Theme Cities

31/12/2003


The McDonaldizacion of the world does not exclude cultivated architecture, as the work of Venturi shows well. Together with Scott Brown, he has taught us to look at Las Vegas, Disney or Atlantic City in a different way, and his scholarly populism has given intellectual credentials to the global extension of theme cities and franchise design. But if these fiction architectures have been born in America, it is perhaps in Asia where they have reached a more genuine expression. From the refined open air museum of Tadao Ando – which houses tile replicas of universal painting masterpieces – to the Canal City raised in Fukuoka by the Californian office of Jon Jerde, Japan gathers the most extreme works of theme entertainment. The photographer Yoshinori Kuwahara has documented some which show the contrast between hostile or anodyne exteriors and interiors that recreate nature with implausible devices: the Wild Blue of Yokohama, with plastic sand and waves every 15 minutes; the Skidome of Tokyo, where one reaches the slope of permanent snow by elevator; or one of the many golf courses in stories common in the Far East, whose bizarre logic outlines with ominous precision the world to come or the one that is already here...[+]


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