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Yao Li

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Why Don’t We Teach Chinese Architecture in the United States?

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Why Don’t We Teach Chinese Architecture?"

How many U.S. architecture professors know that there is a Chinese treatise equivalent to Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture? Very few, I suspect. I taught architectural history for more than 20 years before I discovered the marvelous Yingsao Fashi, a Song Dynasty book by a prominent court official who, as far as we know, was not an architect or builder. In fact, prior to the Ming Dynasty no prominent temple, palace, or shrine in China was designed by an architect because the concept of a single mastermind in charge of a building project was foreign to the East Asian way of designing environments of any kind.

“In Architecture You Can Make a Better Version of the World”: In conversation with Zhang Lei of AZL Architects 

Nanjing-based architect Zhang Lei (b. 1964, Jiangsu, China) does not believe in history, only time. He is convinced that history is something that is taking place in our own time, being shaped by particular circumstances, current programmatic demands, latest building techniques, and contemporary sensibilities.

Brick House (2007), designed by AZL Architects and built in Nanjing, China. Image © Iwan BaanCIPEA No.4 House (2011), designed by AZL Architects and built in Nanjing, China. Image © Yao LiWanjing Garden Chapel (2014), designed by AZL Architects and built in Nanjing, China. Image © Yao LiSong House (2019), designed by AZL Architects and built in Nansong, China. Image © Yao Li+ 17

ArchDaily China's 2020 Building of the Year Awards are Now Open for Nominations

As we successfully launched our 12th Building of the Year (BOTY) award earlier this year, we want to thank you for being part of our community for over 10 years. Together we have been growing and contributing to the architectural scene, aiming for a better world.

ArchDaily China is 5 years old this year. We have been introducing Chinese architecture to the world and bringing global architecture to our readers in China. We are an open platform that benefits global audiences, making the industry more inclusive and equal. While our database, mission, and focus develop, some traditions stay with us over the years, such as our flagship award series – the Building of the Year Awards. Now, we are proud to announce that BOTY's 4th Chinese edition celebrating the best architecture in the country, as chosen by you, the reader.

By nominating and voting, you form part of an interdependent, impartial, distributed network of jurors and peers that has consistently helped us celebrate architecture of every scale, purpose, and condition, from large and small countries, and architects of all profiles. Over the coming weeks, your votes will result in 600 Chinese projects filtered down to just 10 best projects in China.

Read below for more details on how to submit, and thank you for helping us continue to democratize architectural excellence across the world.



Nanjing Foreign Language School, Fangshan Campus / GLA Design

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 28

Nanjing, China
  • Architects: GLA
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  164406
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018

United States, China, and Japan Earn Top Spots in the World Design Rankings

While we wait for summer 2020 and another chance to watch the medal counts climb and cheer on our home countries in the next Olympics, a different type of international contest has tallied its scores and the United States has taken the gold in the World Design Rankings, with China and Japan following for second and third place respectively. Sponsored by the international A’ Design Award and Competition, the world’s largest and most diverse design accolade, the World Design Rankings are compiled based on the number of designers from each country granted an A’ Design Award.

Zhongnan Mansion Clubhouse / Kris Lin. Image © KLIDShaw Contract Group Atlanta Showroom Showroom + Office / Perkins + Will. Image © Gabriel Benzer and Nigel MarsonN8-house [ House of III-BOX ] Residential House / Masahiko Sato. Image © Toshihisa IshiiUrban Skyfarm / Steve Lee. Image © Aprilli Design Studio+ 23

Winners of AR House Awards 2019 Announced

General Design Co’s house in Kamitomii, Kurashiki, Japan has been announced as the winner of the AR House awards 2019, joining two Highly Commended and three Commended house projects. Now in its tenth year, the awards are diverse and wide-ranging, often branching beyond the traditional remit of the dwelling to recognize originality and excellence in design of dwellings of all types.

What's Pushing Refurbishment Fever in China?

China seems to be at the peak of a refurbishment fever. Not only hutongs in historic downtowns, but abandoned industrial factories are becoming new tech or cultural hubs, and even buildings in the risk of collapse are refurbished to extend their lifespan. Why is this happening? Who is investing? How could this happen in a country where you cannot buy properties?

In this edition of Editor's Talk, our editors from ArchDaily China share their thoughts on how in a fast-paced development process, such as the one China is going through, there is a refurbishment fever in its biggest cities.

BingDing Wood Kiln Factory Renovation / AZL architects

overall view © Li Yao
overall view © Li Yao

front entrance © Li Yaofacade details © Li Yaoskylight © Li Yaoset fire ceremony © Li Yao+ 53

Jingdezhen City, China
  • Architects: AZL architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1800
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018

Nanjing Wanjing Garden Chapel / AZL Architects

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 22

  • Architects: AZL Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  200
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2014

Crane Pavilion at Crane Nature Preserve / GBBN

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 25

  • Architects: GBBN
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  2000 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Hangda, Jinbing, Lueke

Best Small Chapel Architecture & Design

© Samuel Ludwig
© Samuel Ludwig

Cortesía de Nicolás Campodónico© Yao LiCortesía de STUDIO associates© Davide Perbellini+ 32

This week we’ve selected the best chapels previously published on our site. They reveal different ways of designing a small and sacred space. For inspiration on how to create these atmospheres, integrate different materials, and make proper use of light, we present 32 remarkable examples.

10 Images of Architecture Reflected in Water

This week we have prepared a selection of photographs in which reflections in water is used as the main compositional element. In these images, the surface qualities of the water play a fundamental role in giving the composition its final effect—either acting as a perfect mirror or giving a diffuse touch. Below is a selection of 10 images from prominent photographers such as Lu Hengzhong, Yao Li, and Nico Saieh.

© Nico Saieh© Yao Li© Lu Hengzhong© Fernando Guerra |  FG+SG+ 11

Zhejiang Conservatory of Music Student Apartments / gad + GLA

© Yao Li
© Yao Li

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 18

  • Architects: GLA, gad
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  54518
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2015
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Arrow, CSG, Nippon, Xingfa Aluminium

Atelier Deshaus: "The Idea Is Not to Create an Object But to Construct a Path"

In China's newly emerging constellation of famed architects, few firms elicit the sense of surprise caused by the work of Atelier Deshaus. With projects ranging from awe-inspiring to humble, their work does not adhere to any stylistic rules, but all of their projects exude an enigmatic aura. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky’s “City of Ideas” series, principals Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng discuss the role of identity in their work and how they try to connect their buildings to the landscape.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: Is it true that you each design different projects in the studio? Why is that?

Liu Yichun: This has been true since 2010. Before that we always designed everything together. We used to have endless discussions and too many disagreements and arguments. That’s why we decided to pursue two parallel paths. This approach led to greater efficiency and it helped us to formulate clearer ideas of our independent views of architecture. It also helps us to diversify our work and to avoid forming one recognizable style.

Chen Yifeng: It is important for us to express our solutions differently, even though, fundamentally, we are working in one direction and pursuing one family of ideas.

Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, 2014. Image © Shengliang SuKindergarten of Jiading New Town, Shanghai, 2008. Image © Shu HeSpiral Gallery I, Shanghai, 2011. Image © Shu HeHuaxin Wisdom Hub, Shanghai, 2015. Image © Hao Chen+ 28

The One / gad

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 25

Hangzhou, China
  • Architects: gad
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  343309
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2016

2017 Arcaid Awards Reveals Shortlist for World's Best Building Image

Arcaid Images has revealed the shortlist of 20 images in the running for the title of World’s Best Building Image in their 2017 Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards. The annual award selects photographs in four categories - Exterior, Interior, Sense of Place, and Building in Use - which are judged by an esteemed panel of designers, photographers and journalists based on their atmospheric quality, composition, use of scale and more.

“More than just informing people about the existence of such places, the best photos go beyond that and entice people to learn more about the buildings, cities, and landscapes – maybe even booking a flight to see them firsthand. That feeling hit me on numerous occasions,” said jury member John Hill, Editor of the World-Architects eMagazine.

Cultural Center of Beicheng Central Park in Hefei / Shenzhen Huahui Design

“crescent path”. Image © Yao LiWall-corridor. Image © Yao Lithe entrance hall. Image © Yao Lithe exhibition hall. Image © Yao Li+ 30

DongZhuang Museum of Western Regions / Xinjiang Wind Architectural Design & Research Institute

© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li© Yao Li+ 43

Wulumuqi Shi, China