Grey Brick Galleries, Red Brick Galleries, Three Shadows Photographic Centre by Ai Weiwei at Cao Chang Di, Beijing
Beijing urban expansion _
The fast and enormous urban development of Beijing has transformed the city into a metropolis made of suburban residential compounds, abandoned industrial plants, community housing blocks from the 70s-80s and popular self-grown villages. A mix of high rise residential areas, business districts, impressive infrastructures enclosing spontaneous house areas surviving the demolition and renovation dictated by the construction market. The population has grown from 1 to 18 millions in 60 years, and the size of the city has reached 5 times the ancient capital within the walls – the 2nd Ring Road.
The urban expansion, mostly based on imported urban models and low quality constructions, has been exploding in the past 30 years, and it is rooted with political and economical decisions, as well as local culture and history. Briefly, Beijing is a stunning showcase of urban consequences happening in the world’s first growing economy, during an explosive industrial revolution.
Hallway House, a radical residential project designed by NL Architects, has been conceived within the framework of a ‘match making’ program set up by the Dutch Architecture institute (NAi), together with Housing Corporation VANKE. As a Sino-Dutch collaboration in social housing, NL Architects has created a new concept for high-quality affordable housing on a site in Huilongguan, Beijing. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architect: DADA Architectural Design + Planning
Location: Changping District, Beijing, China
Design Architect: DADA- Principal: Wu Hua; Design Partner: Zhao Zhao
Project Managers: Duan Gong, Li Gang, Project Architect: Jonathan Kan
Parametric Design: Zhou Difeng
Design Team: Jessica Strandell, Yao Cong
Architect of Record: ZJHJ
Budget: 300M CNY ( US$47.6M )
Built Area: 50,000 sqm
Site Area: 28,760 m
Photographs: Courtesy of DADA Architectural Design + Planning
Seeking to improve their outdated and overcrowded department library, the intention for the design of the Law school library aims at housing their growing book collection and creating a central focus for the school. After numerous studies and surveys indicated that students and faculties in Tsinghua hunger for open and easy-communication space, Zhubo based their concept on a people-oriented idea instead of a formalistic one. At the same time, they hoped for an eye-catching library that enlivens the campus, creating a destination that attracts both students and teachers. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has been selected as winner of an international design competition with its Beijing Bohai Innovation City master plan that illustrates a new model of compact, environmentally enhanced urban design.
The winning proposal centers a new environmentally friendly district along the high-speed rail line, linking the national capital to the port city of Tianjin while leveraging the economic and lifestyle assets of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor. The city expansion will bring 17.6 million square meters of mixed-use development, with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries in the dynamically growing Bohai Rim, a region that already accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP.
Continue reading for more.
The Lost Wall project by YNL Design is not meant to be a physical revival of what’s lost, but rather an ideological intervention through the use of controversial architectural intrusion. It redefines the project site by sharply contrasting with the surrounding environment, an allegory of modern China and its destructive treatment of Beijing’s historic buildings in the past century. The goal is to reinforce the importance of historic preservation by facilitating a cultural discussion. More images and architects’ description after the break.
EASTERN design office + KAWAGUCHI & ENGINEERS shared with us their project, Light Thread, China Agricultural University’s Gymnasium / Wrestling Arena for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. During the Olympic Games, the wrestling arena has a 10,000-person capacity. After the Olympic Games, 4,000 temporary seats can be taken out and the interior can be refitted with three arenas, a pool, and 6000 seats to transform the space into a gymnasium complex. Since this building will come into the possession of the Chinese Agriculture University, they sought to create a condition that allows the special requirements of the Olympic Wrestling Arena and the functional features of a building for the Chinese Agriculture University to both be fulfilled in a single construction. More images and architects’ description after the break.
‘Housing With a Mission’ Project at the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Biennale on Architecture and Urbanism
The project ‘housing with a mission’, featured at the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Biennale on architecture and urbanism, is designed as a co-production by five Chinese and five Dutch architectural offices and aims at building 1000 dwellings for the ‘Ant Tribe’ in Beijing. This is the Chinese name for the generation of millions of young graduates who live in cramped conditions in the outskirts of cities and work in low-paid jobs.
The Chinese offices include Standard Architecture, Urbanus, O-Office, Node and CAFA. The Dutch firms include aronsgelauff, Next, KCAP, NL architects and Barcode. More images and project description after the break.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was selected as one of the runner-up candidates for TIMES 2011 Person of the Year Award. Ai Weiwei is known in the architecture world for his collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron, serving as the artistic consultant for the Beijing National Stadium, otherwise known as the Bird’s Nest stadium.
Ai Weiwei is well-known for his political activism, being openly critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. Following his arrest in Beijing earlier this year, Weiwei was detained and interrogated for over two months without any official charges. He was then fined $2.4 million for back taxes and penalties, which he believes to have been politically motivated.
When TIME journalists Hannah Beech and Austin Ramzy asked Weiwei about what motivated him to merge the Internet with political activism, he credited his involvement with architecture.
“I got involved with architecture. To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It’s a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works.”
Read the entire TIME article and full interview with Ai Weiwei here.
The urban concept strategy by Maxthreads Architectural Design for the NW Beijing technology and research center pursues the maximization of open public space on the ground level of the site, including a canal walk area, open spaces and car park area. The mass of the new building is therefore raised into the first floor level. This open space is important to activate the site and the new research center. It is also important as an appropriate take off point or point of termination) for the overall site area sustainable mechanics. They are proposing a generous, diagonal underpass that emerges from the site environment and grand connective gesture. More images and project description after the break.
Architects: ACXT Arquitectos / Iñaki Garai
Location: Beijing, China
Collaborating Architects: Jose Cavallero (IDOM – ACXT), Inés López (IDOM – ACXT)
Collaborating Chinese Architects: Li Dongmei (IPPR), Chen Xuesong (IPPR), Li Huaisheng (Tsinghua Gongmei), Lin Junda (Tsinghua Gongmei) y Guo Wei (Tsinghua Gongmei)
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 18,000 sqm
Photographs: Aitor Ortiz
Challenged with a highly innovative plant, combining scientific research and modern production of concrete on an international standard, Synarchitects have been asking themselves to not only provide all tasks, but to add something special that makes the Xinao Concrete Research Plant shine out the typical factories. More images and architects‘ description after the break.