Did you know that there's a faux Eiffel Tower in China, as well as an entire copy of the city of Venice, complete with gondola-lined canals? In the past few years, builders in China have replicated world-famous buildings and landmarks at a remarkable pace - from the world's first cloned Austrian mountain village to a reproductions of the White House, entire English villages, and even new starchitect designs that haven't been built yet, like Zaha Hadid's Wangjing Soho complex. Bianca Bosker’s exciting new book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China addresses this emerging Chinese 'duplitecture' trend and explores the ways that these replicated landmarks are shaping China's culture. It's a fascinating account that draws upon Chinese philosophical perspectives, builders, city planners, and even the residents who now live in these duplicated landmarks.
The Chinese didn’t change much in their duplication of Venice’s canals. Their version just looks a bit newer and cleaner.
In a new book entitled Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China Bianca Bosker explores the impact of ‘duplitecture’ on China’s social, political, architectural, and commercial landscape – and she found some surprising results.
The Shanghai Minhang People’s Court courthouse takes its architectural cues from BOTH the White House and the United States Capital building.
Whereas duplicated buildings in the US and other parts of the world tend to be tourist traps (think Vegas), in China these structures are often inhabited as private residences – and they shape the bourgeois aspirations of the middle-class families that live in them. In many cases, the residents may not even realize that the buildings they inhabit are exact replicas of other structures around the world.
A Chinese re-creation of Amsterdam’s Central Train Station, complete with randomly placed faux-Dutch windmill!
If you find this as crazy as we do, and you’d like to learn more about knock-off architecture, you can purchase the newly released Original Copies now from University of Hawaii Press, plus stay tuned for our in-depth review! And let us know what you think about duplitecture in the poll below: