The Design Observer Group

Posted 07.30.10


China Portfolio: From the Linked Hybrid to the Bug Dome

For our second portfolio for Places, we've selected a group of projects conceived and built to serve the booming population and industry of the People’s Republic of China.

China’s new era of nation building is especially impressive in Shanghai, where the upscale development of the past two decades recalls the glamorous heyday of the city in the 1920s and '30s, prior to the establishment of Communist rule in 1949, when the city was called "the Paris of the East"; no wonder this year's Shanghai Expo is attracting record crowds. But the nation's building boom is evident also in the capital city of Beijing, site of the 2008 Summer Olympics and also the largest airport in the world, a Foster + Partners creation with a footprint bigger than the Pentagon. The building boom has practically monopolized the world’s steel resources, and to monumental architectural effect: Kohn Pedersen Fox’s World Financial Center, Herzog & de Meuron’s “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium, and the striking CCTV tower by Rem Koolhaas are just a few of Beijing's new landmarks.


The built projects presented here, which also include works in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chongqing and Macao, represent a cross-section of noteworthy construction on Chinese soil just in the past five years. Some — like the bamboo performance pavilion erected for the Shenzhen Biennale — are temporary, but most are meant to last.

Kelsey Keith