The Middle Kingdom is known for its accomplishments in architecture: a remarkable and endlessly winding wall of stone, majestic palaces and temples of vibrant colors and intricate detailing.
However, China’s high-tech structures have been featured in the news more and more recently – and for good reason. WildChina has taken a moment to share ten of our favorite modern buildings.
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10. Ark Hotel, Hunan
This 30-story, 183,000-square-foot building was completed in 15 days: a mere 360 hours! The hotel was built at a fraction of normal Chinese construction costs, with no worker injuries, is energy efficient, and can withstand magnitude 9.0 earthquakes.
9. Taipei 101, Taiwan
This landmark skyscraper was the world’s tallest when completed in 2004 (as well as the largest and tallest LEED Platinum certified building in the world!). Its design reflects traditional fengshui principles, and 101 floors represent the renewal of time and high ideals. Today, it is an icon of modern Taiwan.
8. The Piano House, Anhui
It would be more correct to call it the Piano & Violin House: this building is appropriately used as a music venue. Designed by architecture students at the Hefei University of Technology, this romantic building is built entirely of black and transparent glass and lights up at night!
7. The Commune, Beijing
Situated beside the Great Wall, this complex contains houses by 12 of Asia’s leading architects, including Yung Ho Chang and Shigeru Ban. The Commune is now operated as a boutique hotel by German luxury hotel group Kempinski.
6. Thames Town, near Shanghai
Products of “copycat architecture” have sprouted all over the Middle Kingdom. In Thames Town, one can find a myriad of interesting old-English village buildings, meandering cobblestone roads, security staff wearing the red uniforms of Buckingham Palace guards.
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5. The Bund, Shanghai
Rather than one building, the Bund is a collection of buildings – of Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, and Classical styles, and more! – on the west side of the Huangpu River. The site’s name derives from a Persian word meaning “embankment,” and the Bund has long represented both Shanghai’s long history and progress into the future.
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4. Beijing’s “Bird” Buildings
Locals say there’s a bird in Beijing: its legs are the new CCTV headquarters, its nest is the National Stadium, and it’s even laid an egg (the National Grand Theater!). These three structures are each remarkable on their own, but together, they’re even better.
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3. National Aquatics Centre, Beijing
The “Bird’s Nest” is rarely mentioned without its next-door neighbor and fellow icon of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the “Water Cube.” The building’s design was inspired by soap bubbles and is composed of panels of a lightweight Teflon-like material, allowing for an energy-efficient, greenhouse-like environment and impressive seismic resistance!
2. The Century Global Center, Sichuan
The biggest building in the world is located in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. It’s about as large as 20 Sydney Opera Houses or 3 Pentagons, but actually houses offices, 5-star hotels, movie theaters, shopping malls, a faux Mediterranean village, a water park, and more.
1. Sky City, Hunan
When it is completed next year, Sky City in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, will be the tallest structure in the world. The plans call for an 838-meter, 202-story, 1.05 million-square-meter building that will be completed in an astonishing 7 months by the same company that built the Ark hotel. Their super-fast construction method has proven to be inexpensive and effective, and could revolutionize modern architecture in China!
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