Vincent Callebaut Architectures have received honorary mention for their “Wooden Orchids” proposal in the International Union of Architects’ (UIA) Mount Lu Estate of World Architecture Competition. Based in Ruichang, China, the competition tasked participants with designing several cultural and commercial complexes near one of the world’s largest flower theme parks. Wooden Orchids consolidates these functions in a green shopping hub that speaks to the area’s demographic and climatic influences.
Completed images of OMA‘s design for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale’s Chinese Pavilion have been released. Juxtaposing artworks “in a field of projections and stages,” the exhibition is designed to be an “immersive environment” that brings together work by Tan Dun, Liu Jiakun, Lu Yang, Wu Wenguang / Caochangdi Work Station and Wen Hui / Living Dance Studio under the theme “Other Future.”
“It’s really easy to build a building. From the very beginning to the realization; it’s very easy! You just give it an interesting form and you get approved. But the real issues are how to make it user-friendly and to enhance the quality of the life of the people trying to escape the influence of the “system”. That’s the challenge. In my experience […] I’ve learned that for architects, both Chinese and foreign, the use of form to create an object is easy but how to do the right thing is very challenging.”
- Zhang Bin, Shanghai, Sept 2013
Three Harvard students have launched a Kickstarter Project to fund a short film and digital exhibition on the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, which runs along the historic Silk Road. “From ‘Silk Road’ to ‘Gas Road’” will explore the “cultural, ecological and urban implications” of the 21st century intervention, following the summertime journey of Lu Xiaoxuan, Benny Shaffer, and Justin D. Stern along the pipeline. The project is being carried out through Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese studies, and the trio intends to finish filming and photographing for the project this summer.
Learn more about the project and how to support it after the break.
Sunlay Design Group‘s latest endeavor is a modern shopping center with heavy ties to China’s ancient cultural influences. Inspired by classical dragon mythology and the principles of feng shui, the Chengde Tianshan Retail Center will offer the Hebei province a mixed-use shopping experience that fuses contemporary form with traditional methodology. Construction is set to begin this summer.
The world’s longest glass skywalk has been inaugurated in China, jutting off the edge of a 718-meter tall cliff in the Longgang National Geological Park in Chongqing, reports CCTV. Aptly named Yuanduan, which means “at the end of the clouds,” the horseshoe-shaped walkway offers visitors stunning (and a bit terrifying) views of the surrounding mountains and canyon below. Extending for more than 26 meters off the cliff’s edge, the bridge is five meters longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Only 30 tourists will be allowed on the bridge at a time. View a gallery of photos at The Daily Mail.
“Every couple of years a new manifesto appears, but how long can it last? We need more people doing instead of talking. [At Amateur Architecture Studio] we spend an enormous amount of time experimenting, trying to resurrect the craftsmanship that is almost lost. We use a method that is passed on, hand-to-hand, to re-establish tradition instead of talking about abstract but empty concepts.”
- Lu Wenyu, Hangzhou, 2013
Pier Alessio Rizzardi: “A house instead of a building” is a really famous phrase of Amateur Architecture Studio. What is the meaning behind this concept?
Lu Wenyu: Once, Wang Shu said: “we only make houses, we don’t make architecture.” The house and architecture here have their own meanings. Making a house means making it for the people, making it more tranquil, or closer to nature, more humanized. Instead, architecture is an abstract concept, so many designs nowadays are actually architecture. So this sentence, from almost 20 years ago, “making houses, not architecture”, is about not making that abstract concept, but to make something really concrete and tangible, something that you can touch or that is made with your own hands… so when you see this house, you feel differently.
China-based firm PWD Architecture will soon break ground on Dali Creative Area, a mixed-use development in Dali City, in Yunnan province. The project took home first place in a 2014 design competition, and takes significant direction from the area’s landscape, employing a minimalist stepped-form that celebrates its setting. The development will include a hotel, restaurants, offices, retail and exhibition space. It is slated for completion in 2016.
“We use two aspects to express architecture: Qing [emotion], Jing [pattern]. Jing is the architectural pattern that we apply, to certify the living and working style, to consider what our architecture can bring. Another thing is the relationship between architecture and the site, the city and nature. Ancient Chinese dwellings are usually enclosed by walls, creating an introverted space. This is the second aspect Qing, more related to traditional customs, aesthetics, and our attitude towards the environment and nature. The enclosed space originates from our interpretation of Qing. What we have captured about the ancient spirit of aesthetics is a kind of uncertainty, a kind of blurry and ambiguous feeling.”
- Chen Yifeng, Shanghai, 2013
In order to effectively guide and improve the development and construction of the low-carbon pilot zone and to strength its international influence, Shenzhen Public Art Center, under the request from the Planning and Construction Management Office of Shenzhen International Low-carbon City and Shenzhen SEZ Construction and Development Co., Ltd., has organized an international competition for the PINGDI Pilot Zone – the urban design for the zone’s one square kilometer and the architectural design for its 0.1 square kilometer. The number in PINGDI 1.1 is the numerical sum of one and 0.1 square kilometers, and also represents the improvement and exploration of the low-carbon development method.
The Hubei United Investment Group (HUIG) has commissioned Santiago Calatrava to design three major highway and pedestrian bridges in the AECOM-masterplanned city of Huashan, 12 miles east of downtown Wuhan. The bridges will be Calatrava’s first project in China. They will span a new man-made canal that bisects Huashan’s urban center and connects two lakes that feed the Yangtze River.
“It gives me great personal satisfaction and represents a grand challenge that I face with great enthusiasm to help develop this ambitious project that enables me to design my first bridges in the Far East,” says Calatrava.
The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation has commissioned OMA to design the Chinese Pavilion at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, just a year after Rem Koolhaas served as director of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition, “Other Future” will feature the work of composer Tan Dun, architect Liu Jiakun, artist Lu Yang, filmmaker Wu Wenguang / Caochangdi Work Station and choreographer Wen Hui / Living Dance Studio in an “immersive environment where artworks are juxtaposed in a field of projections and stages connecting the interior and exterior works.”
China‘s rapid growth has led to some unusual situations; shocking images of so-called “nail houses” continue to circle the internet, depicting defiant homeowners refusing to give up their homes for low compensation in the name of “progress.” Standalone homes, and even some graves, are being surrounded by high-rise development and roadways, as land disputes play out in court. The Atlantic has just published a fascinating round-up of these peculiar situations. You can view them all, here.