Page C1 . 11 October 2006       
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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  • Postcard from Nara
  • Hong Kong Villages
  • How Botta Builds

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    Dear ArchitectureWeek,

    The city of Nara, Japan, brims with landmark buildings from the Nara period (710-784 A.D.), when it was the capital. A particularly striking one is Tōdai-ji, the Great East Temple, founded in the mid-eighth century to house Daibutsu, the Great Buddha statue.


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    When the British occupied a "barren rock" following the First Opium War in 1841, Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston was "greatly mortified and disappointed" at the island's perceived worthlessness. Since then, however, Hong Kong has become one of the world's most important entrepreneurial, architectural, banking, and trading centers.


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    Creating an edifice draws on an almost mystical process of imagining and materializing something from nothing, of developing original thought forms and manifesting them in the physical environment. Swiss-born Mario Botta provides a unique perspective on this creative process. He is best known in the United States for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is considered one of the world's foremost architects for churches and museums.


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