We take a closer look at what’s going on in China this week, as it’s status as the place for new architecture is firmly cemented, as two major new projects are announced, and the UK property market is showing signs of improvement as we enter into 2020.

To celebrate China’s transition into modernity, a beautiful 180-metre-tall tower is to be built in Hengyang, China, serving as a gateway between “culture, sustainability and modernity”. The amazing design is the brainchild of RMJM Shanghai, and despite it’s slender frame, there will be a restaurant placed 140 metres up the building, and a viewing platform on the top.

the 180 meters tower embodies two wild gooses taking off from the water. One looking at the old city and another looking at the future one. The two bodies perpendicular to the river, form a gate or an entrance to the future master plan. At night, through curtain wall light effects, the two bodies transform into a big flame witnessed from different angles of the city” – RMJM Shanghai.

The river, the wild goose and the fire are all iconic essentials of Hunan culture.

Herzog & de Meuron have been named as the winners of the competition to design the new Grand Canal Museum Complex, to celebrate the history of the longest and oldest artificial river in the world that runs over 1,000 miles between Beijing and Hangzhou; the Grand Canal in China. The elegant design’s facade mimics water, whilst inside the museum, the bold design will have 50,000-square-metres of exhibition spaces split over two levels.

Grand Canal Museum Complex - China

Grand Canal Museum Complex – China

Aaron Betsky of Dezeen believes that 2020 will see a “return of the real” in architecture and design, with a stronger focus on reusing, recycling, flexible spaces and earthy materials.

Bjarke Ingels Group and WXY have proposed a new future for Downtown Brooklyn, putting emphasis on the safety and environmental friendliness of the area. Working alongside Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the aim is to cater for the booming population of the area by reducing congestion and improving air quality.

After a surge in deals agreed or acquired in London’s commercial property sector since Boris Johnson’s landslide victory, experts in the sector are predicting the interest and confidence will flood back to the capital in commercial property.

Since Johnson’s election, £1.2bn in commercial property deals was invested. 

The resurgence of timber as a primary building material has been affirmed once again, with Hacker Architects unveiling their plans to build the largest mass timber office in North America. Set for the waterfront of San Francisco, it will occupy the site of a historic shipyard building, with it’s prime spot gifting amazing views of downtown, the bay, and nearby hills.

The new global headquarters for the Pace Gallery has opened it’s doors in Manhattan. The simple design by New York firm Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture sits a stones throw from the High Line and will contain several galleries, event space and a library.

Manhattan is currently experiencing a property decline, with sales falling for the eighth time in nine quarters, with the average price falling by 7.5% from last year. Could this be a kick back to New York’s new regulations?

The ban on withdrawals from one of the UK’s biggest property funds, M&G, has been extended with no given end date. 

Carmody Groarke have won a competition to revamp and renew a 1960s brutalist office building for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Nuremberg, Germany. Their goal is to create a new ‘campus’ for the religious organisation, with colleges, regional administration and congressional facilities for the synod of Bavaria, a 100-room student hostel and a public chapel. The design cleverly retains the heart of the old building, whilst updating it for modern use. The original building was part of the post-war regeneration and it’s design is rooted in brutalism.

Church Campus - HEKKTA - China

Church Campus – HEKKTA – China

Labour have criticised the Conservatives for what they call a ‘puny’ amount of money set aside to tackle rogue landlords, with £4m being set aside. Private landlords also said the budget was too small and “nowhere near enough to tackle the crooks”.

Over the past year, the super-rich have taken advantage of the low interest rates, with £1.8bn worth of mortgages being taken out to buy London properties. There were 185 mortgages worth more than £5m taken out. The average value of the mortgages was £9.7m, according to the figures obtained by Boodle Hatfield, a law firm that specialises in advising the wealthy. Their total value was £1.8bn, an huge increase on the £200m from the previous year.

The historic Streamline Moderne Firestone Building in Los Angeles is to be restored, having closed in 2016. Used since 1938 as a retail outlet by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company to sell their goods, the building was seen as very modern at the time of completion, created in the Streamline Moderne style.

The new building will be shared by a brewery and Chicas Tacos when the restoration to it’s former glory is completed later this year.

Streamline Moderne Firestone Building - HEKKTA - China

Streamline Moderne Firestone Building – HEKKTA – China