“Building the American Dream in China” for The New York Times Magazine
I finally got an opportunity to shoot for The New York Times Magazine. They sent me to Harbin with Daniel Gillen, a young American architect who transplanted to Beijing to ride the wave of audacious infrastructure projects being built across China. He currently works for MAD, founded by Ma Yansong and one of the leading domestic firms in China. Over the past few years MAD was tapped to build a number of cultural centers and museums in their consistently curvilinear style, including the recently completed Ordos Museum and the China Wood Sculpture Museum that I photographed in Harbin. Unfortunately these grand architectural flourishes are usually just showpieces in much larger megablock developments – a small nod to innovation amongst a greater sea of mundane urbanity. Whether or not they actually see any use is still in question. In an ideal world they will become centers of creativity, but in the meantime, Daniel Gillen is only there to build them.