Posts tagged with "China":

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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
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Ole Bouman, Jeffrey Johnson, Li Xiangning to Curate Shenzhen Biennale

It has just been announced that the Shenzen Biennale will be jointly curated by former NAi head Ole Bouman who will serve as Creative Director and American Jeffrey Johnson and Chinese scholar Li Xiangning, who will act as Academic Directors. The theme of the biennale which opens in December 2013 will be urbanization "outside the mainstream" and will take place in multiple sites around the region. Bouman will be responsible for curating the exhibition, "focusing on forward-looking design practices, and large-scale works" while Li Xiangning and New York-based Jeffrey Johnson will be responsible for a curatorial review and theoretical research. The last Shenzen Biennale (2011) was curated by Terence Riley and was one of the most interesting architecture exhibitions of the year.  
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Synthesis Wins Shanghai Competition With “Urban Canyon” Concept

Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design & Architecture (SDA) in association with Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research have won an invited competition to design the 1.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use Shanghai Wuzhou International Plaza in Shanghai. Their slick “Urban Canyon” concept summons images of a magnificent gorge cutting through the city with its two nested cliff-like structures that have been carved from the landscape by staggered, pebble-looking buildings. The facades’ and roofs’ grooved titanium-zinc cladding adds to the metaphor while mimicking the energy and vibrancy of the city. Divided into two blocks, the northern area houses luxury retail shops and developer Hong Kong Wuzhou International Group’s corporate offices. The southern section is a retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex anchored by two office towers. Sky bridges connect the buildings and outside, plazas, landscaping, seating areas, and dynamic lighting are integrated. Practical details are still being finalized.
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Zaha Falls Victim to Archi-Piracy in China

In 2010, AN wrote about an identity theft scandal involving some high profile British architects and Chinese impostors leaving some observers at the time to wonder if starchitects like Norman Foster or Zaha Hadid might be next. It now appears the archi-pirates have indeed set their eyes on Hadid's curvaceous designs, setting of a construction race to see whether the copy-cat can outbuild the original and an international debate about intellectual property. Spiegel reported that Hadid's Wangjing SOHO tower complex, proposed in 2011 for Beijing and now under construction, has been copied and rebranded as the Meiquan 22nd Century in Chongqing. When placed side by side (above), it's tough not to see the distinct resemblance. The developer of the Hadid complex told Spiegel that the clone-towers in the south of China are progressing with construction at a faster rate than the SOHO project, and could even be completed before Hadid's original, noting that even if his company prevailed in court, the offending building would likely only face a financial penalty. Satoshi Ohashi, the project architect at Zaha Hadid Architects, went as far as to tell the German publication, "It is possible that the Chongqing pirates got hold of some digital files or renderings of the project." Many are not surprised that in an age of Photoshop and digital drawing, entire architectural projects are being copied, including architects at Hadid's firm. While upset at the direct copy, Zaha herself expressed "excitement" at the idea her projects could spur mutations.
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KPF Designs China’s Newest City Around a Central Lake

It's no secret that China continues on a trajectory of continued urbanization, placing strain on already-overcrowded cities. To help alleviate this congestion, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) has designed a 120 million-square-foot master-planned new city in China’s Hunan Province called Meixi Lake. The new city is centered around a large, 2.4-mile-long lake and will one day be home to some 180,000 residents. As China’s urban population grows (with over 200 cities expected to house 1 million or more people each by 2030) new cities are seen as a way to relieve the strain on already built ones. "Over the last 10 years, China's cities have grown in two ways: by increasing density within the historical cores, and by adding new cities adjacent to the old," KPF Design Principal James von Klemperer said in a statement. "In such a new town, like Meixi, we can introduce integrated urban innovation: we can combine water transport with localized energy production, cluster neighborhood centers, advanced flood prevention and water management, and urban agriculture." But creating an entirely new city from scratch can be a daunting challenge. Architects are making extra efforts to ensure that these new developments are not prescribed and sterile, designing environments with sustainability at their core. In new cities like Meixi Lake, the built environment responds directly to residents' needs with varying housing options and mixed-used buildings. With a clear centering around the central lake—what KPF calls a "central park" for Meixi—the master plan merges the natural and built environment making sure one never outweighs the other. Water is filtered from the 100-acre lake. High-rise buildings of the central business district surrounding the lake are connected with a pedestrian tram, lessening the amount of cars on the street. KPF also plans collective gray and black water systems, energy plants, and urban agriculture to reduce pollution and enhance sustainability. "Environmental sustainability is crucial to a city’s longevity. China is growing beyond its environmental capacity and has limited natural resources and fresh water," KPF Managing Principal Richard Nemeth noted in a statement. "We were able to rethink the typical urban elements that needed improvement and implement them in this completely new city.” Neighborhoods have been imagined as village centers and are clustered at about 10,000 people and are linked by green parks. Every uniquely-designed neighborhood enclave is complete with a school, shopping district, and civic buildings.
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LEAD’s “Golden Moon” Shines Over Hong Kong

Fabrikator

Digital design meets traditional Chinese craftsmanship in a pavilion constructed like a paper lantern

Hong Kong-based architects Kristof Crolla (LEAD) and Adam Fingrut (Zaha Hadid) married traditional Chinese craftsmanship and digital design technology in their temporary pavilion, Golden Moon, which won the Gold Award in the Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Wonderland last month. The 60-foot-tall structure was built in just 11 days atop a reflection pool in Hong Kong's Victoria Park, proof that "complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means," said Crolla and Fingrut, who sought to rethink digital design by "anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality." To create the "fiery flames," a reference to the Chinese legend of Moon Goddess Chang, Crolla and Fingrut began with a geodesic dome structure made from steel and wrapped it with a bamboo grid made using traditional scaffolding techniques. In this case, however, that "highly intuitive and imprecise craft" was based on an incredibly precise computer generated grid designed to install and bend the bamboo rods into a specialized structure around the steel dome. The dome was then clad with metal wire and a translucent, flexible fabric, two typical paper lantern-making materials, which were then lit up by 10,000 LEDs. The flame pattern and bamboo structure is "based on an algorithm for sphere panelization that produces purity and repetition around the equator and imperfection and approximation 
at the poles." The dome is wrapped with a diagrid according to a Fibonacci sequence that produces order along the equator and randomness at the poles. Simple drawings of this code were made for the construction team so they could easily mark the intersections between the steel and bamboo structures. Golden Moon is the result of research into what Crolla and Fingrut call "building simplexity," or constructing complex geometries from the simplest means. For example, optimization scripts were used to reduce the amount of fabric "flames" from 470 different units to ten that could stretch and adapt to the curve of the dome. "Preconceptions of building methods and familiar construction techniques had to be abandoned by all parties as both the digital and the material world demanded a new design and building set-up to be devised."
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Foxconn Said to Be Considering Investment in American Manufacturing

Much has been made of the decline of American industry and, more recently, the rise of small-scale urban industry, but one of the largest international manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn, could change the industrial scene completely if it decides to build factories in the United States. The Guardian reports that Foxconn is considering Detroit and Los Angeles for potential outposts thanks to rising costs overseas, but the company infamous for manufacturing Apple products among others at its 800,000-worker-strong Chinese facilities would have to adapt to radically different American ways of working. It was early last year—after a string of workers committed suicide and a lethal explosion tore through a plant—when Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook asked the Fair Labor Association to assess Foxconn’s working conditions. Reforms where set in place that doubled Foxconn’s worker salary levels in China and cut overtime hours. The increase in costs in places like China has prompted the company to consider locations overseas. In September, plans were announced for a nearly $500 million factory to be built in São Paulo, Brazil where Foxconn will hire up to 10,000 people to make computer and some Apple products. The company also plans to open a new phone factory in Indonesia by the end of 2012. If built, Foxconn's new U.S. factories and work standards would be altered for the American workforces, who won’t likely work for China’s low wages or live in work dormitories. Instead of manufacturing products that rely heavily on hand labor, the American factories would  primarily build flat screen televisions, which use a primarily automated process. Company officials would not comment on the possible expansion into the U.S., but did say American engineers will be invited to its Chinese facilities to learn about its manufacturing process.
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Chinese Firm Plans to Build World’s Tallest Building in 90 Days

Move over Burj Khalifa, a group in China has its eye set on building the next world's tallest skyscraper, and they plan to do it in just 90 days. Called Sky City Changsha, the tower envisioned for central China's Hunan province could rise nearly 2,750 feet over 220 floors. That's 32 feet higher than the current world's tallest in Dubai. Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), an air conditioning manufacturer behind the proposal, will prefabricate building components to achieve the impossibly short deadline. BSB has already proven their speed. In 2010, the company built the 15-story Ark Hotel, also in Changsha, in a mere six days, followed by a 30-story tower built in only 15 days (see video below), both using prefab construction. In contrast, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, built with traditional construction techniques, took six years to build. The secret is in their pre-planning. An extensive amount of construction materials—93 percent in the Ark Hotel—are prefabricated, which leaves the final act of putting them together all the easier to speed through. BSB estimates that using factory-built prefab components produces less than one percent of the usual waste associated with traditional building methods while consuming less steel and concrete. The company also claims its prefab structures are earthquake resistant up to a magnitude of a 9.0 earthquake. If completed, Sky City would be a city unto itself. Included in the building's one million square feet is living space for 17,400 people, a 1,000 person hotel, retail, schools, office space and a hospital. Pending approval from the Chinese government, Sky City could be completed as soon as January of 2013. [Via WSJ and geek.com.]
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Unveiled> BIG Joins the Supertall Ranks in China with Rockefeller Center-Inspired Tower

Bjarke Ingels, architect of mountains, now has set his eyes on Everest. The New York and Copenhagen-based architect's firm BIG has been tapped by the Rockefellers to design one of the world's tallest buildings at 1,929 feet for a new commercial development in Tianjin, China, a city of nearly 13 million people. Ingels revealed a cryptic, fog-shrouded rendering of the tower on his web site—indicative of the scarcity of detail yet released on the tower—but this being the information age,  AN found more information and views of the tower on a clear day. BIG is working with HKS Architecture and Arup to design the $2.35 billion Rose Rock International Finance Center set within an SOM-designed master plan for the Tianjin Binhai New Area Central Business District. The new commercial neighborhood to the southeast of Tianjin replaces a formerly industrial peninsula with a mix of high-rises, historic sites, and parks anchored by a high-speed rail station and helps to connect it to the coast. Rose Rock Group, founded by Steven C. Rockefeller Jr., Steven C. Rockefeller III, and Collin C. Eckles, held a ceremonial groundbreaking on December 16, 2011 and is promoting the new tower as a key to transforming Tianjin into "the financial center of Northern China." Renderings show a terraced pyramidal tower with a palpable vertical thrust and clear reference to the Art-Deco stylings of its inspiration, the Rockefeller Center in New York. Just as the Rockefellers built ambitiously skyward in New York 80 years ago, Ingels said in a statement, "The Rose Rock International Finance Center will be to the contemporary Chinese city what the Rockefeller Center was to the American city of the 1930s: an architectural landscape of urban plazas and roof gardens designed to stimulate and cultivate the life between the buildings." Only this time, over a thousand feet higher.
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Unveiled> SOM’s Latest Supertall Building in China

A "supertall" building is one which tops out at over 1,250 feet. Right now, there are 18 completed supertall buildings and 21 under construction. Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) will break ground on Tuesday on the 1,740-foot-tall CTF Tower in Tianjin, China. It will be the tenth supertall building to begin construction for SOM, the most of any firm in the world. The building is a carefully-crafted design which deliberately merges structural challenges with program and form. The mixed-use tower in the Tianjin Economic Development Area, an area planned for new growth, has retail at the base, topped with offices, 300 residential units, and a 350-room, 5-star hotel. "The functional aspects of program were integrated with the structure," said SOM design partner Brian Lee. "And the form was also developed alongside the structural scheme." Larger floor plates are needed for the office spaces, which are placed near the base of the building. Residential units with smaller floor plate are at the top. The gentle curves of the building and the large, sloped, concrete elements form a "mega-column," which acts as an external frame. Environmental conditions also affected the final design. Wind slots, a porous crown at the top of the tower, and a gradiated opacity toward the higher floors all help to decrease wind loads, and the corners are rounded to prevent a vortex effect on the back side of the building.