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An Interview with Yung Ho Chang, Atelier FCJZ

"When you find a piece of stone which is three or four hundreds years old, then you understand the notion of time as more than what we can experience as human beings. At that moment the old thing might be beautiful, it might be ugly. It doesn't matter, but it gives you a sense of profound time, and then you understand your history and ancestors that lived in a different world, different from the one we are in now."-Yung Ho Chang

Located in Beijing’s Yuanming Yuan Park, next to the ruins of the mixed-style Baroque Palace, Yung Ho Chang's office is in an ancient wooden dwelling, surrounded by vegetable gardens grown by the architects of the studio.

In this conversation, Yung Ho, who established China’s first independent architectural office, Atelier FCJZ in 1993, laying the foundation of contemporary practice in China, talks about his story, describing a Beijing which has disappeared as well as the contemporary Beijing and its "New Beijing Sky." He talks about architecture using references from movies, literature, art and artists, describing his approach to architecture in accordance with his philosophy of life.

West Street Number 1 / 6A2 Studio, Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tsinghua University

  • Architects: 6A2 Studio, Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tsinghua University
  • Location: Wudaokou, Haidian, Beijing, China
  • Architect in Charge: Wenqing Li
  • Design Team: Wenqing Li, Guodong Yin, Zhe Li, Yijun Qiao, Jintao Jia
  • Collaborators: Yan Zhang, Hongyan Li, Zhixin Xu
  • Area: 1200.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Archexist

© Archexist © Archexist © Archexist © Archexist

CCTV Headquarters Named “Best Tall Building Worldwide”

OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, ArchDaily’s 2012 “Building of the Year,” was deemed “Best Tall Building Worldwide” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Selected from a shortlist of four deserving skyscrapers, CCTV was awarded “best” due to its “unusual take on skyscraper typology.”

The jury stated: “Instead of competing in the race for ultimate height and style through a traditional two-dimensional tower soaring skyward, CCTV’s loop poses a truly three-dimensional experience, culminating in a 75-meter cantilever."

Ole Scheeren in Beijing, from Nowness

Ole Scheeren: A Beijing Essay  on

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".

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."

Reviving Beijing's Hutongs with Micro Installations

The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright documents the current trend of micro-scale installations spurring new life into the historic hutongs of Beijing and gaining support from the local communities, eager to reject the economic pressures of destroying/rebuilding. The local government’s endorsement, however, comes as a surprise - especially considering its fervent impetus to raze these areas just a few years ago. Read the full article here: Designers Use 'Urban Acupuncture' to Revive Beijing's Historic Hutongs.

Tales Pavilion / Luca Nichetto

© Jonathan Leijonhufvud © Jonathan Leijonhufvud © Jonathan Leijonhufvud © Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Pure Hardcore Icons Manifesto Exhibition

‘Pure Hardcore Icons Manifesto Exhibition’ will be on display from Sept 25 to October 7 as part of this year’s Beijing Design Week.

Chaoyang Park Project / MAD Architects

© MAD Architects
© MAD Architects

As a continuation to his “Shan-Shui City” concept, which envisions a “city of mountains and water,” Ma Yansong of MAD Architects has proposed an interpretation of China’s ancient natural philosophy in the contemporary city: the Chaoyang Park project. Situated in the world’s second largest city park and surrounded by a typical Chinese business district, the Chaoyang Park project seeks to infuse the “vigorous Shan-Shui culture” with a new urban typology that unites architecture and nature as a single entity. 

Mixed Use Tower Winning Proposal / 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.

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

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. 

Luxury Villa Built on Beijing Rooftop To Be Demolished

As architects, it's often difficult for us to accept that the users who inhabit our buildings will modify the design in ways we never intended (or wanted). Of course, one can usually reasonably suspect that, at the very least, an inhabitant will never do this: a Professor Zhang has spent the last six years building a two-story luxury villa (complete with surrounding rocks and trees) on the roof of a Beijing apartment building. Unfortunately for Zhang, however, who legally bought the penthouse apartment, but never requested the planning permission to subsequently doze it and re-build another structure entirely, the Authorities will demolish the villa in the next 15 days, claiming that it places a dangerous amount of extra weight upon the building and increases "the susceptibility of the construction to earthquakes or lightning strikes." Story via the Shanghaiist.

Family Box / Crossboundaries

  • Architects: Crossboundaries
  • Location: Beijing, China
  • Architect: Crossboundaries Architects
  • Collaborating Architects & Engineers: BIAD International Studio & BIAD TSH International Studio
  • Client: Children Enterprise (UK) Limited
  • Area: 2300.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Chaoying Yang

© Chaoying Yang © Chaoying Yang © Chaoying Yang © Chaoying Yang

Jean Nouvel Named as Winner of National Art Museum of China Competition

The rumors are true: Jean Nouvel has been selected as the official winner of the highly acclaimed National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) competition in Beijing. According to Dezeen, the news has been confirmed by Nouvel’s adviser, Oliver Schmitt. Though little has been released about the winning design, earlier reports have described it as a “vast structure” based on the simplicity of a single line - “a single brush stroke.” 

In an interview with Financial Times, Nouvel quoted the Chinese artist Shi Tao (1642-1707): “A single line is the source of everything in existence. [...] We started with calligraphy. [...] Pupils used to spend half a year just on that first line with a brush. That first line contains all of Chinese culture – painting, writing and the energy of Chi.” 

CTS Temple of Heaven Performance Zone Winning Proposal / Aedas

Aedas recently unveiled their master plan proposal for the CTS Temple of Heaven Performance Zone. Located in Beijing, their concept consists of a trio of urban, garden and lake environments while aiming to become the capital’s core cultural and commercial district and establish an international modern city life standard. More images and architects’ description after the break.

National Art Museum of China Entry / Gehry Partners

Gehry Partners have just released their highly anticipated proposal for the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing. Though rumors from last year reported Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel as the competition’s top contenders, with Nouvel taking the lead, a winner has yet to be confirmed.

Gehry’s design, which is intended to promote cross cultural understanding and appreciation for Chinese contemporary art, aims at setting a new standard for 21st century Chinese architecture. Perhaps the most defining element of the design is the “translucent stone” facade, a new type of glass developed by Gehry Partners that is said to have the qualities of jade.

More images and the architect’s description after the break...

'The Cola-Bow' Installation / penda

Designed by penda, the cola-bow installation is a public art installation made out of more than 17,000 recycled plastic bottles, which were braided to create a shape inspired by the swings of the Coca-Cola logo. Designed for the 2nd Beijing University Creation Expo, which turns into the Beijing Design Week, the installation aims to also serve as a statement against plastic pollution by taking trash and turning it into a shelter. More images and architects' description after the break.

'Shanshui City' Book Launch and Exhibition / Ma Yansong of MAD Architects

Displayed earlier this month in a Qing Dynasty courtyard garden at Wu Hao in Beijing, Ma Yansong's 'Shanshui City exhibition featured more than twenty architectural models and works of art that are scattered around the ancient courtyard. Among rocks, screen walls, bamboo groves, pools of water and beneath the sky, the scale of each piece varies and collectively they form a futuristic utopian urban landscape. The newly issued book "Shanshui City" - released simultaneously with the exhibition - is an important turning point for Ma Yansong's ten years of architectural practice and theory. More images and information on the exhibition after the break.