Search results for "china"

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

AMO’s first exhibition in China distorts selfie culture
AMO’s tradition of experimentation with imagery, jokey self-referential installations, and the power of perception has arrived in China. From now through August 14, True Me will be on display at the 798 Art Factory in Beijing, presenting guests with distorted selfies, monochrome rooms, and anime-inspired installations. True Me was organized in conjunction with AMO, the Chinese selfie app (and data vacuum) Meitu, and the Beijing Contemporary Arts Foundation to celebrate Meitu’s new logo. The show simultaneously skewers and celebrates “selfie culture”: wavy mirror walls wrap the exhibitions and line the show’s circulation, warping the reflections of guests as they move through the Art Factory. According to AMO, this is to show patrons their heavily post-produced “outer self” that social media users project on image sharing apps. The “inner self” is represented too, with six installations meant to evoke visitors’ raw, softer internal life. These spaces are covered in felt, flannel, and grass, and contain photogenic backdrops that were highly influenced by pop culture. Ironically enough, each installation is highly Instagrammable and will likely feature in just as many “outer self” photographs. The spaces range from neon-pink cosmetic mockups, to a faux arcade wallpapered with anime characters in dynamic poses, to a giant backlit eye, to a long purple hall containing alternative versions of the Meitu logo. True Me was led by OMA Partner and Asia Director Chris van Duijn and is AMO’s first exhibition in China. It’s far from AMO’s parent firm OMA’s first project in the country, however. Most recently the firm won a competition to master plan and design an enormous “Unicorn Island” in Chengdu.
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For the Birds

Kuth Ranieri Architects transforms an abandoned roller coaster into an aviary in China
Some might say adaptive reuse is for the birds—in which case, San Francisco–based Kuth Ranieri Architects might happen to agree. The office is currently working on an unexpected adaptive-reuse project in Suzhou, China—just outside Shanghai—with fellow Bay Area landscape architects TLS Landscape Architecture, with the aim of repurposing an aged amusement park at the foot of the iconic Lion Mountain into a central green for a new, technology-focused residential hub. For the Shishan Park project, TLS has designed a district-wide master plan focused on a new circular promenade surrounding the old central lake that once anchored the forgotten fun park. The development is carved into ten subdistricts, each anchored by iconic pavilions—also designed by Kuth Ranieri—and recreational spaces “capitalizing on the site’s natural and man-made lakes as well as the mountain’s historic significance and beauty,” according to the architects. Overall, TLS’s designs highlight 18 “poetic scenes” that visually connect occupants to the existing lake, nature zones, and views of the five distinct mountaintops that can be seen from the site. At the heart of the new urban area is the disused amusement park and its original metallic roller coaster, which Kuth Ranieri plans to convert into a new, 160,000-square-foot visual and functional center for the 182-acre development. Utilizing stainless steel mesh netting to create the outermost enclosure and wooden decking and steel platforms for new occupiable promenades, Kuth Ranieri reenvisions the dilapidated roller coaster as a superscaled aviary. The plan includes a circuitous “infinity walk” that takes occupants up and through the reused roller-coaster structure to perches above the treetops furnished with viewing platforms and an expansive sky deck. The complex can be entered from any one of three access points framed by glass-wrapped concrete parabolic arches that extend into the aviary as covered walkways. Within, the complex will also contain a ten-story circulation tower that can bring visitors up to the highest observation levels. Here, a wide staircase containing landings generous enough to host public programming will wrap the elevator core. The complex will also include a green roof–topped animal care facility. The metallic enclosure surrounding the aviary is inspired by traditional Chinese ink paintings and, more specifically, by representations of Lion Mountain in such artworks. The cascading, rounded geometries of the canopy are designed to evoke “a feeling of layered misty mountains,” according to Kuth Ranieri. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.
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The Unicorn's Horn

Morphosis reveals another winning design for China’s Unicorn Island
Morphosis Architects is one of the four winning design firms in the running to design Chengdu’s Unicorn Island in China’s Sichuan province, competing with Foster + Partners, a team of Arata Isozaki & Associates and Jun Aoki & Associates, and OMA. As China transitions towards a technology-oriented service economy, Unicorn Island was imagined as a centralized location where start-ups and established companies would be given the resources to grow. Whereas OMA’s plan for the island involved a crosshatch of different buildings for start-ups ringed by headquarters for the Unicorn companies (worth $1 billion or more), Morphosis has designed a series of curvilinear facilities that wrap around the island’s edge. While the island in Chengdu is small, Morphosis took the opportunity to bring big ideas, designing a campus that would be walkable, sustainable, and accessible via mass transit while also building up the city’s skyline. The firm broke the 165-acre island up into four quadrants, with each representing a stage of a Unicorn company’s growth. Flexible office space can be found in all four sections, as well as shared community amenities and a central park and hub for each. The northwestern quadrant has been set aside for education and will contain offshoots of the universities found in Chengdu proper, while the convention and showcase quadrant to the southwest will allow companies to demonstrate their wares. The eastern half of the island would be broken into north and south innovation quadrants, holding accelerator spaces, labs, and administrative support services. At the island’s core would be a massive “Unicorn Tower,” which would serve as the headquarters for the campus’s most successful companies. Other than the central tower, Morphosis chose to keep the other buildings low-slung and accessible from the ground level. Pedestrian access across the island was prioritized, and park-to-park walkways were overlain across the entire site. A proposed metro station near the Unicorn Tower would put most of the island within walking distance from mass transit. For their scheme, Morphosis worked with engineers Buro Happold. No estimated completion or start date has been announced yet.
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Floating Fantasies

OMA wins competition to design tech-focused “Unicorn Island” in China
Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, is rapidly transitioning towards a service-based economy and has enlisted OMA’s help in growing its local tech companies. Following an international design competition sponsored by the Chengdu government, OMA and three other high-profile studios have been chosen to master plan a Unicorn Island for startups and more established tech companies alike. OMA has designed a campus that weaves over the entire island, with skyways that overlap and interconnect, which they call a weave. At the island’s core is the Living Lab, a domed complex with working labs that will be open to the public. Branching out from the Living Lab will be the weave, which will hold startups and “Gazelles” (tech companies worth $1 million or more). The weave has been envisioned as a community space, and OMA has described the area as “village-like” in its project description; this interior section will contain residential housing for employees, a mix of office typologies, and amenity spaces meant to foster mingling between different companies. Along the island’s edge will be headquarters for the "Unicorns" (technology companies worth $1 billion or more), with room for expansion as the companies in the weave increase in value and relocate outwards. From the renderings, it appears that the complex will be massive and extend all the way across Unicorn Island. Interestingly, everything except the waterfront headquarters will be elevated; roads will pass below the floating weave, with four courtyards set aside, one on each block.  OMA has also revealed some of the tower typologies that will be present in the weave, including a circulation tower, sports tower, education tower, and relaxation tower for the 16 cores. With such a tightly-condensed campus, parking had to be moved underground. From the site plans, it seems that parking will run under nearly the entire island, with the exception of the area below the Living Lab, which will become an underground plaza. The design of Unicorn Island was led by Chris van Duijn, OMA Partner and Director of OMA Asia. Mobility in Chain provided the traffic consultation and Transsolar acted as the climate engineer. No estimated completion date or project cost has been revealed at the time of writing. The other three winners of the design competition include Morphosis, Foster + Partners, and a team composed of Arata Isozaki & Associates and Jun Aoki & Associates.
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Chinatown Takeover

Studio Gang unveils renderings for sinuous tower in Los Angeles’ Chinatown
Chicago-based Studio Gang, French real estate investment company Compagnie de Phalsbourg, developer Creative Space, and European lifestyle brand MOB Hotel have unveiled plans for a towering hotel and apartment tower complex slated for Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood.  The sinuous, glass-wrapped tower will rise diagonally from a site currently occupied by a pair of commercial buildings and a parking lot, among other uses. A rendering released by the development team depicts a tower that grows wider as it rises from the site, revealing larger, cantilevered floor plates containing balcony spaces along its uppermost floors. The project is among the first high-profile developments in the neighborhood following recent new construction and the completion of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The project will likely transform the neighborhood, replacing a modestly-scaled commercial area with plazas, a 149-key hotel, and 300 new residences. It does not contain an affordable housing component.  “This project transforms a parking lot and commercial strip into an architecture that opens up the potential of the site to connect neighborhoods,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang explained via press release. Gang added, “Responding to the growing needs of the city, we designed the footprint to enable new generous outdoor public space at ground level while simultaneously creating a curved upper volume to capture views, light, and air for the building’s inhabitants.” The project comes as development around the new state park heats up, with several other multi-phase, mixed-use developments currently in the pipeline. The project will be Studio Gang’s first project in L.A. and represents the changing tenor of development in the city’s urban core, which is becoming more star-studded and international in nature than has prefiously been the case. Nearby, Johnson Fain and SWA Group are working on the 355-unit La Plaza de Cultura development, while efforts are made to create a new master plan for the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent Civic Center areas. Studio Gang’s project will now head into the community review phase; a timeline for construction has not been announced.
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Structural rationalism meets architectural elegance in Hangzhou, China
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For over eight decades, SOM has been a leading voice in emphasizing structural poetics, or the integration of architectural and engineering efforts into built form. This mashup of rationalism and elegance was on full display at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennale, where they collaborated with Mana Contemporary to deliver a pop-up exhibition titled "SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture]," that ran from September 2017 through early January 2018 at the Ace Hotel. Among sketches, study models, and impressive structural mockup systems sat a lineup of more than 30 structural models at 1:500 scale, arranged by height.
  • Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Location Hangzhou, China
  • Date of Completion 2021 (projected)
  • System unitized curtain wall
  • Products custom unitized glass curtain wall with integrated metal clad shadow box and horizontal fins
Hangzhou Wangchao Center has seamlessly grown out of this impressive survey of work—a design that exists as proof-of-concept to SOM’s design approach. Along with a robustly reinforced concrete core, the 54-story mixed use tower is defined by eight “mega-columns,” as defined by SOM, which weave back and forth as they track upwards. Secondary perimeter columns establish uniform bay spacing to the interior, connected diagonally to the primary corner columns with a Vierendeel transfer truss. Beyond creating an expressive formal shape, the structural configuration offers performance benefits such as wind load reduction and flexible column-free interior floor plates. The resulting unitized facade was carefully designed into a rationalized stepped surface to allow for flat planar glazing units. The canted curtain wall, which follows the tapered massing of the tower, is organized into floor-to ceiling units which slip past the finished floor level to create a sense of continuity from the interior. A recessed shadow box and horizontal fin assembly further articulates a reveal gap between floor plates. This carefully developed building envelope detail offers a discrete path for the building to accommodate natural ventilation.
The ground floor building enclosure was engineered to accommodate 36-foot-tall glazing panels around the perimeter of the tower, dissolving the boundary between the surrounding cityscape, and highlighting a massive stone-clad core that blooms outward into the space of the lobby. The tower is currently under construction, with piles for the foundation system being driven into the ground. The project will be complete by 2021 just ahead of Hangzhou’s hosting of the 2022 Asian Games, a multi-sport event held every four years.
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Step It Up

L.A. Chinatown park transforms barren hillside into terraced gardens
Los Angeles–based AHBE Landscape Architects and the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering have revealed renderings for a new $8.5 million public park slated for L.A.’s Chinatown neighborhood. The so-called Alpine Park will take over a bare hillside currently marked with rudimentary paths that are heavily used by the local community to cut across the hilly neighborhood. The hillside currently connects a densely-populated cluster of homes and apartment complexes at the top of a hill with a local public library branch down below. Evan Mather, principal at AHBE, told The Architect’s Newspaper that the community had been calling for the park for years, explaining that the challenge of the site has “always been about accessibility and the fact that the neighborhood [generally] lacks outdoor open space.” In place of the informal paths, AHBE is proposing a series of formal recreational terraces and paths anchored by three outdoor rooms. The composition follows the steeply-sloped site, which climbs over 30 feet in height across its narrowest exposure and over 100 feet between the library and the residential section of the neighborhood. The landscape architects have added a series of staircases, ramps, and an elevator to help with the change in elevation. The stairs anchor the L-shaped pocket park along one end, with a lotus plaza, bamboo garden, and so-called “heavenly garden” located at the bottom, middle, and top of the site, respectively. The three secondary gardens are connected by sloped ramps lined with native Palo Verde trees, roses, bamboo, Chinese Flame Trees and other native and drought-tolerant specimens. The project is expected to begin construction in early 2018 and open to the public in early 2019.
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Yuichiro Hori of Stellar Works Weighs In

Why China is absent from the design conversation
Despite its solid economic growth and sizable population (the largest in the world), China is noticeably absent from many conversations and events surrounding design. As numerous publications have pointed out, there was very little representation of China this past year at Milan Design Week and New York Design Week, among others.  To learn more, The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) managing editor Olivia Martin sat down with Yuichiro Hori of Stellar Works, a Shanghai-based design company, to talk about the current design climate in China. Although Hori is Japanese, he found Shanghai to be the best place to launch Stellar Works, a cross-cultural brand that has worked with designers such as Yabu Pushelberg, Space Copenhagen, Neri& Hu, and David Rockwell. Stellar Works has been praised as one of the few companies truly representing China (and Asia in general) in the design fair circuit. The Architect’s Newspaper: Tell me a bit about starting Stellar Works and how you ended up with a factory in Shanghai and a factory in France. Yuichiro Hori: My background is in furniture design, so I was designing my collection without my own factory and I was supposed to be making everything in Japan. The quality of Japanese manufacturing is very good, but the problem is that the factories aren’t very flexible. The Japanese manufacturing mentality is conservative and people hesitate to take on new challenges. This leads to long lead times and high costs. I had lots of ideas for my new collections, but it was difficult to get them done. When I went to China, I was surprised by the large-scale furniture factories with new machines and highly skilled workers—I was very impressed! I started asking some of the Chinese companies to work with me. Ultimately, I set up my own factory in Shanghai, which is an amazing environment: It is innovative and dynamic and international and I am able to find skilled workers easily. So, I moved to Shanghai for my factory there and also started working with the high-end French manufacturing furniture firm Laval to do the furniture’s hand detailing.   How does that combination of Japanese-Chinese-France work?  It’s very interesting. It’s a unique combination. Everything is different, even the way we work and the way we talk. Every day we have a new surprise—mostly positive surprises. We are learning about each other and learning from China. The French factory is smaller than the Shanghai factory and can only be open for 35 hours a week, whereas the Shanghai factory can be open for double that because the people are very young and very willing to work. Obviously, the two cultures are very different. We like to say that we are made in Shanghai rather than made in China. We enjoy the city here and the nice living environment. Typically, strong design movements come out of very strong economies and Shanghai has a strong economic background. As we get more and more design requests we can support the improvement of local manufacturers and challenge new designers.  Overall, we have noticed a lack of Chinese design at major furniture fairs, even as the Chinese market has grown. Do you agree with that or are we looking in the wrong places? I think China is still more hardware than software. China is the factory of the world; they are producing everything and exporting everything. So the challenge for China is that they are so focused on manufacturing design rather than creating it. I definitely don’t think that is bad, but it makes it more difficult for design development. But, China is booming and growing so sooner or later it is going to happen.
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Instagram Eavesdrop

From Hudson Yards to Chengdu, China: Where top architects were this week
At The Architect's Newspaper, we're plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through "Inkwell" or "Ludwig" filters, but there's also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they're documenting the built environment, and where they've traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don't forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Anne Fougeron of San Francisco–based Fougeron Architects was in Lisbon, Portugal, and she enjoyed the shade underneath London-based AL_A’s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT).

#Lisbon #MAAT #museum #whitetiles

A post shared by Anne Fougeron (@fougeronarch) on

The ever-on-the-move Iwan Baan stopped by Dia:Beacon and snapped this glowing pic of Dan Flavin's Untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection).

#danflavin #fence at #diabeacon @diaartfoundation

A post shared by Iwan Baan (@iwanbaan) on

International firm Snøhetta showcased its Snøhetta: Relations installation in Innsbruck, Austria; the angular landscape has served as everything from theatrical stage to gathering place.
We couldn't resist: here's some feline Instagram love from Amsterdam-based UNStudio
L.A.-based Oyler Wu Collaborative teased its next project, a large steel structure that will soon be powder coated.
New York–based Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) posted this update of the firm's 55 Hudson Yards, which will eventually rise 780 feet and feature several outdoor terraces.
Last but not least, also New York–based Steven Holl Architects furnished these fresh photos from its Sliced Porosity Block - Raffles City Chengdu project.
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Studio Visit

From China to Long Island, see Gluckman Tang’s recently completed and on-the-boards projects

The clean, white-walled exhibition space, the now-preferred one for displaying art, did not materialize overnight, as Mark Wigley and others show in their histories of exhibition design. Sheetrocked walls with smooth, joint-compounded planes, set inside an old industrial building with clear polyurethane wood floors, exposed beams, and metal straps, can be traced back to the 1980s.

One of the first interior spaces to show the power of these minimalist white-walled spaces was likely the Dia Art Foundation at 548 West 22nd Street in Chelsea, New York, designed in 1985. This space was designed by Richard Gluckman, who can—as much as any other architect—be credited with creating spaces influenced by the minimalist art of the period.

His firm, now Gluckman Tang Architects (Dana Tang, who has worked in the office since 1995, became his partner in 2015), has built on this minimalism-inspired base of design ideas with 22 employees that design scores of major projects. In the last three years they have become a truly global practice with important projects on three continents. Gluckman Tang always seems to have an impressive portfolio of museums, galleries, and institutional projects on the boards. It, like any firm, doesn’t realize all of its commission or competition entries, but it is clear that it is a firm that institutions trust to create an appropriate and workable spaces, like: the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, and the Zhejiang University Art and Archaeology Museum in China. Gluckman, whose first major New York project was a townhouse for Heiner Friedrich and Philippa de Menil in 1977, has also built on this foundation to create scores of lofts, private homes, and other residential projects since the 1970s. Gluckman Tang seems to have hit a sweet spot as an office with a manageable number of employees and a reputation that ensures that they will continue to interview with enviable clients offering desirable, even glamorous, commissions. William Menking

Dineen Hall, Syracuse University College of Law Syracuse, New York

Dineen Hall is a new 200,000-square-foot facility that anchors Syracuse University’s West campus expansion with a distinctive five-story state-of-the-art building for the College of Law. A central atrium at the main level visibly linking the core elements—a library, a celebratory space, a ceremonial courtroom—is positioned beneath a green roof that creates a seasonal outdoor terrace, with the skylit vertical axis introducing natural light throughout the building. The iconic ceremonial courtroom will be visible from inside and outside the building, signifying the law school’s inherent accessibility and transparency. De Maria Pavilion Long Island, New York This is the second Gluckman Tang–designed single-artist exhibition structure on this Long Island estate (the firm created the earlier Noguchi Garden Pavilion in 2004). A board-formed concrete interior frames a selection of Walter De Maria works, and is naturally lit by a large skylight and window-wall. A brick exterior references the 1920s garden wall. Zhejiang University Museum of Art and Archaeology Zhejiang Sheng, China This facility is a teaching museum that supports research and study of the arts on a campus for Zhejiang University. The contemporary design alludes to various aspects of traditional Chinese architecture and garden design. It brings together three major elements—public exhibition, art study and storage, and academics. The museum’s entry and lobby overlook a garden along a canal to the south. The four-story academic wing has its own entry facing the new campus to the north, and contains the library, auditorium, classrooms, seminar rooms, study centers, conservation lab, and education center.
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Housing Surge

China plans to build two million affordable housing units in 2017
China is aiming to build two million affordable housing units this year in an effort to increase access to housing across the country, senior officials from that country report. According to Reuters, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) vice minister Lu Kehua explained that access to affordable housing was becoming a top priority for the government, as housing affordability across China’s largest cities has plummeted in recent years. Many parts of the country are currently experiencing a property boom that has left China’s low-income residents—especially migrant workers who have moved to China’s bustling cities from the countryside—out in the cold. The new units will be developed with an eye toward housing such populations, Lu explained. Official Chinese state publication Xinhua reports that the government has boosted investments and financing in public housing production in recent months to begin the process. Confusingly, the so-called property bubble in major cities comes as many of China’s smaller cities suffer from housing overproduction, resulting in “ghost cities.” China’s unequal, helter-skelter housing growth is straining city residents and has the potential to end badly, economically speaking, as builders take on more and more debt to build housing where it is neither needed nor in high demand. Of course, the low-skilled workers most dependent on the booming building industry there are due to suffer most in the event of economic collapse. Though two million new units is an impressive feat, the new affordable housing efforts are relatively paltry, considering China’s population currently stands at roughly 1.357 billion inhabitants, with roughly 70 million people living in poverty there. Overall, China provides affordable housing for roughly 11.3 million families. By comparison, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, administers roughly 4.8 million affordable units, according to a recent report. By one measure, China’s forthcoming affordable units, if developed proportionally in the United States, would result in over 466,000 new units. That number, coincidentally, is close to the number of new units needed to begin to address California’s housing crisis
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Fluid Plans

This master plan calls for a brand new city to alleviate China’s water issues

Chicago-based UrbanLab has a knack for combining water infrastructure with architecture and landscape to find new urban forms. In the 2014 Venice Biennale, the studio presented the Free Water District (FWD), an urban-scale multiuse, multi-environment development that would encourage industry through a controlled, but free, use of Great Lakes water. In its latest commission, UrbanLab has been asked to address an even more complex urban situation in China.

The Yangming Archipelago in Changde, Hunan, China, will be a new district that will accommodate 600,000 people in five square miles. Changde is part of a larger program in China to implement large water-infrastructure projects in order to improve urban water quality. At the heart of the project is an island-filled lake, which will act as an ecological, as well as a social and cultural space. The Yangming Archipelago also includes a dense system of public transportation and housing, integrated into eco-boulevards.

Eco-boulevards, a concept that can be found in many of the studio’s proposals, put water at the center of urban improvement. The idea is based on case-by-base performance-based infrastructural landscapes. These rich boulevards would come in many forms and sizes, but they would all function as more than a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies,a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies, a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies, both passive and active. The stitching of nature to the larger urban environment would connect formerly disparate parts of the city with a common civic space.