2013 Shenzhen Biennale, UABB (Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture)

Courtesy of UABB / Transformation of the Guangdong Float Factory

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 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.

Placid Mogan Cottage / genarchitects

© Hou Bowen

Architects: genarchitects
Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang,
Architect In Charge: Kong Rui, Fan Beilei
Interior Designer: Jia Shaojie
Landscape Architect: Wang Xuanpeng
Area: 1055.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Hou Bowen

Camper Showroom / Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

© Dirk Weiblen

Architects: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu
Associates: Alex Mok, Peter Eland
Area: 300 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Dirk Weiblen

SOHO China’s Zhang Xin on Balancing Design and Commercial Viability

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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.

Aix Arôme Café / One Plus Partnership Limited

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Architects: One Plus Partnership Limited
Location: Shenzhen,
Designers Involved: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung
Area: 150 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung, Jonathan Leijonhufvud

HENN Wins Competition to Build Cenke Tower in Taiyuan

© Visualisation HENN

Berlin-based Henn Architekten has been chosen as the winner of the architectural competition to design the 280-meter Cenke Tower in . Located on a north-south axis, the mixed-use tower will include office, hotel, and retail space.

Arthouse / Joey Ho Design

© Yong Chang Wu

Architects: Joey Ho Design
Location: , Zhejiang, China
Other Designer: Yuki Leung, Momoko Lai
Area: 771 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Yong Chang Wu

Tsao & McKown: Developing a New Kind of Chinese City

Xiqu Urban Development, by Tsao & Mckown. Chengdu, Sichuan Province, , 2010. Image Courtesy of Behance

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.”

In Progress: The Qingdaobei Station / AREP Architect + MaP3 Structural Engineering

Courtesy of MaP3

Architects: AREP Architect , MaP3 Structural Engineering
Location: Licang, , Shandong, China
Structural Analysis And Inspection: SSDI
Construction Documents: BIAD
General Contractor: CSCEC
Photographs: Courtesy of MaP3

Bubble Building / 3GATTI Architecture Studio

Skyline View. Image Courtesy of 3GATTI

The Bubble Building, a “renovation of a common, old and unattractive building” in the centre of , 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 Patents Glass Cylinder Design

Courtesy of

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.

Reviving Beijing’s Hutongs with Micro Installations

Above ’s historic hutongs. Image © Ivan Walsh

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.

Tales Pavilion / Luca Nichetto

© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Architects: Luca Nichetto
Location: Chaoyang, , China
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shenzhen Stock Exchange HQ / OMA

© Philippe Ruault

Architects: OMA
Location: Binhe Avenue, , Guangdong,
Partners In Charge: Rem Koolhaas, David Gianotten
Collaborators: Ellen van Loon, Shohei Shigematsu
Associate In Charge: Michael Kokora
Area: 180000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Philippe Ruault

HALO: Swedish Students’ Solar Decathlon Entry

Courtesy of Team

Designed and built by 25 students from 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.

American Architects Win International Competition for “Cultural Mall” in China

Courtesy of Joel Sanders Architect

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 ().

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 -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

© Liu Yi

Architects: China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd
Location: , 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
Year: 2012
Photographs: Liu Yi

Taihu New Town Primary School / MINAX

© Lu Zhigang

Architects: MINAX
Location: ,
Area: 32,830 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Lu Zhigang