Daily Drip

This Week in Crazy/Incredible Chinese Architecture Projects


China has been a bit of an architect’s playground for a while now. That can result in some truly breathtaking structures — although not always in a good way.

Here are a few remarkable projects that have popped up on the RADII radar in the past few days — we’ll let you decide which side of the aforementioned divide they fall into.

Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, Shanghai

Plagued by delays, this project has finally, finally opened its doors on the outskirts of Shanghai – around a decade after it was first announced. Although everyone is calling it “that quarry hotel”, the management company behind the property clearly felt that wasn’t quite alluring enough and thus its official name is Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland. Okay.

Here are some images they sent us (tap the thumbnails for bigger versions):

Designed by Atkins and reportedly having cost 555 million USD, the hotel offers “panoramic views” of the quarry, with rooms starting from around 500 USD a night.

Huawei Xiliubeipo Village, Dongguan

Huawei HQ Dongguan China

Oh look, Huawei have taken over some Bavarian castle for their new headquarters in… Dongguan?! Yes, the mobile phone company have apparently decided to bring a little ye olde European flavor to the swathe of Guangdong Province that hosts their R&D HQ. And they’ve not stopped at the exterior:

huawei headquarters chinaThe campus opened in August, but we’ve only just come across these images now. Is a copycat look really the thing to go for if you’re a Chinese technology company? Huawei apparently don’t seem too bothered by the connotations.

Welcome to Hogwarts Huawei:

Huawei headquarters china

All images of Huawei Xiliubeipo courtesy Huawei, shot on a Huawei P20

Puzzle Ball Theatre, Guangzhou


Bringing the bio-dome/alien invasion look to southern metropolis Guangzhou is Steven Chilton Architects’ Puzzle Ball Theatre. Well, potentially at least — this one hasn’t actually been built or approved yet, it’s a competition entry.

As the name and shape suggest, this was inspired by Chinese puzzle balls, “intricately carved artifacts consisting of several concentric spheres, each freely rotating within the next and formed from a single block of material,” as the SCA website puts it.


Also according to SCA,

A spherical massing was chosen as the most efficient geometry for enclosing the largest volume will the least surface material. The primary structure is a twin layer geodesic dome formed of tubular steel members connecting to machined spherical nodes. The cladding panels are formed of GRC and sit as a rainscreen over a substrate formed of insulated aluminium panels with integrated glazing units.

It’s a spectacular design, if also maybe a little daunting — imagine hanging your washing out next to this in the mornings:


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RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.