MOCAPE Museum in Shenzhen

China Deconstructs


The Chinese boom has made many an architectural dream come true: what in Europe was improbable and in the United States impossible is, in China, simply feasible. This situation has been skillfully capitalized on by the large architectural firms, from Foster + Partners to Office for Metropolian Architecture (OMA) by way of local firms specialized in ‘weird architecture,’ such as MAD. But those who have proportionally profited the most are the old deconstructivists, whose dreamlike visions have managed to escape confinement to paper thanks to the carefree way in which the country’s government and its magnates spend money on icons. Zaha Hadid is the best example, but Coop Himmelb(l)au does not lag behind in buildings like the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) in Shenzhen, which despite its area of 80,000 square meters, length of 150 meters, and height of 40 has gone up in only three years. Everything in it is a spectacle of ever increasing complexities: from the warped skin of triangular glass panels to the huge inner ‘plaza’ of metallic atmosphere at whose center rises the ‘cloud,’ which is really a tubercle of stainless steel whose distubing forms serve to shelter a café and a store. China deconstructs.

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