Zach Hines is an Entrepreneur, Startup Founder, Product Manager, and Designer Looking to Change the World.

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Huangdu Art Center

Year 2008
Location Beijing, China
Typology Art Gallery, Hotel
Site Area 6,300 sqm
Building Area 46,000sqm
Status Design in-progress

Responsibilities – Project Management, Concept Design, Diagrams, Rendering, 3D Modeling

Old Beijing is composed of Hutongs, closely woven districts of communal courtyard homes. The basic elements of these districts are one-storey buildings, that, repeated at dense scales, result in unique geometric patterns. However, this traditional urban fabric is increasingly under threat as entire neighborhoods are forced to make way for the larger, monumental modern architecture of Beijing today.

The site of this project presents this issue in microcosm. Located near the heart of old Beijing, close to historic monuments such as the Forbidden City and opposite the National Art Museum, the site presents a dual condition: while small scale Hutongs still border Western edge, the Eastern edge is bounded by a modern axis of major roads, shopping malls and hotels.

To solve this dilemma, MAD proposes a building composed of many small Hutong-scale pieces, but at the same time recognized as a larger overall volume. This is achieved by stacking and shifting different courtyard layers on top of one another, creating an ethereal, semi-solid piece of urban fabric, a vague geometric shape that maintains the spatial relationships and hollow core of the courtyards.

This proposal extends the city fabric from small to large, a gradual yet significant transition between two scales, and is a means towards reconciling the old and new Beijing. The building is an urban instrument, representing Beijing’s new aspirations to be a forward looking city that also respects its past.


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