Zone of Utopia, Mathieu Forest Architecte, and WUZ Design Envision the Xinxiang Cultural Tourism Center as an Ice Palace
China’s coastal cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong are popular destinations for international travelers. But it’s the landlocked province of Henan that holds the distinction of being the birthplace of Chinese culture; its 3,200-year history includes Buddhist temples from the 1st century and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yet it’s a 21st-century building, the Xinxiang Cultural Tourism Center, that anchors a new winter sports district in one of the region’s most ancient and important cities.
The firms responsible for the 304,000-square-foot complex—Paris-based architecture studios Zone of Utopia and Mathieu Forest Architecte, along with the more local WUZ Design—drew inspiration from a smash-hit animated feature film beloved worldwide and especially in China, Frozen. Comprising a stack of 10 steel-and-glass cubes, each 55 feet square, the center looks like a massive sculpture made from blocks of ice.
The effect starts with the facades’ glass panels: Suspended by stainless-steel cables, they’re digitally printed with a light-diffusing tangle of ice crystals, giving the structure a frosted look during the day. At night, an internal and external lighting system by PROL casts a slowly changing nimbus of brilliant blues, whites, and purples—colors found in the movie—turning the building into a glowing, fairytale castle. Adding to the magic, a water terrace on the plaza features rows of splashing fountains that create a rising mist while also suggesting that the cubes may be melting.
Pig Design Offers a Play on Words for the Facade of Ya Space in Hangzhou, China
2021 Best of Year winner for International Facade. The gallery-esque showroom Ya Space in Hangzhou is the official dealer of Memphis Milano—and a total embodiment of the group’s aesthetic. The two-story project (2021…
Arquitectonica and Fentress Look to the Sea for the Design of the Miami Beach Convention Center
2021 Best of Year winner for Building Facade – Domestic Interior. This island city is defined by its relationship to the Atlantic Ocean. So for a revamp of the Miami Beach Convention Center, which occupies a 1958 buildin…
Wutopia Lab Breathes New Life into a 1970s Watertower on the Chinese island of Chongming
Wutopia Lab creates the Memorial of Everyman in a former water tower to honor the site’s history.
Nicole Hogarty Designs Creates an Alluring Summer Retreat on Nantucket Island
Nicole Hogarty Designs mixes New England architecture and West Coast-inspired interiors for this Nantucket summer home.
11 Simply Amazing Museum Interiors
These impressive museums from around the world take a look at the past with an eye for future-forward architecture and design.
Architecture for London Creates a Low-Energy, High-Style House for its London Director
An Edwardian terrace house in London gets a sustainable redesign by Architecture for London for its own director Ben Ridley.