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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:

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2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai You Cannot Miss

On a trip to Shanghai, you might visit The Bund, Yu Garden or the Oriental Pearl Tower. Maybe you’ve done more research and are headed towards M50 or the Oriental Art Center for less popular photos that haven’t been tried and tested by every tourist ever. Yeah, yeah. Been there, done that. Let me introduce you to something fresh, something trendy. The best photo spots might be right under your nose. You could’ve passed it a million times. In this post, I’ll be letting you in on two photogenic commercial buildings in Shanghai that you absolutely cannot miss.

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

The great thing about these commercial buildings in Shanghai is that they are easy to get to, and chances are, you’re walking past them every day. Oh, and of course, I’m your budget-friendly homegirl so visiting these spots are free! When I think about it, the people who work in these towers are very lucky they get to experience a great architectural working environment on a daily basis. I think I speak for all of us slaving away in gloomy, messy offices when I say I’m jealous.
 

SOHO Fuxing Plaza

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - SOHO Fuxing Plaza

The first of our two Instagram-worthy commercial buildings in Shanghai can be found at the famed SOHO Fuxing Road in the Huaihai central business district. SOHO Fuxing Plaza is the commercial symbol of a Li Long-inspired site designed by German firm gmp Architekten. The building towers above Shanghai Xintiandi proudly, offering a mixture of old and new with its strategic setting between the hundred-year-old Saints Church and high-end retail outlets.

The designated photo zone of SOHO Fuxing Plaza is instantly recognisable as soon as you enter the office tower. The museum-style lobby will catch anyone’s eye immediately with its light rings adorning the lift area. The design is described as embodying a full artistic atmosphere – and it really does show through. I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves.

SOHO Fuxing Plaza
388 Madang Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
http://sohofuxingplaza.sohochina.com/
 

The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

2 Photogenic Commercial Buildings in Shanghai - The Exchange SOHO

Towering at 217 metres, The Exchange SOHO comprises of 52 floors and took ten years to complete, with construction beginning in 1994 and ending in 2004. The skyscraper was designed by JY Design Planning, an American architecture and urban planning firm in Shanghai that was nominated “Most Popular” of their trade in 2004. It is conveniently located at an influential office area in the core of West Nanjing Road’s central business district.

The lobby of The Exchange SOHO is what you’d expect in a modern office building. Glass interiors and reflective surfaces cover the floors and ceilings, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit grimy as I stepped inside. What’s so special about The Exchange SOHO, though, is the large-scale spiral staircase that reaches up to the banquet floors. If you search the location on Instagram, you’ll find many beautiful shots of this large structure. Unfortunately, the guard wouldn’t let me up when I visited. He was in a sour mood, boo. 🙁

The Exchange SOHO
1486 West Nanjing Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai
+021 6171 8888
http://theexchangesoho.sohochina.com/

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Were you surprised that these two commercial buildings in Shanghai hid such great gems? I’m no Shanghai expert or travel expert, but next time you fly away somewhere, look in between the lines for places you could go to. Don’t just search through TripAdvisor for the most popular tourist spots. Dig into blogs and social media. You won’t regret it, I promise.
 

Shanghai series:

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Forget AirBnB, You Need to See This Design Hotel

Although I could not afford to stay at the famed design boutique hotel, I decided to at least pay The Waterhouse at South Bund a visit when I went to Shanghai. I only had access to a limited area as an outsider, but it was enough for me to have a taste of the beautiful architecture. I’m definitely not saying my minimalist AirBnB was bad – I loved it and it was great for its price – but if I could actually stay in an architecturally renowned building… wow.

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

As its name suggests, the hotel is located at the South Bund district of Shanghai. The Waterhouse at South Bund unveiled itself in 2010 and was featured in the Design Hotels Book 2015. You might’ve even heard of it for its famous modern European restaurant, Table No. 1, headed by British chef Jason Atherton. If you decide to visit or stay in the hotel while in Shanghai, I highly recommend you to try Table No. 1’s brunch. It’s consistently rated as one of the best in the city.
 

The Architecture

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

From the outside, The Waterhouse at South Bund looks like an unsuspecting worn-down factory block. But step in and you’ll discover a different story. Before its restoration, the hotel was a dockyard building and warehouse dating back to the 1930s. Much like the Long Museum West Bund, The Waterhouse at South Bund’s new architectural concept involved combining the old with the new. Shanghai-based architecture firm Neri & Hu Design and Research Office transformed the former construction into a four-storey hotel alongside a double-height, converted warehouse event hall.

Click here for a larger picture of the panorama above.

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

The design concept of The Waterhouse at South Bund is based on blurring public and private by inverting the internal and external spaces. The architect uses windows and negative spaces of the hotel building to allow guests from inside to look out, and viewers from outside to look in. The resulting structures create an interesting, irregular facade that is not commonly seen around the city.
 

The Interior

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

Inside, The Waterhouse at South Bund houses one of the largest collections of design furniture of any hotel in China. Expect to find works from reputable names such as Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and more. All of the pieces are carefully selected by the owners and designers of The Waterhouse at South Bund itself. I felt like a queen sitting myself down on chairs and couches I could probably never afford!

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

Further in, the Lobby Lounge is a café-cum-bar that serves light meals, coffee and cocktails. After a drink, guests are welcome to head deeper inside to find a comfortable seating area warmed by a fireplace where they can help themselves to a large range of leisure books and magazines.

The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

An area I didn’t visit at The Waterhouse at South Bund was the rooftop terrace, conveniently named The Roof. It features a bar overlooking the Huangpu river, but I never got to see the view for myself as it was unfortunately closed when I visited.
 

The Proximity

The Waterhouse at South Bund is rather inconvenient to get to if you’re taking public transport but don’t want to pay for a taxi ride like me (ha ha). The closest station is Xiaonanmen Subway Station, and from there, it is at least a 20-minute walk to the hotel. Alternatively, you can choose to hail a cab, which would bring you to the destination in less than five minutes.

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The Waterhouse at South Bund
1-3 Maojiayan Road, South Zhongshan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
+021 6080 2988
http://www.waterhouseshanghai.com/
 

Shanghai series:

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