Linked Hybrid

Many works of modern architecture in China's big cities seem to be solitary, free standing objects, that don't react on their urban surroundings all that much. Instead of adding to this culture of isolated islands, Steven Holl came up with these linked towers in Bejing, in a project that isaptly called "Linked Hybrid". In this project, it is attempted to create a more coherent social space. Not only is the program injected with functions that inhabitants of the complex could use for their daily life (such as hairdressers, laundromats and the likes), but the eight towers (which are considered as a "city within a city" are also linked at the 21st floor,by a spatial ring of skybridges. In these skybridges there's a lot of caf├ęs and other services to create a second public plaza level. The routing at this level is not just one of quick and straight connections, but slight ramps, jumps, corners and cuts in the routes make for an interesting suspense of movement and place: the perspective of the building changes with every move.

There's a lot of criticism possible about the project (it creates a isolated capsule for the inhabitants, the relation to the public ground floor is one of negation etcetera), but what I really like about this project is that it looks exactly like a student project that would regularly be dismissed at the final crit with the words "nah, in reality this would never even be considered to be built." But Steven Holl and the developer Modern Group made it happen.

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