Chinese Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
There's an old, weary tune that people sing to caution against being an architect: the long years of academic training, the studio work that takes away from sleep, and the small job market in which too many people are vying for the same positions. When you finally get going, the work is trying as well. Many spend months or even years working on the computer and doing models before seeing any of the designs become concrete. If you're talking about the grind, architects know this well enough from their training, and this time of ceaseless endeavor in the workplace only adds to that despair.
Which is why more and more architects are branching out. Better hours, more interesting opportunities, and a chance to do more than just build models. Furthermore, the skills you learn as an architect, such as being sensitive to space, and being able to grasp the cultural and societal demands of a place, can be put to use in rather interesting ways. Here, 3 editors at ArchDaily talk about being an architect, why they stopped designing buildings, and what they do in their work now.
Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."
Traditionally, heyuans were large single-family homes, built to house multiple generations of descendants, thus the essential gathering place for micro-communities. Today, however, many heyuans in China are faced with the challenges of encroaching urban development. The national reforms of the 1950’s divided up many existing courtyards to be occupied by multiple families and groups, exhausting ancient sanitation systems nationwide. These practical circumstances together with market-driven conditions have sparked a renewed interest among architects, to upgrade the conditions of these ancient courtyards and explore the spatial and conceptual possibilities of the typology within their fast-changing urban fabric. Scroll down for a selection of projects that will refresh your understanding of Chinese courtyards.
- China Northwest Architecture Design and Research Institute
Space Renovation of 69 Beishan St. / The Design Institute of Landscape and Architecture China Academy of Art
Hangzhou Ya Gu Quan Shan Hotel / The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Zhejiang University
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: