Monday, June 24, 2013

China’s Duplitecture: “Original Copies” of Famous Buildings

I recently wrote about full-scale replicas of iconic structures and souvenirs that go with them. We can include Las Vegas, which can take replica architecture to an extreme with pyramid hotels and replicas of the Statue of Liberty and Empire State building. Now China is joining
in the landmark copying act. In the Tianducheng housing complex near Hangzhou, China, you’ll see a peculiar sight: the Eiffel Tower. Bright replicas of the White House also dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West. It’s “duplitecture,” so named by author Bianca Bosker, who writes about the practice in her new book:  Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (Spatial Habitus) Another book with a similar theme is:  Shanghai New Towns: Searching for Community and Identity in a Sprawling Metropolis (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)

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