Celebrations for the Chinese New Year are already underway around the world as today, 31 January 2014, marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse. With the commencement of a New Year comes the close of another, so here's a selection of 6 of the 90 Chinese schemes posted to WAN’s editorial section during last year’s Year of the Snake.
Splitting our readership with their bold Asian Cairns concept for Shenzhen was Vincent Callebaut Architects. The design was inspired by the city's burgeoning urban population and the need to reduce CO2 emissions while meeting the demand of the dense urban community. Vincent Callebaut Architects’ futuristic proposal stacks three eco-spirals of pebbles into towering structures which act as ‘farmscrapers’ or green vertical cities.
Next up is an 11 sq km masterplan devised by Atkins for Nanjing Waterfront. The city will host the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games this year and the landscape masterplan released by Atkins provides enhanced connectivity between new developments and existing public spaces along the waterfront. The scheme involves seven landscape and activity zones that are distinctive but interconnected.
This glossy hotel by Rocco Design Architects was completed in June 2013 on a busy junction in Guangzhou. The W Guangzhou Hotel & Residences is a 106,500 sq m facility split into two portions: a 317-room boutique hotel and 160 serviced apartments. Run by the same management company, the two sections of the W Guangzhou Hotel & Residences are blended with the same overarching aesthetic but the public and private elements carefully distinguished through subtle design features.
In August, LA-based design studio amphibianArc won a design competition for a new district in the Chinese city of Yichang with a 1,430,000 sq m concept that draws on the natural elements of the given site, namely the nearby mountains and water from the Yangtze River. The team also referenced the Chinese empress Leizu who invented the silk loom in a cluster of delicate volumes reminiscent of silkworm cocoons.
While the attention-grabbing headlines and images of news stories from China often feature immense masterplans or sky-high towers, the Year of the Snake also saw a plethora of smaller, often bolder schemes. Case in point: Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort by Ma Yansong. The WAN AWARDS judge completed an inventive ring-shaped hotel over 100m in height in the Yangtze River Delta. The hotel may appear to be shaped like a horse-shoe but the lowest two storeys are submerged in the river, disguising its true form.
As the year drew to a close, the doors opened to Terminal 3 at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in Guangdong with reports that the client, Shenzhen Airport Group Co., was so impressed by the design that they were investigating how to gain copyright to prevent replica developments. The scheme was designed by Studio Fuksas with BIAD and Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering and was inspired by the graceful form of a manta ray.