The Story of a Section:
Designing the Shougang Oxygen Factory
Michele Bonino, Edoardo Bruno, Alessandro Armando, and Giovanni Durbiano
with a contribution of:
Bonino, Michele, Edoardo Bruno, Alessandro Armando and Giovanni Durbiano, 2022. The Story of a Section: Designing the Shougang Oxygen Factory. Los Angeles: ORO Editions.
This book tells the story of the cross-section of the project to transform a factory into a Visitor Center for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, Beijing 2022. Through the detailed analysis of over 300 drawings of the cross-section – from the first sketch made a few hours after the site inspection to the last construction drawing—the evolution of the architectural project moves between Italy and China, interlocking both cultural differences and attempts at mutual understanding. The development of the section over two years of design work is the lens through which to analyze a design practice in strategic terms, without falling into the rhetoric of pure artistic will or mere subjection to the supposed conditions of necessity. Entering this project laboratory allows to bring out the intrinsically socio-technical dimension of the architectural project, where authorial choices intertwine with bureaucratic constraints, institutional representations collide with organizational needs, and attempts to legitimize run into sudden deviations. An eminently strategic notion of design practice emerges. The story of the Shougang Oxygen Factory section is not just a singular case: it is the story of all the sections of any architectural project, where the design strategy must prove to consider and include the instances it encounters in its path towards the production of an effect.
“This is an insightful study that provides a fresh pragmatist perspective on architectural practice from ‘within.’ Meticulous, ethnographically rich, visually innovative, the book traces the social trajectory of a sketch and the multi- actorial complexity of design making.”
— ALBENA YANEVA / UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER