Several of the new buildings in China are in the form of gateways or eyes with central voids that allow the dragons to flow through.
Rather unkindly, the “Gate to the East” tower, designed by RMJM as a 300m high iconic gateway to Suzhou was compared to a pair of underpants. “Is it an arch or just plain pants?” asked the Shanghai Daily, while one blogger wrote “Why does China look like the playground of foreign designers with laughable architecture ideas?”
This spate of building started last decade when, for example, the Central China TV building constructed in 2008 in Beijing’s new Central Business District was designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) as continuous loops of regular and irregular vertical and horizonal sections and is now considered one of Beijing’s iconic buildings.
The latest building in this genre is the iconic, but more historically-based, ‘Guangzhou Circle Mansion’ in Guangzhou, which is headquarters for the Guang Dong Hongda Xingye Group and the GDPE Guangdong Plastic Exchange, the world largest stock exchange for raw plastic material. This 138m high iconic building with a 50m hole is located alongside the river, in which it is reflected, and has a historic reference to the double jade disk, a royal symbol of the local ancient Chinese dynasty or to the circular form of Chinese coins. This building, designed by Milan-based AM Project as the result of an international architectural competition, is potentially the most successful and the most relevant of this spate of such buildings. It will be interesting to see how they stand the test of time.