Kengo Kuma designs a geometric dreamscape for Hérmes’ Chinese brand, Shiang Xia

(By Masao Nishikawi/Courtesy of Kengo Kuma)

(Masao Nishikawi/Courtesy Kengo Kuma)

The acclaimed architectural firm that once decked the walls of a Tokyo Yakitori bar with LAN cables recently completed designs for the latest retail outlet of Shang Xia, a Chinese culture–inspired offshoot of the renowned Hérmes fashion brand.

Continue reading after the jump.

Biomimicry guides the design of Shanghai’s new nautilus-shaped museum of natural history

Shanghai Natural History Museum (©Steinkamp Photography)

Shanghai Natural History Museum. (Steinkamp Photography)

This weekend a Shanghai museum got a new home, and its design takes a major cue from nature. The Shanghai Natural History Museum wraps 479,180 square feet of exhibition space with facades inspired by the elements, natural phenomena, and the biological structure of cells.

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Jeanne Gang, Wanda Group unveil new renderings for supertall Wanda Vista tower in Chicago

(Studio Gang Architects)

(Studio Gang Architects)

Studio Gang’s Wanda Tower may climb even higher than originally planned. New renderings revealed Monday night show the tower topping out at 93 stories instead of the previous 88. At 1,144 feet, the tower, whose development is being bankrolled by Beijing-based Wanda Group, would be the third-tallest tower in Chicago (provided it fits the standards of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who arbitrate such matters.)

Continue reading after the jump.

This year’s architecturally inspired films at the 2015 Slamdance and Sundance film festivals

Still from Concrete Love. (Courtesy respective directors)

Still from Concrete Love. (Maurizius Staerkle Drux)

This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bar-Hopping in Secret: Shanghai’s Latest Speakeasy Disguised as Sandwich Shop

Interiors, International
Monday, March 9, 2015
.
(Courtesy Shen Zhonghai)

(Courtesy Shen Zhonghai)

These days, the illicit thrill of sneaking into a hidden bar from the back of a video store is a mere blip on our adrenaline threshold. But a new speakeasy in Shanghai aims to reinvent the game with a sleek underground bar concealed behind the innocent facade of a sandwich shop.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid unveils plans to build the largest airport terminal on the planet—in China

Hadid's Beijing New Airport Terminal Building. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Hadid’s Beijing New Airport Terminal Building. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Fresh off settling a legal dispute with New York Review of Books critic Martin Filler, Zaha Hadid has unveiled plans for her latest project. And even for the Queen of Swoop, this one is big. Very Big. Record-breaking big.

Continue reading after the jump.

Will China Become a Design Dictatorship?

Galaxy-Soho-Zaha

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid)

The days of China as a staging ground for progressive, even experimental, architecture may be numbered. High-profile projects by Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, et al, while the delight of design aficionados around the world, haven’t impressed Chinese President Xi Jinping—at least in a positive way.

Continue reading after the jump.

Wanda’s plans for a new Studio Gang–designed Chicago supertall tower come into focus

(Wanda Commercial Properties / City of Chicago)

(Wanda Commercial Properties / City of Chicago)

City officials laid to rest Wednesday some, but not all, of the supertall rumors swirling around Chicago since July. Beijing-based real estate giant Wanda Commercial Properties is indeed planning what would be the city’s third tallest building for 375 East Wacker Drive in the Lakeshore East neighborhood.

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OMA heading back to China with an exhibition center in Shanghai

Rendering of the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, along the Pudong waterfront.

Rendering of the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, along the Pudong waterfront.

Having designed what is arguably Beijing’s most recognizable building, CCTV, OMA is ready to make a similar, if slightly smaller, mark in Shanghai. They’ve just won a commission to design the Lujiazui Exhibiton Centre, located on the northern edge of Shanghai Pudong, a famed tower-filled area along the Huangpu River.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Dictating Taste in a Dictatorship

Architecture, Eavesdroplet, International
Thursday, November 20, 2014
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beijing-birds-nest

Beijing’s “Bird Nest” stadium by Herzog & De Meuron. (Jean Wang / Flickr)

Contemporary monarchs and world leaders have a mixed record when it comes to dictating architectural taste (see Prince Charles: wrong on classicism, right on sustainable agriculture). Even so, it seems significant that Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an end to “weird architecture,” the kinds of formally adventurous projects China has been building at a breakneck speed for the last few decades. It’s unclear at this point if he was expressing a personal preference or if this edict will have teeth. One Bird’s Nest too many?

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Kean University announces Michael Graves School of Architecture

Exterior of Wenzhou Kean Campus. (Michael Graves via Kean University)

Exterior of Wenzhou Kean Campus. (Michael Graves via Kean University)

This Saturday, Kean University, in Union, New Jersey, will launch the Michael Graves School of Architecture in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Michael Graves Architecture & Design. Over his career, Graves has racked up an impressive list of architectural accolades including the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of the Arts, and the Driehaus Prize for Architecture.

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Martha Schwartz’ Hillside Mountain Range

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Illuminated steel pavilions mimic Chinese peaks.

The hillside site of Fengming Mountain Park, in Chongqing, China, presented Martha Schwartz Partners with both a practical challenge and a source of inspiration. Asked by Chinese developer Vanke to design a park adjacent to the sales office for a new housing development, the landscape architecture and urban planning firm quickly gravitated toward the metaphor of a mountain journey. “That’s why in the plans you see a zig zag pattern” to the path leading down to the sales center from the car park, said associate Ignacio López Busón. Steel pavilions scattered along the walkway pick up on the theme, taking the form of abstracted mountain peaks. “That’s something the client really liked,” said López Busón. “Once the idea was clear, it was all about developing the shape of them, and trying to make them look special.”
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