Apple Patents Glass Cylinder Design

Courtesy of Apple

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 Beijing’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, China
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 and 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

© Liu Yi

Architects: China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd
Location: Deyang, Sichuan,
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: Wuxi,
Area: 32,830 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Lu Zhigang

Red Wall / 3Gatti Architecture Studio

© Shen Qiang & Daniele Mattioli

Architects: 3Gatti Architecture Studio
Location: , China
Chief Architect: Francesco Gatti
Project Manager: Summer Nie
Area: 14,300 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Shen Qiang & Daniele Mattioli

Pure Hardcore Icons Manifesto Exhibition

‘Pure Hardcore Icons Manifesto Exhibition’ will be on display from Sept 25 to October 7 as part of this year’s Design Week.

Commemorating the international publication the book ‘Pure Hardcore Icons: A Manifesto on Pure Form on Architecture’ (Published by Artifice Books on Architecture in London, 2013), the exhibition showcases original collages and photomontages, as well as objects, sculptures, paintings and animations by Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski (WAI Architecture Think Tank).

For more information, please click here.

Title: Pure Hardcore Icons Manifesto Exhibition
Organizers: WAI Think Tank
From: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 
Until: Mon, 07 Oct 2013
Venue: Beijing, Xicheng District, Dashilan, Dawailangying Hutong 8, The Factory
Address: 8 Dawailangying Hutong, Xicheng, Beijing,

Office Complex Haokang / Archiplein

© Frédéric Henriques

Architects: Archiplein
Location: Kunshan, , Jiangsu,
Area: 18,500 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Frédéric Henriques

Tianzhoushan Tea House / Archiplein

© Frédéric Henriques

Architects: Archiplein
Location: ,
Area: 1,000 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Frédéric Henriques

Harbin Cultural Center / MAD Architects

Courtesy of MAD Architects

Architects: MAD Architects
Location: Harbin Xiangfang Cultural Center, Zhujiang Road, Xiangfang, , Heilongjiang, , 150090
Directors: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Area: 1800000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of MAD Architects

Artist Studios / Knowspace

Courtesy of

Architects: Knowspace
Location: Songzhuan,
Area: 1,488 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Knowspace

Chaoyang Park Project / MAD Architects


As a continuation to his “Shan-Shui City” concept, which envisions a “city of mountains and water,” Ma Yansong of MAD Architects has proposed an interpretation of China’s ancient natural philosophy in the contemporary city: the Chaoyang Park project. Situated in the world’s second largest city park and surrounded by a typical Chinese business district, the Chaoyang Park project seeks to infuse the “vigorous Shan-Shui ” with a new urban typology that unites architecture and nature as a single entity.

China Now, from Nowness

In the latest video from Nowness, director Thomas Rhazi documents the complicated architectural scene in China – focusing on how the country holds onto its identity despite the “frenetic” pace of its expansion and globalization. Shaway Yeh sums up the situation nicely: “what does China really look like, what does China represent? No one knows, because it’s a place that’s still in flux, it’s constantly reshaping.” Lyndon Neri, however, points to Pritzker Prize winner Wang Shu as a possible answer, saying that he “created something quite amazing in Ningbo, it had a new way of looking at a building in a Chinese way… what he actually did was a modern interpretation of Chinese architecture.” No matter where you stand on China’s modernization, the video is a beautiful depiction of the historical meeting the modern.

How to Bring China’s Ghost Towns Back to Life

The empty development of Kangbashi/Ordos in Inner Mongolia (). Image © Tim Franco, Flickr User shanghaisoundbites

In this article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View blog as “The Real Problem with China’s Ghost Towns” , author Peter Calthorpe explains the problems of these cities, predicts their grim future, and explores how the thoughtful planning behind the city of Chenggong could provide a more sustainable alternative. 

 We’ve all seen the reports on “ghost town” developments in China, showing acres of empty high-rise apartments and vacant shopping malls. These barren towns seem particularly ironic in a country planning to move 250 million people from the countryside to cities in the next 20 years. But this massive, unprecedented demand has been distorted by a number of factors unique to China. Flawed financial incentives for cities and developers, along with the poor phasing of services, amenities, and jobs create most of the problems. In addition, China’s emerging middle class is very comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) investing in real estate, so people often buy apartments in incomplete communities but don’t move in, expecting that values will rise, or that they will live there someday. The result is a string of large, empty developments that remain speculative investments rather than real homes and communities. [See-through buildings are the worry now, but the real problems may come when they are full.]

While it’s hard to get data on vacancy levels in China, there are certainly many anecdotal examples across the country. An all-too-typical example is Chenggong, the new town planned for 1.5 million just outside of Kunming in the west. This freshly minted city boasts the growing Yunnan University, currently with 170,000 students and faculty; a new government center; and an emerging light industrial area. Under construction are the city’s new high-speed rail station and two metro lines connecting the historic city center.

Tapered House / Index Architecture

© Hunga Chan

Architects: Index Architecture
Location: Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong,
Designer: Anderson Lee
Design Team: Yung Sai Chun, Bart Kwok, Ronnie Chui
Area: 670.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Hunga Chan