By Kenza van Lerberghe for IROCO Design.
For this week’s blog, we’ve decided to put together a top 10 jaw dropping architectural creations in Asia built over the past 20 years:
The Park Royal Tower
The Park Royal Tower in Singapore, designed by WOHA Architects, features twice as much greenery as the nearby Hong Lim Park. The high-end office and hotel tower shows a podium absolutely overrun with vertical gardens, contoured green pathways, water features and leafy terraces. Completed in 2013, this is a groundbreaking project boasting 15,000 square meters of green space that has already been awarded with the BCA Green Mark Platinum - the highest rating for green buildings in Singapore - and the Solar Pioneer Award as one the first buildings in the hospitality sector to use harvest solar energy.
The Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers are twin skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing National Stadium, officially the National Stadium and also known as the Bird's Nest, graces Beijing in China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Located at the Olympic Green, the stadium cost USD 428 million to build and was awarded to the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in April 2003. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof giving the stadium the appearance of a bird's nest. Leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant on the project.
Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, designed by C.Y.Lee & Partners, the Taipei 101 is a landmark skyscraper located in the Xinyi District in Taipei, Taiwan. The building was officially ranked as the world's tallest from 2004 until the Burj Khalifa was opened in Dubai in 2010.
In July 2011, the building was awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest award in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system becoming the tallest and largest green building in the world.
The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition.
Ring of Life
A circle-shaped piece of landscape architecture in Fushun, Liaoning province was officially finalized in September 2012. The 157-meter high building named the "Ring of Life" cost around one hundred million RMB and, according to local media, used 3,000 tons of steel.
The CCTV Headquarters
The China Central Television headquarters is a 234m, 44-storey skyscraper located in the Beijing Central Business District. The headquarters were finally completed in May 2012, after construction was delayed following a fire which engulfed the adjacent Television Cultural Center in February 2009. The CCTV Headquarters won the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide. Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren of OMA were the leading architects whilst Arup provided the complex engineering design.
Gardens by the Bay
Located in Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is a key project in delivering the Singapore Government’s vision of transforming Singapore into a ‘City in a Garden’. At a total of 101 hectares, the Gardens by the Bay project comprises three distinct waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Sitting in the heart of Bay South Garden, the Cooled Conservatory Complex provides a spectacular, all-weather attraction, comprising a 1.28 hectare cool, dry conservatory (the ‘Flower Dome’) and a 0.73 hectare cool moist conservatory (the ‘Cloud Forest’). Each has its own distinct character, but both explore the horticulture of environments most likely to be affected by climate change.
The project was designed by Wilkinson Eyre, Grant Associates, Atelier One and Atelier Ten and won the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival Awards 2012.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands opened in April 2010 and is an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, at USD 4.7 billion it is the world's most expensive building where the value includes the cost of the 15.5 hectares of prime land, whose gross floor area is 581,000 square meters.
Moshe Safdie was approached to lead the design on this massive project, with the inspiration coming from a deck of cards as can be seen by the unique appearance of the three hotel towers. Other key structures of the property include the ArtScience Museum, The Shoppes, Expo and Convention Center and Casino. During the resort's planning and construction phases, Feng Shui consultants, the late Master Chong Swan Lek and Master Louisa Ong-Lee were consulted in regards to divination.
The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam, completed and fully functional in July 2012, is a hydroelectric dam spanning the Yangtze River near Sandouping, in the Yiling District of Hubei province in China. The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW).
As well as producing electricity, the dam aims to increase the Yangtze River's shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. The Chinese government regards the project as a historic engineering, social and economic success given the design of state-of-the-art large turbines, a move toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, flooded archaeological and cultural sites, and displacement of 1.3 million people, is causing significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides.
And last but not least, let’s finish with something closer to us… the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.
The Bank of China Tower is one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in Admiralty, Hong Kong. Designed by I. M. Pei and L.C Pei of I.M Pei and Partners, the building is 315m high with two masts reaching 367.4m high.
It was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia from 1989 to 1992, and it was the first building outside North America to break the 305m mark. It is now the fourth tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, after International Commerce Centre, Two International Finance Centre and Central Plaza.
The structural expressionism adopted in the design of this building resembles growing bamboo shoots, symbolizing livelihood and prosperity.
While its distinctive look makes it one of Hong Kong's most identifiable landmarks today, it was the source of some controversy at one time, as the bank was the only major building in Hong Kong to have bypassed the convention of consulting with Feng Shui masters on matters of design prior to construction.
The building has been criticized by some practitioners of Feng Shui for its sharp edges and its negative symbolism by the numerous 'X' shapes in its original design, though Pei modified the design to some degree before construction following this feedback. The building's profile from some angles resembles that of a meat cleaver, described in Feng Shui, as the ‘cleaver building’.