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Category: architecture

Eye-catching Architecture That Will Blow You Away

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to explore Hong Kong’s greatest pieces of architecture. My destination this time was an academic building just like my visit to the Hong Kong Design Institute in the beginning of the year. With the MTR offering half-price travel on that particular day, I decided to spend my afternoon taking the long journey to Kowloon Tong to tour the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at the City University of Hong Kong.

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre is considered an architectural icon. It was named after Sir Run Run Shaw and opened in late 2011 to great public reception. The nine-storey building currently houses the operations of the School of Creative Media, the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of English and the Department of Media and Communication.
 

The Architecture

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Reflecting Libeskind’s signature asymmetric outlines, the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre merges sensitively to its surroundings as an extension to the topography of Tat Hong Avenue. It adopts a crystalline design in all elements of its structure including the structural beams, windows, doors and lighting. The building, made out of concrete and steel with ceramic tile cladding, was constructed with a flexible molecular design that makes potential future changes possible.
 

The Interior

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

With a range of spaces and lighting, the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre attends to a function that holds true to its name. It provides an environment suitable for research and creativity for the departments housed inside, offering classrooms, studios, theatres and laboratories and more for both students and professors. Interior areas contribute to the wider discussion of contemporary art by regularly holding art exhibitions. The faculty members hope that in this way, the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre acts as more than just a school building but also as a hub for creative thinking.
 

The Exterior

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong

Students, professors and visitors also have the option of wandering into landscaped gardens scattered throughout the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre. These outdoor areas, filled with greenery, serve as spaces for inspiration and relaxation. It was certainly a delight to step into fresh air after my hour-long exploration of the building.
 

The Verdict

I personally loved exploring the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre. Each corner is specially designed and offers a surprise at every turn. The irregular slicing and sloping of the walls and ceilings encourage the students to interact in unique ways. How I wish the University of Hong Kong’s Knowles Building, where I worked for the majority of my undergraduate Architecture degree in, was half as funky in form! If anything, when I was out of ideas, there would at least be something distinct to feast my eyes on rather than just a regular box-shaped room.

The next time I come back to the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, I will make sure it’s during the weekday when classes are in operation. While there were students working quietly when I visited on a Saturday, I want to see how the rooms are used to their full facilities when classes are in process. Oh, and of course when there are exhibitions being held at the building!
 

Other great architectural buildings you must see:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about awesome architectural icons before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

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Why You Must Visit Long Museum West Bund

Although my trip to Shanghai was only for a mere two days, I made it a point to visit at least one museum during my stay. After much deliberation, I decided that architecturally, Long Museum West Bund stood out the most. Because my time was limited and I had a long list of places I want to go, I decided to forgo the exhibitions, which I would undoubtedly linger hours at, to stop to admire the actual architecture of the museum.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

I’m going to be honest here. Before I went, I knew absolutely nothing about Long Museum West Bund except that it was a large-scale concrete structure that was absolutely stunning for photographs. I knew this because I am an avid Instagram stalker. No shame. But after the visit, I so was amazed by the structure and the rawness of the surfaces I actually went to find out the design behind it.

Read on to find out why you must visit Long Museum West Bund.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

The Background

Long Museum West Bund opened on the 28th March 2014 and is the second of the two museums founded by Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei; the first Long Museum is located in Pudong. Together, the institutions make up the largest private collection in China.

Liu and Wang are billionaire art collectors who have gathered traditional and contemporary art of both Chinese and European origin. The types of exhibitions held in Long Museum Pudong and Long Museum West Bund are chosen carefully with the aim to promote cultural education to the public in mind.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

The Architecture

Architect Liu Yichun of Shanghai firm Atelier Deshaus definitely did something right when he, along with his team, designed Long Museum West Bund. It was one of the shortlisted projects for the Design Museum’s 2015 Designs of the Year awards. It’s no wonder the site is such a magnet for photographers.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

The site has a rich history from the 1950s as a wharf for coal transportation. Liu planned his project with this knowledge in mind to create a contemporary space that references the previous uses.

He does this by welcoming the original coal hopper unloading bridge into the design of Long Museum West Bund. The final plan celebrates the bridge, the most eminent piece left over from the wharf, by using its tunnel-like structure to frame the entrance for visitors.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

The most notable aspect of the museum is the umbrella vaulted structure built with faced concrete. It creates a direct contrast between rough and smooth textures with the old coal hopper unloading bridge by its side.

This vaulted umbrella element is repeated multiple times throughout Long Museum West Bund and all of the individual vaults are lined up with the structural grid of the building, some cantilevering to the roof and some framing exhibition spaces. In order to hold the building up, shear walls in the basement are concreted into the same structural grid.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

There are three storeys within the main part of the building. The programs are distributed as such: the ground and first floor are devoted to contemporary art galleries, while the basement also includes traditional exhibitions.

What stands out about Long Museum West Bund is its functional design to embrace openness. Rather than having the typically closed structure of many museums, the public is welcome to a restaurant, a public courtyard, a concert hall and more. There is also a carpark located in the basement that accommodates over 300 cars so the museum is easily accessible.

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

Reasons to Visit

For lovers of all things concrete like me, do I even need to spell out why you must visit Long Museum West Bund? If you’re only on a short trip to Shanghai and only have time for one museum, I highly recommend Long Museum West Bund. Make it a point to get to this location instead of its sister in Pudong and prepare to be wow’ed by the incredible raw structures before you even pay a dime – a Yuan, sorry – to get into the exhibitions. Like I said, an art lover can easily spend the whole day here.

Make your friends jealous with your gorgeous photos. Boast about seeing the latest art collection inside the museum. I guarantee you’ll look cultured and smart. 😉

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

How to get there

Long Museum West Bund is easily accessible by private car, bus or metro. Stop at Yunjing Road and Houma Road Station of the No. 1222 Route if you’re taking the bus. Jason and I kept it simple and took the metro. We got off at Middle Longhua Road Station on Line 7 and took Exit No. 6. Remember to have Baidu Maps or Google Maps ready, because it is a long walk!

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai

Long Museum West Bund
Lane 3398, Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai
+021 6422 7636
http://thelongmuseum.org/
 

Shanghai series:

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Stunning Exhibitions to Look out for at Hong Kong Design Institute

Another day without planning! Every weekend, I’d usually mention a café I wanted to try, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling like it much yesterday. It was already late afternoon when Jason and I met up, so we randomly decided to visit the Hong Kong Design Institute which had some exhibitions I’d been meaning to see for a while. We not only checked out two exhibitions: Weingart Typography and Urban Regeneration – Past, Present and Future, but we also looked at the architecture of the school. Afterwards, we went for a drink (non-alcoholic of course) at The Brewed Vena, a nearby café on my to-do-list!

Hong Kong Design Institute

Hong Kong Design Institute

Hong Kong Design Institute

Hong Kong Design Institute in the Tseung Kwan O area of Hong Kong is easily accessible from MTR Tiu Keng Leng Station. It is, as it name suggests, a school purely dedicated to design and the crafts, offering Foundation Studies and a range of specialised media including but not limited to communication media, fashion design and product design. Not only is it a school, but it frequently showcases art and design exhibitions in many of its galleries.

The architecture of Hong Kong Design Institute, though, really is something else. The campus, themed the “white sheet”, was designed to provide an environment to facilitate innovation learning by French architects Coldéfy & Associés.

I couldn’t capture the brilliance of the building with my measely iPhone, but I really recommend anyone who’s into architecture to pay Hong Kong Design Institute a visit. If not for the exhibitions, then go for the campus! So from the school’s website, here’s what I sort of got: The white sheet concept is a metaphorical representation of creativity and connectivity. How? Well, raised above ground level, it serves as an accessible walkway and meeting point to connect the multiple departments of the school. And the transparent exterior of many rooms encourages students from varying multiple disciplinaries to observe and learn from each other.

(But as an ex-architecture student, I think we all know that concepts are just… haaa)
 

Weingart Typography

Weingart Typography exhibition in Hong Kong Design Institute

Weingart Typography exhibition in Hong Kong Design Institute

Weingart Typography exhibition in Hong Kong Design Institute

Weingart Typography exhibition in Hong Kong Design Institute

Weingart Typography exhibition in Hong Kong Design Institute

The first exhibition we saw was Weingart Typography, a collaboration between Hong Kong Design Institute and Museum für Gestaltung Zürich (Museum of Design Zurich) – and yes I copied and pasted the German name. It features the works of Wolfgang Weingart, a graphic designer and typographer, and showcases the essence of 1970s’ New Wave Typography. Before the exhibition, I knew nothing about typography beyond its definition, but it was interesting to see an artist’s detailed examination of lettering and his slight obsession with the letter ‘M’.
 

Urban Regeneration – Past, Present and Future

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

Urban Regeneration - Past, Present and Future in Hong Kong Design Institute

The second exhibition we stopped by was called Urban Regeneration – Past, Present and Future pays tribute to Spanish architect Enric Miralles of EMBT‘s influence on the European architectural landscape. After a bit of research, I discovered that EMBT is actually a partnership between Miralles and exhibition curator Benedetta Tagliabue, Italian architect and ex-wife of Miralles. How fascinating. Anyway, the showcase presents a mixture of models, maps and drawings, in particular highlighting EMBT’s Copagri Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 and Spanish Pavilion for Expo Shanghai 2010.

But immature Jason and I could only look at the handiwork of the architectural models and criticise them, after being victims of tutor criticism in school for so long. (I mean, it’s obvious that the models were poorly made – though to be fair they did have to travel a long way to get to Hong Kong)
 

 The Brewed Vena

The Brewed Vena café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The Brewed Vena café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The Brewed Vena café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The last stop of our day (or this blog post, because I’ve already forgotten where we went for dinner thanks to my foggy memory) was The Brewed Vena 山脈流川, an industrial building café in Kwun Tong. It’s a casual, self-serve eatery where you order at the counter before settling down on one of their seats either indoors or outdoors on their terrace. They sell a whole shelf of vintage snacks and have a variety of board games for customers to entertain themselves with. It’s definitely a chill place – unfortunately made crowded by Instagrammers, but when we went at the odd time of 5PM it was only filled with a few customers even on a weekend. We didn’t have any food and only got drinks, so I’ll be back. With unlimited entertainment in a cosy atmosphere, I can see how someone can easily spend a whole afternoon there with their friends.
 

Other great architectural buildings you must see:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about awesome architectural icons before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

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