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CURVES IN THE CITY

by Michele Koh Morollo on Dec 31, 2012 in Architecture
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Beijing welcomes a stunning new addition to its urban landscape with Galaxy Soho, a massive curvilinear mixed-use complex by Zaha Hadid

Building a 330,000 sq-m office, retail and entertainment complex in 30 months is no small feat, but Zaha Hadid Architects rose to the challenge with Galaxy Soho. Inspired by the massive scale of the city of Beijing, Galaxy Soho comprises five continuous, flowing volumes, set apart from each other but linked or fused by stretched bridges. Adapting to each other in all directions, these volumes create a fluid panoramic architecture free from corners and abrupt transitions with inviting, nature-inspired sanctuaries within.

"The natural rhythms and flows of the city, of the environment and of the people have been integrated within the design to define its formal composition,” says Hadid.

Located within the original walls of the Forbidden City, in Central Beijing, along East Second Ring Road, the project’s prominent site meant that the architects had with work with stringent planning constraints. The sun’s path and pedestrian movement were two key factors that needed to be considered. The building’s façade along the east side stretches across the full length of the site, and aptly complements the scale of East Second Ring Road, one of the Beijing’s main traffic arteries. The flow of cars and pedestrians, and the surrounding landscape and environment are all incorporated into the design so Galaxy Soho responds to its site appropriately both visually and functionally.

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