At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chinese Firms Look to Tradition to Write a New Chapter in Their Nation's Architectural History
This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.
When we think of contemporary architecture in China, we often refer to the megaprojects by international architecture studios that tend to get covered most in the design media. From OMA’s CCTV Headquarters and Shenzhen Stock Exchange to the recently completed Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV and Poly International Plaza by SOM, these projects dominate urban skylines at a singular scale that suggests they were built to impress.
Beyond individual buildings, China’s mega-architecture boom is rapidly developing entirely new cities, a process designed to relieve the country’s principal metropolitan areas of their high density, while offering new prototypes for urban life. These highly branded environments are prompting displacement – as a form of rural exodus – and social stress throughout the country, while also ignoring the legacy of traditional Chinese architecture in urban centers.
The Design Museum in London has announced the shortlist projects in the running for the 2017 edition of their prestigious Beazley Design of the Year award. Now in its tenth year, the award was established to “celebrate design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”
This year, a total of 62 projects have been nominated across six categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport – including 13 projects from the Architecture category. A winner from each category and the overall winner will be announced on January 25, 2018. Previous winners of the architecture category include: IKEA’s Better Shelter last year (also the overall winner), Alejandro Aravena's UC Innovation Center in 2015, and Zaha Hadid Architects’ Heydar Aliyev Center (overall winner in 2014).
See all of the architecture nominees below.
Shenzhen Maritime Base and Sports Schools / 2A2 Design Department, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD)
China Taiyuan Coal Transaction Center / 2A2 Design Department, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD)
The commission was to design a 220 apartment housing complex for people for low income families in Guangzhou. Urbanus decided to give the complex a nice and intimate atmosphere, by reinterpreting the traditional Hakka Houses. This housing typology correspond to 300 year old houses in the south of China, and as you can see on some pictures after the jump, they are basically a large housing project where complete families live as a community (aunts, nieces, nephews, etc.)