CLOSE
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

China Plans to Build New City to Deal With Overpopulation

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Beijing is one of the most crowded cities in the world—home to 24.9 million people in the metro areas. It's also one of the smoggiest, with some of the worst air quality in the world. In an effort to combat the city’s rapid growth (an average of 600,000 residents per year flocked to the city between 2000 and 2013) and the traffic congestion and pollution associated with it, China plans to build an entirely new city to take the pressure off its capital, Curbed reports.

The Chinese government recently announced a regional economic project called the Xiongan New Area, which will be a new metropolis built about 60 miles south of Beijing. According to China Daily, Beijing will remain the functional capital of China, but the new city will take over some of the general economic functions that have so far been concentrated within Beijing.

The idea is that some of Beijing’s industry and business will move to Xiongan, and with it, some of its population. With jobs no longer concentrated so densely in Beijing, people will be able to live closer to their work, giving them more transportation options and cutting down on air pollution.

Not that it’s necessarily going to happen that way. Planned cities don’t always work out as well as their spontaneously developed cousins. Many of the world’s greatest and most vibrant metropolises were created without any kind of central planning, while meticulously master-planned cities can come off as sterile and soulless. (Think of New York City’s cramped but bustling streets versus Washington D.C.’s grand boulevards.) As Adam Greenfield wrote in The Guardian in 2016, “Most of the planet’s newest cities bear a markedly strong resemblance to one another. Whether they happen to be planted on African terrain or Indian or Chinese, they have the self-contained, inward-turning flavor of a high-end condo, and indeed are branded and marketed in just the same way.”

But this isn’t China’s first time creating a major new city. After Shenzhen was named a Special Economic Zone in 1980, it went from a 300,000-person town to a major financial hub that’s now home to 11.9 million people.

Real estate speculators are betting on the same thing happening in Xiongan, though—a few days after the new city was announced, so many people rushed to buy property that the government instituted an emergency ban on sales.

[h/t Curbed]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
arrow
architecture
Step Inside This Stunning, Nature-Inspired Art Gallery in Tulum, Mexico
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

Upon closer inspection, this building in Tulum, Mexico, doesn’t seem like a suitable place to house an art exhibit. Everything that makes it so visually striking—its curved walls, uneven floors, and lack of drab, white backgrounds—also makes it a challenge for curators.

But none of these factors deterred Santiago Rumney Guggenheim—the great-grandson of the late famed art collector and heiress Peggy Guggenheim—from christening the space an art gallery. And thus, IK LAB was born.

“We want to trigger the creative minds of artists to create for a completely different environment,” Rumney Guggenheim, the gallery’s director, tells Artsy. “We are challenging the artists to make work for a space that doesn’t have straight walls or floors—we don’t even have walls really, it’s more like shapes coming out of the floor. And the floor is hardly a floor.”

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

IK LAB was brought to life by Rumney Guggenheim and Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel, the founder of luxury resort Azulik. The two properties, which have a similar style of architecture, share a site near the Caribbean coast. IK LAB may be unconventional, but it certainly makes a statement. Its ceiling is composed of diagonal slats resembling the veins of a leaf, and a wavy wooden texture breaks up the monotony of concrete floors. Entry to the gallery is gained through a 13-foot-high glass door that’s shaped a little like a hobbit hole.

The gallery was also designed to be eco-conscious. The building is propped up on stilts, which not only lets wildlife pass underneath, but also gives guests a view overlooking the forest canopy. Many of the materials have been sourced from local jungles. Gallery organizers say the building is designed to induce a “meditative state,” and visitors are asked to go barefoot to foster a more sensory experience. (Be careful, though—you wouldn't want to trip on the uneven floor.)

The gallery's first exhibition, "Alignments," features the suspended sculptures of Artur Lescher, the perception-challenging works of Margo Trushina, and the geometrical pendulums of Tatiana Trouvé. One piece by Trouvé features 250 pendulums suspended from the gallery's domed ceiling. If you want to see this exhibit, be sure to get there before it ends in September.

[h/t Dezeen]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
architecture
Engineers Have Figured Out How the Leaning Tower of Pisa Withstands Earthquakes
iStock
iStock

Builders had barely finished the second floor of the Tower of Pisa when the structure started to tilt. Despite foundational issues, the project was completed, and eight centuries and at least four major earthquakes later, the precarious landmark remains standing. Now, a team of engineers from the University of Bristol and other institutions claims to have finally solved the mystery behind its endurance.

Pisa is located between the Arno and Serchio rivers, and the city's iconic tower was built on soft ground consisting largely of clay, shells, and fine sand. The unstable foundation meant the tower had been sinking little by little until 2008, when construction workers removed 70 metric tons of soil to stabilize the site. Today it leans at a 4-degree angle—about 13 feet past perfectly vertical.

Now researchers say that the dirt responsible for the tower's lean also played a vital role in its survival. Their study, which will be presented at this year's European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Greece, shows that the combination of the tall, stiff tower with the soft soil produced an effect known as dynamic soil-structure interaction, or DSSI. During an earthquake, the tower doesn't move and shake with the earth the same way it would with a firmer, more stable foundation. According to the engineers, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the world's best example of the effects of DSSI.

"Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the tower to the verge of collapse can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events," study co-author George Mylonakis said in a statement.

The tower's earthquake-proof foundation was an accident, but engineers are interested in intentionally incorporating the principles of DSSI into their structures—as long as they can keep them upright at the same time.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios