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An Interview with Zhang Lei, AZL Architects

“We have to try to work with scale and memory. I think in the last twenty years the main problem is that we lost the 归宿感 [sense of belonging]. The people here have been moving from house to house for a long time, the result is that we don’t have a feeling of home… even if you are staying in a nice house or villa you don’t consider it as an ideal or permanent home where you could stay. This might be considered the problem. More than ten years ago we used to have that feeling, the sense to belong to a specific space. We used to live in neighbourhoods where we had a social background, a community, now you don’t have any community, you don’t see the neighbors any more. Now Chinese people are becoming lonely, they are losing that feeling and becoming 'homeless'.” - Zhang Lei, Nanjing, 2013

Model Animal Research Center of Nanjing University / AZL architects. Image Courtesy of AZL Architects Slit House / AZL architects. Image © Nacasa & Partners Nanjing Wanjing Garden Chapel / AZL Architects. Image © Yao Li CIPEA No.4 House / AZL architects. Image © Yao Li

C&C Design Creative Headquarters / C&C Design

Courtesy of C&C Design Courtesy of C&C Design Courtesy of C&C Design Courtesy of C&C Design

China’s Pearl River Delta Overtakes Tokyo as World’s Largest Urban Area

China’s Pearl River Delta has surpassed Tokyo in both size and population, making it the largest urban area in the world, according to the World Bank. The colossal megapolis - a conglomerate of several cities, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan - is a central component to China’s manufacturing and trade industries. 

It is now home to 42 million - more people than the countries of Canada, Argentina or Australia. And, considering nearly two-thirds of the East Asia region’s population (64%) is still “non-urban,” the area is expected to grow exponentially. 

Zhong Huan Plaza Art Center / CAA

  • Architects: CAA
  • Location: Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China
  • Collaborators: Cui Heran, Zhang Fanwei, Zhangpan, Lin Yun, ChenFei
  • Area: 540.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of CAA

Courtesy of CAA Courtesy of CAA Courtesy of CAA Courtesy of CAA

Chinese Company Constructs the World's Tallest 3D Printed Building

Once again, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co has expanded the capabilities of 3D printing. After constructing ten houses in under twenty-four hours last year, now they are back with both the world's tallest 3D printed building - a five-story apartment block - and a 1,100 square meter mansion with internal and external decoration to boot.

On display in Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu province, the two buildings represent new frontiers for 3D printed construction, finally demonstrating its potential for creating more traditional building typologies and therefore its suitability for use by mainstream developers.

A close-up of the construction system. Image via Image via Image via Image via

First Images Released of Henning Larsen Architects' Yuhang Opera

Coinciding with their tenth anniversary of the Royal Danish Opera, Henning Larsen Architects has unveiled plans for a new Chinese Opera house in Yuhang. The project, sited in “the middle of a lake, on display to the entire city,” will serve as the centerpiece of an expansive new cultural district north of Hangzhou. It’s design, described by Henning Larsen to be more “playful” than the Copenhagen Opera, will feature a unique geometric facade and sloping roof, backdropped by a waterfront recreational park. 

Competition Entry: HAO + AI Envision Bolong 3D Movie Museum and Mediatek for Tianjin

Commissioned by the Tianjin Urban Planning Bureau, Holm Architecture Office (HAO) and Archiland International (AI) have unveiled their competition proposal for the Bolong 3D Movie Museum and Mediatek in Tianjin.

Envisioned as part of a new media park slated for construction in the city, the building's design is playful and contemporary, offering visitors a "series of unique spatial experiences." Learn more about the project and view selected images from the proposal after the break.

Courtesy of HAO Courtesy of HAO Courtesy of HAO Courtesy of HAO

Mayor Rejects Sou Fujimoto's Taiwan Tower Over Fears of Soaring Cost

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung has temporarily “pulled the plug” on Sou Fujimoto’s ambitious Taiwan Tower, saying he would rather pay a penalty for breaking the contract than spend an estimated NT$15 billion to realize the “problematic” project. 

The Banyan tree-inspired tower was hoped to become the “Taiwanese version of the Eiffel Tower,” as well as a model for sustainable architecture by achieving LEED Gold with its energy producing features. Its steel superstructure, which proposed to hoist a triangular section of the Taichung Gateway Park’s greenbelt 300-meters into the air, intentionally had “no obvious form” and was to be perceived as a natural phenomenon. 

Examining China's "Edifice Complex"

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Dinny McMahon and Yang Jie visit Shenyang - a "chilly industrial town" in north eastern China which was once the country's capital (circa 1600). The city will soon be home to what's being dubbed the 'Pearl of the North', "a 111-floor office tower that will, briefly, be the seventh-largest in the world, dwarfing One World Trade Center." The tower, designed by Atkins, is "symptomatic of China’s edifice complex," McMahon notes - and the city is "just getting started." Read the article in full here.

NL Architects Propose Striking Chain of Amethyst-Inspired Hotels

Cultures around the world attribute magical properties to the amethyst gem. The lustrous purple quartz is said to bring good fortune, heal illness, and calm the mind. It makes sense, then, that NL Architects have modeled their latest hotel chain proposal after an amethyst geode. Designed based on the original hotel layouts of John Portman, this visually striking tower series aims to serve as a symbol of hospitality and well-being for visitors around the world.

MJH Gallery of iD Town / O-office Architects

  • Architects: O-office Architects
  • Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
  • Architect in Charge: Jianxiang HE, Ying JIANG
  • Design Team: Jingyu DONG, Thomas ODORICO, xiaolin CHEN, Guixiong Feng
  • Area: 2800.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Chaos.Z

© Chaos.Z © Chaos.Z © Chaos.Z © Chaos.Z

13 New Buildings Join the World's 100 Tallest List in Record-Breaking Year

This past year was a record-breaking season for skyscraper construction. According to a new survey by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 2014 saw the completion of 97 buildings that were at least 200 meters tall. Of those, 11 were 300 meters or taller, earning them the classification of “supertall.” These are the highest figures on record, with 2011, for example, seeing only 87 200-meters-plus buildings completed.

In addition, in 2014 the total height of completed buildings (23,333 meters) broke the 2011 record of 19,852 meters. With major countries like China becoming increasingly urbanized, and the world economy recovering from recession, the CTBUH expects that these numbers will only increase. See the details of CTBUH’s report, and learn what the numbers may predict about the future of skyscraper construction, after the break.

Ole Bouman Appointed Director of V&A-Backed Shekou Design Museum

Ole Bouman, former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi), has been appointed director of the new Victoria and Albert Museum-backed Shekou Design Museum in Shenzhen, China. Set to open at the end of 2016 in a Fumihiko Maki-designed building within the Sea World Arts and Culture Center, the new design museum aims to serve as an international platform for Chinese design. 

“We wanted to offer the local residents an internationally important museum that would help promote the development of China’s creative industries and further progress design in China,” stated China Merchants Group (CMG) vice president Sun Chengming. CMG is collaborating with London’s V&A to realize the project. 

More about Bouman’s appointment, after the break.

Wanda Movie Park / Stufish Entertainment Architects

Courtesy of Stufish Entertainment Architects Courtesy of Stufish Entertainment Architects Courtesy of Stufish Entertainment Architects Courtesy of Stufish Entertainment Architects

Office Around a Tree / Lukstudio

  • Architects: Lukstudio
  • Location: Shanghai, Shanghai, China
  • Design Team: Christina Luk, Wesley Shu, Scott Baker, Mavis Li
  • Area: 133.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Peter Dixie

© Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie