Posts tagged with "China":

Placeholder Alt Text

Ten firms are competing to design an artificial island complex in China

HNA Group has announced a design competition for the master plan and central buildings on a man-made island in Haikou Bay, China. The island, called the South Sea Pearl (and Nanhai Pearl Artificial Island), will be an eco-tourism hub with housing, a cruise ship port, a yacht harbor, hotels, resorts, a theme park, and more. HNA Group is the owner of several other properties in the area and across China, including the supertall skyscraper Haikou Tower due to be completed in 2020. They also own Hainan Airlines, the fourth largest airline in China. The crescent-shaped island is 250 hectares in size and located off the coast of Hainan, China, a larger island in the South China Sea with a population of 9 million. According to ArchDaily, Vincente Guallart was selected to create a strategic vision for the island. Guallart told ArchDaily the goal was to "achieve a new urban development based on ecological principles." The ten firms that will compete to design the island are London-based Foster + Partners, New York-based Morphosis Architects, Office of Architecture in Barcelona, New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Seoul-based Iroje Architects & Planners, Seoul-based UNStudio, Rotterdam-based KuiperCompagnons, Los Angeles-based The Jerde Partnership, Beijing-based CCDI, and internationally-based Boston International Design Group. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and take approximately a decade, wrapping up in 2027.
Placeholder Alt Text

MAD Architects reveals plans for Xinhee Design Center in Beijing

Beijing-based MAD Architects have revealed designs for a roughly 657,000 square foot (61,000 square meter) headquarters for Chinese clothing designer and manufacturer Xinhee Group. In their designs for the massive headquarters, the architects utilized the fashion group’s multi-brand corporate structure as a guiding principle, designing a six-lobed complex of buildings joined at a central atrium. Each lobe of the radially-organized plan houses one of the company’s six clothing brands, creating a unified whole from discrete working parts. In a meeting with AN last month, MAD Founding Principal Ma Yansong relayed the inspiration behind the center as a blend between pragmatism and nature, with many of the aspects of the building pulling double-duty socially and environmentally. For example, the central atrium—which connects the various arms and employees of the company—allows the group to host grand fashion shows while simultaneously acting as a massive solar chimney for the building. It pulls cool air from ground-level gardens up through the structure, carrying away heat and exhaust along the way. The structure’s sinuous floor plates seemingly dance around central cores contained within each of the six building sections. These floor plates vary in size and proportion across the complex, with some of the upper floors pulled back from the sloped facade, creating internal double- and triple-height spaces. The resulting array of stacked levels is clad in large sections of PTFE curtain wall panels that introduce dappled light. In the process, the PTFE makes the building appear lighter than it actually is. Yansong elaborated in a press release for the project, stating “It’s interesting for a building with such an intrinsically logical structure to look floating and free.” Though renderings for the project have just been released, the Xinhee Design Center is currently under construction and is expected to be operational sometime in 2017.
Placeholder Alt Text

The future is now? Chinese straddling bus that travels OVER cars unveiled

China has unveiled its much anticipated "straddling bus." Spanning two lanes of traffic, the "bus" is essentially a moving tunnel, traveling on tracks on the far side of each lane while leaving six-and-a-half-feet of headroom for automobiles moving underneath. Though appearing to be more of a tram, the vehicle is officially known as the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB). Stretching to 72 feet long and running on electricity, the bus can accommodate 300 passengers and is touted as traveling up to 37 miles-per-hour. Buses can also be connected to each other if necessary. This week, a trial run of the TEB-1 was carried out along a 984-foot-long stretch of controlled track in Qinhuangdao, a city located in the north east of China. In 2010, a computer model of the bus caused a stir online, resurfacing again this May when images of a physical scale model were released of it being showcased at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo. Despite the excitement surrounding the project, many were skeptical of the TEB's success—if it were to ever be realized. After a remarkable three-month turnaround, however, the bus is now a reality. Song Youzhou, the project's chief engineer spoke state-media outlet Xinhua. "The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space," he said earlier this year. "The TEB has the same functions as the subway, while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway," said fellow engineer Bai Zhiming to the CCTV news agency. According to the firm behind the project, TEB-1 could take the place of 40 normal buses. So far, however, it is not known how much the "straddling bus" will be used across China. Five cities—Qinhuangdao, Shenyang, Nanyang, Tianjin, and Zhoukou—have agreed to deals with TEB Technology Development Company for further testing.
Placeholder Alt Text

See Iwan Baan’s stunning winter photography of MAD’s Harbin Opera House in Northeast China

Braving temperatures as low as -22°F, Iwan Baan is no stranger to shooting in the extreme. Armed with his camera, tripod, and Canada Goose Parka, the esteemed Dutch architectural photographer has produced a series on Beijing-based MAD Architects' Harbin Opera House in China's Northernmost province.

His work, unlike most in the industry focuses on people, not buildings. "My pictures are always very much about the users of the place," Baan says in a film covering the shoot. "I'm not trying to create timeless images which could be in any moment in time. They always should very much have a connection to a specific place, time, people, a context, a culture and this kind of thing."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzvG8D-PI5M

"So people are, in that sense, a very important part," he explains. However, despite the alternative choice of focus, his work still conveys the fluid curvature of MAD's Harbin Opera House. Cast against a snow-white sky, the meandering white aluminum panels can be seen elegantly rising from the snow.

In this medium, the building's intentions of emulating the sinuous nature of its marshy surroundings and adjacent frozen riverbank are well and truly achieved. Even among fading light, the opera house's relationship with the site remains intact through Baan's lens from both interior and exterior perspectives.

“Harbin is very cold for the most of the year, so I envisioned a building that would blend into the winter landscape as a white snow dune arising from the wetlands,” says Ma Yansong, principal architect and founder of MAD Architects.

“Opera design normally focuses on internal space, but here we had to treat the building as part of its natural environment—one outside the urban context,” Yansong adds.

Traditionally, opera house photography evokes silent spaces, that, by contrast are designed to be anything but. Here, the acoustic properties of the space embedded within the theatrical grandeur are enhanced. With his uncanny habit of seeing things differently, Baan however, captures crowds on their feet in rapturous applause. Outside he shoots tourists, dog walkers, and local ice fishers setting an enlivened scene.

Purist's needn't worry though, as shots without any intrusive people also feature.

In related news, MAD has released a video showcasing their Invisible Border Installation for the Interni's Open Borders exhibition at the 2016 Milan Design Week. A descending veil, comprised of translucent polymer strips can be seen fluttering in the wind as it is loosely held in an undulating form, suspended from the Loggia of the Cortile d’Onore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwYvelwAlc4
Placeholder Alt Text

Michael Sorkin named as American Academy in China’s inaugural Research Fellow

Michael Sorkin has been selected as the American Academy in China’s inaugural research fellow. The urbanist, designer, and critic will begin work this summer. Dubbed the “Made For China” project, Sorkin’s research aims to look inwardly at his own firm’s recent Chinese work in search of an “urbanism with Chinese characteristics.” His research will also analyze the work of other western architects working in China and delve into the firm’s interactions with local regulations and stakeholders so as to digest their effects on these Chinese particularities. Clifford Pearson, Director of the AAC, remarking upon Sokrin’s selection in a press release, said “As a writer and critic, Michael has often challenged established perspectives, offering a penetrating and often witty take on what is really happening in architecture and design. And as an architect, he is fully engaged with the realities of building in China.” When asked about the academy’s selection process for the fellowship, Pearson remarked to The Architect's Newspaper via email, “Because this was the inaugural fellowship, an internal group of advisors—including Dean Ma (and) myself—selected Michael Sorkin. In the future, we will have a call for submissions and make our selection from people applying for the fellowship.” The AAC was established in 2007 by USC School of Architecture dean Qingyun Ma as a base for researchers and students from around the globe to study China’s arts and architecture. Among its chief tasks are conducting research on contemporary Chinese urbanism with a focus on what China’s contribution to global urbanism might be. The USC School of Architecture has operated a six week summer studio out of the institute and aims for the program to eventually have a global draw. In line with this goal, Pearson, himself recently named AAC director, launched the annual research fellowship in order to establish AAC’s role as a year-round, China-focused research institution. Regarding the AAC’s reinvigorated expansion, Dean Ma told AN via email, “AAC has developed a long trajectory through creative cultures between the US and China. This trajectory can only be enhanced and extended by scholars and designers alike. Sorkin meets the expectation perfectly—he has always been able to bring cultural and social discussion into design and reexamine them by the future of human expectations.” AAC’s upcoming programs include a symposium examining the changing nature between China’s cities and countryside and a design competition focused on napping pavilions with full scale versions of these “napavillions” commissioned from Noreen Liu, Gary Paige, Larry Scarpa, and Tiantian Xu.
Placeholder Alt Text

3D “zebra crossings” stop drivers in their tracks

Earlier this year, it was reported that Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya, two women from Ahmedabad in East India, had come up with an imaginative solution to stop cars and let pedestrians cross the road without the aid of traffic lights. Their "zebra crossing"— rectangular volumes drawn in perspective—appeared to do the trick. While Thakkar and Pandya may have thought they were pioneering new techniques, this strategy had already been realized in Taizhou and Xingsha in China some eight years prior. Using bright and bold colors, these "3D" roadblocks-cum-crossings span China's roads to deceive drivers. Here, instead of using the road surface as a color like in India, blue or red is added to amplify the three dimensional effect. So far the 3D zebra crossings have been a success. "Pedestrians can now feel safer when crossing the street. It’s a great idea," said cyclist Lee Wu. "It is so magical! It looks more like a roadblock watching from afar, and I could not help to slow down before I found out it is nothing but a zebra crossing,” said a driver. “It works well so far, as more and more passers-by tend to walk on this new zebra marking and more drivers give way to them,” added a traffic policeman from Changsha county. Naturally, there are some are skeptical of the 3D road marking's ability to implement safer conditions for pedestrians. Would not such a feature cause drivers to stop suddenly—and dangerously—in their tracks upon realizing that they're careering into a red, white and yellow cuboid? However, part of the success may not be down to the fact that drivers are being fooled into thinking that there is a real 3D object in their path. This illusion can only be achieved from a certain perspective. As drivers by nature are moving, this optimum perspective exists for only a few seconds, if that. Instead, motorists are more distracted by the presence of something brightly colored and abnormal on the road and slow down to inspect it.  A spokesman for the local traffic police in Taizhou said: "We want the new crosswalk to become a real safety belt for pedestrians and vehicles." In Ahmedabad, authorities have deemed the markings successful, although in China, one manufacturer is already selling a stick-on 3D solution. As featured on asia-manufacturer.com, the B4011X 3D Zebra Crossing is "self-adhesive and reflective" containing "glass beads for good reflection and skid proof effect; rapid and easy installation." The product is made from flexible polymers, pigments and micro glass beads and apparently lasts for up to two years when applied to concrete, asphalt, cement and marble. Such solutions are yet to make it across to Western Europe and the U.S., however, one can already imagine someone painting a depiction of the Beatles striding across a floating zebra crossing if realised.
Placeholder Alt Text

Photographer Andy Yeung uses drones to capture the density of Hong Kong

Photographer Andy Yeung has been documenting the built environment ever since 2005. Eleven years and several awards later, he's using drones to amplify how we can can see his home city, Hong Kong.

This series of photographs, titled Urban Jungle, highlights the sheer physical mass of Hong Kong's urban environment while showcasing the array of colors used for its residential high-rises.

Prior to this, Yeung had been taking pictures from the opposite perspective. In his Look Up series, dizzying images show towers stretching up into the sky, amplifying their daunting qualities.

Other photos reveal facades in a different light, with repetitive patterns often being the focal point of his work.

Another series BeeHive again showcases the density of Hong Kong but from another different view point.

Yeung's work can also be found via his Facebook page, Instagram, and Google+ profiles.

Placeholder Alt Text

A step too far? Vasily Klyukin’s “Sexy” leg tower fails to impress

When enjoying sustained periods of economic prosperity and growth, it's almost natural to want to flaunt, in untamed excess, the fruits of entrepreneurship through architectural means. Just look at the Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Colosseum and more recently, Trump Tower and areas of China. What's significant though, is that China, instead of growing out of this phase, has put a stop to the practice altogether. Russian billionaire and amateur architect Vasily Klyukin has other ideas. "This concept is very extravagant, even for the modern World," Klyukin wrote on his website, and he's not wrong. The tower design—centered on a "sexy leg"—has been met with fervent hostility, mostly due to its complete disregard for its Lower Manhattan context and subsequent intent on standing out like sore thumb—or toe, in this case. "Someone will be shocked by this idea, someone will find it beautiful and sexy, someone—vulgar, but everybody, without an exception, would want to observe such a tower or visit it at least once in a lifetime. If this building will become a hotel—it will always be crowded. I personally would like to live in this tower," Klyukin continued. Dubbed the "Russian-born Tony Stark," Klyukin dabbles in real estate, sci-fi literature, sculpture, and yacht design as well as apparently being a Doctor of Historical Sciences. One doubts whether he himself even sees these designs being realized, despite his desire to live in them one day. His book, Designing Legends (Klyukin referring to his own designs) is available on Amazon for only $54, and so far has only received five-star reviews. One fan comments: "Klyukin is indulging in a playful critique of contemporary architecture and the post-Modern [sic] city, but it’s really an 'artist’s book,' or in the parlance of the previous century, 'un livre d’artiste.'" As much as one tries to find any validation in his proposals, further probing reveals deep-rooted egotism. Such an ethos is highlighted by Klyukin's Cobra Tower design. There is no place for this snake, something he inadvertently points out himself by imagining the tower in a number of locations such as China, Japan, and London. From this we can see that Klyukin deems his surroundings irrelevant; all that matters is that his design dominates the skyline, regardless of its relationship to its vicinity. When a large enough proportion of designers subscribe to this approach, the result is a chaotic conglomeration of buildings attempting to shout louder than each other. Any identity within the vicinity is lost, the art of placemaking long forgotten and the world quickly becomes alienating. Beijing artist Cao Fei exemplified this journey into cultural obscurity with Shadow Plays by revealing the "hypothetical extremities to which China is susceptible as a product of growth and potential collapse."
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> Bauhaus China Set

China’s culture of copying is well-documented, but the recent sale of Berlin-based art dealer and collector Torsten Bröhan’s large collection of 19th- and 20th- century design objects to the city of Hangzhou, China raised eyebrows. The “Bauhaus Collection” deal was allegedly made for tens of millions of dollars and contains over 7,000 pieces of design from the modernist period. Scholars have questioned the use of Bauhaus, but argue that the Chinese understand Bauhaus as the whole of modernism, not just the products of the seminal school. The curious case is compounded by a lawsuit that charges that Bröhan never gave business consultant Stephan Balzer his 10 percent cut of the purchase price.
Placeholder Alt Text

China goes the extra mile converting trash to energy

Shenzhen is undertaking a massive public works project that will transform trash from one of China's largest cities into energy—and it's going to be huge. The facility is planned to be a mile in circumference, making it the largest waste-to-energy power plant in the world. Unlike its Danish counterpart by Bjarke Ingels, China's circular waste facility won't be puffing out delicate smoke rings representing CO2. Designed by another Danish firm, SHL Architects, the project is estimated to burn 5,500 tons of litter every day—more than Shenzhen produces daily. While this may seem like a not-so-green solution, the alternatives, according to Fast Companymake it look comparatively greener. The issue for China isn't an environmental one—it's about space. Last December, a landfill in Shenzhen amassed so much litter that it collapsed, killing 12 people in the process. This proposal reduces the amount of space needed to store trash, making more room for housing development. Compared to a standard landfill, the waste-to-energy plant is significantly better for the environment. The former releases large quantities of potent greenhouse gases as rash decays and decomposes. “Burning waste naturally creates pollutants, mainly carbon dioxide—something in the region of one metric ton of CO2 per metric ton of waste," Architect Chris Hardie told Fast Company. “This does not sound great for sure, but when you compare it to putting the waste to landfill, one metric ton of waste will ultimately produce somewhere in the region of 60 cubic meters of methane as it decomposes—and this has more than twice the negative effect on global warming.” The Shenzhen plant isn't unique, either. China has 300 more litter-guzzling incinerators in the pipeline as it tries to prevent disasters like the one in Shenzhen last year and solve the country's waste problem. Like Ingels's plan for a power plant, this one also offers an unexpected feature of human interaction. A pedestrian pathway, hugs the interior perimeter, winding its way around the mile-long circumference. The roof has been designed to include 473,600 square feet of solar panelling. Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 18.46.00
Placeholder Alt Text

Kengo Kuma reveals shimmering new Wuxi Vanke Art Gallery in China

Using aluminum casts that have been drilled to allow light to filter through, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has created a tranquil space that is the Vanke Art Gallery. Located in the Wuxi province, just West of Shanghai, the gallery's amoeba-like footprint is derived from the shape of the local Taihu Lake stone that was once at the epicenter of Taihu culture in China. Kuma's project also involved the renovation of a former cotton mill that is also part of the gallery complex. The curvaceous aluminum-panelled facade wraps around the main structure, clad with glass, giving it a wide berth. These panels allow light to permeate through myriad gaps and gently illuminate the interior gallery. Because the facade was placed in front of the actual glass elevation, the effects of shadowing are exaggerated. Meanwhile, light is also allowed to reflect off water that bridges the gap between these two facades. In some places, this shallow pool of water's footprint extends beyond that of the aluminum facade. As a result, three distinct footprints interplay, with the water acting as the initial threshold, of a series of three, between the public and private space. The water, as the primary threshold, also establishes a calm and tranquil environment, something Kuma was eager to construct with the area's history of being home to a bustling brick-built cotton mill. This is then reinforced via light filtering through and the choice of materiality. Kuma, while disrupting the function within the immediate vicinity also instills a sense of tradition, drawing on the history of Lake Taihu, where the form of the Taihu stone comes from. Wuxi Vanke Art which occupies a combined 112,375 square feet also offers spaces for commercial functions and offices within the two structures.
Placeholder Alt Text

Weird, but not so wonderful, says China as it bans “weird” architecture

Question: What has three Arcs de Triomphe, an Eiffel Tower, an Egyptian Sphynx, a Louvre, London Bridge and ten White Houses all over? The answer: China, of course. If the Chinese government has its way, that will soon change.

https://twitter.com/TheMCRsoviet/status/632080629048459264

The duplicate architectural icons may end there as the country's authorities have said no to anymore "oversized, xenocentric, weird" architecture, The New York Times reports. The State Council and the Communist Party’s Central Committee last week stated that there is to essentially be no more copycat architecture, and instead urged new builds to be “suitable, economic, green and pleasing to the eye.” The directive also stipulated that "the chaotic propagation of grandiose, West-worshipping, weird architecture" should be ended, while gated communities have also been vetoed.

Guidelines arose after meetings discussed issues regarding the alarming rate of urbanization that China is undergoing. Just two years ago, President Xi Jinping expressed his views on China's architectural scene, again deeming it "weird" saying there was to be "no more weird architecture." He went on to say that the current climate displayed "a lack of cultural confidence and some city officials’ distorted attitudes about political achievements," though only now does action appear to be being taken.

According to a translation by the Wall Street Journal Blog, Yang Baojun, vice director of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPA), commented on the directive, saying that "the document is a wake-up call for those places where [there has been] a one-sided pursuit of architectural form over function, where cultural orientation has been compromised by an excessive desire to show off."

The New York Times meanwhile reports that experts have warned of "stricter design standards for public buildings." It also added that, an online forum for the Communist Party newspaper, People's Dailypredicted that "in the future it is unlikely that Beijing will have other strangely shaped buildings like the ‘Giant Trousers’ " referring to the China Central Television Headquarters (CCTV) by OMA.

Feng Guochuan, an architect based in Shenzhen spoke about how the President Xi's words had already begun to have an impact on decision making regarding new projects. He was also worried that Xi was meddling with matters that should only concern urban planners, and not the President. "Generally speaking, local governments now tend to approve more conservative designs," he said.

https://twitter.com/DanLewisNews/status/243113209974890496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

However, Wang Kai, vice president of CAUPA, said these stricture design guidelines would mainly be applied to public schemes, while private projects would still have freedom. "For private housing or commercial projects, there is still space for innovation."

Mr. Wang also added that "we shouldn’t go overboard in pursuit of appearances," going on to say how functionality should be the main concern in public buildings.