Posts tagged with "China":

Placeholder Alt Text

ODA’s first Chinese project is a tiered, greenery-topped gathering spot in Chengdu

ODA, the New York-based firm perhaps best known domestically for helping to make stacked box-buildings a thing in Brooklyn and beyond, has revealed its first-ever project in China. Conceived as a master plan for the city of Chengdu, capital of the southwest Sichuan province, the project is a breezy and bountiful one-million-square-foot mixed-use development that includes a quartet of mid-rise residential towers anchored by a park-like commercial hub where indoor and outdoor spaces are seamlessly melded into a single inviting urban landscape. As such, ODA has eschewed the sometimes-rigid barriers presented by traditional car-centric streetscapes in which social engagement either takes place inside or outside, with little or no flow between the two. Calling the project an “urban experiment in rearranging priorities for the public realm,” ODA noted in a project description that “… our architecture allows us to rearrange these interactive experiences in a modern and integrated way.” At first glance, the project’s renderings illustrate what appears to be a mash-up of a particularly nice open-air mall and Lawrence Halprin’s Freeway Park in Seattle. Populated by staggered concrete volumes of different sizes and heights and topped with greenery, ODA’s master plan is intended to promote openness and easy, effortless social interaction among users. The design, per the firm, “opens up the apartment towers to elevated terraced gardens overlooking retail below, while the roofs of the shops remain open to the sky, a sprawling elevated walkway with room for food and beverage, landscape, intimate seating areas, and views.” The community’s plant-laden 700,000-square-foot commercial district, arranged as a continuous loop, will encompass two levels. Dotted with cafes, shops, galleries, and other services, the ground level of the plan is largely dominated by plantings, parks, public plazas and courtyards, and water features. The sunken lower level, which connects the community to Chengdu’s canal system and ferry access, is a shoo-in for nightclubs, bars, and the like. The Chengdu development’s offices and residential spaces, much like its retail core, will also enjoy “direct outdoor access” thanks to the presence of exterior staircases, community gardens, shaded outdoor seating areas, and more. “This particular development in Chengdu offers an opportunity to test new forms of urban arrangements that aren’t possible in established metropolitan areas,” ODA founding principal Eran Chen told AN. “It calls for innovation, creating a neighborhood where the many pieces fit together in a new way. We strive to create more intimacy within our communities through the purposeful design of urban voids that can be programmed to offer a balance between indoor and outdoor, where we can institute technologies that promote health and wellness, and create a community that feels culturally authentic and yet universal.”
Placeholder Alt Text

NBBJ’s Olympic Sports Center blossoms in Hangzhou, China

Visuals of Hangzhou, Chinas, multipurpose sports center have finally been released ahead of the 2022 Asian Games. Located within China’s eastern Zhejiang province, the lotus petal-shaped structures were completed in 2018 and have hosted various events while undergoing additional interior upgrades, according to architects NBBJ. Designed by NBBJ in partnership with CCDI, the center features two circular stadiums—one large and one small—set across a 4.3-million-square-foot site and a three-story platform. The main stadium, built to Olympic-size proportions, can hold up to 80,000 people for a variety of events including football and track and field. It’s connected to the nearby 10,000-seat tennis court via a ground-level plaza, gardens, and sunken courtyards, which cover an extensive network of underground retail, restaurants, and a cinema. From the platform and sports venues, visitors glean views of downtown Hangzhou's Central Business District or the Qian Tang riverfront. After breaking ground in 2011, the construction project experienced a few setbacks, including construction delays, and was supposed to be finished as late as 2015. The architect’s complex vision, created using generative parametric scripting, involved prefabricating the petal panels that encompass the stadia exterior in an effort to optimize the use of steel and reduce waste. NBBJ claimed that connecting the steel shell and the concrete bowl of the main stadium lowered the amount of steel framework as well. The 56 total petals used on-site act as trusses for the structures.  The Olympic Sports Center isn’t the only major development coming online for the 2022 Asian Games. Construction work just began on a net-zero sports park by Archi-Tectonics, !melk Landscape Design, and Thornton Tomasetti. The 116-acre development will include a table tennis stadium, a training facility, a shopping mall, and field hockey stadium linked via a series of parks and wetlands. 
Placeholder Alt Text

Sasaki reveals a 4,448-acre business district for Wuhan

The city of Wuhan, China, long known throughout the country as the “crossroads of nine provinces,” has become an urban center within the last few years, seeing a population explosion thanks to the rapid expansion of China’s High-Speed Railway network. In an effort to capitalize on the city’s burgeoning national significance, the Wuhan Planning Bureau recently approved the Wuhan Yangchun Lake Business District, a 4,448-acre master plan designed by international design firm Sasaki in collaboration with ARUP, JLL, and the Wuhan Planning Institute. In light of the site’s proximity to the nearby Yangchun Lake, which has lately suffered from poor water quality, as well as a large solid waste landfill near the waterfront that has negatively contributed to the city's air quality, Sasaki’s main concern was improving the district’s environment conditions by incorporating over 900 acres of green space. The canal network coursing through the district will be “naturalized” to re-establish its connection to the lake’s floodplain to manage stormwater during city-wide floods while repairing the existing riparian habitat. The master plan was thus centered around a large park that sits atop the former solid waste landfill and is additionally organized around newly constructed wetlands along the lake to benefit local biodiversity as well as provide several recreational paths for pedestrians. Greenways planted along several existing roadways will provide an urban tree canopy along the city’s busiest pathways, and a series of pocket parks sprinkled throughout the site are intended to ensure that all residents of the district are within a ten-minute walk from a public landscape. By developing an extensive pedestrian network along and within those green spaces and densifying the street grid, the master plan produces a “human-scaled environment” that will likely encourage residents to more heavily rely on public transportation and walking or biking between destinations. While existing neighborhoods will remain intact as much as possible to avoid disrupting preexisting social dynamics, the land uses between blocks will be redeveloped to foster new business opportunities and social networks. Multiple buildings in the new district will be designed with sky gardens and direct access to parks and pedestrian pathways. The result of the overall Wuhan Yangchun Lake Business District, according to a press release from Sasaki, is a “landscape-forward urban blueprint that advances an environmentally progressive agenda and defines Wuhan’s next generation of growth.”
Placeholder Alt Text

OPEN Architecture transforms an abandoned Shanghai industrial site into a contemporary art park

Along with a vast number of cultural institutions around the globe, Tank Shanghai, a sprawling urban art environment situated along the Huangpu River in China’s most populous city, has been closed to the public and upped its virtual presence in the midst of the country’s coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Just a little over a year old, this singular adaptive reuse-centered art space centered around—and located within—a quintet of massive decommissioned fuel waste tanks is back open now, and apparently ready to show off. A newly released series of photos details the transformative project, which was designed by multi-disciplinary design studio OPEN Architecture and spearheaded by karaoke-loving contemporary art collector Qiao Zhibing. Completed over the course of six years (with some significant delay), Tank Shanghai wholly transformed a formerly industrial plot adjacent to Shanghai’s old Longhua Airport while retaining five hulking tank structures that were left standing at the once-blighted 12-acre riverside site in the museum-stuffed West Bund area. Per OPEN, Tank Shanghai is one of the “world’s rare examples of the adaptive reuse of aviation fuel tanks.” Described as a “sanctuary for both people and nature” that aims to “dissolve conventional ideas of site limitations and demarcations,” Tank Shanghai’s open space-meets-contemporary-art-center approach has already proven to be popular with the public. Showing now is Chicago-based installation artist Theaster Gates’ Bad Neon, which transforms one of the tank-bound gallery spaces into a roller skating rink. For most, the art is indeed a main draw but Tank Shanghai’s park setting also attracts joggers, picnickers, and the like. “By introducing new audiences to the traditionally closed-off space of the art center, Tank Shanghai has brought unprecedented energy to the formerly industrial neighborhood and to the southwest banks of the city at large,” explained OPEN. The five tanks are connected by a lushly landscaped “Super Surface” which serves as a natural pedestrian corridor between the different major sections of the park, including an “Urban Forest, a grassy open meadow for large gatherings, and a “stepped waterscape.” By linking the site with busy Longten Avenue, the Super Surface also opens up public access to the revitalized riverfront. As for the tanks themselves, each has been retrofitted to serve a unique purpose and accommodate different programming. The first is home to a two-story nightclub featuring live music and bar; the second is a restaurant complete with an outdoor roof deck; the third is a cavernous, raw space left mostly unchanged in order to mount large installations; the fourth has been converted into a more traditional gallery space spread across three levels, each connected by a spiraling ramp, and the fifth has been converted to include two large, sheltered stages that each face sloping lawns for visitors to congregate for al fresco concerts, performances, and such. “It is an art center without boundaries, and as it continues to assimilate into the life of the city more largely,” wrote New York-founded OPEN. “Tank Shanghai will continue to facilitate and inspire the creation of more inclusive and collective cultural spaces.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Coronavirus-related slowdowns poised to pummel construction supply chain

While different cities grapple with how major construction projects should forge ahead—if at all—during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the shipping and sourcing of the raw materials used in said projects has slowed to a trickle. As the New York Times recently pointed out, real estate development is a wholly international affair when you consider that the disparate elements that comprise a single construction or renovation project come from, well, everywhere. A decent number of building materials such as concrete and lumber can be domestically sourced, but countries like Italy and China, both of which have been profoundly impacted by the pandemic, are major players in this normally robust global supply chain. In addition to items like Italian marble, Chinese copper, and ceramic tile from Brazil, Turkey, Spain, and elsewhere, a slew of materials and equipment­ sourced from across the globe—paving stones, lighting, electrical equipment, elevators, and so on—have become scarce or are at risk of becoming scarce stateside due to shipping delays, travel bans, shuttered factories, and decimated workforces. As noted by The Real Deal, imports, including construction materials, arriving at the Port of Los Angeles from China were down 23 percent in February when compared to the same period the previous year. Per the Times, these delays, however, have not prompted widespread layoffs within the construction industry itself—or at least not yet. “It’s not like when you build a house and can just go down to a Home Depot and get a different light fixture when you’re short,” Chris Heger, vice president of Seattle-based construction management firm OAC Services, told the Times. “This stuff is all designed and planned years in advance. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.” In-development projects have also been impacted by supply chain concerns, as lenders become increasingly uneasy about the unfolding situation and the overall viability of major developments that could potentially be halted mid-construction. “Lenders want to make sure they’re not going to be stuck with a half-completed project,” Frank J. Sciame Jr., chairman of New York-based builder Sciame Construction, told the Times. Many American builders already have the materials they need on-hand and, in turn, can commence with projects as planned (provided that the powers that be in some cities have deemed the project as being “essential”) according to The Real Deal. A number of importers have also stockpiled enough materials to keep the supply chain moving, albeit at a slowed pace, for a good while. But for exactly how long “a good while” and how large the impact ultimately is on the construction industry both remain uneasy, unanswered questions. “Have people experienced the impact yet? Probably not,” Mike Haller, president of Detroit-based builder Walbridge Aldinger Co., explained to Crain’s Detroit. “But will be impact come? Probably so. There’s regular building materials that come from China, for instance. There’s tiles that come from Italy. There’s stone that comes from Spain. There's curtain wall systems that come from Europe... It's gonna be impactful. How impactful, no one knows.”
Placeholder Alt Text

MVRDV designs a pancaked urban living room for Shenzhen

Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV has been selected as the winner of a competition to design the new Shimao ShenKong International Centre, a mixed-use collegiate complex to be built in Shenzhen, China’s Universiade New Town. Described as a “multi-level urban living room,” MVRVD’s typically captivating and interestingly massed concept, Shenzhen Terraces, beat out 27 other submissions from an array of international architecture firms. Founded in 2001, Shimao is one of China's largest real estate development companies. MVRDV's vision for the center doesn’t take the form of a single terraced building. Rather, the concept calls for a park-like campus populated by a cluster of “stacked plateaus” of various heights that will include a library, art gallery, and much more with an emphasis on culture- and education-focused programming. The largest layered structure, with its middle scooped out to form a monumental, semi-outdoor atrium, will feature a bus terminal and a conference center. All of the structures, which resemble flat sedimentary pebbles or stacks of thin misshapen pancakes, will be connected by a series of walkways that form a continuous, elevated pedestrian route throughout the just-north-of-one-million-square-foot compound. Although MVRDV has packed a lot in, Shenzhen Terraces will ultimately be a sheltered hangout space that shields students from the sometimes-brutal natural elements of South China. Writes MVRDV:
“The terraces are adapted to serve a diversity of functions: large overhangs shield the visitors from the hot sun, while offering places to sit and enjoy the view. These shaded terraces create places for plants and water basins that cool the verandas and create a climate buffer to the interiors. The edges of the terraces dip at strategic points to form connections between the various floors and to double as small outdoor auditoriums. In other places, the facades are pushed inwards to emphasize entrances and create recognizable places within the scheme to help visitors orient themselves.”
Like other MVRDV projects, Shenzhen Terraces was designed to have a low environmental impact, with the firm going as far to call it a “sustainable hub” for Shenzhen's sprawling Longgang District. “The abundant planting and water features reduce the local temperature and provide habitat for urban wildlife, while gardens and rainwater collection generate food and water resources,” writes the firm. “The concrete used in the buildings themselves will be made using recycled concrete as the aggregate, and photovoltaic panels will adorn extensive portions of the rooftops.” Openfabric, a young landscape architecture firm with offices in Rotterdam and Milan, collaborated with MVRDV to conceive Shenzhen Terrace’s expansive landscaping scheme that includes publicly accessible green roofs (on roof sections that aren’t populated by photovoltaic panels), grassy manmade hills, reflecting pools, tree-shaded plazas, “activity zones” for various recreational pursuits, and oblong green patches tucked beneath the terraces which “host planting that imitates the sub-tropical natural forests of the region.” “Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas said in a press statement. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this, and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot—a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.” Shenzhen Terraces is in-development and no construction date has been given.
Placeholder Alt Text

Sam Jacob designs ambiguous street shelter in Shenzhen

A most unusual object has recently been installed on a street corner of the former Yantian port district of Shenzhen, China, that may at first appear to be a peace offering from an alien race. Designed by the London-based architecture firm Sam Jacob Studio (SJS), the Yantian Dolmen is a part of a family of urban furniture elements that blur the distinction between art and design. The Yantian Dolmen was commissioned for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture of Shenzhen and Hong Kong (UABB 2019) and responds to the year’s theme of “Urban Interactions” by inspiring curiosity and social engagement in its appropriation. The piece was designed in a nod to the dolmen, a type of megalithic tomb structure developed in the early Neolithic period over five thousand years ago. Much as how present-day archaeologists continue to question the role they served during the Stone Age, the Yantian Dolmen is a willfully unconventional street furniture piece with a range of uses limited only by the public imagination. Because its role and meaning might therefore change over time, Sam Jacob, founder of SJS, described the piece in a statement as a “social sculpture” whose use always remains provisional rather than fixed, and on his Instagram as a “municipal dolmen/shelter/porch structure.” “In the dolmen,” Jacob wrote in a statement, “elements of Neolithic monument merge with everyday contemporary shelters to create a more ambiguous formal arrangement.” Two abstracted triangular blocks and two steel tubes recalling urban hazard equipment hold up a massive chunk of ‘stone’ to create an overall form that appears both impossibly heavy and partially airborne. The Yantian Dolmen is the latest in a series of projects SJS is producing that combines elements of ancient and contemporary cultures, including the MK Menhir, a 1:1 replica of an Avebury standing stone on a porte cochère northwest of England, a replica of a clay beaker found at a Middle Bronze Age burial site fabricated using contemporary fabrication tools, and the Archaeographic House, a design proposal hybridizing the 4,000-year-old dwelling of Skara Brae on Orkney, Scotland, with the Alison and Peter Smithson’s House of the Future designed in 1956.  A dolmen-inspired accessory dwelling unit designed by Anna Neimark was also recently on view at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) that, much like the Yantian Dolmen, recalls “the architecture of forgotten narratives, eroded tectonics, and mud­dled grammar.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Wuhan shutters all temporary hospitals as COVID-19 risk dissipates

Some good news out of Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province and epicenter for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that's now intensifying elsewhere across the globe. Authorities have suspended operations at all 16 of the city’s temporary hospitals—most erected and put into operation with remarkable speed and efficiency—as the infection rate across the greater Wuhan region continues to plummet following an aggressive, nearly two-month-long quarantine period. The temporary facilities were established with the express purpose of treating patients suffering from symptoms of coronavirus. The first of these makeshift hospitals discharged its last group of recovered patients on March 1. The news of the hospitals’ closure comes at roughly the same time as Chinese state media declared that the spread of the virus has been constrained in Hubei and beyond, with only new 19 new cases being reported as of March 9, all of them in Wuhan, a significant drop from just the day before. In total, Chinese officials have reported 80,754 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began in late December. There have been 3,136 resulting deaths in China, with the first being reported on January 11. To mark the encouraging milestone, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak began, where he relayed, per the BBC, that the virus had been “basically curbed” in the region. “Initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan,” said Xi. President Xi’s visit to Wuhan included a stopover at the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital, where he “visited” on-their-way-out patients and medical staff via video. Encompassing 645,000 square feet, Huoshenshan (“Mount Fire God”) Hospital was one of two field hospitals built-from-scratch on the outskirts of Wuhan, China’s 9th most populous city, in under 10 days using modular construction methods. This approach, taking a direct page from a prefab hospital erected in Beijing during the 2003 SARS outbreak, was in lieu of repurposing large existing structures such as convention centers and stadiums as was the case with most of the city’s other temporary medical facilities. Construction of Huoshenshan Hospital kicked off on January 23 was completed on February 2, with its first patients being admitted the next morning. A sister facility erected from prefabricated modules, Leishenshan (“Mount Thunder God”) Hospital, opened on February 8 in a massive disused parking lot in the neighboring Jiangxia district. “China has a record of getting things done fast, even for monumental projects like this,” Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the BBC when work on Huoshenshan Hospital was first underway. “Engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed. This is very hard for Westerners to imagine. It can be done.” With ample room to accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 patients and a 1,260-person-strong medical staff, the largest of Wuhan’s now-closed coronavirus treatment centers, dubbed the Wuhan Living Room Temporary Hospital, took over a major exhibition center. While transforming an expo center into a massive emergency medical center practically overnight was obviously quite a feat of planning and logistics, the hospital didn’t receive as grandiose a name as its swiftly realized modular counterparts. Dr. Zhang Junjian, a neurologist at Wuhan University and the director of the Wuhan Living Room hospital, told the Associated Press at the end of February that he expected operations to end in “maybe in mid-March or during the last ten days of March because fewer patients are being admitted and the number of patients being discharged is gradually increasing now.” “If nothing special happens, I expect the operation of our makeshift hospital, the biggest one in Wuhan, could complete its historical mission by the end of March,” he added. Based on the news coming out of China, that much-anticipated day came even earlier than expected. As China basks in these encouraging developments and its president takes a very public victory lap, the spread of the virus shows no signs of slowing elsewhere including in heavily ravaged Italy, which recently enacted an unprecedented nationwide shut-down for all 60 million of its residents following a regional quarantine that was limited to the country's northern regions. This week, Italy also recorded the highest single-day fatality rate—168 people killed by the virus in 24 hours—since the outbreak began. The United States, particularly the Seattle metro area and suburban New York City, has also experienced an alarming uptick in confirmed cases over the last several days.
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are the architecture and design events postponed because of coronavirus

Spring is traditionally the season when the international architecture and design community looks forward to the year’s biggest and buzziest exhibitions, events, and openings. This spring is different. As health officials brace for a possible global pandemic, a rapidly spreading outbreak of coronavirus (COVD-19) is hitting the design world, geographically speaking, where it hurts most. Outside of mainland China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan, and in South Korea, the most reported cases of coronavirus are in Italy, with a vast majority being in the northern Lombardy region. As a result, the organizers of Salone del Mobile in Milan, the world’s largest furniture trade show, pushed the annual event back two months. While the 2020 Milan Fashion Week was not postponed earlier this month, some shows were notably altered while China’s formidable showing of designers, buyers, and journalists sat this year out due to mounting travel restrictions. As Women’s Wear Daily reported, a handful of major U.S.-based media outlets that sent fashion editors to Milan are advising—and some mandating—their staffers self-quarantine by working from home for two weeks. Meanwhile, China’s own big upcoming fashion events, China Fashion Week in Beijing and Shanghai Fashion Week, have been delayed (some creative workarounds, however, have been hatched). Outside of design fairs, architecture exhibitions, and fashion shows, the status of what’s perhaps the biggest global event to take place this year, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, remains uncertain although there are no immediate plans to cancel at this point. The World Health Organization (WHO) is advising the Swiss-based International Olympics Committee as to how to proceed. Below is a non-exhaustive list of cultural events, programs, and openings—the focus is on art, architecture, and design—that have been rescheduled or outright canceled due to what the WHO has deemed a “global emergency.AN will continue to add to this list as needed.

United States

2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, Chicago: The Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat has postponed its upcoming conference in Chicago scheduled for April 5-7. AIGA Design Conference, Pittsburgh: The Professional Association for Design's annual conference, scheduled to kick-off at the end of this month in Pittsburgh, has been rescheduled for November 12-14. AIA Conference on Architecture 2020, Los Angeles: The American Institute of Architects has canceled its 2020 conference, which was scheduled to take place May 14-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The AIA is "exploring options to reschedule." The Architectural Digest Design Show, New York City: Scheduled for March 19-22 at Manhattan's Pier 94, the annual AD Design Show has been pushed back to June 25-28. The Architecture League of New York: In an email sent to members and friends, The Architecture League of New York announced the cancelation of a slew of upcoming lectures and events, including a series of lectures by the 2020 winners of the Emerging Voices program. The lectures will be rescheduled for a later date. Frieze New York:  Scheduled to commence May 7, the New York edition of the massive annual art fair has been canceled. Frieze London is still a go for October 8-11 as of this writing. The Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard GSD has canceled all of its upcoming spring events and public programming. The school itself, like many colleges and universities across America, has shifted to online coursework. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York City: ICFF will return to its home at Manhattan's Javits Center in May 2021. The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.: The National Building Museum is postponing its March 13 reopening following a three-month closure to complete extensive renovations. All special educational programming and events scheduled through April 30 will also be canceled or postponed. NeoCon, Chicago: Bustling annual commercial design fair NeoCon will not be held June 8-10 at Chicago's Merchandise Mart as scheduled. NYCxDesign: Scheduled to kick off May 12, this five-borough design bonanza features openings, installations, talks, and open houses. It's been rescheduled for October to coincide with a slew of existing planned architecture and design events including Arctober and Open House New York. The Shed, New York City: The Shed cultural center at Hudson Yards has suspended all performances and events through March 30. South by Southwest, Austin, Texas: The massive annual tech, music, film, and arts festival—along with all auxiliary conferences and events associated with it—has been canceled by the City of Austin. It was slated to kick off March 13 and run through March 22. "We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU," reads the SXSW website. The Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles: SCI-Arc is postponing its upcoming slate of public programming through April 7. WantedDesign Brooklyn, WantedDesign Manhattan: The next edition of the popular two-borough annual design show WantedDesign will  be in 2021. “Having anticipated celebrating our 10th anniversary with our dear NYC friends and international design community, we are genuinely disappointed not to be able to proceed with our May exhibitions in Manhattan and Brooklyn as planned,” reads a post on the WantedDesign Facebook page.

Mainland China

China International Furniture Fair, Guangzhou: The 2020 edition of this long-running furniture fair was set to take place March 18-21 at Guangzhou’s Canton Fair Complex. It’s been postponed and be held on a yet-to-be-determined date. Design Shanghai: Asia’s largest international contemporary design fair was scheduled to take place March 12 through 15 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. It has been rescheduled for May 26 to 29. “We have made this decision based on advice and information from government and local authorities,” reads the Design Shanghai website, “in China and consultation with our partners, venue and local team. The safety of our customers and team is our first priority. The venue and layout will stay the same and we will keep you fully informed of any further developments.” Festival of Design, Shanghai: As reported by Architectural Digest, this interdisciplinary lecture series launched by architecture practice Neri&Hu and held concurrently to Design Shanghai has been canceled. He Art Museum opening, Shunde, Guangdong: The unveiling of the Tadao Ando-designed He Art Museum (HEM) in the Guangdong province has been pushed back from its original March 21 opening date. The museum “is looking forward to finding a suitable date for which will be announced in due course” reads a notice announcing the postponement. JINGART, Beijing: The third edition of this hip nascent art fair has been canceled. It was scheduled to take place May 21 through 24 at the Beijing Expo Center. Shenzhen International Furniture Exhibition: Held annually in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, this highly attended event was scheduled for March 18-21. It has been postponed. X Museum, Beijing: The March opening of this Millenial-focused private art museum, launched by young collectors Theresa Tese and Michael Xufu Huang, has been postponed.

Dubai

Art Dubai: On March 3, organizers of the annual art fair, now in its 14th year, announced that it would be postponed. It was originally slated for March 25-28.

Germany

Light + Building, Frankfurt: The massive annual lighting and home automation trade show scheduled for March 8-13 at Messe Frankfurt has been postponed after “extensive consultations.” It will now take place through September 27 through October 2.

Hong Kong

Art Basel Hong Kong: The Hong Kong edition of Art Basel, which was scheduled to take place at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Centre from March 19 to 21, has been canceled. As the Art Basel website reads: “We remain committed to Hong Kong and look forward to welcoming you to the next edition of Art Basel Hong Kong on March 25-27, 2021.”  M+ Matters: Archigram Cities: The opening of this highly anticipated series of events showcasing the archives of English avant-garde collective Archigram at visual culture museum M+ was delayed on February 12. A new opening date is forthcoming.

Italy

Expocasa, Turin: The start of the long-running trade show, focusing on interior design and renovation, has been pushed back from February 29 to March 28. Fuorisalone, Milan: Fuorisalone, an informal series of events that take place across Milan's different design districts in conjunction with Salone del Mobile, has been postponed to coincide with the rescheduled furniture fair in June. Salone del Mobile, Milan: On February 25, the organizers of Salone del Mobile announced that the international furniture fair was moving from April 21 to 26 to June 16 through 21 as health officials worked to contain the spread of coronavirus in the heavily impacted Lombardy region. Organizers launched a Twitter hashtag #salonemovestojune to help spread the word, proclaiming: "We can't stop. We won't stop." Syracuse University School of Architecture, Florence: The central New York-based university has suspended all of its spring semester study abroad programs in the Tuscan city. This includes the School of Architecture's popular Florence program based at Villa Rossa and Palazzo Donatello. Various other colleges and universities with campuses in Florence have also canceled their spring semesters. Venice Architecture Biennale: The start date of the 17th edition of the Biennale, curated by Hashim Sarkis, has been pushed back to August 29 by organizer La Biennale di Venezia. It was scheduled to commence on May 23. Despite the delay, the exhibition will still conclude on November 29.

South Korea

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul: Housed in buildings designed by Jean Nouvel, Mario Botta, and REM Koolhaas, this popular art museum is closed until further notice. Several other galleries and museums in Seoul are also temporarily shuttered.
Placeholder Alt Text

How will the coronavirus affect global construction commodities?

The coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China, is anticipated to negatively impact the global trade of raw materials in the coming months. According to market analytics company S&P Global Platts, the consumption and processing of commodities like iron ore and steel are likely to dip throughout the country and cause ripple effects in economics throughout the world. What’s not clear is how severe the situation will get. In late January, China announced it would shut down over two-thirds of its economy due to the outbreak that started in Wuhan city. Since the Chinese Lunar New Year began as the virus spread, many companies across the mainland have halted production and construction crews have paused work as an extension of the holiday break. Fourteen provinces, including the major manufacturing hub of Hubei where Wuhan is located, and other metropolitan areas such as the port city of Shanghai, will be on lockdown until next week. Fortune noted that those regions make up 90 percent of the country’s copper smelting, 60 percent of its steel manufacturing, and 40 percent of coal output.  Normally during Lunar New Year, companies stop or reduce production, but the recent three-day extension of the holiday—largely due to transportation restrictions to and from quarantined areas and to encourage people to stay home—may cause an added riff in planned-manufacturing and eventually quarterly sales. Bloomberg noted that any changes in China’s steel industry, specifically, “which accounts for more than half global output, set the tone for producers and users around the world.”  Some experts say the impact won’t be felt until next month—S&P Global Platts said February is typically the weakest time of the year for metal output in China since demand is low due to the holiday. Construction is also normally slow because of the colder weather. London-based analytics organization Argus believes after the extended Lunar New Year break is officially over, the market for products like rebar and coil will drop while “the downstream market will be reduced, pushing back demand for finished steel products.”  Despite these fears, China’s most influential steel group, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), called for industry stability and asked steel companies not to inflate steel prices because of the declining demand. Reuters reported that CISA wants mills to “reasonably adjust their production rhythms” and “jointly safeguard hard-won ‘de-capacity’ results” in order to maintain profitability and reach levels of normalcy later in the year.  Both in China and worldwide, the long-term effects of the coronavirus are still up in the air. The World Health Organization reported this week that 24 countries have confirmed cases of the outbreak, though most resulted from contact with people who had come directly from China and Wuhan, where 563 people have died. Meanwhile, China is expected to lift its tariff on coking coal, which is used for making steel soon, leaving some U.S.-based mining companies ready to once again sell in the Chinese market.
Placeholder Alt Text

China opens 1,000-bed coronavirus hospital built in less than 10 days

As promised, China has completed the first of two emergency hospitals it is building to address the spread of coronavirus in Wuhan, and it did so in less than 10 days. A second hospital is scheduled for completion on Wednesday, less than two weeks after construction began. The Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital on the outskirts of Wuhan City was delivered to the People’s Liberation Army on February 2 and reportedly began receiving patients on February 3, starting with a group of 50. The 269,000-square-foot facility has 1,000 beds and was built to serve exclusively as a treatment and quarantine center for patients with the 2019-nCoV virus that has much of the country on lockdown. Images on China Global Television Network (CGTN), a government-run media agency, show a two-story facility with a series of wards connected by long corridors. There are two beds to a room, and the rooms are equipped with start of the art medical equipment such as a through-the-wall ultraviolet disinfectant system that the staff uses to deliver food and other supplies to patients. The government has been live-streaming footage of the construction to show how it is responding to the outbreak. Officials say they were able to build the hospital so quickly because they used prefabricated modules that could be assembled on-site, and people worked around the clock in shifts to assemble the components. A second facility known as the Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital, with 1,600 beds, is nearing completion and scheduled to open Wednesday in a different section of Wuhan, 15 miles from the first hospital. Government officials initially said it would have 1,300 beds but increased the number to 1,600 while the building was under construction. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, is the epicenter of the virus. City officials took the lead on building the structure, working with the country’s health ministry and others. The construction process for both facilities is modeled after the one used to build the Xiaotangshan Hospital, which China built in 2003 to treat patients during an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and is still in operation. More than 7,000 people from around the country reportedly came together to build Huoshenshan Hospital. Construction workers were reportedly paid three times their usual salary. The hospital has a 1,400-member staff drawn from the country’s armed forces, including the People’s Liberation Army Joint Logistic Support Force and medical universities run by the army, navy and air force. The need for the two hospitals has been demonstrated by the way the virus has spread just since construction started. When sitework began for the first hospital on January 23, the death toll in China was 26 with 830 people diagnosed with the virus. By the time the first hospital was delivered, mainland China had reported more than 360 deaths due to the virus and over 9,700 people infected. Wuhan’s cases of infection had risen from 495 to 4,109 during the same period. Worldwide, more than 17,000 cases have been reported on four continents. The United States has had 11 cases of novel coronavirus as of February 3. On Friday, the U. S. government declared the virus a public health emergency and suspended entry for most foreign nationals who visited China. The World Health Organization has also declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency but leaders have praised China for its response to the virus. “We would have seen many more cases outside China by now, and probably deaths, if it were not for the government’s efforts and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “China’s response has been really remarkable and, quitely frankly, unprecedented,” Dr. Carlos Del Rio, professor of medicine and global health at Emory University, told CNN. “They have learned a lot from SARS and I think they are applying those lessons in controlling this outbreak.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Zaha Hadid Architects reveals a bulbous headquarters for Chinese smartphone company

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has unveiled its competition-winning vision for OPPO’s new headquarters in Shenzhen, China—a bulbous set of interconnected towers straight out of the space age. The Chine smartphone manufacturing giant selected ZHA’s enormous proposal after sifting through a shortlist that included Bjarke Ingels Group, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Henning Larsen Architects. Slated for construction in downtown Shenzhen, ZHA’s civic-centric master plan features four glass buildings split into varying heights across a total of 1.9 million square feet. The tallest tower will house 42 floors full of open-plan office space that connects with another tower via a 20-story vertical lobby. Another pair of external towers, smaller in height, will provide circulation for the main structures. Set near the Shenzhen Bay, the globular buildings will provide ample access to daylight and views of the city with their translucent facades for employees and the visitors.  As the fifth largest communication technology company in the world, OPPO experienced rapid global growth since introducing its first smartphone in 2008 and has set out to establish a new space in Shenzhen to house a fraction of its over 40,000 global employees. While the building will be designed to cater largely to its work in tech innovation, OPPO is also aiming to make its new HQ open to the public. To achieve this, ZHA incorporated several levels of public space within the structures, including a Sky Plaza on its 10th floor and a rooftop sky lab with a bar and observation lounge. An outdoor public plaza will also cut through the base of the site, which curves in at the bottom, and gives access to the various shops, galleries, and restaurants located one the first levels of the buildings.  The project is expected to be LEED Gold certified upon completion in 2025 and construction is anticipated to start later this year. The headquarters is just one of the many monumental projects announced for Shenzhen recently, including what will be the tallest tower in China by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.