The Source

Hutong

Left: Hutong next to a modern apartment complex, tianjin, China. Middle, right: Hutong in Beijing. Photos; RM

Chinese urban planning has often been criticized for its ruthless demolishing of older areas in favor of new monotonous blocks. China is not respecting its own heritage, is often suggested. This phenomenon, however, to the contrary can be seen as the result of China’s persistence in maintaining its traditional way of thinking about planning, for too long. Continue reading

Engineering is Fun!

Tianjin Eye

Tianjin Eye over the (frozen over) Hai River. Photo:RM

Whoever said that engineering is boring? In Tianjin, China the Yongle Bridge over the Hai River was equipped with a Ferris wheel, consequently combining dull infrastructure with fairground fun! It’s height of 120 meters makes Tianjin Eye the fourth tallest Ferris wheel in the world.

260px-Ferris-wheelThe word Ferris wheel, by the way, is derived from the name of it’s inventor, George Ferris. He built the first one for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The 80 meter tall construction was inspired on a bicycle wheel, in which the iron spokes maintain the tension in the wheel.

The New Forbidden City

CCTV fence

CCTV Tower that burned in 2009. Photo: RM

The Forbidden City was built in the 15th century, after the capital of the Chinese empire was moved from Nanjing (literally translated: “southern capital”) to Beijing (the “Northern Capital”). It was the place from which the Chinese emperors of the Ming and the Qing Dynasties ruled over China. Hidden behind 10 high meter walls, hermetically closed for the people of China, who could only imagine what took place inside these walls. Only in 1925, after the fall of the monarchy and the departure of the last emperor, the Forbidden City was first opened to the public. Continue reading