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.


These past few days, rain has cleared Shenzhen skies and when the sun comes out, everything sparkles. Yesterday, I followed the rays to the Spring Cocoon, which has been opened for commercial use. The walk from Coastal City to the sports center was once landscaped to assert the SEZ’s green ambitions. However, the corridor is now under construction. In the east, another shopping mall and in the west, lest we have any doubts about the Municipality’s futuristic plans, China State Construction (中国建筑) has begun laying the foundations for the Aerospace Science and Technology Square. Impressions, below; past walk when the Cocoon was under construction, here.

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