Dezeen Awards China, Open Architecture jury reveals five ‘radical’ designs

Chinese architects Li Hu and Huang Wenjing, founders of Beijing-based Open Architecture, have joined the judging panel for Dezeen Awards China 2024. Here, they select five projects that best represent their work.

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

Open Architecture has won Architect of the Year at Dezeen Awards China 2023. Judges noted that the studio “continues to create architecture that is radical and poetic, but also functional. Its bold work achieves a rare balance between the man-made and the natural, often with spectacular results.”

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

Dezeen Awards China 2024 has launched in partnership with Bentley, announcing our first line-up 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 bird 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 the entry fee.

Read on to hear Open Architecture’s thoughts on the five projects that best represent their work.

Photo by Wu Qingshan

UCCA Dune Art Museum, Qinhuangdao, China, 2018

“This project is a sanctuary of art and the body hidden beneath the seaside dunes. The cave spaces and works within them are softly and subtly lit.

“The museum’s design is simple and clean, trying to return to the most original and timeless spatial form. A series of continuous spaces resembling cells create the gallery’s exhibition rooms, like caves created by excavations.

“The gallery’s location beneath the dunes is both a sign of respect for nature and a form of protection. Its presence ensures the preservation of the delicate dune ecosystem that has been built over the centuries.”

Read more about Dune Art museum ›

Photo by Wu Qingshan

Shanghai Tank, Shanghai, China, 2019

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

A group of abandoned jet fuel tanks that once served Shanghai Longhua Airport were revitalized over six years and transformed into a comprehensive arts center.

“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 ›

Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Sound Chapel, Chengde, China, 2021

“Located about a two-hour drive from Beijing, Valley Concert Hall resembles a boulder from ancient times that landed in a valley overlooking the Great Wall.

“The building consists of a partially outdoor concert hall, several viewing platforms overlooking the valley, an outdoor stage overlooking the grassy slopes, and several indoor spaces such as studios for musicians.

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

“It’s a building carved from the inside out with sound. We hope people will see the shape of sound or hear the sound of silence.”

Read more about Chapel of Sound ›

Photo by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Shanfeng Academy, Suzhou, China, 2023

The multi-functional cultural and sports centre is the focal point of Shanfeng Bilingual School and is the most important public space on campus.

“The project includes theatres, exhibition spaces, a library, a gymnasium, dance and fitness rooms, swimming pools and a café.

The spaces between the five volumes that make up the project create four gardens dedicated to the seasons, bringing nature into the everyday 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 ›

Visualization by Open Architecture

The Sun Tower in Yantai, China, is set to be completed this year.

The Sun Tower is a unique cultural centre located along the path of the sun, enabling people to reconnect with nature and the universe.

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

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

“We hope to create a unique work with a dual purpose: on the one hand, an artistic installation that draws people’s attention to time, seasons and natural phenomena, and on the other hand, a useful public object.

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

Read more about Sun Tower ›

Come in now!

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

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Dezeen Awards China 2024 in partnership with Bentley

Dezeen Awards China is the first regional edition of the Dezeen Awards, recognizing the best architecture, interiors and design in China. The annual awards program is run in partnership with Bentley as part of a broader collaboration to inspire, support and promote design excellence and showcase innovations that create a better and more sustainable world. This ambition complements Bentley’s business initiatives in architecture and design, including the Bentley Home furniture range and real estate projects around the world.