New Architecture in China

World architecture... what's happening generally....

New Architecture in China

Postby Devi » Sat Feb 21, 2004 11:03 am

As you all know China is booming right now. With the 2008 Olympic coming, many famous architect such as Rem Koolhass, Herzog de Meuron had been invited to design stadium and buildings in China. However when i read the a+u Dec. 2003 issue and look at their designs. I feel they were shit. It is one of the worst architecture i have ever seen. Those buildings do not reflect China or Chinese culture at all. Especially the National Grand Theatre by Paul Andreu. What does a bird nest have to do with China biggest stadium and chinese culture. What the hell is wrong with Rem Koolhass when he designed the CCTV in china. It was an ugly project. It seems like they have use China money for their own theory testing ground. The whole china project was like an experiement to them. Those buildings do not have any meaning to China at all . It doesn't reflect any significant to the chinese history or surroundings. Those building can be put anywhere else in the world and their won't be any difference to it. Is this what a Master Architect telling us to do. Is this what is good enough to get the highest honor in Architecture? I may be naive and stupid and dont know what i am talking about. Therefore i am writing here to try to learn from all you expert to see what you think and feel. I want to learn. You can tell me i dont know nothing but I really want to see how other feels about these projects.
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Postby pierre g » Tue Mar 02, 2004 12:51 am

and why china could not be seen as an experimental playground. traditions as been totally transformed by 50years of communism. as far as i know the subject, china is in a big turn the same as modernism at the beginning of 20th century in europe. corbu and others didnt build only shit even if it was 'out of context' at this time.

but i agree i dont like the standard shell of tien an men square.
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shanghai

Postby T.G. Scott » Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:45 am

shanghai is looking like something out of a science fiction movie with the spheres and towers. i would love to see it lit up at night. i cant stand the honk kong neon nightmare. times square nyc gone all wrong.
chinese architecture is influenced a lot by their traditions and beliefs. i am sure whatever foreign architects were awarded prestigious contracts were given strict guidelines and perameters. as for the transition from old world to new, i think china has embraced the C21st faster than most of the rest of the world.
norman foster's beijing airport addition is pretty cool and its no wonder economists are predicting china will outstrip americ as the engine of the worlds economy soon....
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Postby FIN » Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:03 pm

and fair play to them. it seems everywhere else is becoming to stagnant and the introductin of another big player will be good .
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Postby Ainaa » Fri May 28, 2004 10:44 am

Isn't this what post modernism is about? Designs and concepts that have nothing to do with the history of its place. *Shrugs* i don't know if i read the right thing.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri May 28, 2004 2:07 pm

Interesting article with more than a slight tinge of propaganda ;)

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-05/19/content_331755.htm
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Postby signum » Sat May 29, 2004 4:48 pm

Originally posted by FIN
and fair play to them. it seems everywhere else is becoming to stagnant and the introductin of another big player will be good .


I don´t think another powerhouse of production and pollution is what we need... As if the world isn´t full enough of useless gadgets, trinkets and "lifestyle" junk.

It´s not for me to say what nation or which people can or can´t have a growing economy and all that accompanies this, (a better life?) but I do believe that such events can be viewed as good in the short term, however in the not too distant future will spell disaster for the next generation.

I don´t think Koolhaas is the right guy for China´s construction boom, but then again I don´t know who else I would suggest. Foster is fait accompli to this phenomenon, airport anyone?

(edit) Though saying that, (and reading Pauls article) I would hate to see any old idiot go there and run about the place "fusing" chinese and god forbid, american/european "styles" of architecture together :eek:
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Postby valentina wong » Sun May 30, 2004 9:56 am

Here, I am a Chinese though, I don't seem to be so angry about the aforesaid architects. I am agree with pierre g that communism had almost destroyed the chinese culture, especially the constructions of culture. Then they began to create their own which have nothing to do with our culture. Anyway,what the architects did is not enough to hate. At least, their works bring us aesthetic feeling instead of the ugliness that the communism have given to the country.
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Postby allanxu » Tue Jun 22, 2004 6:45 pm

As you all know China is booming right now. With the 2008 Olympic coming, many famous architect such as Rem Koolhass, Herzog de Meuron had been invited to design stadium and buildings in China. However when i read the a+u Dec. 2003 issue and look at their designs. I feel they were shit. It is one of the worst architecture i have ever seen. Those buildings do not reflect China or Chinese culture at all. Especially the National Grand Theatre by Paul Andreu. What does a bird nest have to do with China biggest stadium and chinese culture. What the hell is wrong with Rem Koolhass when he designed the CCTV in china. It was an ugly project. It seems like they have use China money for their own theory testing ground. The whole china project was like an experiement to them. Those buildings do not have any meaning to China at all . It doesn't reflect any significant to the chinese history or surroundings. Those building can be put anywhere else in the world and their won't be any difference to it. Is this what a Master Architect telling us to do. Is this what is good enough to get the highest honor in Architecture? I may be naive and stupid and dont know what i am talking about. Therefore i am writing here to try to learn from all you expert to see what you think and feel. I want to learn. You can tell me i dont know nothing but I really want to see how other feels about these projects.

----------------------------------------------

I am a 4th year architecture student at Melbourne University, and I take a particular interest in the Architecture and urbanism of Beijing as a whole. I am of chinese background but born and grew up in Australia, Ive been to Beijing twice and third time next week.

Im doing some research for my "contemporary asian urbanism" subject and i came across this link. Here is my thoughts of this momment....

In response to the topic thread "As you all know China is booming right now. With the 2008 Olympic coming, many famous architect such as Rem Koolhass, Herzog de Meuron had been invited to design stadium and buildings in China. However when i read the a+u Dec. 2003 issue and look at their designs. I feel they were shit."

umm, yes it is booming and yes the 2008 has an input, but why are those designs shit? you say: "It is one of the worst architecture i have ever seen. Those buildings do not reflect China or Chinese culture at all. Especially the National Grand Theatre by Paul Andreu. What does a bird nest have to do with China biggest stadium and chinese culture." - what is chinese culture then? Then may I ask you, what does Tian an men square (an european renaissance gesture) have to do with chinese culture too? I think that the building is quite interesting in that it matches the massive scale of both the peoples hall, and also the national museum... between those three and also the tian an men square, the scale and proportions seem to have a similar language.. despite the contrast in styles. Not to mention that the Hall and Museum are hybrid forms to begin with. If Beijing can manage to preserve the emperial and grasp the contemporary whilst juggling both at the same time it should be quite interesting.

As for Rem Koolhaas and the CCTV i believe he is interested in the "junk space" that is created in china. He also asks the question of "why does a building have to belong to a certain place?" What makes something chinese? Are you thinking of something like the West Train station with the 700 x 100m modernistic structure with an emperical style roof? (that is an embarassment to chinese architects and scholars). Or do you mean someone like I.M. Pei who understands chinese architecture? The china bank high rise is considered a successful building designed between him and his sons, yet is that chinese?

"Those building can be put anywhere else in the world and their won't be any difference to it. Is this what a Master Architect telling us to do. Is this what is good enough to get the highest honor in Architecture?" Well as a matter of fact this is exactly what koolhaas is all about. He is anti-purist, irrational, complex and anti-aesthetics. He is more of a mix of modern and sublime. He is perfectly aware that his architecture can be placed anywhere, and he replies, who cares? His work is perhaps more of a statement, a monument in this case that marks chinas economic success and prospertiy. More importantly, perhaps soemthing to do with 'catching up' so to say. The confusion I suppose is that in the West, Koolhaas seems to be surpassing the "modernism" approach and developed further. While China is just in the beginning stages of coming to terms with "modernism" to accept koolhaas's views may be confusing.

End of my crapping and back to research.. interesting to see what type of response i get. I hope my lecturer wont come here and kick the crap out of me.. ;P

cyaz in Beijing, Qinh hua university at the conference next week if you are there.
ciao
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Postby sumatra » Thu Jun 24, 2004 4:58 pm

exactly
in the age of consumerism, architecture is becoming also a commodity for consumption. why gehry looks the same in berlin, bilbao and los angeles? those buildings fell from nowhere in the middle of anywhere. the concept of place is forgotten: today architecture is fashion deprived of cultural and social responsability and reduced to exercise in bombastic and extravagant styling (which one do you prefer koolhaas or dolce+gabbana?). each city that wants "to-be-heard-of" wants to have some koolhaas, ando.... that of course is enhanced by the media: glossy and chaotic computer images are more important than the architecture they tend to represent. after them they will find another ando or koolhaas to write about.
why was i not surprised when i heard that ghery had hired bred pitt?
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Postby shadow » Fri Jun 25, 2004 3:12 pm

Brad Pitt is studying to be an architect and has joined Gehry in his studio.
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Postby Devi » Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:43 am

thank you for everyone's reply
i really appreciated it
sorry i didn't have much time to response to all the threads that are here
lately allanxu wrote :Then may I ask you, what does Tian an men square (an european renaissance gesture) have to do with chinese culture too?

If allan have studied chinese history before then he would understand how Tian an men square have come about. All of our chinese communism leaders have studied in europe when they were young (i mean in the 1930's or 40's)and that's how they have got the marxist theory to turn china into communism. Those leaders were especially influenced by Europe way of teaching and life. I guess after that i dont need to explain anymore on how why Tian an men square and why was it the major square when Mo came in power and why is it so important. Then you also have to know where tian an men square is located. It is in front of the forbidden palace. Why is it there? does it mean that people were free from the emperor of china and become free and this is the place where they can celebrate their freedom??
so does this tian ah men square have any signifcant to the china history? u think?

in response to sumatra

i was lucky enough to hear gehry talk
he is a really really really smart guy
his buildings do have a meaning
is just that we are not smart enough to understand it and he never really quite talk about it
but u can tell how he thinks when he looks at the process of the way he works
if you look at his work in toronto , the Art Gallery of Ontario
u will know what i am talking about.
Gehry always say dont' expect me to do Bilbao project in anywhere else
cause that building is made for that site especially
and if u look at his model designing process of the AGO in toronto u will know that he is making a buildign for Toronto and not just creating an exciting form and dump it in toronto
toronto ago have nothing similar to bilbao

i will reply about koolhass comment's next time
just to tell u i think that guy is really smart but i really don't like his work because his work can never compared to his speech or thought
he just bull shit hahaaha
i am sorry that i may not have time to reply to all of you cause i am actually working right now and my boss hasn't come back yet so i can slack off hahahahaha...............
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Postby Devi » Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:43 am

a
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Postby el arqui » Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:53 pm

Allanxu has a point and I'm sure you can see it, China is more than thousands of years of history, it has today very complex cities, amongst which are Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Junkspace is an issue as much as tradition and over identity. The looks of the buildings are not the point but the way they connect with the city and the people.
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Postby sumatra » Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:29 pm

devi you are wrong
it's not that we do not understand gehry, but it is that i do not like what "we" understand.
maybe gehry does not speak, but there are numerous books that try to explain what he does (charls jancks-jumping universe, norberg-schulz-l'art du lieu). in his magnificent analyses of gehry's project in berlin, schulz clearly shows that he abandoned the concept of place and he poves that the virtuality of gehry's buildings does not relate only to the fact that they were designed in CATIA: they also belong to the euclidian space they were designed in.
i admit, his buildings look spectacular. but that is what they are: spectacles that attract tourists and jouranlists.
what does it take to be "avant-garde" and modern today?
to fire up your version of Maya or CATIA, to create several NURBS shapes and call them "Multimedia center".
hardly any need to study architecture
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Postby Devi » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:22 am

sumatra
gehry do not design building with CATIA in fact i dont think he knows how to use computer that good
he design his building using hundreds of study model
his famous saying is that computer is not used for designing a curve, it is used for catching the curve
i don't remember the exact words
but that's what it meant
if you have a chance to see him talk then u will know how concern he is with the surroundings and how his building relates to its surrounding and how it reflect the city
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Postby el arqui » Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:50 am

I do believe Gehry's office works with CATIA.

It was a lot more interesting talking about China and the new buildings there, Gehry... yawn!

Another thing, I don't think it's fare to put Koolhaas together in a phrase with Dolce+Gabanna, try PRADA instead. Anyway, sumatra you are very brave :

"today architecture is fashion deprived of cultural and social responsability and reduced to exercise in bombastic and extravagant styling (which one do you prefer koolhaas or dolce+gabbana?). each city that wants "to-be-heard-of" wants to have"
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Postby Devi » Fri Jul 02, 2004 7:43 am

Interesting Article Please Read

Time for Chinese Architects to Come Out of the 'Eggshell'

China Daily


June 29, 2004





With Paul Andreu's "Eggshell" - the National Grand Theatre, still under construction in downtown Beijing, the National Stadium, dubbed the "Bird's Nest," designed by top Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, broke ground some 15 kilometres north of the "Eggshell" site.

To the east in the Central Business District, Ram Koolhass, a Dutch architect, won the bid for CCTV's new building, "Z- crisscross."

On the southeast outskirts of the capital, Zaha Hadid, a Baghdad born British woman architect, has joined hands with Pan Shiyi, one of the most successful real estate tycoons in China, to develop a logistics hub. The project is expected to be a huge complex of conference facilities, shopping malls, hotels, office buildings, theme parks and top-quality residential areas.

All big names in architecture circles, they are noted for their novel designs, use of new materials and high tech and their sky- scraping costs.

Apart from these top architects, with their landmark projects in Beijing, many other architects from abroad have also been lured by the huge Chinese market. They are involved in either public buildings or residential developments, many of their jobs won through public bidding.

No matter whether famous or not, these foreign architects have also received their share of both praise and criticism. They have brought not only new designs to this country, but also heated debate: Does China really need foreign architects to design Chinese buildings?

A big cake

"China is now the largest construction site in the world. That makes us, as architects, excited," said Neil Leach, a professor of architectural theory at the University of Bath, UK, who attended a recent seminar on avant garde architecture at Tsinghua University.

At the seminar, initiated by the organizing committee of the first Architectural Biennial 2004 Beijing, 12 architects from both home and abroad presented their designs and shared views on avant garde architecture.

Starting from the early 1990s, foreign architects began to swarm into China to take part in the development of the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. Celebrated architecture firms such as AS&P, Atkins, OBERMEYER, RRP and SOM Planning submitted winning bids for some of the big projects in the new area. According to Beijing-based International Herald Leader, foreign architects took 30 per cent of the projects in Shanghai in the late 1990s. Following the 2008 Olympic fever, many of them moved to Beijing and won almost all the big public projects in the city.

According to the Beijing-based Architecture Journal there are now more than 120 foreign and joint architecture firms in China. Over 140 of the 200 top world engineering companies and design consortiums have set up branches in the country. Design contracts for a great number of landmark buildings in major cities have gone to foreign firms.

Like them or not, these buildings are being erected.

Controversial reaction

Much criticism centres on the one problem most new designs have: their failure to achieve a harmony with Chinese culture.

Consider, for example, the "Eggshell" next to Tian'anmen Square. Those who like it say it is unique and avant garde, and those against it call it a "dirty dropping" or "a tomb."

Paul Andreu has been accused of damaging the harmony of the area, which includes the Great Hall of the People and the Tian'anmen Rostrum. Forty-nine academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science appealed to the central government reconsider the design, but their request fell on deaf ears.

The heavy cost is another major point of dispute. According to a report from the International Herald Leader, the "Eggshell" costs are running way over original budget. The cost has reportedly increased from 2 billion yuan (US$241 million) to 5 billion yuan (US$603 million).

The whole construction area, including the theatre and a pool, now covers 260,000 square metres, 143,000 square metres more than in the original design.

The "Bird's Nest" has also exceeded its original budget of 3 billion yuan (US$362 million), escalating to 3.5 billion yuan (US$422 million). For the new CCTV "Z-crisscross," the cost is now expected to far surpass its original 5 billion yuan (US$603 million) estimate.

"I'm not against novel ideas, or unconventional or unorthodox designs, as that is what the art needs," said Wu Liangyong, one of the great contemporary Chinese architects.

"But we cannot put aside engineering and structure, we cannot overlook our culture, or the cost. China is not rich enough not to care about 5 billion yuan," Wu said.

"Some cities in China have become 'experimental sites' for both noted foreign architects and some second and third level ones," he said.

However, some disagree.

Wang Mingxian, an architecture critic, says: "We'd better first have a welcoming attitude towards these new things. City planning and historical protection must allow for a combination of old and new.

"We really wish that our Chinese architects were able to win the bidding for these landmark buildings. Unfortunately, they were not able to do so," Wang said. "Why should we reject these great architects whose previous experiments have been recognized in international architecture circles," he said, adding that their experiments in China offer more benefits than harm to the evolution of Chinese architecture.

Among those architects who have come to Beijing, Koolhaas was the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize for 2000, the foremost authoritative prize in the field of architecture; Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron won the prize in 2001; and Zaha Hadid was the winner in 2004.

Fei Qing, a New-York based Chinese architect, said: "From the point of view of Chan (the Chan Sect of Buddhism, known in the West by the Japanese name Zen, which emphasizes simplicity, spontaneity and self-expression), putting unrelated things together might produce something new."

"When the East meets the West; traditional concepts give in to modern ones, and vice versa. The two might compromise. This can happen in every art form, including architecture."

But Luo Li, secretary general of the first Architectural Biennial Beijing 2004, pointed out that to improve the ability to judge beauty, or in other words, to judge art and culture as a whole, is crucial for decision-makers, architects, developers and ordinary people alike.

"For quite a long time, we have lagged behind in art education," Luo said, adding that in designing a new building city planners must keep in mind the unique local cultural fabric of their city.

"What is most important is not to let new buildings break the cultural line," she said. "We must encourage foreign architects to deepen their understanding of Chinese culture before they work on projects in China."

Chinese architects

The failure of local architects' bids for some major projects has not only revealed the inferiority of architectural education in China, but also the dilemma Chinese architects face.

Architectural education in the modern sense started late in China, in the early 20th century, and failed to keep abreast of changes because of the country's closure of its doors to the outside world from the 1950s to the 1970s, when the world of architecture was experiencing dramatic development in ideas, design and technology.

Zhang Yonghe, a noted Chinese architects, once said that Chinese architects have been trained in classicism and are more concerned with form and style in design.

"I have to admit that Chinese architects cannot compete with their foreign counterparts when it comes to imagination and design," said Dou Yide, deputy chairman of the China Architecture Society, who has worked as a jury member for many international bidding competitions during the past years. "Most of them know very little about new materials and new technology, which has badly limited their creativity and imagination," he said.

However, Chinese architects complain that many developers have blind faith in foreign designs.

Cui Kai, one of the top young architects in China, in his late 40s, complains about the imbalance in design charges. "Many developers know nothing about domestic architects," said Cui, who has won many awards in design including his "See and Seen" villa for the Commune by the Great Wall. Together with 11 other architects, Cui won a special prize at La Biennale di Venezia in 2002.

Cui said that in a joint project, the developers usually pay two- thirds of the bill to the foreign firms, leaving only one-third, or even less, for the domestic designers who have usually done much more of the work than their foreign counterparts.

Some top Chinese architects have to work for some foreign firms that don't have enough designers to handle all the projects they are involved in. All the foreign designers do is signing their names on the final sketches.

The experience of Cui Hongbing, a Shanghai architect, is a good example. Once when he was on a jury assessing international bids for the renovation of a downtown area in Shanghai, he was confused by four plans. Though coming from four different countries, the proposed plans shared the same space and planning concepts used at Tongji University in Shanghai.

After hearing the presentations of the leading designers, Cui got the answer - all four of them were graduates from Tongji University and one had even been his classmate.

Guan Zhaoye, a noted Chinese architect, also a professor from Tsinghua University, urged giving more opportunities to Chinese architects. Only when they are given more chances, he says, can they demonstrate their abilities.

"Chinese architects should improve their own abilities instead of complaining," said Wu Huanjia, a professor from Tsinghua.

(C) 2004 China Daily. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Aug 05, 2004 2:50 pm

China suspends work on Olympics 'bird nest'
Fancy stadium to be redesigned to lower costs as part of central government's drive to curb 'white elephant' projects

BEIJING - Work on China's 3.5 billion yuan (S$730 million) national stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games has been suspended, amid calls for a redesign and cost cuts.

The 100,000-seat stadium's 'bird-cage' design would have to be axed, a spokesman for the Games organisers said, as local governments across China scramble to curb extravagance and halt 'white elephant' projects under an ongoing central government drive to prevent the economy from overheating.

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Plans to build a towering 5 billion yuan headquarters for broadcaster China Central Television were shelved recently. The 230m high structure would have been the tallest building in Beijing.

Sources said the plan drew the ire of Premier Wen Jiabao, who has tried to rein in investments in real estate, cement, auto production and steel projects to avert economic fallout.

The newly completed National Theatre has also come under fire. Critics said the futuristic look of the building, designed by French architect Paul Andreu, does not fit well with its historical surroundings. The bubble-shaped opera house, built at a cost of US$325 million (S$560 million), was said to be too expensive and difficult to clean.

Builders broke ground last December for the Swiss- designed Olympic stadium, whose latticework of girders is a prominent image of China's Games preparations.

Dubbed the 'Bird Nest' by the Chinese press, the original plan called for up 160,000 tonnes of steel - four times the average for a conventional building, said Mr Peng Peigeng, an architecture professor at Tsinghua University.

Ms Zhu Jing, of the 2008 Olympics organising committee, said work has been suspended for a redesign meant to lower the cost. She said she did not know how long the suspension would last, the new projected cost or other details.

The suspension follows a demand by Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan last month for organisers to be more thrifty.

There have also been reports of concerns over the stadium's safety.

According to Hong Kong's pro-Beijing daily Wen Wei Po, the suspension arose from a report submitted by 10 senior academics with links to the construction sector.

The paper said the group told Premier Wen that the stadium's design focused too much on aesthetics and ignored basic principles such as safety, practicality and environmental protection.

The alarming amount of steel, with no guarantee of stability and safety, was a waste of resources, it concluded.

The central government reportedly heeded the views and set the rule that organisers should not 'have their eyes only on things big and foreign'.

The government regards the Olympics as a matter of national prestige and has said it plans to spend US$24.2 billion on new subway lines and other improvements in Beijing. -- AP, Reuters
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Aug 16, 2004 8:01 pm

China's real estate glut has a vibrant facade
Keith Bradsher NYT Monday, August 16, 2004
ZHONGSHAN, China China has a serious problem these days, and the color of the problem is pink.
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Pink and similar hues - from rose-tinged brick to tangerine and even including magenta - have been popular in the past few years with Chinese developers, who have also proved partial to tinted, highly reflective glass and rooftops in the shape of lotus blossoms.
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The result is an extraordinary number of garish apartment buildings, office buildings, industrial parks and houses, especially here in southeastern China. But the big problem for China is not so much that these new buildings are hideous, though many are, but that an extraordinary number of them are empty.
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A sixth of the luxury residential real estate in Shanghai is vacant, a quarter in Beijing and a third in Shenzhen. In the next several years, the number of unoccupied buildings is expected to increase considerably. Experts predict that the supply of office space will rise by as much as 50 percent in the next couple of years, while forests of luxury residential buildings are being completed in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere.
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Nobody knows who will want to buy up this pink profusion.
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Real estate prices are already so high that buyers of new apartments in Chinese cities often pay a price equal to 10 to 15 years of their income; in the United States, the national average is closer to 3.5 years of income, according to Morgan Stanley. China's property boom raises fears of a possible collapse of prices.
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As in the United States, home buyers in China have been able to afford stratospheric prices because they have been borrowing at very low interest rates.
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Government-owned Chinese banks have long charged a government-mandated interest rate of 5.31 percent for many loans.
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With inflation in prices paid by consumers hitting 5.3 percent in China in July, and nearly twice that for business-to-business dealings, which are less regulated, borrowing money has been attractive for anyone with the political connections that are often needed to get a loan.
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But the big question is whether real estate bubbles might start popping in big Chinese cities. In Australia, housing prices started to fall after interest rates began climbing there. Yet in China, little seems to deter the developers, who until recently kept borrowing and building.
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Many developers make their real profits by pocketing a big part of a project's construction costs, by steering contracts to builders in which they hold stakes. Then, if no one wants to lease the finished complex, the developers simply stop making payments to the banks.
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Chinese banks, in turn, are slow to foreclose on developers. This is partly because the developers often have political connections and partly because the banks themselves face legal difficulties in selling or leasing buildings on which they foreclose.
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The Chinese government has been trying to slow its runaway economy this summer by limiting bank loans, especially for real estate development. A senior multinational banker in China said that he had already been approached by several large developers who were desperate for loans because they had been suddenly cut off by the government-owned banks.
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"Those developers are scrambling to talk to whomever they can talk to," the banker said.
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China's big banks have already required three large bailouts in the last seven years, and the question now is whether they will require another.
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Bad loans "will definitely rise in the quarters ahead" as the real estate boom slows, said Frank F.X. Gong, the chief China economist for J.P. Morgan.
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Gong, like other economists, contends that China will be able to control the banking problem, although it might be painful for the economy and politically awkward, as were the savings and loan industry's difficulties in the United States in the late 1980s.
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"The problem in the banks will be manageable, but in the property sector, there will be a shakeout," Gong said.
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Whether that would improve the quality of Chinese architecture remains to be seen. It might, if only because there is a shortage of trained architects to plan all the projects rising up and down the coast. If fewer inexperienced people are called on to design buildings, then perhaps the number of eyesores will diminish.
.
The New York Times

http://www.iht.com/articles/534080.html
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:26 pm

China cracks
13 August 2004


Beijing regime reigns in construction boom as cost concerns hit landmark projects

By Charlie Gates

China’s construction boom, which has spawned exciting proposals from international stars including Will Alsop, Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas, is being reined in amid fears about the rocketing cost of buildings.

Herzog & de Meuron’s distinctive “bird’s nest” stadium for the 2008 Olympics is the latest landmark scheme to be affected following news that Rem Koolhaas’s angular CCTV building in Beijing, due to start construction this month, has been postponed.

The Chinese authorities have now ordered the £275 million Olympic stadium to be redesigned “to make it more efficient”.

A spokeswoman for the Beijing organising committee for the Olympic Games told BD: “The plan for the national stadium is being changed to make it more efficient. As the plan is being changed, there is no construction under way.”

The moves are being seen as part of a broader attempt to slow growth in a sector reported to have spiralled out of control, causing a shortage of materials thus pushing up the cost of buildings.

The price of steel has doubled in China recently, adding about 10% to the construction cost of projects in the country.

Under the existing design for the Olympic stadium, about 40,000 tonnes of steel would have been used — roughly the weight of an aircraft carrier — meaning it was particularly affected by the price rise.

British architects working in China told BD that the attempted construction slowdown in China was very much in evidence.

“In an effort to rein back the roaring economy, the Chinese government has decided certain projects will be stopped and certain projects will continue,” Keith Griffiths, chairman of Aedas Hong Kong, told BD.

“It is because the construction boom has got to such proportions that the cost of materials is starting to rise. The projects that tend to get affected are the landmark and status projects. Any well-rounded sensible development with a ready market will not be stopped by the government.”

Alsop Architects has established an office in Shanghai and is working on seven office schemes in the city. Alsop director Colin Gilmore-Merchant said he had noticed the slowdown.

“The shift we have noticed is the authorities trying to slow the construction industry down. The need for materials is at such a high temperature that there is concern supply will not be able to keep up,” Gilmore-Merchant told BD.

J Scott Kilbourn, vice-president for RTKL in Shanghai, said the slowdown was “on everybody’s minds”, but that it could “make for much better cities”.

“It will not just be shiny gold skyscrapers, but streetscapes. So many projects were started and resold many times before they were even finished, which is nuts,” he said.

“It is the end of one chapter and the start of another. I think the slowdown is a good thing. If it means projects are built because of want and need, that is good. There are too many buildings going up that are not needed.”

John McAslan, who was recently appointed to masterplan a major mixed-use scheme in Beijing, cautioned architects working in China: “You have to be very alert to the market and work out how to respond to it.”
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Latest project on Tian An Men Square: Extension to the National Museum of China

Postby beijinger » Tue Sep 07, 2004 10:47 am

Again no chinese design institutes (or at least no mention of the "local partners" in the shortlist of designs chosen in the first phase of the competition:

Foster and Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, Denton Corker Marshall, Cox Group, Rem Koolhaas, RTKL, KPF Kohn Pedersen Fox, von Gerkan, Marg und Partner

Apparently the second phase has started with 3 designs shortlisted (I don't know which ones and I just found one picture of a model that I attach)

Has anyone seen the proposals? chosen his preferred scheme? any link to a page showing them?
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Re: New Architecture in China

Postby yubq » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:22 pm

why thumbs down? it is a very objective comment on the design.
no Chinese would accept the bird nest,nor the egg.I think the overwhelming majority of Chinese hate them.
You western do not know how Chinese media criticize them intensively
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Re: New Architecture in China

Postby yubq » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:26 pm

Devi wrote:As you all know China is booming right now. With the 2008 Olympic coming, many famous architect such as Rem Koolhass, Herzog de Meuron had been invited to design stadium and buildings in China. However when i read the a+u Dec. 2003 issue and look at their designs. I feel they were shit. It is one of the worst architecture i have ever seen. Those buildings do not reflect China or Chinese culture at all. Especially the National Grand Theatre by Paul Andreu. What does a bird nest have to do with China biggest stadium and chinese culture. What the hell is wrong with Rem Koolhass when he designed the CCTV in china. It was an ugly project. It seems like they have use China money for their own theory testing ground. The whole china project was like an experiement to them. Those buildings do not have any meaning to China at all . It doesn't reflect any significant to the chinese history or surroundings. Those building can be put anywhere else in the world and their won't be any difference to it. Is this what a Master Architect telling us to do. Is this what is good enough to get the highest honor in Architecture? I may be naive and stupid and dont know what i am talking about. Therefore i am writing here to try to learn from all you expert to see what you think and feel. I want to learn. You can tell me i dont know nothing but I really want to see how other feels about these projects.

every Chinese who can really read Chinese culture must give it thumbs up.
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