My personal interests and professional work of scope in architecture have been about how to better create landmark building for cities. The basic characteristic of landmark is that people can use the simplest form and a minimum of strokes to evoke the memory for it. Just like the Pyramids of Egypt, Opera House of Sydney, Temple of Heaven in Beijing, Empire State of New York, and many other famous landmarks in the world, they become a symbol and business card of the city. In this essay, I will discuss my most and least liked landmark office buildings in London, UK and Shenyang, China.Order now
By compare and contrast their individual relationship to the local culture and building environment, we can better understand the reasons behind their success and failure. Most Like: 62 Buckingham Gate, SW1, London, UK 62 Buckingham Gate, completed in 2013, is a mixed-use development providing 260,000 sq ft of office space as well as retail and leisure units. The neighborhood is full of government offices that were built in the 1960s and 1970s, many of which are going to be replaced by new development in the next decade.
The overall geometry of the building is quite bold, yet still respecting the existing street frontage of adjacent buildings. The building façade is made of different folding planes, reflecting the changing surroundings in a harmonious way. Unlike traditional office buildings with regular 90-degree lines and traditional divisions, the tilting planes of the façade create a more intimate and unique scale. At different time depending weather of the day, the various reflections also add a touch of elegance to the building.
The gesture is strong, but not overwhelming; the reflecting planes are complex looking, yet still sensitive to the historic architecture of Victoria. Giving the complex outer shell, the structure of the building is extremely challenging, resulting efficient floor plans and spatial arrangements. On the lower level, inward-tilting planes brings life to the street by creating bays for outdoor restaurant seating. On the upper floors, sustainable design features are spread-out in all floors including a green roof, landscaped terraces and an energy-efficient building envelope. Least Liked: Fang Yuan Building, Shenyang, China
Different from the challenges London is facing in new urban development, city of Shenyang in China is experiencing a different level of “transformation” which combines eastern and western culture in a controversial way. Fang Yuan Building, completed in 2001, is a 24-storey office building with a total floor area of 52,000 sq ft. The building is located at Financial Trade Zone in Shenyang, the largest city in Northeast China with a population of 5. 3 million. The idea behind the building design is from the traditional Chinese coin shape with square cut out, representing the hope that money will be rolling and businesses will be smooth.
In the 2000 World Architecture Design Exhibition in Venice, Fang Yuan building become the only Asian winner while getting praises like “the world’s most innovative and revolutionary architecture”. However in 2012, it was rated as the top ten world’s more ugly buildings by CNN’s life travel website. The fusion of eastern and western architectural style is undeniably not a perfect marriage, instead causing more “confusion”. This overly figurative design uses the most straightforward way to join prototype of Chinese traditional entities with modern building materials.
There is no smooth connection between the glass windows and solid concrete base. Not only the building has little respect to surrounding buildings’ design and street frontage, the gesture is forceful rather than effortless. In addition, the coin shaped massing required a lot of structural engineering, however at the end did not create an interesting interior experience for the users. Different area and shape of floors makes the office space inefficient and hard to layout. In modern Chinese thinking, money is considered a vulgar element.
The fact that this building exposes the desire to make money in such bold way also ruins the expressive beauty of the structure. It would be much better if the designer took his initial approach in an abstract way. For now, the building is more of an absurd attachment to the city than a successful landmark. In conclusion, a good landmark building should not only reflect the advantages of the geographical area, the building itself should also be outstanding, unique and effortless. During the design process, culture backgrounds and traditional symbols are good to taken into consideration as inspiration.
The actual design approach should be natural and abstract, emphasizing on the architectural feature other than specific shapes or figure. Under the current level of urban development, landmark building represents not only the building itself, but also a lifestyle and a new trend of spatial experience. The success behind each landmark building is never just the architectural design itself. It is the combined aspects of environmental, culture, sustainability that work together to create a local or even world classic.