Architects: Original Design Studio
Location: Nantong, Jiangsu, China
Architect In Charge: Zhang Ming, Zhang Zi, Li Xuefeng, Sun Jialong, Zhang Zhiguang, Su Ting
Design Company: The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University, Original Design Studio
Investor: Nantong University
Area: 7028.0 sqm
Photographs: Yao li-Su Shengliang
“Three floors in a day is China’s new normal,” says a representative for this 57-floor skyscraper that was built in just 19 days. Known as the “Mini Sky City” tower in Changsha, the 180,000-square-meter mixed-use building was built in record speed with modular, “LEGO-like” blocks. The process also claimed to have required less materials and significantly reduced the amount of air pollution commonly caused by dusty construction sites.
A time-lapse of the construction process, after the break.
These days, many of China‘s largest urban areas are easily recognizable to people from all over the world, with the skylines of coastal mega-cities such as Shanghai and Beijing taking their place in the global consciousness. Far less known though is the inland city of Chongqing - another of China’s five top-tier “National Central Cities” – where in 2010 the Chinese government embarked on a plan to urbanize a further 10 million of the region’s rural population, with around 1,300 people now moving into the city every day.
Since his first visit to the city in 2009 photographer Tim Franco has been on a mission to document the rapid change in what he believes is “maybe the most widely unknown megacity in the world.” The result is Metamorpolis, a forthcoming photographic book by Franco with text by British journalist Richard Macauley, which documents the colossal scale of development juxtaposed against the people of Chongqing – many of whom still live an incongruous rural lifestyle among the concrete sprawl. Read on after the break for more images from the book and an interview with Franco about the experience of documenting one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.
“If we look at architecture from a cultural point of view, we see we are in a special moment where we are trying to figure out our identity. I think we are too focused on how to transform old Chinese architecture into contemporary architecture; but in no way can you transform it, you can see it with your own eyes. For instance you cannot transform a Roman building into today’s buildings! Sometimes you have to forget about history to create contemporary and unique architecture.”
- Zhu Pei, Shenzhen, 2013
Spanish studio Rafael de La-Hoz and Chinese design institute Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology (ADRI-HIT) have been announced as the winners of a competition to construct a new cultural centre in Meishan, China. Located in Sichuan province in the nation’s south, the complex will combine a sports centre with five museums, a library, and exhibition hall.
Occupying a sprawling 260,000-square-meters, the new complex is sited near the campus of the University of Meishan, and responds to the terraced topography of Sichuan’s rice paddies. Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.
Ennead Architects has won an international competition to design the Shanghai Planetarium. The “celestial” design hopes to elevate the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum’s (SSTM) “scientific and technological capacity” while redefine the district Lingang upon its completion in 2018.
“Drawing inspiration form astronomical principles, our design strategy provides a platform for the experience of orbital motion, and utilizes that as a metaphorical reference and generator of form,” says Ennead Architects.
When he opened his practice in 2010, Ole Scheeren had the luxury of already being a rising star in the architecture world. The former partner of OMA made his name as partner-in-charge on landmark projects such as Beijing’s CCTV Headquarters and the Interlace in Singapore, and has since made headlines with striking forms such as those in the MahaNakhon skyscraper in Bangkok, Angkasa Raya in Kuala Lumpur and DUO, again in Singapore. The unveiling of his latest design, the Guardian Art Center, is likely to get a lot of attention too – but for very different reasons to his previous projects.
The Guardian Art Center features none of the dramatic cantilevers and futuristic formal experimentation of Büro Ole Scheeren‘s other works. Instead the “hybrid art space” – located in the heart of Beijing, just a stone’s throw from the Forbidden City – references the scale and materiality of the adjacent traditional buildings. The lower floors, containing an auction house and a museum with a 1,700 square meter exhibition-events space, comprise an aggregation of small “pixelated” blocks, clad in stone with a pattern of perforations derived from a 700-year-old Chinese landscape painting. Though the upper portion of the building, containing a 120-room hotel and a restaurant, is larger in scale, it is broken down by a facade of oversized glass “bricks,” again a reference to the materials of the hutong next door and a “humble and non-elitist symbol in Chinese culture,” according to the press release.
To find out more about this intriguing building, we spoke to Ole Scheeren, who assured us that in spite of its appearance, the Guardian Art Center is just as radical as his previous works. Read on after the break for the full interview.