Human Rights Skyscraper in Beijing

Human Rights Skyscraper

This is a concept for a new skyscraper development in Beijing. It’s not intended for construction – it’s just the idea itself that is intended to challenge attitudes towards property and people in China.

Take a closer look at it and you’ll see that it’s just a structure within which are built actual houses.

Though private property doesn’t really exist in China (and buying a property only ensures its use for 70 years), the designers of this structure feel that land use needs to be reexamined in China, as a private home is a basic human right. Their proposal to bring every person a place to live takes into account the country’s exploding population and need for dense development, and thus is oriented vertically. Inspired by the Chinese character 田 the traditional siheyuan residence and ancient Chinese urban planning, these designers have dreamed up a giant reinforced concrete structure that serves more as infrastructure than a building. It is “land” for housing, instead of the housing itself – a 3-D checkerboard that houses units within each cell. The structure is the same length as the Forbidden City, and is located directly to the east of it.”

(Read more at Human Rights Skyscraper in Beijing – eVolo | Architecture Magazine.)

The building boring a hole through public opinion in China

There’s an interesting video report over at the BBC News site about a new building rising up over the Guangzhou skyline:

The new Guangdong Plastics Exchange building, in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, is polarising public opinion even before construction has been completed.

Some say the hole in its centre means it resembles an ancient Chinese coin, making the building a symbol of material wealth.

But others think it looks like an ancient jade disc, a mark of moral quality in Chinese society.

Well worth watching for some of the opinions of local residents on modern architecture and the perceived role of westerners.


Pritzker Prize for Wang Shu

For the first time the Pritzker Prize has been awarded to a Chinese Archeitect, 48 year old Wang Shu, for his New Academy of Art in Hangzhou. The Pritzker Prize is the most prestigious award in the field of architeture. The selection of Mr. Wang, is an acknowledgment of “the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals,” said Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize and announced the winner on Monday.

In designing the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art in his native Hangzhou, Wang Shu used recycled materials, covering the campus buildings with more than two million tiles from demolished traditional houses.

“Everywhere you can see, they don’t care about the materials,” Mr. Wang said in an interview. “They just want new buildings, they just want new things. I think the material is not just about materials. Inside it has the people’s experience, memory — many things inside. So I think it’s for an architect to do something about it.”