Photo: Li Xiaodong/ Li Xiaodong Atelier
The Bridge School connects the banks of a small river. The round building in the background is a tulou, a 400–year–old fortress.
Inhabitat: What were you trying to accomplish with this second version of your book?
Kate Stohr: Well, things change with time and people do actually learn a thing or two. The first time we did the book, there really was no one place that had great precedent studies of community design. There were a lot of academic white paper type things, but nothing that connected great pictures of the project with what it cost and who built it. Since the first edition, I think there is now much more interest in the field and so there are some good resources out there to learn about projects. With the second edition of the book we were much more focused on how these projects come together. So, you’ll see a handy chart of financing structures in the front of the book and really in depth (if concise) looks at how some of these complex projects came together and who the stakeholders were on each. For example, we really didn’t focus on the beautiful design of the High Line project in New York City, which many people are familiar with at this point, but rather the complex roadmap of stakeholders needed to bring a project of that sort to life. We’re hoping that looking at the projects from this angle will help people replicate some of the success stories included in the book.
Inhabitat: It’s no surprise to us that you were able to find as many projects as you did, but what surprised you while compiling all the projects?
Kate Stohr: I was surprised by the number of spiritual and memorial spaces that came forward during the process. That wasn’t initially included as a section in our original table of contents. However, they were just so great. I think something about the last few years required places for contemplation. The fear after the 9/11 attacks, the wars in the Middle East, the on-going conflict in places like the Congo — this was not an easy few years. I think we forget about these sometimes very small spaces and how important they are to us and are understanding of our place in this constantly swirling, churning global world.