Junshan Center in Beijing

Between Rivers and Mountains


The partial liberalization of the market for architectural projects in China has in past years led to a hatching of young practices bent on exploring paths other than those of official corporativism or the ‘weird architecture’ of international stardom. While remaining cosmopolitan, they have known how to reinterpret traditional Chinese types and come up with an architecture sensitive to contexts.

A case in point is the Shanghai firm run by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, who have just completed the Junshan Cultural Center in a bucolic environment of rivers and mountains within the metropolitan area of Beijing.

This is a complex project which, besides refurbishing an office building, has expanded its program with a library, an exhibition hall, and a multipurpose auditorium. A floor is added on the preexisting structure of reinforced concrete, and a series of spaces is organized around a central court surrounded by gardens and drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese architecture for its form and materials. Aluminum pieces whose ocher tones echo the context clad the complex.

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