OPENING CEREMONY!

Some people stayed behind last night untill 01:00 in the morning, and another group took over their work at 04:00 this morning. So the site was only unattended for three hours.

The main reason for this was to try to make the awful plastic doors we received look a little bit better.

In the morning one million Chinese workers suddenly appeared and began to help us prepare the site.

At 08:30 when the opening ceremony was supposed to start, we still had some problems with the inner cladding. And with the doors.

Professors, press people and other important people were beginning to gather outside the building.

And at about 09:00, only half an hour late, the speeches could begin. The doors still don’t have handles, and they could not be completely closed because they crashed with the cladding. The person who delivered the doors will come and attatch the correct handles later (if I understood correctly). The floor took longer time to dry than anticipated so it was still a bit wet. But there is nothing to do about that, and the ceremony could begin.

Christian held a speech.

Other people held speeches.

Elvira also held a nice speech, on behalf of us the students.

There was a book launch.

A group photo.

And then the fireworks!

Then people could go in and enjoy the nearly finished building.

[…]

When the ceremony was over we were driven to an unknown location for some other ceremony.

Our teachers, Christian and Jan, who have done this before, had the foresight to order tickets that made it impossible for them to attend this arrangement.

So as our teachers hurried to the airport, the rest of us were herded in to the bus which drove us for one hour to a conference hotel.

We are now, as I am writing, at a sort of conference or award ceremony without any obvious link to our project other than that it is organized by the UED Magazine who also initiated our project.

The only interesting thing I managed to pick up in my half-sleeping state was that they have made many different proposals for a “Futuristic City” and all of the interpretations of “futuristic” use traditional countryside life or natural terrain or organic metaphors as guides. Unfortunately these, undoubtedly groundbreaking presentations – which never seemed to end – were quite wasted on us since we were all too exhausted to listen very attentively.

[…]

Then we returned to the site, to make some final adjustments. This was also our only chance to photograph the building for our final exhibition.

The UED provided us with some books we could inhabit the shelves with. Any representative of AHO’s intellectual side would be pleased to know that one of the books they brought was a Chinese translation of the late AHO professor Christian Norberg-Schulz’ Genius Loci.

In the end it was time to say good bye to our building and walk the other way.

In the evening there was a big barbeque in the valley. They roasted an entire lamb.

And we said our good-byes with good food, singing and drinking.

Tomorrow everyone will travel in different directions. Many people take a train to Hong Kong already tonight, at 02:00(!), some will travel westward to the Yunnan privince, some go back to their universities in Beijing, Tianjin and other places and many of us will possibly never meet again. You get to know eachother very well when you construct a building together. This has been a wonderful experience for all of us. We have learned things about buildings we would never have been able to learn simply from lectures and models at our universities, and we have had the great fortune to get to know fantastic people and students of architecture from many different countries, and hopefully we will be able to meet and help each other also in the years to come.

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