As we published yesterday, iconic Chinese artist, designer, and dissident, Ai Weiwei has just had his architecture design firm shutdown by the Chinese government. But this scuffle is only the latest of Weiwei’s many brushes with Chinese law. Seemingly since birth (“I was born radical“), Weiwei has been mixing art and politics to speak out against censorship in his country. Which is why he is the subject of a fascinating new feature-length documentary by Alison Klayman: ”Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.”
As the documentary description explains: “Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.”
While working as a journalist in China, the director, Klayman, gained unprecedented access to Ai while filming. Since being released, the documentary has gained many accolades, including the Sundance 2012 Special Jury Award for Spirit of Defiance.
You can find out more about the documentary, including if it’s playing at a theater near you at its website. And you can keep updated on Weiwei’s struggle at the Never Sorry Facebook page and on Twitter, @AWWNeverSorry
Screenshots from the trailer of “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” after the break…
The Nanjing Hexi District recently selected tvsdesign for the south expansion of the Nanjing International Expo Center (NIEC). The goal of this mission was to promote cooperation and exchange between the two cities, and re-emphasize the importance of friendly business relations between China and the United States. Their design will compliment the original master plan and design while embracing the cultural history and beauty of Nanjing, calling upon its dramatic landscape of iconic mountains and scenic waterfronts to enhance architectural roof forms and shape towers that emphasize the importance of the Olympic Axis to the Hexi District. More images and architects’ description after the break.
After 81 days of detention without cause, a year-long travel ban extended for claims of internet “pornography,” and a $2.4 million dollar fine imposed for supposed tax evasion, Ai Weiwei has now been accused by the Chinese government of failing to re-register his architecture design firm, Fake Cultural Development Ltd.
According to Weiwei, the accusation, which will result in the company’s shutdown, is unfounded: because the government confiscated the documents necessary for registration during his tax evasion investigation, he couldn’t possibly have re-registered the firm.
Weiwei, who you may know for his work on the Bird’s Nest and on this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, has openly spoken out against the Chinese government’s censorship (even publicizing the number of schoolchildren killed during the 2008 earthquake due to shoddy, corruption-fueled construction). It’s these kinds of dissident acts that have led to a “campaign of persecution to silence his activism.”
Despite the escalating action taken against him, and imminent threat of arrest, Weiwei has vowed not to pay the fine that has been imposed on him. As he told Reuters: “If they shut down the company, then entities to pay any fine will not exist. I feel this waives any penalties for the company.”
Foster + Partners has broke ground on the Hongqiao Vantone SunnyWorld Centre, new dynamic mixed-use community centered on a four-hectare public park in the heart of Shanghai Hongqiao CBD. The large-scale urban plan that extends from Shanghai’s main station and brings together highly efficient, flexible office buildings, animated at ground level by shops, restaurants and a range of new civic spaces.
Continue after the break to learn more.
Designed by Tokamarch Architects, the XishuangbanNa Residence deals mainly with the relationship between the modern building and local natural environment. The traditional “Dai” village keeps a great balance with the natural environment in XiShuangBanNa. The boundary of every family is divided by bamboo fences or green plants. Luxuriant and multi-layered primitive woods have brought people a green and lively village, The relationship between the living space and the natural environment is in a harmonous compatible symbiosis. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The proposal for a Jinzhou New Area Medical Center by Design Initiatives is located as closest as possible to the existing wing of the hospital in order to shorten the routes and form one integrated complex with that existing wing. The architects believe that the everyday experience of the users is critically important for the hospital typology. They shifted and offset the four different wings so every room that needs it has an access to natural light and ventilation – something so rear in medical buildings and hard to get organized with an area of 185,000 m2. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Construction for the Summer International Shopping Mall in Zhuhai, China has begun. The project is a mixed-use, 360,000 sqm development is designed by 10 Design and led by partner Gordon Affleck. The client challenged the design to move beyond the “black box” retail model, resulting in the diverse arrangement of forms and spaces of the final design. Follow us after the break for more on this project.
Nanjing Ecological and Technological Island / AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting
Located on the Yangzi River to the north-east of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, the proposal for the Nanjing ecological and technological island, by AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting, consists of a development strategy for the Yangzi delta and Jiangsu province. The aim is to define a new image for the city of Nanjing, transforming it into an open economy, developing eco-technological industries and modern services, innovating with existing mechanisms and putting in place the local development strategy of ‘crossing the Yangzi River’. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The competition winning proposal for the Jiaxing College Library & Media Center, designed by LYCS Architecture, seeks to break antiquated design conventions by intelligently negotiating contemporary architectural design into the traditional Chinese campus. Surrounded by rich woods and luscious water, the 42000m2 library plays with hierarchy – the hierarchy of multiple, increasingly private spaces; the hierarchy of the pace of spatial experience; and the hierarchy of introversion and extroversion. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Located in Chengdu’s prosperous and rapidly expanding business district, the innovative office building design for Pinncale One by Make Architects will be an impressive addition to the growing urban landscape, known as the financial hub of Western China. Currently under construction, the new international Grade-A office tower forms part of the Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex, a mixed-use development by Sino-Ocean Land and Swire Properties. More images and architects’ description after the break.
KPF recently shared with us their latest design for a 530 meter mixed-use tower in Guangzhou’s Zhujiang Xincheng CBD – the CTF Guangzhou – which is currently under construction. Joining an already impressive skyline, the new tower will form an urban triumvirate with its immediate neighbors – the 440 meter International Finance Center and the 600 meter Canton Tower.
From the curator Fang Zhenning:
“Originaire” is a word created to combine the meanings of “original” and “initial”. In the Chinese language, the character for “source” is specifically in the context of the water source. As such, we invoke the idea of “originaire” to seek the origin of memory and a mental image of the original world.
Five architects, artists, and designers were asked to create five installations from different perspectives to represent different interpretations of the meaning of “originaire”.
The design for the new Dalian Planning Museum by 10 Design in Dalian, China is envisioned to become a new civic sculpture at the heart of the city’s main governmental district. The building is part of the first steps made by the Planning Bureau to promote landmark architecture in Dalian with an additional seven municipal civil projects, including a library, scientific center, urban planning exhibition, museum, and teenage activity center. The Planning Building will serve as a modern, first-class venue for offices and exhibitions, and more importantly, an addition of cultural engagement for the public within the city. The museum is also designed to be an example of technological innovation and sustainable practices.
Follow us after the break to read about the building’s advanced technology.