After my recent Slate article about roundabouts, part of which I spent delineating the differences between the traffic circles of yore and the modern roundabout, reader Anders sent in this photograph of this startling construction in Shanghai, decidedly the former category. He writes:
This is a traffic circle in the Yangpu district of Shanghai called Wu Jiao Chang, where 5 roads intersect (which is the basic meaning in Chinese). Every intersecting road has a light for entering the circle while there are also traffic lights within the circle.
A bit of further digging notes that the colored form in the center is the work of an artist named Zhong Song:
According to the artist himself, he has engaged the site’s knotty condition: “there are five roads leading to the plaza, with a highway overpass on top, and a subway line underneath. There are three different levels of infrastructure, creating a complex fabric that affects the pedestrian nature of the area. So, the question was, how do we add the pedestrian element so people will animate the five different streets?”. To accomplish this task, the artist enveloped the 105-foot-wide overpass in an ovular steel frame clad with aluminum. Measuring 348 feet long, 157 feet wide, and 82 feet tall, it cloaks cars speeding along the overpass.
Has anyone spent time in this place (I missed it while in Shanghai)? When was it built? How does one even get to the center, to enjoy the animated neon oval? (I can’t tell but there seems to be pedestrian underpasses, which might make this some weird modern version of Eugene Henard’s famous carrefour a gyration in 19th century Paris).
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