Throughout China’s ultra-rapid urbanization, attention has been focused on set-piece architecture: opera houses, museums, stadiums. However these would-be icons are the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of development in China’s new cities takes the form of residential schemes, often standardized and cheap to guarantee a quick return for the developer. Is it possible to build high-density, economically viable housing that is also architecturally innovative?
This development is located in the coastal city of Beihai, on a long, narrow waterfront site. The design concept combines two conventional structures (high-rise towers and long slabs) to create the curved outline in the form of the man-made hills. This shape can maximize the views of residents; it also builds up a close relationship with the waterfront and the land behind it. The continuous platform along the roof becomes the public space for the residents, with green space, tennis ground, swimming pool etc. on top of the man-made hills. Openings cut through the structure, allowing sea views and wind to penetrate it.
A further reference point is traditional Chinese architecture’s obsession with nature. Rather than setting the building in a perfect, man-made natural garden, our structure becomes the man-made natural shape itself: fake hills for the residents to live on. The design provides both a high density solution and a new landmark for the city.
Location: Beihai, CN