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Shanghai Dragon: Futuristic Office by Morphosis

Posted By Daniel Flahiff On March 10, 2009 @ 4:30 pm In Architecture,Daylighting,green roof | 8 Comments

shanghai dragon, morphosis architecture, morphosis office, giant pharmaceuticals company, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, daylighting [1]

On the western outskirts of Shanghai, China, a dragon is coming to life. Constructed of concrete, steel and glass, the new corporate headquarters of Giant Pharmaceutical Corp [2] looks for all the world like something between a sci-fi battleship landing on a highway, and a steampunk dragon frozen in time. L.A.-based architectural firm Morphosis [3] is focusing on the building’s sustainability as much as its aesthetics, with a green roof [4], generous use of skylights, and advanced insulation materials like cement-fiberboard paneling and a double-layer, fritted-glass curtain wall.

shanghai dragon, morphosis architecture, morphosis office, giant pharmaceuticals company, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, daylighting

Slated for completion in 2009, the project [5] will house executive offices in the cantelievered “head” of the structure, while the remaining elements—additional offices, a boutique hotel, exhibition hall, auditorium, library, gymnasium and swimming pool—will be contained in the “body” which arcs over a four-lane highway. There is no doubt “the dragon” will be a hit, another notch in China’s architectural belt.

The past decade has seen a flurry of ambitious construction projects in China, the most visible of which held the spotlight this year at the Beijing Olympics;the Birds Nest [6], the Water Cube [6] and the National Center for the Performing Arts [6] to name just three. And while the architectural, technological and sustainable design merits of these structures cannot be denied, neither can the fact that they are now a part of China’s insidious self-mythologizing; an architecture of nationalism for a country with an horrific human rights record [7].

shanghai dragon, morphosis architecture, morphosis office, giant pharmaceuticals company, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, daylighting

“In China, you can do things formally you just can’t do in the U.S. — aggressive, uncompromised, out-there ideas” said [5] Morphosis principal and Pritzker Prize 2005 winner Thom Mayne [5], clearly implying that aesthetic and economic concerns outweigh ethical considerations. Sadly, Mayne’s is the prevailing attitude among today’s brand-name architects.

But last February architect Daniel Libeskind [8] (controversial already) stated publicly that he “won’t work for totalitarian regimes,” a remark that reignited a debate as old as architecture itself. Does architecture ultimately transcend politics and ideology or do architects who design high-profile buildings that bolster their client’s international profile implicitly sanction their client’s politics? We think it’s time for architects and designers to take a serious look at the implications of working for clients whose politics and/or ethics are not in alignment with their own. What do you think?

+ Morphosis [3]

Via World Architecture News [2]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/giant-pharmaceuticals-campus-by-morphosis/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/03/giant-pharmaceuticals-campus-by-morphosis/

[2] new corporate headquarters of Giant Pharmaceutical Corp: http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10846

[3] Morphosis: http://www.morphosis.net/

[4] green roof: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/02/09/synthe-green-roof-by-alexis-rochas/

[5] the project: http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/081104morphosis.asp

[6] Birds Nest: http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=10174

[7] horrific human rights record: http://www.hrichina.org/public/

[8] Daniel Libeskind: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/daniel_libeskind/index.html?inline=nyt-per

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