Who knows how many ideas would bombard our neurons and synapses by mental association if only we were to concentrate for a moment on a single word.
Bicycles, parks, dragons, chaos, lanterns, spring rolls, martial arts, monks, dou lì (the typical bamboo hat), chopsticks, pandas, Cantonese rice, the Great Wall etc.
I think most of us Italians think that as time slides by and we are occupied with our busy schedules, China has stopped dead at the 1960s. At the clichés cited above. And instead….
Galaxy Soho is a complex designed by one of the team leaders of architecture and design: Zaha Hadid Architects.
This group has been responsible for 950 projects in 44 countries, with a staff of 400 people. It was founded by the architect and designer Zaha Hadid, an Iraqui-born naturalised British citizen, today one of the 100 most influential women in the world, who has taught at Harvard (occupying the same chair formerly held by Kenzo Tange) and is the first woman to have received the Pritzker Prize in 2004.
One of the latest projects is indeed the Galaxy Soho mega-structure in the heart of Peking. The complex is a fusion of five volumes linked by external plateaus at various levels; it stretches over an area of 50,000 m2 and has a gross surface of 328,204 m2.
Each tower, built of concrete, glass and aluminium, has 18 floors: 3 underground parking areas, 5 floors for shops and other commercial areas, and 13 floors for offices, restaurants and bars in the upper part, with a panoramic view over the town.
One of the concepts developed by the team has been that of the typical Chinese inner courtyard and the vast stretches of rice fields among the mountains; these are reinterpreted by the different plateaus which link the four towers and foster communication among the various offices. At the same time the parametric design projects the whole structure into the future. The lines are fluid, continuous, sinuous, and integrate with one another creating a dynamic urban landscape. The complex has been conceived for easy navigation, and the plays of light and inner and outer shadow have also been carefully studied. It should not be forgotten that this is sustainable architecture aspiring to LEED certification. It’s up to you now to discover other things about a country which is already creating the towns and cities of its future.