An Interview with Zhang Lei, AZL Architects

Nanjing Wanjing Garden Chapel / AZL Architects. Image © Yao Li

“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, , 2013

Nanjing Wanjing Garden Chapel / AZL Architects

© Yao Li

Architects: AZL Architects
Location: , Jiangsu, China
Area: 200.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Yao Li

CIPEA No.4 House / AZL architects

© Yao Li

Architects: AZL architects
Location: Nanjing, ,
Architect In Charge: Zhang Lei
Design Team: Zhang Lei, Jeffrey Cheng, Wang Wang, Wang Yi
Collaborator: Architectural Design & Planning Institute, NJU
Area: 500 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Yao Li

Xixi Artist Clubhouse / AZL Architects

© Yao Li

Architects: AZL Architects
Location: , 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: 4,000 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Yao Li

Nan Gallery / AZL architects

© Nacasa & Partners

Architects: AZL architects
Location: Nanjing, Jiangsu Province,
Project Team: Zhang Lei, You Shaoping, Yuan Zhongwei
Project area: 230 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Nacasa & Partners

Brick House / AZL architects

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Architects: AZL architects
Location: Gaochun, Jiangsu Province, China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Shen Kaikang, Zhang Ang
Collaborator: Gaochun Architectural Design Office
Project area: 580 sqm (Ye House) + 860 sqm (Wang House)
Project year: 2006 – 2008
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Three Courtyard Community Centre / AZL architects

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Architects: AZL architects – Zhang Lei
Location: Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province,
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Shen Kaikang, Yang Hefeng
Collaborator: Yangzhou City Planning & Design Institute
Project area: 1,900 sqm
Project year: 2008 – 2009
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Concrete Slit House / AZL architects

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Architects: AZL architects – Zhang Lei
Location: , Jiangsu Province, China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Meng Fanhao, Cai Menglei, Lu Yuan, Tang Xiaoxin
Collaborator: Architectural Design & Planning Institute, Nanjing University
Project area: 270 sqm
Project year: 2006 – 2008
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Northstar Changsha Delta Project Exhibition Hall / AZL architects

© Yao Li

The Northstar Changsha Delta project lies on a one square kilometer site with a large-scale urban development project occupying more than five million square meters of construction. Located east of the Xiangjiang River and south of the Liuyanghe River, the project will transform the landscape and shape the future development of north Changsha. The Exhibition Hall is the first built project of Northstar’s ambitious plan, It contributes to the social and economic development of the region; recoding its implementation process while fulfilling the programmatic business and sales objectives of the development.

Architects: AZL architects
Location: Changsha, , China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Zhou Suning, Wang Liang
Collaborator: Architectural Design Institute, Hunan University
Project Area: 3000 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Yao Li

Zhengdong District Urban Planning Exhibition Hall / AZL architects

© Yao Li

Public places embodying shared cultural values and ideals have the opportunity to become the most important activity and urban life centers in cities. Contrary to the iconic architecture and closed façades ubiquitous in China, AZL architects feel public buildings need to present an openness and give back to the urban context, especially in the case of the Zhengdong District Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

Architect: AZL architects
Location: Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China
Project Team: Zhang Lei, Qi Wei, Guo Donghai, Cai Zhenghua
Collaborator: Architectural Design & Planning Institute, University
Project Area: 8,450 sqm
Project year: 2011
Photographs: Yao Li