“We can´t touch the past, we can only remember and memories are fuzzy …”

 Wong Kar Wai. In the mood for love


There`s always a romantic point of view on the reinterpretation of the past and at the same time a desire of looking forward. China, can claim to be a country based on tradition but longing for vanguard, a state of great contrasts between rural areas and emerging megacities.

Knowing how to swim between these two sides, is a challenge and perhaps one of the secrets for the success of Chinese architecture in a near future. Learning from mistakes in other scenarios, could be the way, although we are talking about a culture that looks insistently westward, importing even large architectural studios for the development and planning of their cities.

However there`s still a group of unknown architects abroad, that will be favor for the way  of doing of the recent Pritzker Architecture Prize Wang Shu [and his wife Lu Wenyu], who bet on that balance and rational form of growth.

The contemporary Chinese cinema has a great devotion out of their borders, partly for that language somewhere between modernism and tradition, and that imaginary way to know how to take advantage of the latest technologies to tell stories of a reinterpreted past. Tradition and modernity.

Maybe the successful mirror to look, wich is Eastern cinema [not exclusively Chinese], could be a way to open to the outside, to bet for their own architectural industry and become a point of reference and admiration, as other Eastern countries have done, both in cinema and literature and of course in architecture …

Zang Yimou, Wong Kar Wai and Hao Jie, are perhaps the clearest examples of the new Chinese cinema, which bears some parallels with the new Chinese architecture, laureate Wang Shu.

Architecture and cinema aren´t so far away, there`s a script, a project, a performance, a set up, an audience, there´s an exhibition and a critique…


 Last night on the yard floated a sad song.

Was the soul of flowers, the soul of the birds?

Difficult to grab the soul of birds and flowers,

Flowers say nothing and birds keep silent.

 [The Dream of the Red Chamber . Cao Xuquin]


Yards, balconies, corridors, InsideOutside…. Reinterpretation of classic elements of Chinese architecture with a contemporary language and materiality. See without been seen, transitional spaces, inside, outside, between … The limits,  reflected so well in Wong Kar Wai films, passing spaces, transition, hallways, lights and shadows, building communications, pivotholes…

Traditional Chinese architecture, where spatial distribution is governed by balance, symmetry, horizontal emphasis, materials like wood and brick, enclosing traditional courtyards and gardens.

A respectful proyect with traditional Chinese architecture, that maintains that balance and symmetrical rigor, adapting it to a contemporary language. Flexible spaces. Medium density architecture, that reinterprets the shapes of vertical Chinese housing [would be the m of Rem Koolhaas]. Clean lines, flush, simplicity evoking a Western way of building, while keeping the elements and atmosphere of yesteryear.

Steel is showing as the new edge material, a nearby automobile and aerospace equipment industry material, factory produced, which promotes dry and industrial construction, as seen on balconies and raised courtyards, accompanying the project . 

A lightweight material that contrast with the heaviness of traditional ones that bets for a future constructive model and at the same time dialogues with the white boxes that modulates the intervention.A 100% recyclable material  that comes from recycling in its production, in a 80%.

 Steel structure with perforated steel panels [60% opening rate] builds the courtyard-balcony, with 45 squared meters and 5 meters of cantilever beams, that creates an atmosphere that reminds to the traditional Chinese gardens in the area, and also to the peaceful atmospheres of Arabic gardens, like the Alhambra´s ones in Granada.

The project was prizewinning in 2012 China´s architecture awards.25.000 squared meters of flexible buildings for work and living [home office], like a small city with public spaces, courtyards, squares, streets, green areas, etc… Urban Ecosystem.  The city, the urban as a character, imagine in past and future form.  Future anchored in past, in a permanent duality between past future…

 Wong Kar Wai [Shangai 1958 ] Hongkong film director.

Happy Together, Fallen Angels, In the Mood for love, 2046, etc …

 Wang Shu  [Urumchi1963] Chinese architect of the new movement. Pitzker Prize in 2012

 Lu Wenyu Chinese architect and cofounder, with her husband Wang Shu, of the firm Amateur Architecture Studio

 Zang Yimou [ Xian 1951] Chinese film director.

Single Man, The love songs of Tiedan, etc ..

 Hao Jie [China 1981] Chinese film director.

The Road Home, Hero, The house of Flying Daggers’s, etc …

 Cao Xuquin [c. 1724 – c. 1763] Chinese writer of the Qing dinasty, he wrote the novel Dream in the red pavilion, wich he left unfinished and was published many years after his death.

 Rem Koolhas [Rotterdam 1944] Dutch architect, founder and director of OMA [Office for Metropolitan Architecture]

Sergio Baragaño

Architect. Founder and Director of [baragaño]





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