This weekend I got caught up on some reading. I almost always save the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times but I don't always get enough time to read it. Consequently, it doesn’t take long for a collection of them to fill the magazine basket. To manage the process, I mentally assign some issues a higher must read priority. The June 8th issue fell into that category. It was the architecture issue and the topic was The Next City.
The first article that caught my eye was entitled “The New, New City.” Though the article is mostly about large real estate developments in Shenzhen and Dubai, it still provides a perspective on development that is relevant to the discussions about density and development in Town Center and perhaps Howard County in general.
One of the architects featured in the story is Steven Holl, the architect of Linked Hybrid in Beijing, which the writer described as having “a surprisingly open communal spirit. A series of massive portals lead from the street to an elaborate internal courtyard garden, a restaurant, a theater, and a kindergarten, integrating the complex into the surrounding neighborhood.”
“In America I could never do work like I do here. We’ve become too backward-looking. In China, they want to make everything look new. This is their moment in time. They want to make the 21st century their century. For some reason, our society wants to make everything old. I think we somehow lost our nerve.”
Ahem. While I don’t think we necessarily need to “make everything look new”, I still find wisdom in his words. He also goes on to explain that “what makes it possible is density.”
And there you have it.