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
In much of their work, Unchung Na, 36, and Sorae Yoo, 32, the husband and wife who founded NAMELESS Architecture in 2010, challenge themselves to express contradictions in architecture: take heavy stones and stack them so they appear almost weightless; design a building that seems both closed and open, at once strong and weak.
By Clare Jacobson. Princeton Architectural Press, November 2013, 256 pages, $50. Cultural Revolution For the past decade, China has been on a museum-constructing binge, tossing out new buildings for art and culture the way a sailor on leave tosses back beers. From 2000 to the end of 2011, the People's Republic of China added 1,198 museums, nearly doubling the number it had at the start of the millennium. Some were commissioned by ambitious politicians hoping to advance their careers. Some were put up by developers as ill-conceived amenities for enormous housing projects. Many remain empty much of the time, their
A revival finally opens in New York’s Union Square. The restored pavilion at night. Nearly four years after it was painstakingly restored by Architecture Research Office (ARO), the Beaux Arts pavilion at the north end of New York City’s Union Square finally opened to the public in May. Delayed by a lawsuit over its use, the open-air building serves as a restaurant from May through October and then as a multiuse space for educational and community activities the rest of the year. Critics of the project said a commercially-operated restaurant was inappropriate in a public park, while supporters countered that
At an event organized by Asia Design Forum, participants talk about the effects of geography on design. With tall buildings screaming for attention, the skylines of fast-growing cities can seem the same. A discussion of design and geography at the Architectural Association in London this spring turned into an examination of difference and uniformity in the work of architects practicing globally. Presented by Asia Design Forum (ADF), a nonprofit think tank, the event was the sixth in a series of Design Roulettes held in different cities since 2010 and the first one outside of Asia. “So many buildings in Asia