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.
The rumors are true: Jean Nouvel has been selected as the official winner of the highly acclaimed National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) competition in Beijing. 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.”
In a move to tackle corruption and improve the image of the Communist Party (CPC), China’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.”
Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au
Location: Dalian, 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
Photographs: Duccio Malagamba
Location: Wenzhou, 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
Photographs: Courtesy of UNStudio
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 Shanghai, 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.
Dutch architecture firm UNStudio 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—UNStudio has incorporated recreational and cultural facilities and residential units into their plan. For the site in the riverside city of Wenzhou, located in the southeastern Zhejiang province of China, UNStudio 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.”
Gehry Partners has just released their highly anticipated proposal for the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) 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…