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7 projects reshaping Chinese architecture today

The new wave of architecture shaping the changing face of China is extraordinary. We round up 7 projects – from floating monasteries to breathtaking high rises – that reveal the scope, skill, history and tradition that is Chinese architecture today.

7 projects reshaping Chinese architecture today

Huashang Financial Center by CCD.

The new wave of architects and architecture shaping the changing face of China is extraordinary. From floating monasteries to impossible curves, the scope and skill informing these projects, challenging the limits of what architecture can do and how it can improve lives. Moreover, there is a profound sense of the philosophical underlying many of these practices and projects with history and tradition being refocused on contemporary life.

1. Waterside Buddhist Shrine by Archstudio

In its simple and robust execution of complex forms, Archstudio has perfectly encapsulated the tenets of Buddhism while marrying the experience of the space with the delicate and changeable nature of its surroundings.

“Zen stresses on complying with nature and being part of nature. That is also the goal of the design for this space – taking use of space, structure and material to stimulate human perception, thus helping man and building to find the charm of nature even in an ordinary rural landscape, and to coexist with nature,” they say. Read more!

Photography by Wang Ning, Jin Weiqi.

2. Huashang Financial Center by CCD / Cheng Chung Design

Literally translating to “sky well”, the Tian Jing is a small open-air courtyard at the heart of traditional architecture, which brings in the natural landscape, daylight and air, while endowing the architecture with a vibrant edge that enables the occupants to commune with nature.

“Tian Jing, as a classic element of Oriental architecture, has written a colourful page in the history of world architecture,” says Joe Cheng, principal at CCD. Read more.

Photography by Zhang Qilin.

3. The temple-museum at Ji Xin Monastery by Archstudio

While cognisant of needing to create a modern spiritual destination within the original hall, the design borrows from the architectural prototype of “pagoda”. Specifically, the form of the hollow Buddha pagoda which opens the centre of the hall as the main carrier for vertical exhibition.

Oval in floor plan, the 30-metre by 16-metre space, with a 20-metre height, has been arranged in the seven layers of the pagoda to grow ever narrower as they rise to meet the square ceiling of the hall. Read more.

Photography by Wang Ning, Jin Weiqi, Xiao Shiming.

4. CCD Workplace by CCD

Contextually founded on the symbolism of the horse of Chinese culture, where power, beauty and freedom are equally embodied.

The spiritual significance extends to the Chinese zodiac, where people born under the year of the horse are high-spirited, active, energetic, enthusiastic and cheerful – all of which makes them good to work with, according to the University of Washington’s study of the Chinese Zodiac. Read more.

Photography by Wang Ting and Qiu Xin.

5. The Glade Bookstore by HAS design and research

The idea of The Glade as a compound bookstore with a fresh lifestyle attitude was conceived by two Initiator teams from Chongqing, The Razor’s Edge and One Day. To translate the client’s concepts, HAS developed a design inspired by a military book hundreds of years old titled, Six Secret Teachings and Chinese ink painter Guanzhong Wu’s work, The mountain city of Chongqing. 

From these influences, HAS became aware of the surrounding topography of the mountains and sense of scale of the landscape along with the particular architecture of stilt houses that populate the terrain of the region. Read more.

Photography by Yu Ba.

6. LOAM cafe&bar by STUDIO8

Meandering through the hustle and bustle of one of Asia’s most vibrant art clusters, your eyes might be drawn to an oasis of tranquillity that challenges the urban fabric: LOAM cafe&bar.

Designed by STUDIO8, this once-enclosed art exhibition space now manifests as a coffee shop and bar, offering an interactive refuge for city dwellers searching for a new experience. Read more.

Photography by Sven Zhang.

7. OMA By the Sea by Brewin Design Office

“In many ways, we transcended the role of an architect, interior designer, and landscape designer, to become a curator of both design and function,” says principal, Robert Cheng.

“Our design approach and decisions ultimately created a unique concept and experience that anchors the property, offering unparalleled and timeless value to the development,” he says. Read more.

Photography by Common Studio.

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