Tim Franco Captures the Overscaled Urbanization of Chongqing

© Tim Franco

These days, many of China‘s largest urban areas are easily recognizable to people from all over the world, with the skylines of coastal mega-cities such as Shanghai and Beijing taking their place in the global consciousness. Far less known though is the inland city of Chongqing - another of China’s five top-tier “National Central Cities” – where in 2010 the Chinese government embarked on a plan to urbanize a further 10 million of the region’s rural population, with around 1,300 people now moving into the city every day.

Since his first visit to the city in 2009 photographer Tim Franco has been on a mission to document the rapid change in what he believes is “maybe the most widely unknown megacity in the world.” The result is Metamorpolis, a forthcoming photographic book by Franco with text by British journalist Richard Macauley, which documents the colossal scale of development juxtaposed against the people of – many of whom still live an incongruous rural lifestyle among the concrete sprawl. Read on after the break for more images from the book and an interview with Franco about the experience of documenting one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.

SND Fashion Store / 3GATTI

© Shen Qiang

Architects: 3GATTI
Location: Chongqing, Chongqing,
Architect In Charge: Francesco Gatti
Area: 180.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Shen Qiang

Zhongxun Times / 10 Design

Courtesy of 10 Design

Architects: 10 Design
Location: ,
Design Team: Gordon Affleck, Brian Fok, Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, Frisly Colop Morales, Jason Easter, Nick Chan, Rita Pang, Ryan Leong, Dan Narita, Jon Martin
Area: 130000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of 10 Design

Palm Island / Hassell

© Luo Wen

Architects: Hassell
Location: Chongqing,
Area: 9,600 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Luo Wen

Chongqing Greenland Clubhouse / PURE Architecture

© Shu He Photography

Architects: PURE Architecture
Location: Chongqing,
Area: 1,100 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Shu He Photography

Forte Nanshan / SPARK


Architects: SPARK
Location: Chongqing,
Project Director: Jan Felix Clostermann
Team: Eldine Heep, Leonardo Micolta, Javen Ho
Area: 5,420 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Jonathan Leijonhufvud, FG+SG, Fernando Guerra – Sergio Guerra

Chongqing Business Center Proposal / United Design Group

Courtesy of

Located in the center of the business zone in the Jangbeizui District of Chongquig, , the office building proposal by United Design Group will service the business zone, promote the business condition, enrich the functions of the center, and become the fresh blood of the district. The considerations about the surroundings have been mostly centered on the orientation of the other projects (already under construction) and by the presence of a linear park that will connect the site with the water front where the Chongqing Grand Theatre is located. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Zaha Hadid Seeing Double in China

Wangjing SOHO: East © ZHA

Eleven  projects are currently being constructed in China, however one of them has the international architecture mogul seeing double. Unfortunately, Hadid has found herself in a race to finish the Wangjing SOHO office and retail complex in Beijing before pirates complete their doppelgänger version in Chongqing, a megacity near the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau.

As reported on Spiegel Online, the Dame claimed that the pirates are currently in the lead and building faster than SOHO. The original, which is set for completion in 2014, features three curved towers whose “shimmering”, metallic skin unifies the complex as each volume appears to “dance” around each other.

Hadid is not the first to be mimicked in China. Last year, a small UNESCO-protected village in Austria, Hallstatt, was recreated, brick for brick, in the subtropical district of Guangdong, China. You can find the complete story here.

Chongqing Mountain & City Sales Office / One Plus Partnership

Courtesy of Limited

Architects: One Plus Partnership Limited
Location: , China
Designers Involved: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung
Area: 1,600 sqm
Photographers: Ajax Law Ling Kit, Virginia Lung

Starlight Place / Aedas

Courtesy of

Architects: Aedas
Location: , China
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Aedas


Forte Nanshan / SPARK

© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Architects: SPARK
Location: Chongqing,
Completion: 2011
Total GFA: 5,420 sqm
Project Director: Jan Felix Clostermann
Design Team: Ming Yin Tan, Eldine Heep, Cristina Perez Guillen, Leonardo Micolta, Javen Ho
Client: Forte
Interiors: Limited
Landscape: Hassell/Hong Kong
LDI: Chongqing Design Institute
Structure: Chongqing Design Institute
Photographs: Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Houston Pavilion / Morris Architects

Courtesy of

Morris Architects shared with us their Houston Pavilion for the 8th International Garden Expo in Chongqing, , which is a showcase for a variety of landscape typologies throughout and the world. The theme, “Better Garden, Better City”, promotes harmony between landscaped and built spaces. The City of Houston is one of thirty-two international cities invited to participate in the Expo. Morris Architects partnered with SWA Group to design the Houston Pavilion. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Jindai Elementary School / TEKTAO

© Lou Yongqi

Architects: TEKTAO/Tongji University
Location: Jindai Town in Liangping County, , China
Project team: Lou Yongqi, Ji Xiang, Yuval Zohar LEED AP, Ruo Chen, Ding Chan, Wu Zhen, Guo Ling, Wang Ci Yin, Lu Lian Jie, Wang Ye, Xu Hang Yu
Project area: 5,000 sqm
Photographs: Lou Yongqi, Yuval Zohar

Chongqing New World Shopping Center / logon architecture

Courtesy of

German-based logon architecture shared with us their project for the New World Shopping Center, which includes luxury residential housing, a highrise tower and a 5-star hotel. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Brittle / Nicolas Fayad


Recent Harvard graduate, Nicolas Fayad, was awarded the Boston Society of Architects’ James Templeton Kelley Prize, an honor recognizing the most successful graduating project.  Fayad’s “Brittle”, a School of Arts, is an exploration of responsive and adaptive form.  Fayad’s programmatic elements have been organized and molded in response to the changing typography of , China – making the design quite flexible as it can easily adapt to any change of land within the city.

More about the awarded design after the break.