Travels in Duplitecture

Authored by: Bianca Bosker

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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Paris, Orange County, Hallstatt, the White House: all have been doubled in China as part of the nation’s ongoing “duplitecture” movement, which has seen the greatest hits of Western architecture replicated at a speed, scale, and scope that is unprecedented in history. But why has China, a country with a rich architectural legacy all its own, turned to foreign templates? And is this movement really on its last legs, as experts have predicted? This chapter explores the factors driving China’s embrace of duplitecture and revisits the nation’s themed communities to see how they have evolved in the decade since their construction – and whether these duplitecture developments have languished as ghost towns. Though many critics have dismissed duplitecture as “trash” culture unworthy of deeper study, this chapter explores how it instead shed light on the most pressing issues shaping contemporary China and can help illuminate broader cultural trends.

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