Now in its 5th edition, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB) is the only biennial exhibition in the world to be based exclusively on the themes of urbanism and urbanization and is co-organized by Shenzhen and Hong Kong, making it one of the most important events on its type in the region.
The UABB has developed strong alliances with partners both local, regional and from all over the world. Among them include globally renowned cultural institutions like Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), MAXXI, OMA, Droog Design, International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo, MIT, MoMA New York, and The Berlage.
The curator for this year is Ole Bouman, and amajor attraction of the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale is the creative and dramatic transformation of an old Shenzhen glass factory into one of the Biennale’s core venues for this year. Spearheaded by Ole Bouman, the UABB’s curator and creative director, the project adhered to his manifesto statement of “Biennale as risk.” The revitalisation effort not only provides a unique and functional exhibition space for the Biennale but it reclaims a piece of heritage and history. As a broader objective, the makeover is also a step in redefining Shenzhen’s identity. In completing the urban intervention, Mr. Bouman now calls it a ‘Value Factory’ to manufacture ideas and knowledge.
More after the break.
The list of architects that have collaborated with Zhang Xin’s development company, SOHO China, reads like the roster of an architectural dream team (which includes Zaha Hadid, Yung Ho Chang, Bjarke Ingels, Kengo Kuma, Kazuyo Sejima, Herzog & de Meuron, Thom Mayne, David Adjaye, Toyo Ito and others). So it’s no surprise that the self-made billionaire lectured to a packed house at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design last Thursday. Xin spoke about her commitment to and love of design, explaining that her company’s mission is to bring a variety of architectural languages to China. And though SOHO’s projects are certainly experimental, Xin contends that her developer mindset actually helps meliorate the architect’s propensity to take the experiment too far—all without sacrificing the impressive and iconic forms of SOHO’s building portfolio.
Watch Zhang Xin link her practice in real estate to larger global issues and catch a glimpse of two Zaha Hadid-designs currently under construction: Wangjing SOHO and Sky SOHO.
China’s rapid urbanisation has meant not only the speedy growth of cities but also the disappearance of traditional Chinese architecture. Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown (of Tsao & McKown) find this particularly troubling and so developing a new kind of Chinese city. These pedestrian friendly live-work communities would exist in stark contrast to the high-rise cities that dot the contemporary Chinese landscape. But it hasn’t all been easy. Read the full Wall Street Journal article here: “Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown Bring New Eco-Friendly Designs to China.”
The Bubble Building, a “renovation of a common, old and unattractive building” in the centre of Shanghai, is a simple design containing complex environmental qualities. Unlike a conventional retrofit or renovation, 3GATTI‘s proposal places inflatables made of white antibacterial technical outdoor nylon, in front of the windows on the existing building. Their concept was to “create an icon-building, a kind of landmark very easy to recognize, a kind of sculpture with a strong character able to detach itself from the boring cityscape” with the ultimate aim to attract customers to rent both the office and commercial spaces.
Apple has successfully secured a patent for the cylindrical, glass entrance to its Shanghai store. After trademarking the design and layout of its retail stores last January, this is one more battle Apple has won for copyrighting its signature look.
More on the patented design after the break.
The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright documents the current trend of micro-scale installations spurring new life into the historic hutongs of Beijing and gaining support from the local communities, eager to reject the economic pressures of destroying/rebuilding. The local government’s endorsement, however, comes as a surprise – especially considering its fervent impetus to raze these areas just a few years ago. Read the full article here: Designers Use ‘Urban Acupuncture’ to Revive Beijing’s Historic Hutongs.
Designed and built by 25 students from Chalmers University in Sweden, HALO is a socially sustainable home for four students, running on renewable energy from the sun. HALO was designed using one underlying concept: shared space is double space.
A looping mixture of culture and commerce has won Joel Sanders Architect and FreelandBuck first prize in the international competition hosted by the largest media and publishing company in China, Phoenix Publishing and Media Group (PPMG).
Their 80,000 square meter winning proposal for the new Kunshan Phoenix Cultural Mall divides a large urban block into four ‘cultural cores,’ each five stories high and respectively housing a theater, fitness club, education center, and exhibition halls. The podium, which sits upon the glass-clad cores, spirals the length of the perimeter (comprised of stores, restaurants and cafes) and ultimately plateaus at an open park where the public and Phoenix employees would share a common space.
Deyang School for Deaf & Intellectually Disabled Children / China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd
Architects: China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd
Location: Deyang, Sichuan, China
Architect In Charge: Liu Yi
Design Team: Tang Minghao, Yang Jing, Huang Wei, Tang Rongping, Zou Min, Hu Dajian, Yao Yuan
Area: 7998.0 sqm
Photographs: Liu Yi