Welcome to China! And to a new world for Architectural Record. Throughout its 113-year history, this magazine has featured work by American architects, and with increasing frequency, informative, inspirational, or provocative work by architects from around the world. With this issue, we literally take a great leap forward, not only embracing an entire nation’s work thematically, but also fundamentally altering and enlarging our own brief—as a publication and as an institution.
You should be able to tell the difference, power-packed and compressed as this issue needs to be. Here you will find our overview of architects and architecture in China, a dizzying attempt for so large a topic. Included is a rich spread of information: outlines of numerous new projects in planning that are transforming eastern Asia; profiles of talented younger designers, many of whom had been trained abroad and have returned to home and family with hip new sensibilities intact; and evidence of what it means for non-Chinese architects who seek work in the China market, and the price it demands.
In addition to magazine publishing, McGraw-Hill Construction has embarked on a mission to China as earnest as any diplomatic one. After numerous Pacific crossings, collectively we are sponsoring a conference there. Unlike most unilateral gatherings, this colloquium will engage dual continents: Asia and North America. For two days this spring, April 15 and 16, we will host a Global Summit in Beijing, drawing two nations and their shared visions and aspirations together. From China will be leaders from national ministries, leading architectural and engineering practitioners, and investors—all gathered to discuss the implications of working where the stakes are so high. Complementing the Chinese will be leaders from North America who will share their own experiences facing the chasm between vision and reality: What obstacles lie in any professional firm’s path to international success? There may be room for you at the table as well.
Some people complain that the architectural lingo seems too arcane or difficult. Uniquely, in a first effort, Architectural Record and our sister publication, Engineering News-Record, will be translated into Mandarin Chinese for local audiences. Thanks to a friendly relationship with our partnering institution, Shanghai’s Tongji University, both magazines suddenly broaden their reach: The Pacific will not seem quite so wide after April. Our new digital version of the magazine, made possible through Zinio technology, already lightens the airfreight bill. Virtual delivery weighs no more than bundles of light.
Too heavy on the China for you? If you are practicing in Illinois or Vermont, you may well ask, “What does all of this China-talk have to do with me?” What goes on there remains halfway around the globe, and how could it affect my own practice? China is, and always will be, Not in My Back Yard.
Yet are you aware that China’s growth includes a dynamic component close to home? While we were compiling this issue, a delegation of Chinese builders visiting New York City stated that they were bidding on construction for improving a New York landmark—the Whitestone Bridge. Reciprocally, Perkins & Will, one of this country’s leading architectural firms, already maintains two offices in mainland China. In other words, fellow architect, Wake Up! The international revolution has already taken place; but rather than political, it takes the form of economic, commercial, and professional interchange—a fluid melding of ideas and cultures that already affects us all.
Read, visit, attend. In this issue, what might seem radical change merely mirrors the facts.