decided to identify it the old fashioned way and made my way to a passageway where I could cross Shennan East Road underground while perusing the items sold by various hawkers. Upon arriving at the building, I considered what appeared to be a bovine-inspired sculpture next to the building's main entrance.

sculpture of bovine head in front of the Ruihe Building (瑞和大厦) in Shenzhen

I walked into the main lobby, and a security guard soon approached. Perhaps he was from the nearby Shenzhen Security Service Company.

Sign for the Shenzhen Security Service Company

The seemingly nervous security guard answered a few questions before he stopped to salute an older man walking by. The man had a puzzled expression when he looked at me. Probably to nobody's surprise, we both refrained from any saluting.

After leaving the building, I pondered a nearby Land Rover advertisement with a snow covered scene.

Land Rover advertisment with a snowy winter scene

Although Shenzhen has experienced unusually cold weather recently, snowy roads are rarely a worry. It snowed in Guangzhou, not far away to the north, yesterday for the first time in 50 years (added note: parts of Shenzhen reportedly saw snow as well).

Anyway, the building under question holds the Ruihe R & D Center and is creatively named the Ruihe Building (瑞和大厦). According to Reuters:
SHENZHEN RUIHE CONSTRUCTION DECORATION CO., LTD. is principally engaged in the design and construction of building decoration projects. The Company provides decoration and construction services for shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, curtain, subways, finance, office buildings and theaters, among others. The Company operates its businesses in domestic markets.
And now one loose end is tied up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Contemporary Shenzhen Styles

Two photos from the city which borders Hong Kong — Shenzhen:

On Shennan East Road

"Year of the Monkey Makeup Inspired by Chinese Opera"
Portion of an advertisement inside Lilian Sun Plaza, Dongmen