China’s New “Urban Forest”
Inspired by mountainous Chinese landscapes and the traditional villages built their hillsides, MAD Architects has unveiled plans to create a towering vertical Urban Forest. Designed for Chongqing, China, the projects consists of a stacked vertical forest set in the heart of the city, designed to bring more nature and open space in a dense and compact way. MAD Architects is becoming more known for their sustainable designs, and hopefully the green design aspects of this new tower extend beyond the garden spaces on each floor.

Urban Forest is a commercial high-rise building that takes the form of an urban mountain with over 70 floors, each one different and unique. Each floor is an abstract curved shape, layered slightly off-center to give the facade an organic look as it rises up into the sky. A central cylindrical core structure supports all the floors and hosts the mechanical systems and elevators.

Each floor is also covered in floor-to-ceiling glass windows, providing expansive views of the city. A walk-around balcony of differing widths hosts the green garden space, as well as pools, trees, and courtyards. Some floors are nothing but open space, while others contain offices or residential space. Each floor is seen as a separate and unique level of the urban forest and is meant to combine both nature and the urban metropolis.

Read more at SkyScraper Page Forum


May You Live In Interesting Times...

We all probably know the playful Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." Watching the current political gambits on TV and YouTube it certainly reminds us that we live in a new instant age. Unfortunately, at least so far, this "silly season" seems to be a lot more about entertainment than substance.

The political process at the moment appears to be primarily (pun intended) a media and money circus, rather than a realistic and practical discussion of the work that needs to be done to deal with America's real problems, both economic and social.

Given our current economic doldrums, and the continuing problems of unfair taxation, high unemployment, millions of Americans still without health care, and the dismal condition of our infrastructure, it's easy to become disheartened.

Still, I feel that there's real hope to focus on.

Although we are firmly part of a global economy now, America continues to be the one country that still offers the most personal opportunity, growth, innovation and success for millions of people from thousands of diverse backgrounds.

We have all THE BASICS right here. Our economy is vast, responsive and solid under the current turbulence. Let's hope 2012 proves to be a year of wisdom, power and potency, for our country, its leaders...and our profession!



RE: China

Dear H2,

Thank you so much for sharing your trip to China! We were there also this October, visiting a son in Hong Kong and then taking about the same tour as you did with the exception of the River tour. We really enjoyed reading your trip itenerary and looking at the corresponding photos and have the same reactions you did. Some day if you ever get a chance, go to Hong Hong. It has soooo much to offer regarding architecture as well as culture. There are about 100 islands that make up what is known as Hong Kong! And if possible, stay at the " Upper House" (which is above the Marriot Hotel) with direct views of the harbor.

Thanks again for sharing.

Judith Lichty


The Chinese New Year - Year of the Golden Rabbit

This should be a placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year. Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. Diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty. One warning: do not become too self-indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like comfort and thus impairs their effectiveness and sense of duty when action is needed.

The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau, Harper & Row Perennial, 1979.

Feature Article

Highlights of Trip to China -- Oct. 21st - Nov. 5th, 2010

Henry S Harrison & Ruth Lambert

Recently, we returned from a 17 day trip to China. We have tried to capture in this article some of the highlights of our experience and what we learned about China. The article is divided into two parts. Part 1 summarizes what we saw and learned. Part 2 is a chronological day-by-day description of the trip, with many pictures.


China is a big country with a land area about the same as the US, with a gigantic population of over 1.3 billion people. Like the US, most of the action is in its coastal cities. Unlike the United States, China has only one coastline, on the East China Sea.