In the latest of NOWNESS‘ spectacular videos, Ole Scheeren – a former partner at OMA and now principal of Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing – reflects on the past decade he has spent in China overseeing construction of the CCTV Headquarters. He muses over the delicate balancing act that Western architects maintain when they work in China, simultaneously bringing change to the city and allowing the city to change who they are and how they see the world. In this context, where change is “something that you are immediately and instantly confronted with” he believes that the CCTV Building is “both confrontational and complicit”.
Huasen Architects (HSA) have been announced winners of the Fangda Headquarters competition. The winning proposal, located in Shenzhen, China, reshapes the existing site into a 300,000 sqm vortex of retail, office, entertainment and recreation spaces, stemming off a high-tech research and technical development hub. Competition requirements called for the integration of a bus terminal predicated on government officials’ calculations that 55% of users would arrive by bus.
Steven Holl Architects has been selected as winner, besting OMA and Zaha Hadid Architects, in an invited competition for the new Culture and Art Center of Qingdao City. Located in the heart of Qingdao’s new extension, which is planned for a population of 700,000, the two million-square-foot winning proposal features a conglomerate of four art museums situated amongst a landscape of reflecting pools and gardens which are all connected by a continuous “Light Loop” that moves visitors throughout the site.
Read on for the architect’s description…
Chinese city-dwellers are waking to find eight stories of construction debris outside of their homes. Over two billion tons of waste, outside Beijing and other major cities, is a result of a booming construction industry. “There’s no systematic way to deal with [the garbage],” says Wilson W.S. Lu, architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, “The illegal dumping is everywhere.” Recycling efforts have just begun, but local activists believe it will require a radical paradigm shift in the way Chinese residents reclaim material. Read the full New York Times article, “China’s Mountains of Construction Rubble.“
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.
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.