Jinhua Architecture Park


Jinhua Architecture Park is made up of 16 pavilions, designed by international and domestic architects, strung over 2km along the Yìwū River. It was conceived and curated by the artist Ai Wei Wei, to honour his father, poet and native son Ai Qing. Though the buildings – intended to be coffee shops, libraries, wi-fi–enabled work spaces and the like – are shuttered, it is still a fascinating sight, a modern meditation on memorial architecture.

The park, created in 2002, could have put the city on the international map: the star power of the names attached to the project (like Herzog & de Meuron) are a testimony to Ai's global renown as an artist. Yet he is also a controversial, outspoken figure; despite having once been named artistic director for the Beijing Olympic stadium, he was arrested in 2011 on vague charges.

Jinhua Architecture Park is all but abandoned and, given southeast China's propensity for rain, the buildings are already succumbing to rust and mould – acquiring the patina of ruins, despite their contemporary nature. Local children play in the open-air structures; the rest can be appreciated only from the outside.

The park is 6km east of central Jinhua. A taxi to the park costs around ¥30, and buses 24, 303 and 528 run here.

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