Breaking> Chinese Architect Wang Shu Awarded Pritzker Prize

International
Monday, February 27, 2012
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Wang Shu in front of his New Academy of Art HangZhou, China. (Iwan Baan)

Wang Shu in front of his New Academy of Art Hangzhou, China. (Iwan Baan)

Chinese architect Wang Shu has been named the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, marking the first time a Chinese architect has been honored prize which brings a bronze medal and $100,000 purse. Wang Shu is known for building with traditional Chinese forms and materials, often recycling bricks and tiles to form a patchwork mosaic in his buildings, which demonstrate a distinct modern sensibility. He is professor and head of architecture at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China and founded Amateur Architecture Studio with Lu Wenyu in 1998 where he has taken an outspoken stance against architecture that he perceives as destroying vast urban and rural landscapes across China.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Geenland Tower in Suzhou by SOM Chicago

International, Midwest
Friday, January 20, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

SOM's Geenland Tower is proposed for a new city in China. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”

Continue reading after the jump.

City in China Disappears Overnight

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Chaohu city is officially canceled. (Courtesy anhuinews.com)

Chaohu city in China has been canceled. It wasn’t a small city. In fact the population of more than 4 million is comparable to Los Angeles, the Phoenix metro area, and the whole of South Carolina, but that is now irrelevant data, since Chaohu’s official city status was annihilated on August 22. Although buildings and inhabitants remain as proof of a once-coherent city plan and living organism, the land has since been divided into three parts and absorbed by its neighbors, Hefei, Wuhu and Ma’anshan.

Continue reading after the jump.

Spotlight> Beijing Design Week

International
Friday, September 23, 2011
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(Courtesy Beijing Design Week)

(Courtesy Beijing Design Week)

Beijing Design Week
September 26–October 3

Beijing Design Week, now in its second year, aims to change the catchphrase “Made in China” to “Designed in China.” The festival will bring together 30 local and international design firms for packed roster of events focusing on urban design and including Dutch artist/architect Daan Roosegaarde’s experiments with LEDs (above). Design Week will take over the whole city, staging happenings everywhere from the trendy 798 art district to Tiananmen Square, whose neighboring historic district will host pop-up shops and street art installations, to the site of the China Millenium Monument, where Paul Cocksedge will unveil an installation on October 1. This year London was invited to be Beijing’s “guest city,” and emissaries from the London Design Festival will translate some of their most successful ideas and activities into a new context.

On View> Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods & Christoph A. Kumpusch

Newsletter, West
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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Rendering of Woods & Kumpusch's Light Pavilion. (Courtesy MAK)

Rendering of Woods & Kumpusch's Light Pavilion. (Courtesy MAK)

Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods and
Christoph A. Kumpusch: Construction
Drawings & In-Process Photographs at the
Mackey Garage Top
MAK Center at the Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood
Through August 6

The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods and Christoph A. Kumpusch was created for Steven Holl’s Sliced Porosity Block project now under construction in Chengdu, China, and will be Lebbeus Woods’ first built work of architecture. A physical intervention into Holl’s rectilinear structure, the pavilion consists of a series of columns and stairs that are illuminated from with and change color, and the luminous effect will be amplified by the pavilion’s mirrored interior walls. The MAK exhibition includes construction drawings and process photographs of the installation, as well as conceptual renderings of this project, above, and other work of Woods and Kumpusch.

See more after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Cathedral Restoration, Haunted, Deserted and Isolated Cities

Daily Clicks
Friday, June 24, 2011
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(COURTESY RENE SLAATS/FLICKR)

(COURTESY RENE SLAATS/FLICKR)

Restored London. Building Design reports that after 15 years, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is scaffolding-free. The £40 million project restored Christopher Wren’s masterpiece to its original glory in time for the cathedral’s 30oth anniversary. St. Paul’s will host a photography competition and display the winning selections in the cathedral crypt to celebrate its complete renovation.

Artificial England. While China continues to be a hot spot for architectural and economic development, its many ghost towns lack permanent residents. The Infrastructurist exposes one of China’s English-inspired uninhabited cities, Thames Town, built in 2006 as part of Shanghai’s “One City, Nine Town” initiative at decentralization. The state-of-the-art $9 billion design draws tourists, but not residents.

Trucks, not Tanks. At the United States Conference of Mayors, local government representatives vote to reallocate federal funds directed toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the improvement of American cities. The municipal leaders assert that the conflicts’ $126 billion per year budget would be better spend building urban infrastructure, employing civil servants, and supporting educational and family institutions.

Mall City. City Watch LA evaluates Rick Caruso’s latest business proposition: running for public office. The billionaire developer envisions a new Los Angeles comprised of isolated communities each with its own shopping mall, a potential reality if Caruso wins the 2013 mayoral seat.

(Updated!) A Call to Free Ai Weiwei, Artist, Architect, Activist

Ai Weiwei with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (Courtesy Melissa Lam)

Ai Weiwei with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (Courtesy Melissa Lam)

(Updated 4-6-2011) As details emerge, be sure to track the comments on this post for the latest on Ai Weiwei. We have learned that the US State Department called for his release on Monday. According to VOA News, Mark Toner, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman saud, “The detention of artist and activist Ai Weiwei is inconsistent with the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens, including China’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we urge the Chinese government to release him immediately.” Today, the Guardian reported that Ai Weiwei is under investigation for “suspected economic crimes” according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua which has since deleted the statement.

AN also received the following note of support for Ai Weiwei from Richard Meier. Please feel free to voice your messages of support in the comments.

Ai Weiwei deserves all of our support in his efforts to communicate with the world community of architects about the conditions that currently exist in China. We all hope that his immediate release will happen quickly in response to comments from all of us that support him in his cause.

Sincerely yours,

Richard Meier

(Original Report 4-4-2011) News that Chinese artist, architect, and activist Ai Wei Wei has been detained and disappeared as of April 3, 2011 broke yesterday in the International media.  As reported by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times, and more recently today by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, his detention and police closure of his Beijing studio coincides with what is known as the “Jasmine Revolution,” a protest movement in the People’s Republic of China that was inspired by the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and has prompted the Communist Party’s six-week crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists, with many of those detained still not released, and others, such as pro-democracy writer Liu Xianbin, sentenced to 10 years in jail for subversion.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture, the Final Frontier for Pirates?

International
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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(Slightly adjusted) Zaha Hadid Pavilion (Courtesy John Picken / flickr)

(Slightly adjusted) Zaha Hadid Pavilion (Courtesy John Picken / flickr)

 

Aye, those swashbucklin’ pirates are at it again, matey! This time, though, they’re not after gold, DVDs, or designer purses, but the identities of architects. The Guardian‘s Jonathan Glancey relates that Chinese firms posing as British officers of Aedas and Broadway Maylan have been pursuing bids with false information. He points out the dangers that such a development might entail for the profession and wonders if starchitects like Zaha Hadid could be the next victims.

Read More

Video: Chinese Hotel Climbs Fifteen Stories in Six Days

International
Monday, November 15, 2010
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Chinese hotel built in just six days (DifferentEnergy Video)

Chinese hotel built in just six days (DifferentEnergy Video)

Would you stay in a 15-story structure built in six days?  Through the magic of prefabrication, one new hotel in Changsha, China was built erector-set-style at just such a fantastic pace and recorded through time-lapse photography. The better term might be constructed in six days, however, as the building’s foundation and the factory-made pieces were already finished at the beginning of this architectural ballet, but the feat proves rather amazing nonetheless.

While you might have never heard of Changsha, China, home to the new Ark Hotel, the country’s 19th largest city mirrors the building’s rapid growth.  Changsha tripled in size between the 1940s and 1980s and today contains an estimated population of 6.6 million.

While such a quickly constructed building might seem prone to shoddy construction, the Ark Hotel is reportedly built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, meaning a quake over 1,000 times more powerful than January’s quake in Haiti.  Call us skeptical, but we’d opt to be out of the building when disaster strikes.

Prefabrication, architecture’s “oldest new idea,” can have its green benefits. The Ark Hotel is thermally insulated and boasts only one percent construction waste. [ Via Gizmodo. ]

Watch the construction footage after the jump.

High Speed Railing in Anaheim

West
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
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One of China's many High Speed Rail trains

More than 300 architects, planners, and developers had their minds blown and their ambitions frustrated at last week’s California High-Speed Rail TOD Marketplace in Anaheim, produced by the Urban Land Insitute’s California District Councils. Read More

BIG on Bikes

International
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
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How to make the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo truly a national symbol? Add some bike lanes, of course. Bjorke Ingles, head of BIG Bjorke Ingles Group and designer of the pavilion, takes us on a tour, via Archinect. (Be warned, though. Instead of soundtracking this with the Raveonettes or Kashmir, whoever put this together went with arguably the worst song ever, “I Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. You may want to mute your sound before hitting play.)

Terrible music aside, why is Scandinavian architecture so much fun?

Lights Out for Chinese LED Plant in Cleveland

Midwest
Friday, May 28, 2010
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Cleveland at dusk, where the lighting is not yet as green as the mayor would like it to be. (Courtesy files.nyu.edu)

Marketplace had a downright enlightening segment the other day about the potential and peril of using sustainability as a tool for economic development. New York and Chicago have been doing this with some success, and now Cleveland’s mayor wants in on the act. But instead of simply promoting sustainability through tax credits, development bonuses, and mandates, Frank Jackson took a clever approach, saying whomever built a LED plant in the depressed Rust Belt city would get the contract to outfit it with all its civic lighting needs. It was a brilliantly shrewd move, until it all fell apart. Listen in to find out what happened.

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