Galaxy SOHO by Zaha Hadid Architects, under construction, Beijing. All photos: flickr user trevor.patt
Leave it to Zaha Hadid Architects to reimagine the traditional Chinese courtyard as a loose collection of buttock-like mounds, inarticulate blobs which ostensibly coalesce into "continuous open spaces". OK, so ZHA's design for the Galaxy SOHO Beijing shopping complex kind of looks like H. Wunderlich and R. Klüser's stunning Parkhaus Kaufhof, which is completely fine by me. And the plan, with its sculpted gardens and walkways, carries (if only a few) hints of the dynamism and diagrammatic overlay of forms from Hadid's "Ubiquitous Urbanism" folio --- again, a good thing. Still, the reference to the Chinese courtyard --- the firm's own --- is a bit ridiculous, considering, among other things, the enormous jump in scale. Additionally, the architects imply that they have even improved upon the classical model by rendering it without any of the "corners or abrupt transitions" that have hitherto obstructed the flow of space. Tradition and rectilinearity be damned!
Yesterday, A Daily Dose featured these photos by flickr user trevor.patt who traveled to the Galaxy SOHO construction site in central Beijing to capture the near-completion of the complex's exterior. The five volumes are connected at various points --- at the base, midpoint or above --- by stretched bridges that weave continuous strands of the 330,000m² of office and retail space into a dense, if fragile formal composition. Apparently, the forms are calibrated parametrically so as to "adapt to each other", which explains why they oscillate slightly between anatomic orbs and bulbous rumps.