In the Middle of a Pandemic, China Architecture Continues to Wow

May 29, 2021



Shan Arcega

The pandemic has made many people in the world think that innovation and change would become almost unattainable. In China, change, innovation, and artistry are three elements that make up its current set of buildings that have, in the architecture world, become known for their wide range of quality and unique designs. Over time, these buildings have become even more impressive in their aesthetic and have spread across the country, even in remote, suburban areas in an attempt to increase tourism. The unique buildings dotting its country is also the result of the decree issued in 2020 that strictly prohibits plagiarism in architecture and limits the building of skyscrapers. This decree has since then helped the country portray the spirit of the city and to show the iconic style of the times while still highlighting Chinese characteristics.

Here are just some of the newest buildings that present an almost futuristic China. 

The Cloudscape of Haikou 

Formerly known as The wormhole Library, this 1000-square meter structure completed by Chinese design studio MAD is just one of the 16 pavilions being constructed in Century Park in an effort to rejuvenate the Haikou Bay. A shapeless structure that mirrors the waterfront setting it’s placed in, the cloudscape is punctuated with large carved cut outs that frame views of the sea, sky, and land. These also allow natural light to flow more freely through the interiors that are minimalist in style. To keep clutter to a minimum, even the library bookcases are recessed into the walls.

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The Shenzhen Opera House 

The new Shenzhen Opera House is still actually in the works after Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel revealed the proposal. A structure to overlook Shenzhen Bay, the opera house is going to be a 220,000 square meter cultural landmark covered with a distinct curving roofscape. According to the studio, its flowing design is reminiscent and connected to the city’s legacy as a fishing village. To better connect to the surrounding waterfront, its interiors will use iridescent materials like mother of pearl or nacre for the main entrance foyer and the main auditorium’s walls and balcony curves.

The Sky Yards Hotel

A structure devoid of any superficial elements of Chinese or local culture, the Sky Yards hotel strongly expresses the traditional Chinese garden-making methodology. This is presented through lifted ground forms that are basically abstract images of the mountain ranges in the background of its setting. This distinct exterior is also visually connected to the gables of the houses in the local villages of the small, rural town it’s set in. with 48 hotel rooms, a restaurant and banquet hall, swimming pools, and underground parking, The Sky Yards Hotel by Domain Architects was expected to become a local landmark that would stimulate tourism in the area. 

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Tianjin Juilliard School

Set next to the Hai River in Northeastern China, the Tianjin Julliard School designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro is made up of four steel and concrete pavilions linked by glass bridges. Carrying a design similar to that of its New York counterpart, this structure was designed to portray transparency and openness that would encourage more engagement with the public. Its performance facility, the concert hall, in particular, is lined with eucalyptus wood and can seat 690 people. It also flaunts a reconfigurable stage.

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The 50% Cloud Artists Lounge

Designed by Cheng Chung Design, this structure is especially unique for working as both a restaurant and exhibition space. Inside a brick art installation in Mile City, the restaurant occupies one of several distinct structures that mimic the structure of termite mounds both exterior-wise and interior-wise. These structures were made by local artist Luo Xu and lack any steel reinforcements or nails. The restaurant takes advantage of the structure’s curves and the round openings carved into its roof. These openings create beautiful patterns throughout the day. 

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