Monday, September 24, 2012

Books on Architecture in Asia

These are recent additions to our wide selection of titles on architecture in Asia:

WOHA: Breathing Architecture - Architektur Atmet by Michaela Busenkell and Peter Cachola Schmal. This monograph on the Singapore-based architectural practice WOHA uses examples such as open-aired tropical family homes, green permeable high-rises, and a cutting-edge resort on the island of Bali to show how the firm has continued to create innovative, environmentally sensitive structures that blend into their environments, yet maintain aesthetic integrity. Essays in the book explore WOHA's tropical architecture; discuss the Asian understanding of nature; and look at newly designed community spaces. Headed by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell, the practice is making a name internationally for their sophisticated projects, which are presented in this volume. Through numerous illustrations and in-depth essays, this book reveals the innovative, sustainable, and green designs of WOHA.

Vertical Cities Asia: International Design Competition & Symposium (Volume 1: Everyone Needs Fresh Air) edited by Ng Waikeen, Jeffrey Chan Kok Hui et al. Asia is undergoing a dramatic and rapid urbanization. Across the continent, there is unrelenting, large-scale migration from the countryside to the cities. Asian cities are getting denser and growing taller at a scale and intensity without historical precedent, and existing urban architectural and planning models struggle to accommodate the increased population. To continue recycling these models in the face of this challenge will lead to devastating effects on land, infrastructure, and the environment. The Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition and Symposium was created to encourage design explorations and research into the prospects of new architectural and planning models for the increasingly vertical, dense and intense urban environments of Asia. The theme of the inaugural edition of the programme is "Everyone Needs Fresh Air", which is of particular relevance for the congested post-SARS cities of Asia where urban sprawl, traffic and environmental pollution threaten the prospects of biodiversity, greenry, liveability and general well-being of the inhabitants. This publication brings together the spectrum of innovative design and theoretical approaches proposed by the participating universities: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, Tongji University, Tokyo University, Tsinghua University, TU Delft, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania.

Architectural and Cultural Guide Pyongyang (2 Volumes) edited by Philipp Meuser. North Korea's capital Pyongyang, a city of 3 million people, is not well known in the outside world. The first of these 2 cased volumes contains photographs, with commentary, of some 100 buildings in Pyongyang. In volume 2 there are descriptions with critical discussion of some of the buildings which were greatly influenced by 20th century architects and developers in the USSR and Eastern Europe.

The Craft of Gardens: The Classic Chinese Text on Garden Design by Ji Cheng. Ji Cheng's great work on garden design, the Yuan Ye or Craft of Gardens, was originally published around 1631 and is the earliest manual of landscape gardening in the Chinese tradition. This is the first complete English translation of Ji Cheng's seminal work. This delightful book provides not only insights into Chinese gardening but also a unique perspective on Chinese culture and society in the late Ming dynasty. Illustrations include not only Ji Cheng's original diagrams but also historical paintings and contemporary photographs of a number of outstanding gardens in the part of East China where Ji Cheng lived and worked.

The New Asian City: Three-Dimensional Fictions of Space and Urban Form by Jini Kim Watson. Under Jini Kim Watson's scrutiny, the Asian Tiger metropolises of Seoul, Taipei, and Singapore reveal a surprising residue of the colonial environment. Drawing on a wide array of literary, filmic, and political works, and juxtaposing close readings of the built environment, Watson demonstrates how processes of migration and construction in the hypergrowth urbanscapes of the Pacific Rim crystallize the psychic and political dramas of their colonized past and globalized present. Tracing the way newly constructed spaces-including expressways, high-rises, factory zones, and department stores-become figured within cultural texts, The New Asian City explores how urban transformations were rationalized, perceived, and fictionalized. Watson shows how literature, film, and poetry have described and challenged contemporary Asian metropolises, especially around the formation of gendered and laboring subjects in these new spaces. She suggests that by embracing the postwar growth-at-any-cost imperative, they have buttressed the nationalist enterprise along neocolonial lines. The New Asian City provides an innovative approach to how we might better understand the gleaming metropolises of the Pacific Rim. In doing so, it demonstrates how reading cultural production in conjunction with built environments can enrich our knowledge of the lived consequences of rapid economic and urban development.

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