Urban development in China has been a contentious issue, represented by megacities and endless gated communities, remnants of the country’s large communal working and living units, the ‘danwei’. However, in recent years, the paradigm has been shifted largely by developers for more innovative living concepts, the practice of designing inclusive communities anchored by public and cultural buildings serving the wider community. One of the earliest experiments, Liangzhu New Town by Vanke is now a benchmark for creating diverse community.
2016 has been a momentous year for Chinese architecture. From the completion of the Harbin Opera house by MAD to the Aga Khan Awards recognizing Zhang Ke of Standard Architecture for his micro-scale design of the Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre in Beijing. It seems the general perception of Chinese architecture has finally moved beyond the big, weird and ugly.
Since we’ve started to branch out into China, the ArchDaily China team has been able to discover the rich layers beyond just these rising Chinese stars. As part of the country's large-scale urbanization process, last year, we posted some of the large-scale projects designed by China’s (largely unknown) Design & Research institutions such as train stations and cultural centers.
In addition, we’ve also come across a series of smaller, lesser known, younger practices that focuses more on small-scale experimental work. Here are our top ten favorites: