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Round Up: China's Next Generation of Museums

Guangdong Museum / Rocco Design Architects. Image © Marcel Lam
Guangdong Museum / Rocco Design Architects. Image © Marcel Lam

Although it went largely unnoticed until Wang Shu was awarded the Pritzker Prize, China's going through a major cultural boom. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes that, since 2012, hundreds of (often privately established) cultural institutions have popped up across the country, honouring everything from the famous Terracotta Soldiers to the local city planning department. We've rounded up a couple of these projects for your pleasure: Jean Nouvel's winning design for the National Art Museum, Steven Holl's mind-warping Sifang Museum, the seemingly extra-terrestrial Ordos City + Art Museum by MAD Architects, Trace Architecture Office's small museum of handcraft paper in the countryside, and a regional museum by Rocco Design Architects that takes inspiration from traditional Chinese lacquered boxes. Enjoy!

NEXT Architects Win Competition for Changsha Bridge

NEXT architects has been awarded first prize in an international competition to design a pedestrian bridge for Meixi Lake in Changsha. Designed to be “more than just a connection,” the footbridge will serve as a key public space for a new lake district within the Dragon King Harbor River development. Recreational, ecological and touristic programs will be integrated into the 150 meter-long, 24 meter-high elevated parkway. 

Ole Scheeren in Beijing, from Nowness

Ole Scheeren: A Beijing Essay  on Nowness.com

In the latest of NOWNESS' spectacular videos, Ole Scheeren - a former partner at OMA and now principal of Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing - reflects on the past decade he has spent in China overseeing construction of the CCTV Headquarters. He muses over the delicate balancing act that Western architects maintain when they work in China, simultaneously bringing change to the city and allowing the city to change who they are and how they see the world. In this context, where change is "something that you are immediately and instantly confronted with" he believes that the CCTV Building is "both confrontational and complicit".

"Fangda Business Headquarters" Winning Entry / Huasen Architects

Huasen Architects (HSA) have been announced winners of the Fangda Headquarters competition. The winning proposal, located in Shenzhen, China, reshapes the existing site into a 300,000 sqm vortex of retail, office, entertainment and recreation spaces, stemming off a high-tech research and technical development hub. Competition requirements called for the integration of a bus terminal predicated on government officials’ calculations that 55% of users would arrive by bus.

Shanghai West Bund Biennial Pavilions / SHL Architects

Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

SENSO Convention Center / MINAX

  • Architects: MINAX
  • Location: Binhu, Wuxi, Jiangsu, China
  • Design Team: Lu Zhigang, Li Ruiyin, Li Jun
  • Area: 1200.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Lu Zhigang

© Lu Zhigang © Lu Zhigang © Lu Zhigang © Lu Zhigang

Steven Holl Wins Competition for Qingdao Culture and Art Center

Steven Holl Architects has been selected as winner, besting OMA and Zaha Hadid Architects, in an invited competition for the new Culture and Art Center of Qingdao City. Located in the heart of Qingdao’s new extension, which is planned for a population of 700,000, the two million-square-foot winning proposal features a conglomerate of four art museums situated amongst a landscape of reflecting pools and gardens which are all connected by a continuous “Light Loop” that moves visitors throughout the site. 

Read on for the architect’s description...

Mountains of Construction Debris Accumulate Outside Chinese Cities

Chinese city-dwellers are waking to find eight stories of construction debris outside of their homes. Over two billion tons of waste, outside Beijing and other major cities, is a result of a booming construction industry. "There's no systematic way to deal with [the garbage]," says Wilson W.S. Lu, architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, "The illegal dumping is everywhere." Recycling efforts have just begun, but local activists believe it will require a radical paradigm shift in the way Chinese residents reclaim material. Read the full New York Times article, "China's Mountains of Construction Rubble."

Sky SOHO Leasing Showroom / GAP Architects

  • Architects: GAP Architects
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Principal designer’s name: Raymond Lau
  • Design team members: Raymond Lau, Yandong Ren, Jiabao Zhao
  • Area: 350.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Raymond Lau & Jerry Yin

© Raymond Lau & Jerry Yin © Raymond Lau & Jerry Yin © Raymond Lau & Jerry Yin © Raymond Lau & Jerry Yin

2013 Shenzhen Biennale, UABB (Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture)

Now in its 5th edition, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB) is the only biennial exhibition in the world to be based exclusively on the themes of urbanism and urbanization and is co-organized by Shenzhen and Hong Kong, making it one of the most important events on its type in the region.

The UABB has developed strong alliances with partners both local, regional and from all over the world. Among them include globally renowned cultural institutions like Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), MAXXI, OMA, Droog Design, International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo, MIT, MoMA New York, and The Berlage.

The curator for this year is Ole Bouman, and amajor attraction of the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale is the creative and dramatic transformation of an old Shenzhen glass factory into one of the Biennale’s core venues for this year. Spearheaded by Ole Bouman, the UABB’s curator and creative director, the project adhered to his manifesto statement of “Biennale as risk.” The revitalisation effort not only provides a unique and functional exhibition space for the Biennale but it reclaims a piece of heritage and history. As a broader objective, the makeover is also a step in redefining Shenzhen’s identity. In completing the urban intervention, Mr. Bouman now calls it a ‘Value Factory’ to manufacture ideas and knowledge.

More after the break.

Placid Mogan Cottage / genarchitects

  • Architects: genarchitects
  • Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • Architect in Charge: Kong Rui, Fan Beilei
  • Interior Designer: Jia Shaojie
  • Landscape Architect: Wang Xuanpeng
  • Area: 1055.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Hou Bowen

© Hou Bowen © Hou Bowen © Hou Bowen © Hou Bowen

Camper Showroom / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

  • Architects: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Architect in Charge: Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu
  • Associates: Alex Mok, Peter Eland
  • Designers: Lina Hsieh, Jacqueline Min, Ni Duan
  • Senior Associate – Graphics: Christine Neri
  • Senior Project Manager: Siwei Ren
  • Graphic Designer: Hao Zhou
  • Senior Associate – Product Designer: Brian Lo
  • Senior Product Designer: Jean-Philippe Bonzon
  • Area: 300.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Dirk Weiblen

© Dirk Weiblen © Dirk Weiblen © Dirk Weiblen © Dirk Weiblen

Aix Arôme Café / One Plus Partnership Limited

  • Architects: One Plus Partnership Limited
  • Location: Shenzhen, China
  • Designers Involved: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung
  • Photographer: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung, Jonathan Leijonhufvud
  • Area: 150.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of One Plus Partnership Limited

Courtesy of One Plus Partnership Limited Courtesy of One Plus Partnership Limited Courtesy of One Plus Partnership Limited Courtesy of One Plus Partnership Limited

SOHO China's Zhang Xin on Balancing Design and Commercial Viability

The list of architects that have collaborated with Zhang Xin’s development company, SOHO China, reads like the roster of an architectural dream team (which includes Zaha Hadid, Yung Ho Chang, Bjarke Ingels, Kengo Kuma, Kazuyo Sejima, Herzog & de Meuron, Thom Mayne, David Adjaye, Toyo Ito and others). So it’s no surprise that the self-made billionaire lectured to a packed house at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design last Thursday. Xin spoke about her commitment to and love of design, explaining that her company’s mission is to bring a variety of architectural languages to China. And though SOHO’s projects are certainly experimental, Xin contends that her developer mindset actually helps meliorate the architect’s propensity to take the experiment too far—all without sacrificing the impressive and iconic forms of SOHO’s building portfolio.

Watch Zhang Xin link her practice in real estate to larger global issues and catch a glimpse of two Zaha Hadid-designs currently under construction: Wangjing SOHO and Sky SOHO.

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan

HENN Wins Competition to Build Cenke Tower in Taiyuan

Berlin-based Henn Architekten has been chosen as the winner of the architectural competition to design the 280-meter Cenke Tower in Taiyuan. Located on a north-south axis, the mixed-use tower will include office, hotel, and retail space. 

Arthouse / Joey Ho Design

  • Architects: Joey Ho Design
  • Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • Other Designer: Yuki Leung, Momoko Lai
  • Area: 771.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Yong Chang Wu

© Yong Chang Wu © Yong Chang Wu © Yong Chang Wu © Yong Chang Wu

Tsao & McKown: Developing a New Kind of Chinese City

China's rapid urbanisation has meant not only the speedy growth of cities but also the disappearance of traditional Chinese architecture. Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown (of Tsao & McKown) find this particularly troubling and so developing a new kind of Chinese city. These pedestrian friendly live-work communities would exist in stark contrast to the high-rise cities that dot the contemporary Chinese landscape. But it hasn't all been easy. Read the full Wall Street Journal article here: "Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown Bring New Eco-Friendly Designs to China."