UCLA's Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis Architects, have won a Progressive Architecture Award for their design of the Hanking Center Tower in Shenzhen, China
UCLA Distinguished Professor Thom Mayne and lecturer Wil Carson have received 2016 Progressive Architecture (P/A) Awards from ARCHITECT, the journal of the American Institute of Architects. Each year, the awards are given to as-yet-unbuilt projects that demonstrate overall design excellence and innovation.
Being rooted in as-yet-unbuilt architecture, the awards are, by their very nature, forward-looking. Every year since its inception in 1954, the program has challenged jurors and practitioners alike to define “progressive” for that given moment in the culture of architecture. The winning projects push “the boundaries of convention with a high degree of embedded material intelligence,” according to ARCHITECT.
Mayne, a Pritzker Prize winner and a leader of the School of the Arts and Architecture’s SUPRASTUDIO program, and his firm, Morphosis Architects, won a P/A award for their design of the Hanking Center Tower in Shenzhen, China. The 73-story tower is described as “an innovative take on the skyscraper typology, relying not merely on simple formal tweaks but rather a more radical repositioning of its core.”
Key to Hanking Center Tower is its robust steel frame, “an almost superstructural exoskeleton that at once holds the building up and defines its shape,” said ARCHITECT. Its bends create a variety of sizes for the floors, making them more adaptable to different users and individual demands.
The tower’s division revives a classic way to define the form from the outside in while creating nearly open floor plates for flexible use. A tapered atrium brings light down to flood the mall’s internal plaza, and the concentric levels of stores tighten as they climb, directing visitor’s eyes up to the sky bridges and braces connecting the high-rise portions together.
Carson, who received his master’s degree in architecture from UCLA in 2000, received his award for his role in designing the Long Beach Mobile ArtSpace, a large black cube that can be moved by a flatbed truck to vacant lots in Long Beach neighborhoods and Southern California communities with insufficient access to the arts.
The cube is designed to unfold, its four sides dropping down to form a stage for performing arts groups. The sides of the box can be raised and lowered to facilitate movie screenings, public meetings or other events. After a series of shows ends, the stage can be repacked into its black cube to await transport to the next site.
At night, its reflective sides come to life with an LED light show. And prior to art shows, a solar-powered, internally lit balloon will float high above, acting as a beacon to lure people to the site. The Arts Council for Long Beach is hoping to raise $5.25 million to cover construction and operations. Opening day is set to take place in summer 2017.