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Films & Architecture: "24 City"

By the acclaimed director Jia Zhangke, 24 City cannot be considered a documentary, since actors perform in most of the scenes; however, this Chinese film realistically shows the dissociation between the rapid urban development and a population that seems to be victimized by globalisation.

The film is focused on the workers at Factory 420, a complex designed and deployed by the government for military purposes and used as a factory for producing and repairing mechanical elements for the army. This whole area became a city in itself, housing generations of factory workers. When the space is converted to 24 City, a complex to accomodate hundreds of luxury apartments, the entire site is demolished. 24 City tells the workers' stories in the midst of this transformation.

How should we consider these kinds of mono-functional cities and what could/should be their futures? Let us know in the comments below.

Video: Bianca Bosker Discusses Architectural Imitation in China

In China's effort to modernize its cities, it has used architectural mimicry - essentially "copy-cat architecture" as journalist and author Bianca Bosker puts it - to rapidly and substantially "adapt to the market" for urban development.  Watch this video as Bosker describes the atmosphere of imitation that China has  adapted to bring western architectural styles to its housing market. Bianca Bosker is the author of "Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China"  in which she gives a tour of the various towns within major cities that have seen this rapid development.  Cities like Hangzhou has its own imitation of Venice, which includes man-made canals, townhouses, and villas.  Shanghai has its own version of Paris, Eiffel Tower included.  And Beijing has an imitation of the London Bridge.  

TJAD New Office Building / TJAD

Courtesy of TJAD
Courtesy of TJAD
  • Architects: TJAD
  • Location: 1230 Siping Road, Shanghai, China
  • Project Director: Ding Jiemin
  • Head Of Design: Zeng Qun
  • Project Architects: Zeng Qun, Wen Xiaoqin, Wu Min, Sun Ye, Chen Kangquan, Zhang Yan, Wang Xiang
  • Area: 64522.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Courtesy of TJAD

Courtesy of TJAD Courtesy of TJAD Courtesy of TJAD Courtesy of TJAD

Xixi Artist Clubhouse / AZL Architects

  • Architects: AZL Architects
  • Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • Architect In Charge: Zhang Lei
  • Project Team: Zhang Lei, Qi wei, Zhong Guanqiu, Zhang Guangwei, Guo Donghai
  • Collaborator: Architectural Design Institute, ZJIU
  • Area: 4000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Yao Li

© Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li

Sanya Lake Park Super Market Proposal / NL Architects

Housing Corporation VANKE recently asked NL Architects to make a proposal for a Super Market as part of a big resort in Sanya, the southernmost city in China. Renowned for its tropical climate and for being a popular tourist destination, the site of the resort will consist of three clusters of large residential slabs of 21 stories high enveloping semi enclosed gardens. The public space plays a crucial role in the atmosphere of the area as a whole so a lot of consideration is going into creating a pleasant environment. More images and architects’ description after the break.

'Shenyang International Automobile City' Winning Proposal / SBA International

SBA International’s concept of a sustainable development among industry, business and residential in the Chinese city of Shenyang just won the first prize in the in the "Tiexi Waterfront Area" competition. Their ‘Clean City Concept’ includes a reduction of CO2 emissions, environmental green areas and office buildings which comply with the latest standards of a ‘Green Building’. The planning area is divided in three theme areas and in total covers an area of 90 square kilometers. More images and architects’ description after the break.

From East Bookstore / Scenic Architecture Office

Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture

HAD Office / Had Architects

© Tang Jiajun
© Tang Jiajun
  • Architects: Had Architects
  • Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
  • Design Team: Tang Jiajun, Wang Conglong
  • Area: 515.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Tang Jiajun

© Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun

Vanke One City / Kokaistudios

  • Architects: Kokaistudios
  • Location: Yantian, Shenzhen, China
  • Project Team: Andrea Destefanis, Filippo Gabbiani, Pietro Peyron, Qin Zhantao, Yu Liding, Li Wei
  • Area: 2300.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Lu Feng Photography, New & Old Studio

Courtesy of Kokaistudios Courtesy of Kokaistudios Courtesy of Kokaistudios Courtesy of Kokaistudios

Famen Temple Zen Meditation Center Winning Proposal / OAC

Following OAC’s win in the international design competition and completion of the master plan for the Famen Temple Zen Meditation Center in 2012, the architects recently completed the schematic designs for the buildings, landscape, and experiential features and art installations for meditation in the first phase of the project called the ‘Eightfold Path Forest’. As part of the new cultural master plan development on the site of the renowned 1,800 year-old Famen Buddhist Temple (aka Dharma Gate Temple) outside Xi’an, China, this project is one of the largest architectural and landscape commissions in the world focused around an historic religious temple.More images and architects' description after the break.

Clock Museum Of the Cultural Revolution / Jiakun Architects

  • Architects: Jiakun Architects
  • Location: Dayi, Sichuan
  • Principal Architect: Liu Jiakun
  • Design Team: Yang Ying, Song Chunlai
  • Area: 3885.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2008
  • Photographs: Iwan Baan, Bi Kejian

© Bi Kejian © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Bi Kejian

Victory Street Resident Committee / Scenic Architecture

Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture Courtesy of Scenic Architecture

Hongqiao Business District Winning Proposal / MVRDV

Upon recently winning the competition, MVRDV's design for the Hongqiao Business District recently started construction. The plan comprises ten office towers, an underground shopping center, cultural program, parking and a sunken plaza which will bring a more intimate form of urban life into an area currently dominated by large boulevards and urban expressway’s. Located near the fourth busiest airport in all of mainland China, the 4.5ha site is divided into a small northern plot of 8,409 m2 and a larger southern plot. More images and architects' description after the break.

Shanghai Roche Master Plan & Office Building / EXH Design

  • Architects: EXH Design
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Area: 16700.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of EXH Design

Courtesy of EXH Design Courtesy of EXH Design Courtesy of EXH Design Courtesy of EXH Design

Anting Culture and Sports Activity Centre / Atelier Z+

  • Architects: Atelier Z+
  • Location: Anting, Jiading, Shanghai
  • Architects: Zhang Bin, Zhou Wei
  • Design Team: Wang Jiaqi, Lu Jun, Li Ying, Li Qin, Zhuang Sheng, Guo Yue
  • Area: 16171.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier Z+

Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Courtesy of Atelier Z+