Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Open to the public

Shenzhen, the Chinese 'settlement' on the border with Hong Kong, which, in the past (when the earth was flat), before Den Xiaoping declared the backwater a Special Economic Zone in 1980 (which astrophysicists have recently identified as the date of the Big Bang - which led of course to all those Big Bucks) was a fishing village of junks and paddy fields, is now a city of more than ten million population (think of where those people have come from) with the third largest 'container' port in China (think of what is 'contained').

It is now the recipient or host to British architect Terry Farrell's (think of the Thames-side extravaganza for MI6, those kind purveyors of mystery travel and entertaining quiz nights for British citizens and others)) first skyscraper, which will rise to 100 floors.

This monument to the possibilities of physical and spiritual displacement is to have, at the top, above floors of offices, a 250-bedroomed hotel, which 'is all rounded off with a delightful sky lobby, rather like a vast and ultra-modern birdcage, with a bar and terrace open to the public.

There will of course be the regulation architect's indoor garden to compensate for the fact that in the space of a quarter of a century we have left no room for plants - those refugees of our civilisation - on the 'ground floor'. What can be sadder than those container-bound 'mature' plants dragooned into service by the architects, star and earthly, of buildings from Portcullis House onwards. Future archaeologists, peering at the physical detritus of our lost civilisation (unable to decipher the quaint technology of our electronic communications), will doubtless nominate us as the 'container people', and whilst earlier peoples mystified their remote successors with a plethora of what we can only term 'ritual pits', we shall have left behind a generous scattering of 'ritual towers'.

But to return to Shenzhen in the here and now, the space inside this glass tip is taken up by an egg-shaped pod several storeys high containing small private spaces, some perched on balconies, where guests can sit, drink and take in jaw-dropping views of Shenzhen and beyond.'

Which public will those in the 'small private spaces' in 'egg-shaped pods' be allowed to let their jaws drop at, as their expensive drinks approach their mouths?