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The essence of the stock market is speculation

Dutch architecture firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) has a subtle way of being incredibly subversive in their architecture.

The recently completed 1.9 million square foot Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) building is presently making the rounds online and I personally find it incredibly striking. It has the same timelessness about it that makes me love Mies’ Toronto Dominion Centre.

But it wasn’t until I read the description on OMA’s website that I decided to blog about it. Here’s the first paragraph:

“For millennia, the solid building stands on a solid base; it is an image that has survived modernity. Typically, the base anchors a structure and connects it emphatically to the ground. The essence of the stock market is speculation: it is based on capital, not gravity.

All of these factors suggest an architectural invention: our project is a building with a floating base. As if it is lifted by the same speculative euphoria that drives the market, the former base has crept up the tower to become a raised podium.”

It’s a powerful, yet potentially controversial, symbol, as one could argue that efficient markets should, at least in theory, operate not on ramped speculation but upon fundamental values. However, if markets are an expectations game, perhaps you could simply argue that the building symbolizes a perceived bright future.

Either way, very interesting.

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