One of my colleagues lives on JinJi Lake Avenue, at the southwest corner of the lake. So on Saturday, I got to see this area which is opposite the Times Square/Ferris Wheel Paradise that I visited on Thursday. The tower that you can see below the tip of the lance of DonQuixote is the same Times Square tower that I showed in the previous post. More about the goofy horse below.
I took the 146 bus west across the causeway–JinJi Lake Avenue–that separates JinJi lake on the North from DuShu lake on the south. The new Oriental Gateway figures prominently in this landscape.
JinJi Lake Avenue, like many of the arterial roads in SIP, is huge. It has 4 lanes each way, separated by landscaped medians, with accompanying side-lanes, and with at least 30m setbacks beyond those to the buildings. So there are ranks of high-rises on the left, but it feels spacious.
I like these apartment towers. Look at the octagonal corners! Those make for some pretty fun room layouts, like the corner-turrets in San Francisco Victorian houses. But in this case, lots of them stacked on top of each other.
On the north side of the avenue is a low-rise commercial district on the canal-side. The arched bridges are new, and beautifully wrought with stone finishes. But the buildings are older and considerably cheaper, like the cheap waterside architecture in Marin County.
The waterside park on this corner of the lake is also nice and well-used. In principle I think that bridge will admit small boats into the marina in the foreground, but I think its main purpose is to give tourists a better view.
My colleague Sophie Sturup is fascinated by the public art in SuZhou. Here we have Don Quixote and Pancho, rendered as cartoons. I am glad they fund lots of public art, but I think I am about as mystified by this sculpture as that kid. Maybe his dad will explain it to him.
Clowns seem innocuous in pictures, but if you have ever stood close to a live clown, the experience can be unnerving. Likewise there is something uncanny about this rendition of Pancho.
This seems to be a fusion of the Wizard of Oz, with the Lion as the ‘welcoming cat,’ and other characters turned into WickerMan abstractions; and then all touched by Midas and turned into gold. I invite further speculation.
From here you can see the Oriental Gateway from the side, along with three other towers going up to the left. The Oriental Gateway is a parabola in profile, and the arch between the two towers is also a parabola. Or maybe they got really serious and made it as a catenary, the way Gaudi did in Barcelona. Very cool concepts, but I wonder how they will keep those angled windows from leaking.
Some mashups don’t succeed. This seems to be a restaurant that went out of business or maybe never even opened, after a great deal of money was spent on a not-so-good-rendering of a European castle. What pains me is that the finish is actual stone; this must have cost a fortune.
Meanwhile, the regular apartment buildings are pretty great.
Local designers don’t embrace the Bauhaus-Modern pretentiousness of designing featureless sterile slabs. No, these developers decided to have fun with lots of corner windows and octagonal bays. I suspect there may be problems heating these flats in the wintertime, but the view and the light from inside are marvelous.