ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this editorial from AR’s February 2015 issue, AR Editor Catherine Slessor reflects on Álvaro Siza‘s ouevre, from his early work in Évora to his latest effort in China. Though the latter is admittedly elegant, Slessor concludes that in comparison to his older transformative designs the recent incarnation of “brand Siza” is a “predictable triumph of style over content.”
The great Portuguese Modernist Fernando Távora once remarked “Style is not of importance; what counts is the relation between the work and life, style is only the consequence of it.” His friend and protégé Álvaro Siza echoed this sentiment when he said: “Architecture does not have a pre-established language nor does it establish a language. It is a response to a concrete problem, a situation in transformation, in which I participate. In architecture, we have already passed the phase during which we thought that the unity of language would resolve everything. A pre-established language, pure, beautiful, does not interest me.”
The project is part of a high density office park masterplan in Ordos City, located in Inner Mongolia, in which developments are subject to stringent zoning regulations. Offices included in the area must be comprised of multiple cubic volumes, and lack what NADAAA and Himma Studio describe as “an immediate urban context.” Learn more about the project and the architects’ response to these considerations after the break.
Architects: Atelier Alter
Location: Xing Long Cun, Gonghe Xian, Hainan Zangzuzizhizhou, Qinghai Sheng, China
Principals In Charge: Xiaojun Bu, Yingfan Zhang
Project Architect: Luotao Bai, Xiaoli Sun (China Northeast Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute Co. Ltd)
Design Team: Yong Zhang, Rui Liu, Kai Qin,Tongwei Liu, Zhenwei Li, Bida Wei, Haifeng Zhang
Local Architect: China Northeast Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute Co.Ltd
Area: 168379.0 ft2
Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier Alter
RTA-Office has released its first-prize winning proposal for the Wuhu Urban Planning Exhibition, Office, and Archive. The design stems from the idea of an “urban cultural container,” holding both knowledge and space, and extracts its sculptural form from the surrounding mountainous landscape.
Pushing for the Exhibition Hall to be a recognizable landmark, the design is largely driven by its surrounding context. The building as a whole derives its shape from the rocky faces of the nearby Yashan Mountain, giving it a strong sense of place. Similarly, the structure is divided into three distinct sections all grounded by a central public space, each informed by the same rocky inspiration. The cracks in the rocks’ surfaces are mirrored in the irregular entrances and windows carved into the building’s volumes.
“If you don’t know or really didn’t study the local culture, do universal design. That’ll keep the quality. If you want to do something that you don’t know, there is a big chance that it’s going to fail and have a bad impact on the city and the people here. Do it in your own way. If you do something good and beautiful back home, you should do exactly the same type and put it here. That’s also a good contribution because you show good architecture quality… Do something universal!” – Liu Xiaodu, Shenzhen, 2013
Founded in 1999, Urbanus is led by its trio of partners Meng Yan, Wang Hui and Liu Xiaodu, all of whom studied first in China and then abroad in the USA before returning to their native country at the very beginning of its construction boom. In this interview Liu Xiaodu discusses the changing realities of Chinese architecture education, the beginnings of their firm and the positive side to the “chaos” of the country’s current urban expansion.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded unconditional RIBA Part 1 accreditation to the undergraduate program at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, making it the first Chinese architecture program to be certified by the UK architecture body. The accreditation marks another first for XJTLU’s partner university at Liverpool, which pioneered the RIBA accreditation system by becoming the first certified course in the world in 1906, and officially marks the program at XJTLU as on a par with other architecture schools around the world.
The winning entry in a competition for Pingshan’s first theater, Beijing-based OPEN Architecture‘s Pingshan Performing Arts Center has broken ground in Shenzen. The 1350-capacity theatre is located in the city’s new urban district, and slated for completion by the end of 2015.
Read more about the project and view selected images after the break.
Architects: Archea Associati
Location: Yanqing, Beijing, China
Design Team: Archea Associati, Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti, Silvia Fabi, Giovanni Polazzi , Luana Carastro, Francesco Giordani, Stefano Marcinkiewicz, Marco Mugnai, Mattia Mugnaini, Eleonora Prestifilippo, Feng Xiancheng
Area: 15000.0 sqm
Photographs: Cristiano Bianchi, Pietro Savorelli
ADP Ingeniérie (ADPI) and Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have unveiled designs for what will be the world’s largest airport passenger terminal – the Beijing New Airport Terminal Building. The Daxing scheme, based off the bid-winning planning concept by ADPI, hopes to alleviate traffic from Beijing’s existing Capital Airport, which is operating beyond its planned capacity.
“Initially accommodating 45 million passengers per year, the new terminal will be adaptable and sustainable, operating in many different configurations dependent on varying aircraft and passenger traffic throughout each day,” stated ZHA in a press release. “With an integrated multi-modal transport centre featuring direct links to local and national rail services including the Gaotie high speed rail, the new Daxing airport will be a key hub within Beijing’s growing transport network and a catalyst for the region’s economic development, including the city of Tianjin and Hebei Province.”
“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, Nanjing, 2013