The New York Times Magazine published this story on Westerners working inside Chinese architecture firms in China:
Building the American Dream in China
(I know, weird title)
by Brook Larmer
The New York Times
March 16, 2012
San Francisco architect Adam Mayer in a Chinese architecture office in Chengdu:"Fueled by rising prosperity and the largest rural-to-urban shift in history — some 300 million Chinese became city dwellers over the past two decades — the boom has utterly transformed the eastern seaboard around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The fastest growth now is taking place deep in the country’s interior or on its outer edges in cities little known in the West: Harbin, Changsha, Chengdu and dozens of others.
"The pace was relentless. From designing one or two projects a month, Mayer was soon being pushed to produce one large-scale conceptual design every week. 'The deadlines were crazy,' Mayer says. 'Sometimes we’d have three days to finish a 250,000-square-meter project.' Even so, his Chinese colleagues churned out even more. 'In terms of pure production, the local staff could work faster and more efficiently than anything I’ve ever seen in the U.S.,' Mayer says, even if in some instances they saw no shame in 'literally copying designs right out of a book.' "
Photo: Wood Sculpture Museum, Harbin by MAD Architects, from the Times.