Five "radical" projects by Dezeen Awards China judge Open Architecture

Chinese architects Li Hu and Huang Wenjing, founders of Beijing-based Open Architecture, have joined Dezeen Awards China 2024 as judges. Here they select five projects that best reflect their work.

“We believe in innovation and the poetic power of architecture, to influence and change the way people live, while striking a balance between the man-made and nature,” the studio told Dezeen.

Open Architecture won Architect of the Year at Dezeen Awards China 2023. The judges remarked that the studio “has consistently produced architecture that is radical and poetic but also functional. Its daring work strikes a rare balance between the man-made and the natural, with often spectacular results.”

Li Hu and Huang Wenjing among Dezeen Awards China 2024 judges.

Dezeen Awards China 2024 has launched in partnership with Bentley. We have announced our first set of judges, architects Sou Fujimoto, Li Hu and Huang Wenjing, designer Qiong Er Jiang and interior designers Steve Leung, Tao Liu and Chunyan Cai.

The early entry deadline for Dezeen Awards China 2024 is 16 July. Register your details and submit your projects by then to save 20 per cent on your entry fee.

Read on to find Open Architecture’s views on the five projects that best reflect their work.

dezeen awards 2024 five projects open architecture dune art museum sq 1
Photo by Wu Qingshan

UCCA Dune Art Museum, Qinhuangdao, China, 2018

“This project is a sanctuary for art and the body hidden beneath the coastal dunes. The cavernous spaces and the works within are softly and subtly lit.

“The museum’s design is simple and pure, attempting to return to the most primitive and timeless spatial form. A series of cell-like continuous spaces form the gallery’s exhibition halls, like caves created by excavation.

“The location of the gallery underneath the dunes is both a respect for nature and a form of protection. Its presence guarantees the preservation of the dunes’ fragile ecosystem that has been built up over the centuries.”

Read more about Dune Art museum ›

dezeen awards 2024 five projects open architecture tank shanghai
Photo by Wu Qingshan

Tank Shanghai, Shanghai, China, 2019

“Tank Shanghai aims to integrate the city, landscape and art, providing an open and inclusive 60,000 square metres public space.

“A group of abandoned aviation fuel tanks that once served Shanghai Longhua Airport were revitalised over a six-year period into a comprehensive art centre.

“The project defines a new era of urban art institutions, integrating parks and art exhibitions, landscapes and architectural spaces and industrial heritage and innovation.”

Read more about Tank Shanghai ›

dezeen awards 2024 five projects open architecture chapel of sound sq
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Chapel of Sound, Chengde, China, 2021

“Located about two hours drive from Beijing, the Valley Concert Hall is like a boulder from the distant past that has landed in a valley overlooking the Great Wall.

“The building consists of a semi-outdoor concert hall, several viewing platforms facing the valley, an outdoor stage facing the grassy slopes and a small number of indoor spaces such as musicians’ studios.

“These studios are used for a variety of professional performances including chamber music and dance, as well as for solo contemplation and community gatherings.

“This is a building sculpted from the inside out by sound. We hope that people can see the shape of sound or hear the sound of silence.”

Read more about the Chapel of Sound ›

dezeen awards 2024 five projects open architecture shanfeng academy sq
Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shanfeng Academy, Suzhou, China, 2023

“The multi-functional cultural and sports centre is the centrepiece of Shanfeng Bilingual School, providing the most important public space for the campus.

“The project includes theatres, exhibition spaces, a library, gymnasium, dance and fitness classrooms, swimming pools and a cafe among other functions.

“The spaces in between the five volumes that compose the project create four gardens dedicated to the seasons, bringing nature into the daily life of the space.

“Acting as an interface between the campus and the city, it also shares cultural facilities with the surrounding community.”

Read more about Shanfeng Academy ›

dezeen awards 2024 five projects open architecture time tower
Visualisation by Open Architecture

Sun Tower, Yantai, China, set to complete this year

“The Sun Tower is a unique cultural centre positioned by the sun’s trajectory, reconnecting people with nature and the universe.

“The position and movement of the sun at the spring equinox, fall equinox, summer solstice and winter solstice is skillfully captured by the building. The building becomes the stage for a spectacle of light and shadow.

“Here people experience the power of nature, the meaning of time and the wonder of the universe.

“We hope to create a unique work of dual-purpose: an art installation that directs people’s attention to time, seasons and natural phenomena on the one hand, and a useful public landmark on the other.

“It is a lighthouse of the soul that combines reverence for nature with contemporary cultural activities.”

Read more about Sun Tower ›

Enter now!

Dezeen Awards China 2024 is open for entries. Find out about all of this year’s categories and log in or create an account to start your entries. Enter before 16 July to benefit from our discounted early entry prices.

Click here for more information about Dezeen Awards China and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news. Plus you can always drop us a line at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Dezeen Awards China 2024 in partnership with Bentley

Dezeen Awards China is the first regional edition of Dezeen Awards which celebrates the best architecture, interiors and design in China. The annual awards programme is in partnership with Bentley as part of a wider collaboration to inspire, support and champion design excellence and showcase innovation that creates a better and more sustainable world. This ambition complements Bentley’s architecture and design business initiatives, including the Bentley Home range of furnishings and real estate projects around the world.

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