Holm Architecture Office and AI - along with landscape architects Kragh Berglund – have been named shared winners of the Eco City Binhai Master Plan. Located outside Tianjin in Northern China, the project will consist of a new Central Business District and five new cultural buildings. Learn more about this plan after the break.
Articles on China’s building boom often highlight the property bubble, megalomaniac planners, governmental corruption and private graft, substandard building practices and the destruction of the nation’s cultural heritage.
In Mark #51, we interviewed four Chinese architects on four aspects of China’s building practices to reveal the mechanisms at the foundation of this unedifying image. Li Hu offers his thoughts on architecture, Liu Yuyang on urban planning, Li Xiaodong on aesthetics and Liu Jiakun on construction processes. What can we learn from their experience?
Architects: Álvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira
Location: Huai’an, Jiangsu, China
Architects In Charge: Álvaro Siza e Carlos Castanheira
Local Partner: United Architects & Engineers Co., Ltda
Project Management: Stephen Want & Richard Wang
Client: Por-Shih, Diretor da Shihlien Chemical Industrial Jiangsu Co., Ltd.
Project Area: 11000 sqm
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Fernando Guerra | FG + SG
Dutch based practice Mecanoo, nominated for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the Library of Birmingham, have begun work on vast cultural centre in Shenzhen marking their first project to break ground on Chinese soil. Comprising of a large public art gallery, a science museum, a youth centre, and a book mall, the 95,000 square metre development will strengthen Longgang District’s identity by “providing citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of place.” Forming a dynamic link between the high-rise of the city’s commercial district and the open spaces of Longcheng Park, the four sculpted forms emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered spaces to facilitate public events.
See the full set of images and an illustrative film after the break.
Architects: Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects
Location: People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road, People’s Square, Huangpu, China, 200000
Design Team: Liu Yuyang, Keith Yee, Tynnon Chow, Larry Tsoi
Area: 3900.0 sqm
Photographs: Jeremy San
Broadway Malyan has been awarded a commission to design the initial phase of a new, iconic urban district in Chengdu in Western China. The Chengdu Creative Centre will be the first landmark in a larger master plan for a high-tech mixed use and business park, set to be called Tianfu New Town.
Committed to setting a high standard of environmentally conscious and sustainable design for the region, Chengdu Creative Centre and the future Tianfu New Town district aim to cut current energy consumption standards in half. The entire complex will be composed of interconnected office, retail, and public green space anchored by a striking central retail tower, 110 meters tall.
Evoking the image of a dragon perched elegantly on water, the contours of the building seem to move gently in a perfect synergy between local symbolism and the subtle elements of Siza. Snaking around, the form escapes formal convention, emerging as an autonomous entity that contrasts with the orthogonal form of the factory complex. The delicate transition geometry of curves and bridges that connect the different spaces and pavements makes this project one of the most striking examples of Siza’s distinctive architecture.
Through different shades, reflections and his unmatched composition of light and shadows, Fernando Guerra’s striking images show a poetic scene and the perfect relationship between the building and its environment. We can envision the changes and transitions that the white concrete building goes through as a result of its contact with the water throughout the day.
Read on after the break to see the exclusive images…
RMJM‘s Shenzhen studio has just been awarded the contract to build a 93 metre public observation tower inspired by the importance of water in the historic Doumen District, Guangdong Province, China. Perched at the confluence of two rivers, the Doumen Observation Tower will rise from the waterfront of the Zhuhai, and is inspired by the form of a fish soaring above the water, clad in aluminum scales to protect from the hot Chinese sun. The tower will occupy a minimal footprint and will be surrounded by a large public plaza.
Check out the complete specs of Doumen Observation Tower after the break.
Looking for your dream home? Picket fence, driveway (sedan included), basketball net, and terracotta pots complete with flowers in bloom, available now in the quiet neighbourhood of Rancho Santa Fe in Shanghai, China. According to this article in The Guardian, ”The Chinese Dream” is currently sweeping the People’s Republic, with Western planning models replicated with identical ineffective results. The article offers an intimate insight into the role of American architectural fetishism in modern China, and how the government is now fighting to curb the trend. Read the complete article here.
Location: Qiqihar, Heilongjiang, China
Architects In Charge: Nakamura Nobuhiro, Qin Yi, Shigeno Yuji, Lai Jie, Wang Wenping, He Zengcai.
Area: 11357.0 sqm
Photographs: Misae Hiromatsu
Architecture is not important. You can make a microclimate or situation, but you cannot have more influence about life or the urban situation, it’s just a very small operation you are working on, and you cannot control the situation of the city.. But even if you are just working on a single object here, you can always try to have more or less a positive influence on the city, you can always contribute in your way to the city, to the citizens. But in a larger view it’s not that important; it’s you or somebody else. The people are happy or not, their happiness is not relying on your architecture.” – Qi Xin, Beijing, 2013
Shedding light on topics from China‘s rapid urbanization to the issue of copycat architecture, this interview of Chinese architect Qi Xin conducted by Pier Alessio Rizzardi questions the role of architecture in Chinese society, and reveals the mindset of the modern Chinese architect. Qi Xin’s answers challenge many of the myths surrounding Chinese architecture, often through one-line gems such as “what is permanent for Chinese people is the spirit, not material,” and “the most important thing is that we don’t know where we are going… we are making the future cities.”
The world is looking at the urban machine of Chinese cities, at the newly founded theme-cities and at the new urban economic investment areas around the cities. The buildings are repetitive, the areas are sometimes uninhabited, but the thing that leaves urban planners, architects and the public amazed is that these buildings are often completely sold out even before they are completed.
To buy these freshly constructed residences takes money, and over the last three decades the Chinese economic miracle served precisely to grow the per capita income. The reform of the economic system in 1978 was the driving force that triggered the mechanism of capital production. The reform led to millions of people migrating to the cities from the underdeveloped west of the country in search of higher salaries and a well-founded hope of revolutionizing their economic existence.
China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian Financial Review points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.
When Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu arrived in Shanghai in 2000, working on a project for Michael Graves, they had no plans to stay. “Three months turned into six, then eight,” said Neri of his first visit; fourteen years later, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office operates from Shanghai with more than 100 multi-disciplinary staff. The firm has developed a reputation for their original designs in a landscape dominated by duplicate architecture. In a recent article in The Star Online, Leong Siok Hui maps Neri & Hu‘s road to success, featuring their work on Design Collective and The Waterhouse at South Bund. Read more here.