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Imprecise Joints

  1. Chenxi Gong


The concept of Imprecise Joints is an approach to conceptualise the mixed construction-scape of semi-urbanised and semi-industrialised cities into perceivable patterns. In this essay, the author presents her hometown Wangcang, a city at the northern edge of Sichuan Province in China, as a specimen of such an urban landscape. Here, the rapid urbanisation process of the recent thirty or forty years has glued originally scattered parts together, creating an entity with loose cohesion and little continu- ity, allowing imprecise joints to develop anywhere between the different structures. Imprecise Joints are not only present in Wangcang. In fact, they appear as a universal phenomenon in semi-urbanised and semi-industrialised cities all over the world. Like strata of history they develop over a long period of constructional interactions yet remaining nameless and unappreciated. As they are often considered temporary, they tend to be overlooked, ig- nored or neglected. The essay argues that these Imprecise Joints, considering their inherent identity and the conditions and questions behind them, should not be treated as ephemeral subjects of temporary in-between phases of devel- opment. They should rather be recognised and interpreted as reference points for a contemporary architectural practice which aims at resonating with sustainable local cultural identity and everyday life.




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