China as Architectural Testing Ground

Photo by low.lighting - http://www.flickr.com/photos/low-lighting/

The emergence of on the global economic stage has been discussed at nauseum in myriad publications. But this emergence has had an impact on the world of architecture, providing a testing ground where architects can experiment with new ideas about sustainability and urban growth. These new ideas have been realized in recently completed structures, and more are just beginning construction or have been proposed for the future. More on these new buildings after the break.

Mochen Office / Mochen Architects & Engineers

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Architect: Mochen Architects & Engineers
Location: Beijing,
Structural/Mechanical/Electrical/Civil Engineer: Mochen Architects & Engineers
Client: Mochen Architects & Engineers
Project Year: 2005
Project Area: 3396 sqm
Photographs: Shu He, Lin Mingshu

In Progress: Phoenix International Media Center / BIAD UFo

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Architects: BIAD UFo
Location: Beijing,
Client: Phoenix Satellite Television
Project Year: 2009-2012
Project Area: 64973 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of BIAD UFo

DAL Canopy Design / Digital Architectural Lab

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Architects: Digital Architectural Lab (DAL)
Location: Changsha Hunan, China
Collaborators: Gehry Technologies () Co., Ltd, Free sky Interior Design & Decoration Co., Ltd
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Digital Architectural Lab (DAL)

Chicony Plaza / Goettsch Partners

© 1st Image

Architect: Goettsch Partners
Location: Chengdu,
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: 1st Image

Chicony Plaza is a 37-story mixed-use complex that has just recently reached substantial completion in Chengdu, China.  Designed by of Chicago, IL, the massive complex occupies a complete city bock and, at present, serves the city of Chengdu as a department store with a 450-room hotel schedule to open in the fall of 2012. 

Rabbit: The Light Gallery Exhibition / dEEP Architects

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This exhibition space design by dEEP Architects is for an art exhibition titled ‘Heaven’ that is being held in ’s trend setting shopping destination Xin Tian Di Shopping Mall. The form of a rabbit was chosen because in the Chinese culture this year is the Year of the Rabbit. More images and architects’ description after the break.

One Island East / Hargreaves Associates

© John Gollings Photography,

The Hargreaves Associates design for One Island East in Hong Kong creates an urban plaza that bridges the competing open space and circulation needs of a commercial office tower with 15,000 workers with adjacent high density residential housing of 50,000 residents. Hargreaves Associates created a flexible program that provides a range of open space within the landscape. A plaza with artesian fountain at the base of the new office tower serves the business needs of the commercial tower, and a park-like setting with cascade fountains provides for the residents of the towers. Large terraces create connections between the commercial and residential towers.

Landscape Architect: Hargreaves Associates, Inc.
Location: Hong Kong,
Photographs: John Gollings Photography, Hargreaves Associates

Skyscraper-mania in Asia and the Eternal Competition for the World’s Tallest Building

Photo by Flickr user: nelson ebelt - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nelsonebelt/

Recent years have seen an influx of skyscrapers completed, nearing construction, or proposed in Asia. Stimulated by an exponentially growing population and, therefore, thriving economy, Asia has contributed more soaring buildings to the world’s Supertall list than any other continents combined. With the completion of the world’s tallest building at 828 meters tall, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, comes the proposition of progressively more structures which aim to surpass the prior and ascend to the number one status.

More on skyscraper-mania in Asia after the break.

Steven Holl Architects’ Horizontal Skyscraper Wins American Architecture Award

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Steven Holl Architects recently received an American Architecture Award for 2011 for the Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center in Shenzhen, .The awards, administered annually by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Center for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies honor ‘new and cutting-edge design’ and aim to promote ‘the best of new architecture and urban design.’ More on the project after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Beijing

Courtesy of Flickr CC License / Sarmu

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to . has a range of architectural styles, but the three most prevalent are the traditional imperial style (the Forbidden City), the “Sino-Sov” style (boxy structures built between the 1950s and 70s), and lastly the explosion of a modern corporate style that is punctuated with Starchitect buildings like ’s CCTV TV Station HQ. We put together a list of 12 modern/contemporary buildings that we feel provides a good starting point. It is far from complete. There are dozens of other great buildings that are not our list, and we are looking to add to the list in the near future. Please add your favorites in the comment section below so we can add them on the second go around. Again thank you to all our readers who sent in their suggestions and photographs. The city guides would not be possible without your help.

To check out other cities visit our world map or our Architecture City Guide page.
The Architecture City Guide: Beijing list and corresponding map after the break.

AD Classics: Bank of China Tower / I.M. Pei

Photo by Stephen Chipp - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenchipp/

When commissioned to design the Bank of China Tower on an intricate inland site, was requested to create an unavoidably tall unique headquarters in a typhoon-prone region that would represent the aspirations of the Chinese people yet also symbolize good will toward the British Colony. The solution assimilates architecture and engineering simultaneously, involving an asymmetrical tower that informs both skyline and street. The Bank of China Tower stands 70 stories tall, reaching a height of 1,209 feet. At the time of its opening in May 1990, it was the tallest building in Asia and still remains one of the tallest in .

Urbanized Landscape Series by Li Han / Atelier 11 | China

Xi Ba He / © Li Han

Inspired by the unprecedentedly rapid urbanization process undergoing in , -based Chinese architect and artist Li Han of Atelier 11 | China has developed a series of drawings on the subject of urban landscapes. The purpose of the series is to record the phenomena Li found interesting and representative in this urbanization process. With techniques and visual languages borrowed from architectural drawings, Li tries to present the spontaneous interaction between the urban environment and human activities. The drawings are not only objective documentations, but also reflections and scenarios on the future development based on the current facts. More images and architects’ description after the break.

A. Eugene Kohn Watercolour Exhibition

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International architecture firm, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) recently presented a selection of Chairman and Founder A. Eugene Kohn’s watercolours in Hong Kong this fall. The artists’ proceeds from the works sold were donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cancer Research at the University of Michigan. The proceeds from a silent auction of several noteworthy pieces during the opening reception on October 3rd will also be donated to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund (HKCF). More images and a brief description of the exhibition after the break.

Update: Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA

© OMA

The NASDAQ equivalent Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA, continues to progress forward nearing completion. The latest photographs of the new building, which poses a strong representation of capitalism in , highlight the robust exoskeletal grid and the and complexity of construction.

“For millennia, the solid building stands on a solid base; it is an image that has survived modernity. Typically, the base anchors a structure and connects it emphatically to the ground. The essence of the stock market is speculation: it is based on capital, not gravity. In the case of ’s almost virtual stock market, the role of symbolism exceeds that of the program – it is a building that has to represent the stock market, more than physically accommodate it. It is not a trading arena with offices, but an office with virtual organs that suggest and illustrate the process of the market.”

- OMA

More construction photographs of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange after the break.

Split Bathhouse / BaO Architects

© BaO Architects

Architects: BaO Architects / Benjamin Beller
Location: Gansu,
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 250 sqm
Photographs: BaO Architects

China Diamond Exchange Center / Goettsch Partners

© 1st Image

Architect: Goettsch Partners
Location: ,
Project Year: 2005-2009
Photographs: 1st Image

The China Diamond Exchange Center is a 535,500 square foot office complex designed by Goettsch Partners of Chicago, Illinois.  Located within Shanghai’s sea of massive and often overstated high-rises, this modest-by-comparison structure is brilliantly detailed, appropriately scaled, and aesthetically beautiful.  The complex was completed in 2009 with the help of associate architects Zhong-fu Architects.  The Diamond Exchange Center is sited within Shanghai’s Pudong district, an international financial and commercial hub and houses both the Exchange and additional relative tenants.

Help us with our Architecture City Guide: Beijing

Courtesy of Flickr CC License / DPerstin

Next week we will be taking our Architecture City Guide to and we need your help. To make the City Guides more engaging we are asking for your input on which designs should comprise our weekly list of 12. In order for this to work we will need you, our readers, to suggest a few of your favorite modern/contemporary buildings for the upcoming city guide in the comment section below. Along with your suggestions we ask that you provide a link to an image you took of the building that we can use, the address of the building, and the architect. (The image must be from a site that has a Creative Common License cache like Flickr or Wikimedia. We cannot use images that are copyrighted unless they are yours and you give us permission.) From that we will select the top 12 most recommended buildings. Hopefully this method will help bring to our attention smaller well done projects that only locals truly know. With that in mind we do not showcase private single-family residences for obvious reasons. Additionally, we try to only show completed projects.

This week we are headed to Beijing.

Example of the information we need for your suggestion:

Birds Nest National Stadium / Herzog & de Mueron
ww.flickr.com/photos/dperstin/3980482265/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Olympic Green, Beijing,

Johnnie Walker House / Asylum

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Architects: Asylum
Location: Shanghai, China
Graphic Designers: LOVE
Contractors: Lime388
Project Team: Cara Ang (Design Director), Cherin Tan (Interior Designer), Dymitr Malcew (Interior Designer)
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 650 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Asylum