As we are entering 2021 after a year of anxiety and uncertainties, what are your expectation for our future? The UN75 survey reports that most people around the world hold greater optimism for the future: “Globally, many more respondents believe people will be better off in 2045 than today (49%) compared to those who believe people will be worse off (32%).”
The designers and architects have been considering the possibilities of tomorrow and utilizing new design strategies to help countries reset their economies in the post-COVID world. This article will identify seven living trends that are creating possibilities and will discuss how the architects and designers in China are taking advantage of those possibilities for the benefit of society.
Living with Post-Pandemic Changes
Ronald Lu & Partners has created in collaboration with BEHAVE, a blueprint for future-ready offices that meet the new needs of the post-pandemic workforce. Their partnership has generated “Mindplace”, an office concept that will “improve work efficiency, focus on sustainability and cater to the holistic needs of employees”.
Going beyond a workspace, this project aims to create “a holistic place where work, play, creation, and socialization occur together, in comfort, safety, and tranquillity”. Redesigned spaces are envisioned to create both long-term economic and health benefits.
7 strategies are proposed by Ronald Lu & Partners to create a new working style in the post-pandemic world: touch-free pathway, open balconies, transformable office spaces, personalized sanitary facilities, increased indoor and outdoor biodiversity, curated atria, physical and mental health, and recreational facilities.
Living with Modular Cities
Lego China has teamed up with CAA Architects to create a vision for a modular city in space. Designed by Liu Haowi, the city is made with a spacecraft topped by a larger urban center, surrounded by an artificial gravitational field controlled by AI. The project is called "Crystal Space City", for its comprehensive design made of a modular system generated from the combination of a city, oasis, and an energy power system
The Crystal Space City project is expected to act as a carrier that can move and travel around the universe. As the team states, the "energy crystal is controlled and adjusted by AI in the vast universe. It uses gravitational accretion to capture the surrounding material energy for its own use." As CAA outlines, the design aspires to pave the way for an ideal human habitat in the future.
Living with Nano-Scale
Hong Kong, as one of the most extreme cases in compact living units, resulting from high residential densities and increased urban land values, has always been looking for solutions for livable tiny homes.
The architect Gary Chang, founder of the Hong Kong-based Edge Design Institute, revealed his vision of compact living, small-scale architecture, flexibility, and the future of our cities.
“With each domestic function defined mainly by its vertical enclosure (i.e. a wall which is conventionally fixed), I came up with a system of moving walls that enabled me to transform the space easily, playing hide-and-seek with the various programs. I do not believe a home is defined by the various rooms one has, it is more about the various activities you perform, from brushing your teeth to watching a movie, from taking a bath to reading near the window.”
Living with Fusion of Technology and Nature
MVRDV has revealed the first images of Chengdu Sky Valley, the firm’s competition entry for the Future Science and Technology City in Southwest China. The proposal attempts to combine technology with nature, urban with rural, and modernity with tradition, and introduces “a liveable city into the Linpan Landscape”. The key component of the Future Science and Technology City is the preservation of the agricultural valleys, and the incorporation of natural topography that enhances the Linpan landscape.
MVRDV envisions Chengdu Sky Valley as a welcoming place that connects people across industries, cultures, and professions. By enlarging the hills, the architects dramatize the existing landscape, creating a city that works in concert with nature.
Living with Artificial Intelligence
BIG has unveiled its design for AI CITY, the future home for Terminus Group, a smart service provider. Imagined as the new center of innovation for China, the project will be dedicated to "artificial intelligence, robotics, networking, and big data”. Located in Chongqing, in southwest China, known as the “mountain city”, the project is set within the Chongqing Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.
The hi-tech campus AI CITY will house the headquarters of the world-leading smart service provider shaping the next generation of technology and cities, Terminus Group. The first phase of the master plan consists of a 75,000m2 Cloud Valley, “conceived as two plots along Xinzhou Avenue and Gaoxin Avenue that mimic each other's opposites”. In fact, BIG's proposal draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape.
Living with Digitally Fabricated Villages
The Chinese Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, themed "Building a Future Countryside", explores new technology and ideas to create better Chinese rural areas. A digitally-fabricated outdoor pavilion "Cloud Village" has been set up in addition to the national exhibition at the Venetian Arsenale. The Cloud Village has a twisting form that creates a sequence of open and semi-enclosed spaces under its roof. It seeks to convey an abstraction of everyday life in the Chinese countryside where boundaries of private and public realms are not always defined.
Living with Transit-Oriented Development
Ronald Lu & Partners, the leading TOD expert with over 60 TOD projects across China, is currently developing flagship Shunde ICC Country Garden Sanlonghui. Showcasing an upgraded TOD4.0 design concept, the mixed-use project generates “a harmonious relationship between people and the environment”.
Creating healthy and walkable neighborhoods, reducing traffic congestion, and promoting public transportation, while also minimizing pollution and energy consumption, Shunde ICC Country Garden Sanlonghui is a perfect representation of the design concept of TOD 4.0.
Located on the border of Guangzhou and Foshan in Sanlong Bay, the 518,320 square meters project will be equipped with a full range of urban functions, including 2 subway lines, 1 bus terminal, 8 residential towers, 2 serviced apartment towers, 1 international shopping center, 1 Grade A office building, 1 kindergarten, and other community facilities.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: The Future of Cities. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.