GRAFT Architects and penda are preparing to break ground on Myrtle Garden Hotel in the outskirts of Xiangyang, China. Nestled on a hillside site within the largest Myrtle Flower Garden in Asia, the wooden annular structure is designed to provide a “soothing harmony between the architecture and its natural environment.”
Location: Tianjin, China
Design Principal: James von Klemperer, FAIA
Director/Senior Designer: Jeffrey A. Kenoff, AIA
Kpf Project Team And Contributors: Jeffrey A. Kenoff, Audrey Choi, Edwin Lau, Peter Gross, Ciara Seymour, Gary Stluka, Benjamin Albury, Bernard Chang, Hanna Chang, Saera Park, Shang Chen, Sarah Smith, James Kehl, Sandra Choy, Thomas Coldefy, Javier Galindo, Onur Gun, Heejin Kim, Yoojung Kim, Ming Leung, Luis Llull, Manon Pare, Charles Portelli, Samuel Schmitz, James Siow, Kristin Speth, Donald Springer, Kyle Steinfeld, Scott Wilson, James von Klemperer, Paul Katz
Area: 152,800 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF)
Whenever I see sensational exposes on the supposedly sublime spatial intensity of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City (demolished in 1994), they strike me as nothing more than colonial fantasies that have little to do with the reality of living in the midst of one of the world’s cruelest slums. You see the Walled City pop up constantly like it’s still a valid or even interesting subject. This informal settlement has been diagramed, photographed, and written about for decades from an aesthetic point of view, rendering its victimized and oppressed inhabitants all but invisible. Not to say that this wasn’t home to a lot of people and that no “fond memories” were formed there, but still, like all slums, it was a tough place to live, fraught with contradictions in the haze of hope for a better life.
Urban Architecture (UA Studio 7) and Aedas‘ winning proposal for the Hongqiao Central Business District has broke ground at Shanghai’s domestic Hongqiao Airport, mainland China’s fourth busiest airport. The 18.4 hectare office and retail center, masterplanned by UA, has been divided into two parts: UA Studio 7 will design the office district, “a flower with eight leaves,” while Aedas designs the shopping, hotel, and conference center along a “bow curve” of pedestrian flow.
According to UA, the winning scheme’s success was “due to a highly energy-efficient architecture proposal combined with an urban plan that allows for pedestrian-friendly spaces.”
Latitude Studio, based in Barcelona and Beijing, have unveiled designs for a showroom exhibition centre in China’s capital city. Integral to the design is how visitors circulate and interact with the spaces centred around the “future shopping mall”. Including an auditorium, model spaces and views onto an area which is expected to see enormous retail development, the building’s central atrium and “thematic sightseeing walk” offer a unique journey for the visitor.
Landscape Architects: Locus Associates
Location: Zhengzhou, Henan, China
Design Team: Brandon Huang, Jerome Lee, Kenny Fung, Ray Wan
Facade Architect: Shenzhen Upright&Pure Architectural Design Co. Ltd
Local Architect: Chongqing Xinzhongjian Architectural Design Consultants
Area: 18000.0 sqm
Photographs: Béton Brut
Farrells has been announced as winner of an international competition to masterplan two prominent commercial zones in Shenzhen’s Qianhai financial district. Adjacent to the district’s Qianhaiwan metro station, the two districts are expected to boost cross-border trade between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The first, 460,000-square-meter masterplan will feature a 320-meter-tall skyscraper and two 185-meter gateway towers, providing high-end office, residential and retail space, as well as serviced apartments.
“We prepared carefully and picked an appropriate date, the Chinese New Year day. At that time the security was less watchful, workers were on vacations, and cranes did not work. We got to the crane at around midnight. [...] The result you can see in our new video.”
Those are the rather unassuming words of Vitaliy Raskalov, a Ukrainian “roof-hacker, urban-explorer, blogger” who has just pulled off an extraordinary, jaw-dropping stunt (way more incredible than his humble words would suggest).
Raskalov and Russian photographer Vadim Mahora broke into and climbed the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower, soon to be China’s tallest and the world’s second tallest skyscraper at 632 meters (2,074 feet) high. Although the tower will eventually boast the world’s fastest elevators (reaching 40mph), the pair had to climb the 120 flights of stairs by foot (taking them about two hours); they then spent another 18 hours sleeping and waiting for the weather to clear. The staggering resulting images show not just the dizzying heights, but also fantastic views of the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center (together, the trio of buildings that are re-defining the Shanghai skyline).
Check out the incredible images, after the break.
During the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, we had the opportunity to speak with David Gianotten, partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong office. Gianotten launched the Dutch firm’s Asian headquarters in 2009, where he supervises major projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Taipei Performing Arts Centre.
Standing outside of the recently completed Stock Exchange headquarters, he answered our questions about urbanization, innovation and the intricacies of running an office in an environment with such rapid urban growth. Shenzhen has proven an experiment of economic openness and is a vivid example of China’s recent growth. The city’s skyline is practically a physical graph of an upward-trending economy, with buildings designed by nearly every internationally renowned architecture firm. But OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange building stands apart from the rest not only because of its impeccable construction (a rarity in the fast-paced building booms of Chinese cities), but also because it houses the institution that lists China’s biggest companies.
The 254 meter tower is an elegant structure that combines pure volumes with an exoskeleton grid clad in translucent glass. It represents a characteristic OMA-approach to innovative architectural solutions, made possible by extensive programmatic and technical research.
Read the full interview (which includes Gianotten’s insights on the study of architecture, the role of architects, and the importance of simplicity when communicating complex innovation) after the break.
As part of the Shenzhen Architecture Biennale, Finnish practice Lassila Hirvilammi Architects entered into a collaboration with Chinese architect Gigi Leung to explore the themes of copying, authenticity and knowledge transfer between cultures. Working with master craftsmen, they created two versions of the same space (each influenced by their respective cultures), intentionally blurring the line between copying and taking inspiration.
Read on for more on this lesson in sharing differing architectural understandings