science fictionalized imaginations

The Shenzhen University School of Architecture is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The School of Architecture has a particular place in the university’s history because (1) the first president, Luo Zhengqi was an architect and (2) the first class of students, along with their teachers, actually designed the campus and its earliest buildings.

To commemorate its history, the school has organized a travelling exhibit of notable designs by 26 graduates. All of the designs had won important competitions and/or were being built; in this very practical sense, the work of SZU architecture students is shaping how contemporary Chinese architects are imagining, designing and building space.

Zhong Qiao’s (钟乔) designs for the Hu Yaobang Memorial, for example, inserts shiny white lines into the rolling hills of terraced rice paddies.Similarly, Zhu Xiongyi and Wang Zhaoming alos located their design for the Chinese National Gene Bank (Shenzhen) among terraced rice paddies. Even more explicitly futuristic, Zeng Guansheng’s design, Hong Kong Alternative Car Park Tower literally sends us flying.

On paper, these designs are delicately beautiful, and yet a sence of futurism and unlimited potential unites the designs. They are ambitious illustrations of contemporary China’s urban imaginary. Some designs examples from the SZU School of Architecture retrospective:

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The show opened last Saturday on the first floor of the School of Architecture building. It will travel to at least 10 other schools throughout China, returning to Shenzhen for a conference organized by the Shenzhen Center for Design on October 19.

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