China's president wants to put a stop to strange buildings. Does MAD Architects' Sheraton Huzhou Hot Springs Resort, completed in 2012, fit Chinese President Xi Jinping's definition of weird architecture? Kooky buildings or innovative architecture? Playground for extreme forms or testing ground for new ideas? The remarkable results of China’s recent construction boom have been viewed in various—often contradictory—ways. Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his own judgment on the matter at an arts symposium in Beijing in October, when he called for the end of “weird architecture.” While his definition of weird, alternatively translated as “strange” and “bizarre,” has not
Adapting to a changing program, an inventive project in Seoul mixes micro and small apartments with arts-focused functions. Although they used repetitive units and simple construction in their Songpa Micro Housing in Seoul, Jinhee Park and John Hong of Single Speed Design (SsD) brought variety and style to the 5,500-square-foot project by animating the spaces in between and around the tiny apartments.
The Young Architect Program's inaugural project in Asia marks an exciting time for design and construction in Seoul. Moon Ji Bang's installation is made of 60 cloud-shaped balloons. In Seoul, the Shinseon Play pavilion is a walk in the clouds. Visitors meander along an elevated walkway among 60 cloud-shaped balloons, stopping for a game of baduk or a jump on a trampoline along the way. Cool mist machines provide both an ethereal cast to the area and very real relief from the summer heat. Eventually, the pavilion ascends to a grass-covered plaza with a view back to the picturesque Inwang
Diplomatic Position: In the midst of the visual hubbub of China's third-largest city, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill creates an understated ensemble of buildings for the U.S. Consulate General. The U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, makes only the quietest of claims within the city's noisy new business district. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), its seven low-rise buildings—offices, screening facilities, a warehouse, and a residence for Marines—dot a 7.4-acre site in the burgeoning Pearl River New Town. Zaha Hadid's opera house lies catercorner to it, and Wilkinson Eyre's supertall IFC Guangzhou and KPF's soon-to-be-supertaller CTF Guangzhou are close by.