Throughout the work of Beijing-based practice ARCHSTUDIO, there is a constant feeling of sensitivity to culture and history. That is not to say that the firm’s designs are not modern—far from it in fact—but that the work of founder Han Wenqiang infuses modern materials and forms with a distinctly Chinese sensibility, that is just as apparent in his designs for a food packaging facility as it is in a Buddhist shrine (incidentally, both designs which won ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards, in 2017 and 2018 respectively). In the latest interview from his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to Han about whether architecture is an art form and what it means to create “Chinese” architecture in the 21st century. Vladimir Belogolovsky: Is it intentional that you chose to have your studio in the arts district, 798 Art Zone, here in Beijing? I am curious because a number of architects here in China told me that they strongly believe that architecture is art. If so, it would naturally lead to the conclusion that architects are artists. Do you share this view?
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