China Now, from Nowness

00:00 - 7 September, 2013

China Now on Nowness.com

In the latest video from Nowness, director Thomas Rhazi documents the complicated architectural scene in China - focusing on how the country holds onto its identity despite the "frenetic" pace of its expansion and globalization. Shaway Yeh sums up the situation nicely: "what does China really look like, what does China represent? No one knows, because it's a place that's still in flux, it's constantly reshaping." Lyndon Neri, however, points to Pritzker Prize winner Wang Shu as a possible answer, saying that he "created something quite amazing in Ningbo, it had a new way of looking at a building in a Chinese way... what he actually did was a modern interpretation of Chinese architecture." No matter where you stand on China's modernization, the video is a beautiful depiction of the historical meeting the modern.

How to Bring China's Ghost Towns Back to Life

00:00 - 6 September, 2013
How to Bring China's Ghost Towns Back to Life, The empty development of Kangbashi/Ordos in Inner Mongolia (China). Image © Tim Franco, Flickr User shanghaisoundbites
The empty development of Kangbashi/Ordos in Inner Mongolia (China). Image © Tim Franco, Flickr User shanghaisoundbites

In this article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine's Point of View blog as "The Real Problem with China's Ghost Towns" , author Peter Calthorpe explains the problems of these cities, predicts their grim future, and explores how the thoughtful planning behind the city of Chenggong could provide a more sustainable alternative. 

 We’ve all seen the reports on “ghost town” developments in China, showing acres of empty high-rise apartments and vacant shopping malls. These barren towns seem particularly ironic in a country planning to move 250 million people from the countryside to cities in the next 20 years. But this massive, unprecedented demand has been distorted by a number of factors unique to China. Flawed financial incentives for cities and developers, along with the poor phasing of services, amenities, and jobs create most of the problems. In addition, China’s emerging middle class is very comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) investing in real estate, so people often buy apartments in incomplete communities but don't move in, expecting that values will rise, or that they will live there someday. The result is a string of large, empty developments that remain speculative investments rather than real homes and communities. [See-through buildings are the worry now, but the real problems may come when they are full.]

While it’s hard to get data on vacancy levels in China, there are certainly many anecdotal examples across the country. An all-too-typical example is Chenggong, the new town planned for 1.5 million just outside of Kunming in the west. This freshly minted city boasts the growing Yunnan University, currently with 170,000 students and faculty; a new government center; and an emerging light industrial area. Under construction are the city’s new high-speed rail station and two metro lines connecting the historic city center.

Tapered House / Index Architecture

01:00 - 3 September, 2013
Tapered House  / Index Architecture, © Hunga Chan
© Hunga Chan
  • Architects

  • Location

    Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong, China
  • Designer

    Anderson Lee
  • Design Team

    Yung Sai Chun, Bart Kwok, Ronnie Chui
  • Area

    670.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

© Hunga Chan © Hunga Chan © Hunga Chan © Hunga Chan +24

Dawang Mountain Resort Changsha / Coop Himmelb(l)au

01:00 - 3 September, 2013
Dawang Mountain Resort Changsha / Coop Himmelb(l)au, Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au
Courtesy of Coop Himmelb(l)au

One of Coop Himmelb(l)au's latest competition winning designs is the Dawang Mountain Resort near Changsha, China, a combination of an entertainment ice world with an indoor ski slope, a water park and supporting restaurant and shopping facilities. Positioned directly on top of a historical cement mining quarry pit and lake, this proposal aims to combine "striking landscape with ambitious design" in a way that could redefine the idea and aesthetics of recreation for the south-central Chinese city.

Harbin Twin Towers Proposal / spatial practice

01:00 - 2 September, 2013
Harbin Twin Towers Proposal / spatial practice, Courtesy of spatial practice
Courtesy of spatial practice

Designed by spatial practice, their proposal for the Harbin High Speed Railway (HSR) west train station Twin Towers. is an iconic project set to include office spaces, residential apartments, retail spaces and a hyper link to a new underground infra-structural hub. With China having the world’s longest High Speed Rail (HSR) network that connects the entire country from north to south and from east to west, the new West Train Station in Harbin will become the northern China gateway connecting to China’s major cities with daily high-speed links to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou. More images and architects' description after the break.

Xiang River Tower / RRC STUDIO

01:00 - 31 August, 2013
Xiang River Tower / RRC STUDIO, © RRC STUDIO
© RRC STUDIO

Milan-based RRC Studio's latest undertaking, the Xiang River Tower, will be an office and residential project in Changsha, a city under heavy development in China. Located near the Xiang river in a prime area of the city’s downtown, the tower will dominate the city's horizon and bear a strong presence on the skyline. 

Read on for the architects' description...

ADEPT Selected to Construct “Green Loops City” in China

01:00 - 29 August, 2013
ADEPT Selected to Construct “Green Loops City” in China, Courtesy of ADEPT
Courtesy of ADEPT

Danish practice ADEPT has won an international, invited competition to master plan the 17KM2 site of Laiyan New Town and Binjian District in Hengyang, China. Their winning proposal, “Green Loops City” was lauded for developing an innovative and sustainable way to accommodate rapid urban growth while preserving Hengyang’s cultural heritage and lush surrounding landscape. 

Aidi Su from ADEPT stated: “Much of Hengyang’s cultural and natural resources are still very much intact when compared to other Chinese cities facing rapid urban development. This is an incredible opportunity for us to make a difference in Chinese cities.”

The Commune Social / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

00:00 - 28 August, 2013
The Commune Social / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, ©  Pedro Pegenaute
© Pedro Pegenaute
  • Architects

  • Location

    Jiang Ning Lu, Shanghai Shi, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu
  • Associate in Charge

    Cai Chun Yan
  • Project Team

    Wang Yan, Guo Peng, Fu Ying
  • Graphic Team

    Christine Neri, Siwei Ren, Ivo Toplak
  • Product Team

    Brian Lo, Nicolas Fardet, Chen Xiaowen
  • Area

    495.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

©  Pedro Pegenaute ©  Pedro Pegenaute ©  Pedro Pegenaute ©  Pedro Pegenaute +9

Design Republic Design Commune / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

01:00 - 20 August, 2013
Design Republic Design Commune  / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, © Pedro Pegenaute
© Pedro Pegenaute
  • Architects

  • Location

    Shanghai, China
  • Partners in Charge

    Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu
  • Associate in Charge

    Cai Chun Yan
  • Design Team

    Wang Yan, Fu Ying, Guo Peng, Peter Eland, Jonas Hultman, Markus Stoecklein, Christina Cho, Jeongyon Mimi Kim, Ella Ye Lu, Federico Saralvo, Zhao Lei, Xiao Lei, Darcy Tang
  • Product Team

    Brian Lo, Zhao Yun, Nicolas Fardet, Chen Xiaowen
  • Graphic Team

    Christine Neri, Hao Zhou, Evelyn Chiu, Siwei Ren
  • Area

    2400.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

© Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute +12

Public Folly - Water Tower Renovation / META - Project

00:00 - 20 August, 2013
Public Folly - Water Tower Renovation / META - Project, © Chen Su
© Chen Su
  • Architects

  • Location

    Shenyang, Liaoning, China
  • Design Team

    Wang Shuo, Zhang Jing, Chang Qianqian, Huang Limiao, Lin Changyan, Tang Heng
  • Client

    China VANKE Co., Ltd.
  • Area

    30.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

© Chen Su © Chen Su © Chen Su © Chen Su +35

Daxinganling Culture and Sports Center / Had Architects

00:00 - 19 August, 2013
Daxinganling Culture and Sports Center / Had Architects, © Tang Jiajun
© Tang Jiajun
  • Architects

  • Location

    Jagdaqi, Da Hinggan Ling, Heilongjiang, China
  • Design Team

    Tang Jiajun, Luo Peng, Ji Qiang ,Wang Conglong
  • Area

    26360.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

© Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun © Tang Jiajun +15

Heritage Park of Qin Er Shi Mausoleum / Lacime Architectural Design

01:00 - 18 August, 2013
Heritage Park of Qin Er Shi Mausoleum / Lacime Architectural Design, © Yao Li
© Yao Li
  • Architects

  • Location

    Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
  • Design Team

    Song Zhaoqing, Li Jing, Zhao Jinxin, Chen Cheng and Zhang Tengfei
  • Collaborators

    Chen Cheng, Zhang Tengfei
  • Area

    7000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

© Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li +21

Southwest International Ethnic Culture and Art Center Winning Proposal / Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute

01:00 - 16 August, 2013
Southwest International Ethnic Culture and Art Center Winning Proposal / Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute, Courtesy of Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute
Courtesy of Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute

Located in the core area of Kunming Chenggong New C.B.D, the main challenge for the design of the Southwest International Ethnic Culture and Art Center was to integrate the local cultures plus various functional programs into one contemporary yet harmonious form. Designed by team members Wang Wensheng, Damian Donze and Sidney Gong of the Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute, their winning proposal takes on an abstract path to integrate the local cultures. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Rethinking the Split House / Neri & Hu Design and Research Office

01:00 - 16 August, 2013
Rethinking the Split House / Neri & Hu Design and Research Office, © Pedro Pegenaute
© Pedro Pegenaute

© Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute © Pedro Pegenaute +10

Hefei 1912 Commercial Street / Lacime Architectural Design

01:00 - 16 August, 2013
Hefei 1912 Commercial Street / Lacime Architectural Design, © Shi Jinzhong
© Shi Jinzhong
  • Architects

  • Location

    Hefei, Anhui, China
  • Design Team

    Song Zhaoqing, Wang Ya, Cai Jingkai, Chen Bin, Jin Guangxian, Liu Yang
  • Client

    Golden Land Real Estate
  • Collaborators

    Chen Bing, Jin Guangxian, Liu Yang
  • Area

    83452.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

© Shi Jinzhong © Shi Jinzhong © Shi Jinzhong © Shi Jinzhong +21

Mixed Use Tower Winning Proposal / DOS Architects

01:00 - 15 August, 2013
Mixed Use Tower Winning Proposal / DOS Architects, Courtesy of DOS Architects
Courtesy of DOS Architects

Invited to take part in the competition setup by the site’s promoter, GWA (Grow Wealth Assets) in March this year, DOS Architects’ proposal for the Mixed Use development in Beijing was just announced as the winner. With the challenge of producing a unique and iconic building, their ‘Cantilevering courtyard tower’ consists of 219,000 sqm of mixed-use space including a hotel, office space, retail and residential units. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Xi’an Greenhouse / Plasma Studio

00:00 - 14 August, 2013
Xi’an Greenhouse / Plasma Studio, Courtesy of Plasma Studio
Courtesy of Plasma Studio
  • Architects

  • Location

    Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Eva Castro, Holger Kehne, Ulla Hell
  • Area

    4000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Plasma Studio

Courtesy of Plasma Studio Courtesy of Plasma Studio Courtesy of Plasma Studio Render +11

Designing in Dialogue: The Architecture of von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Exhibition

00:00 - 14 August, 2013
Designing in Dialogue: The Architecture of von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Exhibition, © gmp Architekten
© gmp Architekten

gmp Architekten's touring exhibition, 'Designing in Dialogue: The Architecture of von Gerkan, Marg and Partners' is currently being hosted by the Chinese National Museum in Beijing until August 25. In this exhibition, gmp will provide an overview of their work: sketches and drawings provide an idea of the conceptual thoughts, models present designs in three dimensions and photos document the completed buildings. The exhibited gmp projects are grouped regionally by continent and in six categories which cover important fundamental, practical and theoretical aspects of gmp’s work. More information after the break.