Situated outside the city of Tianjin in Northern China, the proposal for the new National Maritime Museum is designed to house both new and old maritime items with a focus on celebrating the historical achievements of Chinese naval exploration through out time. Designed by Holm Architecture Offce (HAO) + AI the museum combines all aspects of the maritime world, from aquarium to sailing to education, combining a series of unique visitor experiences under one roof. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Hebei University of Technology Library Winning Proposal / Damian Donze (Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute)
With an area of 48,636m2, the site of the Hebei University Library is located in the center of the new Beicheng Campus. This competition winning proposal by Damian Donze, of the Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute, is clearly divided. The base of the building is designated for some offices, an archive, a network center, a convention center and an exhibitions center. This way, the West entrance is reserved for the offices and the the network center while the East entrance is reserved for the convention center and the exhibition center. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The Organizing Committee of the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture recently announced that the 2013 Biennale, which will open December 6, will be delivered by two curatorial teams, consisting of Team Ole Bouman and Team Li Xiangning + Jefferey Johnson. Old Bouman wil act as curator, creative director. Li Xiangning + Jefferey Johnson will be the curators, academic directors. The main venues for the event are the former YAOPI float glass factory (venue A) and the old warehouse at Shekou ferry terminal (venue B). More information after the break.
When we see another Eiffel Tower, idyllic English village, or, most recently, a Zaha Hadid shopping mall, copied in China, our first reaction is to scoff. Heartily. To suggest that it is – once again – evidence of China’s knock-off culture, its disregard for uniqueness, its staggering lack of innovation. Even I, reporting on the Chinese copy of the Austrian town of Halstatt, fell into the rhetorical trap: “The Chinese are well-known for their penchant for knock-offs, be it brand-name handbags or high-tech gadgets, but this time, they’ve taken it to a whole other level.”
Moreover, as Guy Horton has noted, we are keen to describe designers in the West as “emulating,” “imitating,” and “borrowing”; those in the East are almost always “pirating.” However, when we allow ourselves, even unconsciously, to settle into the role of superior scoffer, we do not just do the Chinese, but ourselves, a disservice: first, we fail to recognize the fascinating complexity that lies behind China’s built experimentation with Western ideals; and, what’s more, we fail to look in the mirror at ourselves, and trouble our own unquestioned values and supposed superiority. In the next few paragraphs, I’d like to do both.
Designed by Studio 7 of Urban Architecture China, their proposal for the New XIUYI Kindergarten in Kunshan, China aims to strongly connect to the layout of the traditional village. They do this by spreading 30 classrooms into nine buildings and forming a relatively independent settlement type of a space. The organic arrangement creates both interesting private play areas and diversified public spaces, at a scale appropriate for children. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by LYCS Architecture, their newly completed proposal for the Tian Tai County ChiCheng No.2 Primary School focuses on the relationship between architecture and site, site and city, form and function. Striving for a unique design to serve as a model school, their concept provides a beautiful environment for the cultivation of knowledge, culture, physical fitness, art and ethics for elementary school children. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Scheduled to be the tallest tower in China and the second tallest building in the world by 2015, Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 660-meter-high Ping’an International Finance Center has received a major unexpected set back. Following an industrywide inspection conducted last week, Shenzhen government officials have discovered a low-quality sea sand has been used by developers to create substandard concrete for KPF’s supertall skyscraper and at least 15 other buildings under construction.
Although sea sand lures contractors by costing significantly less than standard river sand, it contains a deadly mixture of salt and chloride that corrodes steel in concrete and threatens the structural integrity of a building over time.
According to Bloomberg, Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau found 31 companies violated industry rules and ordered eight of them to suspend business for one year in the city for using substandard sea sand to make concrete.
Setting new standards of sustainability through the design of the Passive House “Bruck”, Peter Ruge Architekten’s project is a model apartment complex, consisting of 36 one room staff flats, 6 two room executive suites and 4 three-bedroom model apartments currently being built in southern China. With a 95% energy savings over that of a conventional Chinese residential building, the project is the first housing of its kind to be realized in the countries damp, warm, southern climate. Construction just began last month and is expected to be completed within the upcoming months. More images and architects’ description after the break.
gmp Architekten just won the first prize in the competition to design the 1.2 million square-meter Tianjin Exhibition Center. Now the third city where an exhibition center of international importance will be built after Shanghai and Guangzhou, their design concept proposes two almost identical construction phases. They both consist of a central entrance hall roofed over by filigree canopies, 8 exhibition halls on both sides and a main central thoroughfare that connects the entrance halls with the exhibition halls. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the ‘Shop in Shop’ concept for Neil Barrett is based on a singular, cohesive project that is divided into sixteen separate pieces. Specific pieces have then been selected and installed into each of the four Neil Barrett Shop in Shop’s in Seoul, and also into the Hong Kong shop; creating a unique display landscape within each store. The pieces have been carved and molded from the original solid as pairs that define each other to create an artificial landscape that unfolds multiple layers for display. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by EE&K a Perkins Eastman Company, their proposal for the Qingdao Harborfront Redevelopment project was recently awarded a 2013 Urban Design Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter. The Harborfront occupies 26 hectares of former maritime/industrial uses in Downtown Qingdao, facing Jiaozhou Bay, and represents the anchor redevelopment for the city’s waterfront revitalization initiative. With the relocation of commercial port activities across the bay, antiquated docklands and shipyards throughout Downtown are now poised to become new mixed-use communities that will re-unite residents with their waterfront. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Coop Himmelb(l)au has come up with an incredibly unique design for the new Grand Theatre and International Culture & Art Center for Changsha, China. The site is located on the northeastern side of the newly created Changsha Meixi Lake in the Daheexi District, with the design engaging both land and water with a flowing and undulating white form of enormous scale. The architects hope to create a new cultural center that interacts with the existing natural landscape, not only visually, but scientifically by running on alternative energy sources and efficient passive energy systems to reduce environmental impact.
The architects’ description after the break…
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have unveiled an ambitious cultural complex, which began to take shape in October after the project broke ground in the heart of Changsha, China. In true Hadid-fashion, the Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Arts Center defines itself by extreme sinuous curves that radiate from each of the three independent structures and links them to a pedestrianized landscape that offers a “strong urban experience”, forming what they hope to be a global destination for theater and art.
The architects’s description after the break…
Seaside Resort Development Competition Entry / John Thompson & Partners + Alan Dunlop Architects + Gillespies
Designed by the multi-disciplinary design team featuring John Thompson and Partners (JTP), Alan Dunlop Architects, and Gillespies, their proposal for the international tourist destination and ecological seaside resort on the Dapeng Peninsula made the final shortlist in the competition. Their design concept draws inspiration from the beauty, tranquillity and characteristics of the siteand learning lessons from examples and exemplars both in China and internationally. More images and architects’ description after the break.
London-based architectural practice Office for Architectural Culture (OAC) recently completed the master plan and architectural concepts for a prestigious International Oceanic Fishing Cultural Center and Museums in China. The 650,000 m2 project in Tanmen, located on the southern island of Hainan, aims to create a realm where new architecture and spaces are profoundly rooted in the village’s culture and heritage is our principal design approach. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Last month, we reported on OMA’s latest competition winner: the Essence Financial Building, a building that OMA Partner David Gianotten described as “a new generation of office tower” for the city of Shenzhen, China. To talk us through the building’s cutting edge sustainable features, we spoke with Arpan Bakshi, an architect, engineer, and Sustainability Manager at YR&G, OMA’s sustainability consultants, who led the environmental design for the project.
Learn more about the Essence Financial Building, OMA’s collaborative approach, and Bakshi’s views on the future of sustainable design – for both China and the world – after the break…
In cities around the globe, change happens almost instantly. Buildings rise, buildings disappear, and skylines morph before one’s eyes. There is no better example of this, of course, than China. From Ordos to Shanghai, Chinese cities are in a constant state of flux, as the Chinese people willfully abandon signs of the past and embrace the new.
Of course, it’s one thing to know this fact; it’s quite another to witness it firsthand, to experience this urgent impetus to demolish and demolish in order to build, build, build, and build. In the face of such large-scale, exponential urban development, it’s easy to feel powerless to suggest another path.
However, in publishing Anatomy of a Chinese City, that is exactly what two young architects have done. By taking the time to observe the “urban artifacts” that make a Chinese city unique, compiling over 100 drawings of everything from buildings to bicycles, Thomas Batzenschlager and Clémence Pybaro have preserved a piece of Chinese history that is quickly going extinct.
In a world where, in the race for progress, quotidian realities are erased unthinkingly, Anatomy of a Chinese City is not just a resource, but a call-to-action, reminding us to slow down and observe the very human context that surrounds us.
Read more about Anatomy of a Chinese City, after the break…
This article, by Austin Williams, originally appeared in The Asian Age as “India, China: Talk of the Town.” Williams is the co-author of Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs and director of the Future Cities Project. He teaches architecture and urban studies at XJTL University in Suzhou, China. Email him at email@example.com
As an architect living in Suzhou, just outside Shanghai, I have become blasé about the skyline being transformed before my very eyes. The classic view of Shanghai’s towering waterfront may not represent great architecture, but it’s impressive all the same… and constantly improving. In most cities across China it is the same story: high-speed construction activity, modernisation, transformation and skyscrapers everywhere. There is a palpable sense of opportunity pending — what the émigrés to America must have felt when arriving in New York 100 years ago.
While many Western commentators point to the failures (the accidents, the pollution and the corruption) with an unremitting Schadenfreude, China marches on. Where else can you watch a modern city grow and change in real time? Where else, indeed?
Read more of Austin Williams’ account of the different kinds of urban development happening in China and India, after the break…