Winsun New Materials, a construction firm based in Suzhou, China, has successfully built ten small-scale houses using a massive 3-D printer. The 22 foot tall machine uses glass fibers and cement to produce building elements, such as walls, in successive layers. Winsun estimates that their printing process is approximately half as costly as traditional construction methods. Acknowledging China’s strict environmental policies, the company also has plans to use scrapped construction materials to print future buildings. You can read more about this ongoing project in this article from the Wall Street Journal.
As reported by Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, a group of Chinese investors has revealed plans for a new city in Kenya that will “match the splendour of Dubai“. Though the investors are still resolving details with the Kenyan government, the city is planned for an area in Athi River, around 30km south-east of Nairobi, and is billed as a Chinese-controlled economic zone. At this early stage, the plans feature at least 20 skyscrapers. You can find more details of the proposal here.
The United Design Group (UDG) China has begun construction the “Xieli Garden” resettlement community kindergarten in Wuxi. The three-story building, designed as a “spiraling elliptical ring,” aims to create an ideal learning environment for children with ample natural light and a direct connection to outdoor space.
Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz has designed a mirrored, 60-meter monument to commemorate the 30 anniversary of the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA). The design, titled “A Cut between heaven and earth”, was “driven by an effort to analyze the process of abstraction and reinterpretation of the site.”
Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a 40-story luxury hotel for Macau’s premier leisure and entertainment destination known as “City of Dreams.” Perceived as a single “sculptural element” united by an exposed exoskeleton mesh structure, the “simple volume” was extruded from its rectangular site as two towers connected at the podium and roof levels, with two organically-shaped bridges punctuating the tower’s center external void. This central void is then celebrated by a 40-meter tall, “grandiose atrium” that greets visitors as they enter the hotel.
Take a digital tour through the building and into the atrium via a newly released video, after the break…
HENN has been selected to design a 160-meter, mixed-use tower for a new Central Business District in the eastern China metropolis of Wenzhou. Located in close proximity to the Ou Jiang river, on the district’s southern edge, the Wenzhou Tower hopes to serve as the gateway to the new city development.
In light of the release of a second, revised edition of City of Darkness – the authoritative text on Kowloon Walled City, which you can help Kickstart here — authors Greg Girard and Ian Lambot have shared an excerpt from City of Darkness Revisited.
The early phases of the Walled City were characterised by predictable building typologies and the buildings were constructed on the principle of squatters’ rights, with random construction on spots of available land by whoever got there first. Alleyways and passages evolved – unplanned – into the established ‘map’ of the City, which would remain until it came down. A basic electric supply existed, increasingly burdened by illegal connections that frequently overloaded the system, and the few standpipes supplied the only water. As the need to accommodate the ever growing residential and commercial populations forced it to in the 1960s, the building typology of the Walled City made the leap from two- to three-storey residential structures to taller, six- to seven-storey ones. This represented an important threshold, because at these greater heights the buildings unavoidably became more complex and required greater labour to realise, reinforced concrete, more investment, and so on. They also required a different way of living. Water had to be transported up to the higher floors by hand. Likewise the propane gas canisters that furnished fuel to cook or heat water.
Architects in Mission (AIM) recently announced the winners for their 2013 competition with the topic, Post Earthquake Reconstruction, Ya’an Sichuan – Rebuild Panda’s Hometown from the Earthquake. The Ya’an Earthquake occurred at 08:02 Beijing Time on the 20th April 2013. The epicenter was located in Lushan County, Ya’an, Sichuan, about 116km (or 72 miles) from Chengdu (along the Longmenshan Fault) in the same province that was hit heavily by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. For this year’s competition, AIM asked participants to pay particular attention to the master planning of the Snow Mountain Village, whilst developing new business models to encourage economic growth for local villagers. See the four winning entries after the break.
Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled their latest – and certainly greenest – “mountainous” housing project (for previous examples, see: Mountain Dwelling and 8 House). Although still in progress, Hualien Residences, a beach resort housing complex in Taiwan, will consist of green “landscape stripes” that resemble mountains themselves. The project, which incorporates walking paths, underground jogging paths, and an observation point, has already been recognized as a finalist in the 2014 MIPIM awards for its use of design to encourage healthy, active lifestyles for the complex’s primarily older residents.
I look into myself, trying to express myself. I think sometimes maybe you have an idea from a dream. It sounds ridiculous but you draw something out of your dream. Where does this dream come from? It must somehow relate to some situation. So what I’m interested in is to keep discovering what is really inside of me. I’m not a genius that from the first moment I already know what I want. - Ma Yansong -
Beixinqiao district, in Beijing, is changing fast: the ancient urban tissue is being demolished as new high-rises are growing.Located in this environment, Ma Yansong’s office sits within an old and anonymous construction. In contrast to its exterior, the inside is characterized by wood, white walls and plants that transform the place into a sophisticated environment.International young architects are busy modeling new organic-shaped buildings on the other side of the world; meanwhile a golden fish swims in the eternal loop of the “fish tank” in the centre of the room.
In the following interview, Ma Yansong explains contemporary cities as environments that are out-of-scale with nature. He believes a new approach must be used, one that breaks the monotonous “chessboard” of contemporary Urban China and re-establishes the balance between human beings and the natural world.