Does China’s Urbanization Spell Doom or Salvation? Peter Calthorpe Weighs In…

Peter Calthorpe. Image Courtesy of Metropolis Mag

This article originally appeared on Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Q&A: Peter Calthorpe.”

The titles of Peter Calthorpe’s books trace the recent history of urban design in its most vital and prescient manifestations, starting in 1986 with Sustainable Communities (with Sim Van der Ryn) and followed by The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl (with Bill Fulton), The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community and the American Dream, and Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change.

A founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism and a past winner of the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development, the Berkeley-based architect and planner has been at the forefront of urban design for more than three decades. In recent years, in addition to his firm’s continuing work in the United States, Calthorpe Associates has increasingly turned his attention to a country urbanizing at a pace unprecedented in world history: China.

Here Calthorpe talks about China’s unique planning process, the future of in California, and Architecture 2030’s new 2030 Palette, after the break…

Matsu Flagship Store / EXH Design

Courtesy of

Architects: EXH Design
Location: Shanghai,
Area: 1800.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of EXH Design

Vanke Brand Center / Vector Architects

© Shu He & Shengliang Su

Architects: Vector Architects
Location: ,
Design Partner In Charge: Gong Dong
Design Team: Chen Liang, Qifeng Wang, Zhimin Zhou, Jian Wang, Mary Jane Kwan, Pingdong Sun, Feng Xu, Qing Chang
Area: 2,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Shu He & Shengliang Su

Family Box / Crossboundaries Architects

© Chaoying Yang

Architects: Crossboundaries Architects
Location: , China
Collaborating Architects & Engineers: BIAD International Studio & BIAD TSH International Studio
Client: Children Enterprise (UK) Limited
Area: 2,300 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Chaoying Yang

In Progress: Zhang ZhiDong and Modern Industrial Museum / Studio Daniel Libeskind


Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Location: , China
Architect Of Record: Zhong Nan Design Institute
Contractor: G.C Wisco Construction
Area: 7,240 sqm
Photographs: Studio Daniel Libeskind

Shanghai Hongqiao CBD Office Headquarters Building / LYCS Architecture

Courtesy of

LYCS Architecture has shared drawings and renderings for their Hongqiao CBD Office Headquarters Building, which broke ground this month.  Situated in a rapidly developing part of western and at the center of a transportation hub, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

River Heights Pavilion / People’s Architecture Office

Courtesy of People’s Architecture Office

Architects: People’s Architecture Office
Location: , Shanxi Province,
Principal: Hezhe, James Shen, Zangfeng
Project Team: Zhang minghui, Liu xiujuan, Jennifer Tran
Area: 1,800 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of People’s Architecture Office

Suzhou Creek Boutique Hotel / DAtrans Architecture Office

© Geng Tao

Architects: DAtrans Architecture Office
Location: ,
Architects: Chen Xudong, Yan Mengfei, Chen Yang, Wen Yifeng
Area: 500 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Geng Tao

Shanghai Pudong International Airport / Paul Andreu Architecte

© Paul Maurer

Architects: Paul Andreu Architecte
Location: Shanghai,
Design Team: F.Tamisier, G.Andreu, P.Gonon, H.Boitard
Area: 220,000 sqm
Year: 1999
Photographs: Paul Maurer

Jean Nouvel Selected to Design National Art Museum of China

Jean Nouvel’s Winning NAMOC Proposal

The rumors are true: Jean Nouvel has been selected as the official winner of the highly acclaimed National Art Museum of (NAMOC) competition in . According to Dezeen, the news has been confirmed by Nouvel’s adviser, Oliver Schmitt. Though little has been released about the winning design, earlier reports have described it as a “vast structure” based on the simplicity of a single line – “a single brush stroke.”

In an interview with Financial Times, Nouvel quoted the Chinese artist Shi Tao (1642-1707): “A single line is the source of everything in existence. [...] We started with calligraphy. [...] Pupils used to spend half a year just on that first line with a brush. That first line contains all of Chinese culture – painting, writing and the energy of Chi.”

Pingtan Art Museum / MAD

Courtesy of

Chinese firm MAD sends us their latest museum project: Pingtang Art Museum. With a projected area of over 40,000 square meters and as the largest private museum in Asia, the museum will display thousands of pieces of national treasures. 

China Bans Construction of Government Buildings Until 2019

Government building and plaza in Xilinhot, 2009. Image © Flickr User CC timzachernuk

In a move to tackle corruption and improve the image of the Communist Party (CPC), ’s President Xi Jinping has banned the construction of government buildings for the next five years. The BBC reports that “Glitzy new government buildings, sometimes in impoverished areas, have been a source of public outrage.” The ban also includes luxury renovations and expansions “done under the guise of repair work.”

Dalian International Conference Center / Coop Himmelb(l)au

© Duccio Malagamba

Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au
Location: , China
Design Principal: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Paul Kath (until 2010), Wolfgang Reicht
Project Architect: Wolfgang Reicht
Design Architect: Alexander Ott
Design Team: Quirin Krumbholz, Eva Wolf, Victoria Coaloa
Area: 117,650 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Duccio Malagamba

Yongjia World Trade Centre / UNStudio

Courtesy of

Architects: UNStudio
Location: , China
Architects In Charge: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber
Design Team: Hannes Pfau, Ger Gijzen, Juliane Maier, Martin Zangerl and Sontaya Bluangtook, Amanda Chan, Albert Gnodde, Jan Kokol, Patrik Noome, Mo Lai, Jan Rehders, René Rijkers, Stefano Rocchetti, Shuang Zhang
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of UNStudio

Xuhui Binjian Media City 188S-G-1 Tower and Podium Winning Proposal / Aedas

Courtesy of

Aedas recently won the competition to design Xuhui Binjian Media City 188S-G-1 Tower and Podium with their very dynamic and unique shaped proposal. Located in , their tower begins with an extruded rectangular plan, and independent from the podium, meets the ground to allow circulation around its base. More images and architects’ description after the break.

UNStudio Wins Yongjia World Trade Center Competition in Wenzhou

© moka-studio

Dutch architecture firm has announced that their proposal for the Yongjia World Trade Center Competition has been selected as the winning entry. Unlike the typical world trade center—which usually represents only a concentration business or financial programs— has incorporated recreational and cultural facilities and residential units into their plan. For the site in the riverside city of , located in the southeastern Zhejiang province of China, identified the driving force behind the project as the “notion of precious objects on a tray…where the continuous podium landscape occupies the entire site and serves as a tray-like, green plain for the towers.”

City in Sky / Mu Wei + Sam Cho + Yu Hui

© Li Xiao & Jiang Jiang

Location: Wuhan,
Architect In Charge: Yu Hui
Contractor: 39 kids and families from Natur Organic Life, AaL volunteer students
Area: 100 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Li Xiao & Jiang Jiang

National Art Museum of China Entry / Gehry Partners

Courtesy of Gehry Partners

Gehry Partners has just released their highly anticipated proposal for the National Art Museum of China () in Beijing. Though rumors from last year reported Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel as the competition’s top contenders, with Nouvel taking the lead, a winner has yet to be confirmed.

Gehry’s design, which is intended to promote cross cultural understanding and appreciation for Chinese contemporary art, aims at setting a new standard for 21st century Chinese architecture. Perhaps the most defining element of the design is the “translucent stone” facade, which is made of a new type of glass developed by Gehry Partners that is said to have the qualities of jade.

More images and the architect’s description after the break…