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Chinese Glass Buildings

24 Jan 2011

The growth of the Chinese economy in recent years has led many experts to predict that it will surpass the USA and become the world’s number one super power within the next 25 years. This economic prosperity has created a massive urban population that requires modern infrastructure to accommodate busy working lives. Glass has played an important part in this rapid expansion as it’s been called upon to wall and clad hundreds of buildings of all shapes and sizes. Here we are going to take a look at some of the most impressive examples.

The growth of the Chinese economy in recent years has led many experts to predict that it will surpass the USA and become the world’s number one super power within the next 25 years. This economic prosperity has created a massive urban population that requires modern infrastructure to accommodate busy working lives. Glass has played an important part in this rapid expansion as it’s been called upon to wall and clad hundreds of buildings of all shapes and sizes. Here we are going to take a look at some of the most impressive examples. Completed in 2001 the Fang Yuan building in the north eastern city of Shenyang is an interesting example of Chinese glass architecture that attempts to marry the country’s traditional and modern design principles. Standing 25 stories tall and shaped like a coin this office building has employed glass to add transparency to the front and rear of the structure. There is also a small glass square visible at the centre of the building, a feature that was added to reference old Chinese coins that had a square cut out in the middle. This building is not for everyone and features heavily in the ‘world’s ugliest buildings’ lists, but whatever the opinion it can’t be denied that this building will be a talking point amongst tourists and locals for years to come.

 

Over in Beijing stands another building that is often discussed for its unorthodox shape, this building is the CCTV Headquarters that is commonly known as the ‘Z’ building. To create this alternative appearance the construction process entailed the creation of two separate 44 story towers that were eventually joined together by what can only be described as a large horizontal glass tunnel. Again, the use of glass was pivotal to the construction of a Chinese modern classic that expresses the confidence and ambition of a world super power.  

 

The future of Chinese architecture will continue to employ glass as a key material due to its versatility, especially when it comes to creating interesting and non traditional shaped buildings. Shanghai, the country’s most populous city, is set to welcome its tallest glass building to its unique skyline. The Shanghai Tower is currently being built and is due to be completed in 2014. It will stand at 632 meters tall and will feature a core inner tower that will be enclosed by large panels of glass forged to create a giant spiralling effect.

 
    

There is also a British connection with the Shanghai Tower as a skyscraper of the same name is being proposed for a future development on the City of Liverpool’s water front. Property and infrastructure developers the Peel Group intend to build the Shanghai Tower in homage to Liverpool’s Chinese ‘sister’ city and established Chinese community that is the oldest in Britain. This glass tower is planned to be 60 stories high, much smaller than its Chinese counterpart, but still tall enough to make it the tallest building in the North West of England. Plans for this dominant glass building are at an early stage; however it’s highly likely that this development will become a reality further cementing the relationship between the UK and China that dates back hundreds of years. 

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