Tag Archives: construction

Chongqing Xpress: Part 4

Everyday for the past year a massive construction project has seized the plot of land where Chongqing’s Jiangbei district used to have a water park. For months it seemed like nothing was happening, as all we could see were holes slowly being dug in the ground by massive drills. However, once the arduous task of installing the foundation was done, the site quickly burst to life.

When the wood and steel arrived at the site it looked like someone had dumped an entire skyscraper’s worth of materials onto the ground. Then slowly but surely the pieces got sorted out and a structure began to take shape.

Now like little worker ants, anonymous yellow and red hats scurry around mud and concrete on a seemingly 24/7 schedule. While this isn’t one of those skyscraper-in-90-days stories, the building appears to be buzzing along with measured efficiency.

The people working on this site look like they’re anywhere from 20-50 years old. And while there are definitely more men than women, the women seem to do almost all the same tasks as the men. Actually, all the crane operators are women.

As one who doesn’t understand from a technical perspective much of what is going on at the site, it’s quite fascinating to watch the Erector Set-like structure gradually climb up and up. What’s more, it’s amazing to see such a large structure being built with basically just hammers, saws, welders, and a couple heavy lifting machines. So here’s a tribute to those hard working men and women that we hear every morning, night, and weekend. Thanks for unknowingly sharing your work with us.

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Chongqing Xpress: Part 2

The following images were taken on the southeastern edge of Jiangbei (江北). Jiangbei lies to the north of Jiefangbei(解放碑)across the Jialing Jiang (river 嘉陵江). While Jiefangbei is Chongqing’s central business and shopping district, Jiangbei has long been established as a secondary city center with numerous shopping centers and burgeoning business districts.

As Jiangbei expands with new business parks like Jinrong Zhongxin (Financial Center 金融中心) and scores of 30+ story apartment complexes, images of the now somewhat cliché yet no less real contrast between old and new assault the landscape.

 

Pictured Below:

Upper Left. A welder works in the darkness of an underground shop. Steep hillsides, under bridges, and basement units are popular shop locations for mechanics and migrant construction workers.

Upper Right. Hand mixed cement is the glue holding together much of Chongqing’s poorest communities. Blue corrugated metal serves as roofs for many low-income houses marked for teardown (拆).

Middle 1: An old cement apartment building stands in front of new units in the distance. In cheap housing complexes, an apartment’s single window is valuable space for all the everyday things that need air and light. And more often than not, broken window panes are replaced by plastic bags, not glass.

Middle 2: Looking up at a typical lower-middle income apartment building.

Bottom: Looking down at a typical older low-income housing complex.

 

Chongqing 重庆

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Chongqing 重庆

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Chongqing 重庆

 

Upper Left. The red tension cables of the still-under-construction bridge connecting Jiefangbei to Jiangbei’s new (and mostly vacant) southeastern business park run in front of the outline of towers in Jiefangbei’s central business district.

Upper Right. A kite flown from the promenade around the Chongqing Opera House (重庆大剧院)flies above an apartment complex sporting the words 天下 (the land under heaven, i.e. the whole world).

Middle Left & Right. Green, a color once native to Chongqing, is now as much a planned impostor as the buildings and people. Manicured hedges, flowers in highway medians, urban vegetable gardens, and trees in public parks are the last vestiges of green in the city. Urban gardens are typically shared by residents of nearby apartment complexes. The gardens are usually quite vertical, using land that is unsuitable for any other use.

Middle Bottom. Cranes are the symbol of life for a building. While many projects in Chongqing have frenetic cranes swinging about them, many others are simply abandoned skeletons, often the result of a lack of sufficient investors.

Bottom. The white lines of a driving school test course suggest a complexity that might ensure capable drivers. However, the current generation of drivers seem to be proof that no matter how strict the driving test, the most important factor in creating good drivers is having parents/teachers who are good drivers, which only a few of the youngest generation have.

 

Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆

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Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆

 

Upper Left & Right. The controlled chaos of construction under the southwestern side of the Chaotianmen Chang Jiang Daqiao (big bridge 朝天门长江大桥). This massive area is set to be a new mixed retail and business center.

Bottom. Many migrant workers make a home wherever they’re allowed to or not bothered. That often means taking to hillsides near their construction sites. This man sits beside his temporary home and gazes through the haze at a block of high-rise apartments.

 

Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆

 

Upper Left. The red walkway that scales the upper edge of the Chaotianmen Chang Jiang Daqiao. Not open to the public, this walkway runs across the entire top of the bridge and would be undoubtedly breathtaking and terrifying to climb.

Upper Right. The bolts holding the Chaotianmen Chang Jiang Daqiao together.

Middle Left. An old seemingly abandoned or perhaps repurposed boat’s sign hints at its past life (茶|鱼 means the boat served tea and fish).

Middle Right. A construction worker installs windows in a newly built apartment complex.

Middle 1. The Chang Jiang’s (Yangtze) waters are almost always alive with boats of all shapes and sizes, from modern commercial shipping and fishing boats, to individual wooden canoes used for fishing and trapping.

Middle 2. Sunset against the Chaotianmen Chang Jiang Daqiao.

Bottom. Panorama view through the haze of Jiefangbei’s Chaotianmen (朝天门).

 

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Top. Plastic dividers used as highway medians and barriers at construction sites piled together for storage.

Bottom. An abandoned house marked for demolition (拆) is used as a temporary home. This house stands in an area marked for construction, though currently no development appears to be taking place. Houses like this, which are partially torn down amidst stagnant projects search for funding become homes to those with no other options. This particular house stands next to a bustling residential district.

 

Chongqing 重庆

Chongqing 重庆