Tag archives for: China
While many architects and engineers have been vying to construct the world’s tallest tower, a group in China has looked to build in the opposite direction.
Construction began last month on Shanghai’s first “groundscraper”—a structure built almost completely below the surface. The massive project will eventually take form as the InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland, a 19-story, 380-room luxury hotel surrounded by a 428,000 square-meter theme park.
The hotel broke ground about 30 miles from the city of Shanghai in an abandoned quarry at the foot of Tianmashan Mountain. The building, located in the district of Songjiang, will be grafted onto the side of the quarry with 16 floors descending down and three floors resting above the crater.
Just as the top levels of a skyscraper are often filled with elegant restaurants and the most luxurious of rooms, the bottom two floors of the groundscraper will include an underwater restaurant, an athletic complex for water sports and 10-meter deep aquarium.
The quarry’s surrounding cliffs will be used for extreme sports like bungee jumping and rock climbing.
The project’s developers at the Shimao Property Group worked with British engineering firm Atkins to bring the idea to fruition and expect to near completion in late 2014 or early 2015.
The theme park and hotel are expected to cost at least $555 million and nightly room rates should start at approximately $320.
architecture, buildings, built environment, Green Architecture, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, Sculpture
architecture, Atkins, China, Hotels, InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland, room luxury hotel, Shimao Property Group, skyscraper, Tianmashan Mountain, travel
House of the Tree is the most recent project designed by Kokaistudios, an award winning architecture design firm founded in 2000 in Venice by Italian architects Filippo Gabbiani & Andrea Destefanis and now headquartered in Shanghai, China. Located at the 48th and 49th floor of a high-end residential tower in Shenzhen, China, House of the Tree is a penthouse designed with the concept of “living between the city and the nature” and offers a modern lifestyle with luxury and relaxation.
The elegant and exceptional entrance, punctuated by a tree incredibly planted at the 48th floor of a residential tower, allows a panorama view that enhances the relationship between the interior and exterior, and provides an opportunity to bring in a large quantity of daylight indoor. It is the result of a large-scale of architectural modification applied to the original layout of the penthouse, a joint unit of two regular apartments and a typical situation in high-rise residential towers in current China market, does not allow any perception of two floor apartments.
By enclosing a small portion of outdoor terrace into a glass pavilion in the center of the penthouse, Kokaistudios create the new core of the apartment in an impressive double height atrium with the opportunity to bath by the natural light.
This new core space, with walls removed from original layout, increasing the kitchen and the dining area conceived as dynamic spaces. Surrounded by the amazing outdoor swimming pool, it is able to be divided by semi transparent glass partition to satisfy various scenarios.
A transitional space distributes the functions between first and second floor and at the same time to prelude the entrance to the living room and to the guest bedroom located on the first floor to guarantee privacy from the family area located on the second level.
The staircase has been designed with a great sculptural attitude with a deep study of details making it a prominent symbol of the space.
The multi-functionliving room originally divided by a partition that does not allow for a connection between the north and the south view has been reconfigured by locating a fireplace in the middle of the space to create a dynamic layout for social flexibility.
Thanks to the great opportunity created by the architectural approach to the design, a bridge connects the staircase to the family room, which is designed for relaxation and meditation, on the second level allowing the view of the entire apartment and the amazing perception of the double height space of the core of the penthouse.
Attention to details
Particular attention is given to the selection of materials, Kokaistudios choice being driven both by the desire to choose environmentally friendly materials and finishing techniques, as well as by the desire for a strong architectural aesthetic and feeling for the project.
The penthouse personality is defined by the core materials and workmanship rather than by the finishing decorations. The texture and surface characteristicsof the materials stimulate all the senses of the guests; oak timber floors from north east China treated with natural oils are combined with white cream Spanish stones finished with ancient hand hammered techniques and the walls are finished with luxurious Venetian “marmorino” plasters which are hard and glossy as is marble but able to transmit soft and warm mood by distributing the light as no other material is able to.
The soft furnishings are a combination of unique custom designed furniture pieces and award winning pieces from some of Italian finest contemporary furniture producers.
With its unique location at the boundary of the fast growing Central Business District in Shenzhenon thenorth and nature landscape of Hong Kong on the south, the result is a stunning penthouse occupying a privileged point of living between the nature and the city.
The end product stands as an example of Kokaistudios vision of luxury living with timeless-chic taste; defined by a connection to nature, a connection to fine materials and craftsmanship, while meeting the demands of a modern way of living.
The house spans 616 square metres and was completed in November 2011.
Source: Property Report
Mathias Woo has this bit of tough love for Hong Kongers: You don’t appreciate good design.
“Everything just looks the same,” Mr. Woo, an architect and co-director of artist collective Zuni Icosahedron, said. What about the Frank Gehry apartments under construction, or Norman Foster’s work in West Kowloon? “It’s like design is only for the rich,” Mr. Woo said.
He hopes to change that with a mix of history, theater and a so-called puppet electronic musical, all part of his “Architecture Is Art” festival. It starts Saturday and runs to Dec. 11.
- Mathias Woo
“Architecture doesn’t really exist here. We need to remind people that architecture is not just building and not just investment,” Mr. Woo said. “We need an aesthetic sense.”
To get residents thinking more about the spaces where they live, the festivalkicks off with a lecture Saturday on modern Chinese architecture, followed by exhibit on railway architecture over the last 100 years, on view at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre starting Nov. 18. “Architecture is a more honest way of looking at history than politics,” Mr. Woo said.
The stage productions address the festival’s avant-garde theme, with “Looking for Mies,” about German modernist architect Mies van der Rohe, at the Centre’s Grand Theatre on Dec. 2 and 3. “Bauhaus Manifesto,” the puppet show, focuses on the influential German design school and runs Dec. 9 to 11.
An exhibit called “Habitat City” aims to raise awareness of housing issues, a flash point in densely populated Hong Kong. It features poems and videos at Cattle Depot Artist Village, a former slaughterhouse in the To Kwa Wan area of Kowloon that now is home to several artists, and highlights the neighborhood as model for sustainable growth.
Other festival events include a panel discussion on the future of Hong Kong’s housing policy.
Mr. Woo said he hopes to reach the public at large, not necessarily practicing architects. “Architects are more cynical, and they’re too busy, working on their firms. They have no time to think,” he said. “But I hope we can improve. Hong Kong is the worst, in term of architecture among world cities.”
Frank Gehry, designer of Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, is seeking projects in Asian countries including China and India as slower U.S. growth crimps development in the world’s largest economy.
The architect said he’s competing to plan a museum in one of China’s fast-expanding metropolitan areas, as well as a “very spiritual kind of a building” in India. He declined to give further details. Gehry designed an aquarium as part of the recent redevelopment of the Ocean Park attraction in Hong Kong.
Gehry, 82, is turning to Asia as developers start few projects in the U.S. The Architecture Billings Index, an indicator of American construction, plunged to 46.9 last month from 51.4 in August, reflecting lower demand for design services, according to the American Institute of Architects. Any score less than 50 indicates a decline in billings.
Meanwhile, “there’s an art explosion in China,” Gehry said in an Oct. 25 interview at Bloomberg’s Los Angeles offices. “It’s really great — very exciting.”
He expects to sign a contract within three to four months should an agreement be reached for the Chinese museum. One challenge of designing in a country such as China is the lower pay for projects, Gehry said. Architects get paid a percentage of construction costs, which in China are about a third of what they are in the U.S., he said.
“If you take a percentage and you work with western salaries, you can’t make it work,” Gehry said. “So it almost forces you to open an office in China and work with local people.”
Staying Near Home
Gehry said he would prefer to travel less and focus on projects in California or New York. The lack of development in the U.S. along with employees at Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners LLP who depend on him are forcing him to look elsewhere, the architect said.
“I have over 100 people in my office,” he said. “At my age, I would love only to work in Los Angeles, maybe Santa Monica, maybe Beverly Hills.”
Construction of one of Gehry’s projects abroad, the 450,000-square-foot (42,000-square-meter) Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum, was halted earlier this month by Tourism Development & Investment Co. as the emirate scales back plans made before the 2008 financial crisis.
“The Abu Dhabi building we’ve been working on in the last five to six years has been stopped, and that’s painful,” said Gehry, who also has a contract for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington.
New York Apartments
Gehry, who designed a Manhattan apartment building on Spruce Street that opened earlier this year, also is seeking to win contracts by cutting construction waste, which often accounts for 30 percent of a development budget. His Los Angeles-based Gehry Technologies Inc. employs the same type of computer-aided, paperless, three-dimensional design used to build Boeing Co. (BA)’s 777 airliner.
“With two-dimensional drawings there’s a lot of room for error,” said Gehry, the 1989 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. “It creates so-called clashes that will result in costly change orders.”
There were few such conflicts at the 76-story Manhattan tower — called New York by Gehry, and developed by Forest City Ratner Cos. — even with its rippled and curved bay windows, according to Gehry. Almost 600 units of the 900-apartment building have been rented, he said.
“You’ve got to respect budgets because people are investing and building and have certain finite resources,” Gehry said. “So it behooves us to respect that.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at [email protected]
architect, architects, architecture, architecture jobs, Hiring trends, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, recession, unemployed architects
China, Frank Gehry
The Big Dig by Topotek1, at the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo. All Photos: Geng Wang
You were seven, it was summer, and you were bored to tears. Somehow you got the idea in your head that you could dig a tunnel to China. You grab a spade or shovel (of hard plastic) and begin to dig. You’re determined, and nothing—not the limitations of your physical strength, hunger, networks of piping, dangerous levels of air pressure, lack of oxygen, the earth’s molten core, or, if you managed to get past all that, the fact that you’d end up in the middle of the Indian Ocean and should have started in Argentina—will keep you from digging. But after 30 minutes, but what seems like hours, night fall or dinner time precludes the conclusion of your journey.
A thin glass barrier encircles the hole and prevents the visitor from falling into the abyss and, presumably, ending up in an unknown land.
“The Big Dig” is designed as the emerging point of your trans-national travel. More than a hole in a two dimensional surface, the installation is a suctioned chasm, where space is curved and stressed. Existing site features, such as nearby trees, were untouched, reinforcing the conceit that you’ve just surfaced into an arcadian garden. A discrete audio system plays recorded sounds from the other side of the world—“cows from the pampas of Argentinas, commuters rushing among transit through New York City, the maritime life of Stockholm, and layers of history so audible among the streets of Berlin”—transporting visitors far from China to Western Europe or South America.
Topotek1’s installation at the 2011 Xi’an International Horticultural Exposition presents the question, “what if we did dig a tunnel to the other side of the world.”
Source: Architizer Blog
A master plan by Chicago-based architecture firm Goettsch Partners has been selected as the winning scheme in the design competition for a prominent site in the new Pazhou district in Guangzhou, China. Three urban parcels form the triangular site, which is planned for seven buildings totaling 428,000 square meters. Set along the Pearl River Delta, the Pazhou district anchors the city’s expansion to the east. The winning master plan establishes a framework for the three-parcel site as a vibrant and iconic commercial destination that merges the new riverfront with the larger urban fabric.
The client and developer is Poly Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading state-owned real estate companies.
Project Description from the Architects:
A nautilus-like spiral defines the organizing concept for the complex, with its physical center providing a direct visual link to the city’s historic pagoda. The centerpiece of the development is a large public piazza, which helps unify the three urban parcels while clearly segregating pedestrian and vehicular activity. Sustainable design initiatives start with a series of elevated bridges that provide unobstructed breezeways and shade for the ground level. These bridges also house indoor social spaces linking the towers and are topped with habitable garden spaces that minimize the urban heat-island effect.
A landmark tower at the northeast corner of the site anchors the development in the skyline, positioned for maximum visibility and presence. The six other buildings encircle the piazza and are designed with podium-level retail and dining venues that activate the public spaces. Sky bridges between buildings define the perimeter of the piazza and link the complex, while maximizing views to the riverfront and adjacent canal. These elevated structures also form gateways that lend an overall permeability to the complex.
In the piazza, a terraced court rises from the site’s lower-level pedestrian access, passing beneath the development’s main connecting roadway. Lined with retail and restaurants, this court features a series of distinct landscaped amenities and terminates at a jewel-like exhibition facility, intended to be an educational and cultural venue. This entire network of pedestrian pathways also has a direct link to the area’s subway lines, providing convenient and intuitive access to the development.
Identified by a larger plan as parcels 4, 5 and 10, the three urban plots each includes a mix of commercial functions. Parcel 4 totals 210,000 square meters, featuring the landmark office and hotel tower, as well as a separate serviced apartment tower; the two are organized in a semicircular arrangement fronting the main piazza. Parcel 5 comprises 100,000 square meters, with three office towers triangulated on the development’s southernmost portion and configured around a secondary public plaza. Parcel 10 totals 118,000 square meters, including an office tower and a hotel, aligned along the adjacent canal. While each building will have its own unique identity, collectively, the buildings will form an ascending spiral, defining a singular urban gesture for the complex.
The Pazhou project represents GP’s fourth major assignment with Poly Real Estate. Other projects include a 159,000-square-meter mixed-use development in Deyang, including hotel, office, conference, and cultural functions; a 200-meter-tall office building in Shunde; and a two-tower, 150,000-square-meter office complex in Chengdu. As one of the largest real estate developers in China, Poly Real Estate operates 119 subsidiaries across 35 cities nationwide.
Fed Chair Ben Bernake
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that the sharp drop in unemployment over the last two months is encouraging but cautioned that it will take several years for hiring to return to normal.
In prepared testimony before the House Budget Committee, Bernanke also warned that failing to forge a plan to reduce the government’s $1 trillion-plus deficits over the long term could eventually hurt the economy.
The unemployment rate was 9 percent in January after the fastest two-month decline in 53 years.
Those declines “provide some grounds for optimism on the employment front,” Bernanke said.
Bernanke is making his first appearance before the House since Republicans took control last month. He is expected to face tough questions from them, despite being a member of the party.
The Fed chief said the economy is strengthening, helped by more spending by consumers and businesses. However, the economic recovery won’t be assured until companies step up hiring on a consistent basis.
Bernanke’s remarks suggest the Fed will stick with its plan to buy $600 billion worth of Treasury debt by the end of June. The program is aimed to invigorate spending and the economy by lowering rates on loans and by boosting prices on stocks.
Despite rising prices for gasoline and for many industrial and agricultural commodities, Bernanke said inflation remains “quite low.” He blamed the higher prices on strong demand from fast-growing countries such as China — not the Fed’s stimulus policies.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., worries that the Fed’s stimulus policies, including debt purchases, could trigger inflation or fuel speculative buying of stocks or other assets.
“Many of us fear monetary policy is on a difficult track,” Ryan said.
However, Ryan expressed more concerns about the nation’s exploding government deficits. If left unchecked, it will eventually hurt the economy. Ryan favors budget cuts to get the deficits under control.
Hat Tip to Associated Press
architecture, architecture jobs, Hiring trends, jobs, unemployed architects
agricultural commodities, China, Debt, Federal Reserve, House Budget Committee, Inflation, R-Wis., Rep. Paul Ryan
China is planning to create the world’s biggest mega city by merging nine cities to create a metropolis twice the size of Wales with a population of 42 million.
City planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta.
The “Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One” scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.
The new mega-city will cover a large part of China’s manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.
Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong.
“The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas,” said Ma Xiangming, the chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute and a senior consultant on the project.
However, he said no name had been chosen for the area. “It will not be like Greater London or Greater Tokyo because there is no one city at the heart of this megalopolis,” he said. “We cannot just name it after one of the existing cities.”
“It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across the region and public services will also be distributed more fairly,” he added.
Mr Ma said that residents would be able to use universal rail cards and buy annual tickets to allow them to commute around the mega-city.
Twenty-nine rail lines, totalling 3,100 miles, will be added, cutting rail journeys around the urban area to a maximum of one hour between different city centres. According to planners, phone bills could also fall by 85 per cent and hospitals and schools will be improved.
“Residents will be able to choose where to get their services and will use the internet to find out which hospital, for example, is less busy,” said Mr Ma.
Pollution, a key problem in the Pearl River Delta because of its industrialisation, will also be addressed with a united policy, and the price of petrol and electricity could also be unified.
The southern conglomeration is intended to wrestle back a competitive advantage from the growing urban areas around Beijing and Shanghai.
By the end of the decade, China plans to move ever greater numbers into its cities, creating some city zones with 50 million to 100 million people and “small” city clusters of 10 million to 25 million.
In the north, the area around Beijing and Tianjin, two of China’s most important cities, is being ringed with a network of high-speed railways that will create a super-urban area known as the Bohai Economic Rim. Its population could be as high as 260 million.
The process of merging the Bohai region has already begun with the connection of Beijing to Tianjing by a high speed railway that completes the 75 mile journey in less than half an hour, providing an axis around which to create a network of feeder cities.
As the process gathers pace, total investment in urban infrastructure over the next five years is expected to hit £685 billion, according to an estimate by the British Chamber of Commerce, with an additional £300 billion spend on high speed rail and £70 billion on urban transport.
Hat tip to the Telegraph
architecture, Engineering, new buildings
China, Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, mega-city, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, Zhuhai
The architect Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) are the forces behind some of the most striking structures built in recent years, including the Seattle Central Library and the CCTV headquarters, in Beijing.
The new MOCA (www.mocacleveland.org)
But dozens of architects who were trained at or otherwise passed through Koolhaas’s firm are now spread across the world and beginning to make their mark, observes Metropolis. The magazine dubs them Baby Rems.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, for example, is moving ahead with construction of a striking new building, which features triangular facades that, from certain angles, allow luminescent peeks at the museum’s interior. It’s the handiwork of Foreign Office Architects (FOA), an OMA offshoot.
The Balancing Barn, which has been feted in England (and lives up to its name, cantilevering off into space), is a project of MVRDV, which also traces its roots back to Koolhaas’s office.
Metropolis’s generational schema confuses me—who counts as Generation One, again, and who as Generation Two?—but Work A.C., evidently part of the second wave, has gotten the nod to revitalize the Hua Qiang Bei Road, in Shenzhen, China; the renderings look pretty wild, and also impressive.
All this amounts to another reminder that even architecture, long considered the redoubt of the lone genius (see: Ayn Rand), is in fact better viewed as a shifting network of creative minds with personal, professional, and intellectual ties: a Kaleidoscopic Discovery Engine.
Hat tip to Christopher Shea, WSJ
architects, architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings
Ayn Rand, China, Christopher Shea, Cleveland, Hua Qiang Bei Road, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Shenzhen, The Museum of Contemporary Art, WSJ
Currently making the rounds inside the design/architecture portions of the internet, as well as in email forwards from your grandparents and Twitter feeds the world over, is this time-lapse video of the construction of the Ark Hotel in Changsha, China. Reportedly, and time-stamped as such, it only took six days to build the 15-story hotel, which is both a remarkable achievement and, to this writer at least, absolutely terrifying. Although officials have said that the building is completely up to safety codes, and that all the pieces were prefabricated (hence the ability to build so quickly), it still doesn’t put us very much at ease, particularly considering China’s recent poor history with both hotels and building codes.