Posts tagged with "China":

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Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize. The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris. In a WTTW documentary made for the occasion of the award, Bontempi likened traditional and classical design to well-made salami and other local delicacies—modernists, Bontempi said, cut through the whole sausage, while those with an eye to the past are more careful in their preparation. He told the crowd gathered at the award ceremony Saturday in Chicago that he considered it a great compliment when a Dutch couple confused one of his buildings with a string of historic structures along the road to Rome, wondering why it wasn’t included in their guide. Administered since 2003 by the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, the $200,000 Driehaus Prize “is awarded to a living architect whose work embodies the highest ideals of traditional and classical architecture in contemporary society, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact,” according to its website. Ruan Yisan received the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed Prize, which is “given to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion.” Yisan, a historic preservationist and professor of architecture at Shanghai’s Tongji University, has helped catalogue and preserve numerous cities and cultural sites around China. He supervised the Yangtze River Water Towns preservation project, and won protection for the Pingjiang Historic District in his native Suzhou—both sites have since landed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. The professor, who turns 80 this year, told the award audience Saturday that the American remittance of funds paid after China's 1900 Boxer Rebellion helped educate a generation of architects and designers who would sustain the nation’s architectural preservation movement through the 20th century. “It’s good karma,” he said through a translator. (Somewhat ironically, American designers and universities are also helping reshape contemporary China in a fashion decidedly more modern than that honored by the Driehaus Awards.)
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Where is that Sculpture? Oyler Wu’s “Cube” Adrift Somewhere in China

One of our favorite duos, Oyler Wu, recently completed its biggest installation to date: The Cube, a twisting, glowing steel and wire concoction for the 2013 Beijing Biennale. The dramatic project is now touring China, but when pressed for the latest news the firm admitted that it is not sure where it is. So if you spot a giant cube somewhere in the country, please give them a ring, will you?
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UNStudio’s Ballsy Move: Hanjie Wanda Square Mall Completed in Wuhan, China

Construction has recently been completed on UNStudio's Hanjie Wanda Square, a new luxury shopping center in Wuhan, China.  The firm boldly coated the exterior of the building in over 42,333 metallic spheres, bestowing a fluidity to the facade that extends into the interior of the structure.  There, curved walkways and corridors flow together in order to carry shoppers throughout the upscale retail stores, catering outlets, and movie theaters within the center. North and South atria anchor the inside of the building, the former bedecked in gold and bronze tones, while silver and reflective materials pervade the latter.  These elements are purported to speak to a "cultural traditional identity" and "city identity and urban rhythm" respectively.  Each opening is capped by a large skylight. Each steel ball-bearing houses an LED light that projects multiple colors onto a laminated glass surface that cloaks the building.  The facade thus acts as a canvas for the numerous effects generated by the combination of colored light and pattern.  Such dynamism echoes the the approach adopted by UNStudio in other projects the firm has undertaken in KoreaTaiwan, and Bejing. Wanda Square will soon be joined by other UNStudio projects cropping up throughout China.  While the firm initially established a Shanghai location in order to aid in the development of its Raffles City Development in Hangzhou, the once temporary branch has been transformed into a fully operational extension of the Amsterdam-based office.  The completion of the mall comes in the wake of recent competition wins for the pavilion for the 2014 Horticultural World Expo in Qingdao and a large-scale multi-use development in Bejing within the coming years.
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MODU’s Outdoor Room at the Beijing Olympic Park Draws Attention to Air Pollution

The design team at MODU, in collaboration with Ho-Yan Cheung of Arup, have created an urban public space for the 5th China International Architecture Biennial. Their design pays homage to Beijing's iconic Olympic Park, while drawing attention to environmental issues in the country’s densely populated capital. The biennial committee has also commissioned designs from leading international architects such as Wang Shu, Zaha Hadid, and Mohsen Mostafavi. The dual-purpose structure not only creates a unique civic space, but also acts as a barometer for the air quality in Beijing. This “room in the city” concept does not attempt to separate people from polluted outdoor air and filtered indoor air by means of physical boundaries. Instead, the structure highlights the air pollution issue through the use of punctured openings in the walls and ceiling panels, as well as a large elliptical roof which frames the Olympic Observation Tower. On clear days, the tower can be seen perfectly through the roof frame, but on days when the pollution creates a dense grey fog, the landmark virtually disappears from sight. The outdoor room is made from recycled materials and, according to its designers, represents a new era of socially responsive design. At the end of November, the structure will be installed in six other cities in China.
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Koolhaas’ CCTV Headquarters Crowned Best Tall Building in The World

One World Trade may officially be the tallest building in the West, but according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the honor of the Best Tall Building in the World goes to OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing–a fitting birthday gift to the architect who previously declared war on the skyscraper (Happy 69th Rem!). Back in July, the CTBUH revealed its four regional finalists for the annual Best Tall Buildings competition, which included Foster + Partners’ The Bow (Calgary, Canada) for the Americas, Renzo Piano’s The Shard (London) for Europe, and Goettsch Partners Sowwah Square complex (Abu Dhabi) for the Middle East and Africa. The CCTV building was chosen as the worldwide champ after senior representatives from each of the winning firms presented their projects to a jury at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago on November 7. The CTBUH praised Rem Koolhaas’ iconic building for challenging the definition and typology of the skyscraper with its groundbreaking form, pushing the limits of possibility with its cutting-edge structural engineering, and serving as a catalyst for the recent transformation of skyscrapers from the high-reaching towers of old to the dynamic urban centerpieces that are rising across the world today. In usual Koolhaas form, the architect accepted his award by expressing his distaste for traditional tall buildings. “When I published my last book, Content, in 2003, one chapter was called 'Kill the Skyscraper,'" Koolhaas said at the ceremony. “Basically it was an expression of disappointment at the way skyscraper typology was used and applied. I didn’t think there was a lot of creative life left in skyscrapers. Therefore, I tried to launch a campaign against the skyscraper in its more uninspired form.” “The fact that I am standing on this stage now, in this position, meant that my declaration of war went completely unnoted, and that my campaign was unsuccessful,” Koolhaas continued jokingly before concluding. “Being here, its is quite moving—to be part of a community that is trying to make skyscrapers more interesting. I am deeply grateful, and thank all my partners.”
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OMA-Designed Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building Soars Into Hong Kong Sky

Next Tuesday, the nearly 850-foot-tall Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building will be inaugurated as the new head of capitalist trading in Hong Kong. OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ architectural firm, was commissioned to design and construct the soaring structure in 2006. After nearly $500 million in expenditures, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal blog, the square-form skyscraper with a surprising floating base, is complete. Situated 118 feet above an outdoor, ground-level plaza, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s three-story cantilevered podium creates drama in the building’s form while satisfying practical needs. This floating base provides shade to pedestrians, a garden rooftop, and an outward indication of interior operations. OMA located the stock exchange’s main trading floors in the interior of this base, allowing maximum square footage for the computer servers. With a facade constructed of a gridded exoskeleton over a patterned glass curtain wall, the building reacts to changes in weather, muting to reflect grey days and brightening when the sun peeks out. The generic skyscraper design of the rest of the structure allows it to fit in with existing neighbors, but clever details like these set it apart from the typical.
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Joel Sanders and FreelandBuck Break Through In China With Kunshan Phoenix Cultural Mall

Joel Sanders Architect with LA-based FreelandBuck have been announced as the winners of an international competition to design the Kunshan Phoenix Cultural Mall, located about an hour west of Shanghai. The project will be the largest to date for both firms. The 262,000-square-foot proposal was designed for Phoenix Publishing and Media Group (PPMG), one of the largest media companies in China. The project consists of a 20-story office tower perched upon a five-story podium, organized around four glass-clad “cultural cores."  Each core houses theaters, exhibition halls, a fitness club, and an educational center. A retail loop—compromised of stores, restaurants, and cafes—spirals around each  core. The site's cores define the perimeter of a central outdoor atrium, dramatically united by an elevated "Book Mart," whose green roof doubles as both a podium for the office tower and cultural park for the general public. The project's intricate, louvered facade is an example of FreelandBuck's focus on computational patterns as a way to generate tectonic shifts in geometry and space. The construction timeframe for the undertaking has yet to be announced.
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Coop Himmelb(l)au to design “Snow World” in Changsha, China

Coop Himmelb(l)au recently won a competition to design the Deep Pit Ice and Snow World in the Dawang Mountain Resort area near the city of Changsha. The quarry project, which also featured proposals from Gensler and Asymptote, is the second of its kind in China, following the Songjiang Shimao Hotel outside of Shanghai. It is one of many new schemes for Changsha from international architects such as Zaha Hadid. The 394,000 square foot project is positioned directly on top of a historic cement mining quarry pit and lake, and consists of an Entertainment Ice World, Indoor Ski Slope, Water Park and restaurant and shopping facilities. The design emphasizes the existing quarry pit and the 560 foot spanning sculpted shell of the Snow and Ice World.
The Shell, which spans from cliff to cliff, covers a sunken and hanging garden, creating a new leisure space of islands, water pools, cliffside pathways and ramps that connect the building to its natural surroundings. Other highlights include a cantilevered outdoor swimming pool that also creates a 200-foot-tall waterfall into the quarry pit. A central glass cone provides controlled natural daylight to the Ice World structure and the islands and water surfaces below, and a sculptural 330-foot-tall tower will is to the Ice World via a grand central plaza. The project is slated to start construction sometime in 2014 with an expected completion date in 2016.
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Is That a Steven Holl in Downtown Los Angeles? No, It’s Medallion 2.0

While it's been well-documented that China has been "borrowing from" U.S. designs for some time, it appears that relationship is starting to go both ways. Downtown Los Angeles is ready to get a new residential project that bears a striking resemblance to Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid apartment complex in Beijing. Note the porous, gridded facade and the glassy skybridges, to name just a couple of  similarities. The mixed-use Medallion 2.0, designed by Kevin Tsai Architecture, would be located off the corner of Third and Main Streets, reported downtown blogger Brigham Yen. It's scheduled to break ground in 2015 and include 400 rental units, a theater,  retail, and over half an acre of green space. We'll keep you posted on more Asian imports as they no doubt continue to arrive.
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ground breaking: chinese “ghost mall” city gets another mega-mall

In 2005, the doors to the New South China Mall first opened, promising a new age of Chinese consumerism and signaling the rise of the middle class. Located outside Dongguan, an industrial city located in the rapidly-growing Pearl River Delta with a population comparable to New York’s, the nearly 10 million-square-foot mall was the largest in the world in terms of leasable space. The developer, Chinese instant noodle tycoon Alex Hu, expected 100,000 daily shoppers, but the crash-strapped factory workers who populate the nearby metropolis never bothered to make the  2.5-hour trek to the overgrown shopping center, and so 8 years later 99 percent of the mall’s 2,350 retail outlets are still vacant. In the wake of this failure, a new developer, the Dongguan Minying Real Estate Development Company, has hired California-based architecture firms 5+Design and SWA to design yet another mega-sized mall in the rapidly growing city, this time with a few important adjustments that the team hopes will make their project a success. Developers of the 11 million-square-foot Dongguan International Trade Center (DITC) hope to succeed where the New South China Mall failed by offering an accessible downtown location with integrated public transit, lush landscaping, and a diverse, mixed-use program. Situated at the intersection of several public transit lines in the center of the city, the 1 million-square-foot site will be connected to multiple subway and bus routes, as well as provide pedestrian and bicycle access to offer an enticing alternative to the traditional car-based mall. The development will be composed of five towers gathered around a compact, 6-story retail complex. The towers, while all rendered in reflective glass and metal paneling, each have their own distinct design and program. The tallest of the five, coming in at 1,409 feet, will be the 25th tallest building in the world and contain offices and a club, while the others will house offices, a hotel, creative technology studios, residential spaces, and a bank. At the center of the DITC will be the retail center, containing a wide spectrum of tenants to cater to the city’s economically diverse population, as well as a below-ground market hall, exhibition spaces, an ice rink, amphitheater, rooftop park, health club, and a 15-screen cinema. But, still, many may ask, why build a 11 million-square-foot mall in a city with an empty 10 million square foot mall? According to 5+Design principal Michael Ellis, a lot has changed in the years since the New South China Mall opened, and Dongguan is ready for something new. “There is a new generation in China that likes the conveniences of great shops and dining experiences near where they live,” Ellis told China Daily USA. “You see that in the US too, with young people moving to downtown Los Angeles for the same reason. It’s a worldwide trend, but new development is happening so quickly and at a large-enough scale in China that it allows us to operate freely there.” Construction of the DITC is set to be completed by 2015.
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Daniel Libeskind’s Shang Shidong Industrial Museum Twists Steel in China

The illustrious 19th century Qing dynasty politician, Zhang Zhidong, is primarily remembered for modernizing the Chinese army and for establishing the steel industry in Wuhan. It seems appropriate then that the new Shang Shidong Industrial Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, should be built in the city of Wuhan. Even more fitting is that the museum, which will celebrate the city’s iron and steel culture, will be built on the manufacturing site of the Hanyang-made rifle and will preserve the famous Hanyang ironworks and Hanyang arsenal. The architect’s plans for the industrial museum divide the structure into three levels, each highlighting a different aspect of the steel industry: the Modern Industrial section, focusing on ironworks history, the Heavy Industry section, focusing on military machinery and transportation, and the Light Industrial section, dedicated to advances in water, power, textiles and food processing. Other smaller buildings pertaining to the museum will honor prominent figures involved in the history of the Chinese industrial work force. The bold design of the building accurately reflects the force with which Wuhan was able to establish itself as a primary manufacturer of steel and iron in China while simultaneously accentuating the city’s promising future. The museum, located in a suburban site surrounded by greenery, is dominated by a thick arching curve that forcefully reaches for the sky. This domineering structure rests on two geometrically shaped structures and is supported by a complex steel frame. The highest peak of the museum offers occupants views of the city while the museum floors overlook the gardens. The museum is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the Chinese New Year (January 31st, 2014). [ Via Designboom.]
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19 Sites Inscribed to UNESCO World Heritage List

At its 37th session held from June 16 to 27, 2013 in Phnom Pehnh and Siem Reap-Angkor, Cambodia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 19 sites to the World Heritage List. The new additions bring the list to 981 noteworthy destinations. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of exceptional universal significance and satisfy at least one out of ten selection criteria, which are frequently improved by the Committee to reflect the advancement of the World Heritage notion itself. The following cultural sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. · Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, Qatar · Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora, Ukraine · Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, Germany · Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China · Fujisan, Japan · Golestan Palace, Iran · Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India · Historic Centre of Agadez, Niger · Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong, Korea · Levuka Historical Port Town, Fiji · Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Italy · Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada · University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia, Portugal · Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, Poland & Ukraine · El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico · Mount Etna, Italy · Namib Sand Sea, Namibia · Tajik National Park, Tajikistan · Xinjiang Tianshan, China