When in China… #Architecture @Dunedin

Dunedin usually makes headlines for its couch- burning university antics, but in fact it’s one of the smartest cities in the country… Some two percent of the city has a PhD, which is about five times the national average.

architecturevanbrandenburg screenshot

### idealog.co.nz January 14, 2013 @ 9:37 am
Architecture Van Brandenburg’s ambitious Marisfrolg project
By Vincent Heeringa
From subterranean offices in Dunedin, Architecture Van Brandenburg is designing the headquarters of a Chinese fashion house. The result: a spectacular sculpture that people can work in.
On a side street in Dunedin in a quiet underground office, a couple of young men sit at their desks, fussing with their keyboards. The conspiratorial atmosphere belies the office’s real purpose. It’s the Dunedin branch of Architecture Van Brandenburg, a Queenstown firm that’s responsible for some of New Zealand’s heartland icons: Huka Lodge, Millbrook Resort and Wairarapa’s Wharekauhau. It’s also the design centre for Van Brandenburg’s latest work, a four-year explosion of imagination for international fashion house Marisfrolg (pronounced ‘masifer’), in Shenzen, China.
Consider the scale. The project consists of five buildings on a 90,000m2 site. That’s roughly 22 acres, the size of nine rugby fields or three Te Papas. It’s bigger than New Zealand’s largest building, Auckland Hospital, and possibly the largest commission ever for a New Zealand architect.

architecturevanbrandenburg idealog (detail)14-1-13

And consider the design. Van Brandenburg’s earlier work was more akin to Middle Earth and English hunting parties. This project is fit for a Ridley Scott movie. From the air the construction emulates a flying bird, representing the movement in the Marisfrolg garments and the emergence of this important Chinese brand. Seen from the ground, the buildings grow out of a man-made pond and are clad in a brilliant, glittering, white surface of broken tiles. The roofs are draped in gigantic, gravity-defying leaves.
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Originally published in Idealog #41, page 50

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Urban design

4 responses to “When in China… #Architecture @Dunedin

  1. Elizabeth

    The mention in the article of PhD’s at Dunedin reminds me how many lacklustre doctorates still proliferate from some departments of the university, and how many lacklustre tertiary institutions still proliferate in New Zealand – that the quality of supervision offered is in many cases extremely poor.
    Then, there are the undeniably superb and rocket-propelled instances of individual scholarship – but luckily, many of our brains aren’t merely hard-wired through the academic. Native cunning and edgy higher life forms still exist for innovation and business development – these contributors to the economy interest me more.

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s a funny city with its hidden diamonds. The official (DCC) view of “business activity” is kind of time-warped. There’s acknowledgement of those businesses that advertise, that are clearly visible, but there seems to be little knowledge or even curiosity about the small ones that are essentially international, pulling in overseas earnings and respect. Possibly those who are involved in such enterprises are better off being under the council radar away from the ministrations of Managers of this’n’that who have to justify own their existence by rolling out the red tape.

  3. That’s right Hype. It would also be a surprise to some the real stuff that happens here, and the council is NO WHERE NEAR IT! And yes, we can indeed thank god for that.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Ark Hotel Construction time lapse building 15 storeys in 2 days (48 hrs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps0DSihggio


    “What can you accomplish in 360 hours?
    The Chinese sustainable building company, Broad Group, has yet attempted another impossible feat, building a 30-story tall hotel prototype in 360 hours, after building a 15-story building in a week earlier in 2011.

    You may ask why in a hurry, and is it safe? The statistics in the video can put you in good faith. Prefabricated modular buildings has many advantages over conventional buildings.

    Higher precision in fabrication (+/- 0.2mm).
    More coordinated on-site construction management.
    Shorter construction time span.
    Lower construction waste.
    Also many other health and energy features are included in Broad Sustainable Buildings (BSB)”

    The building was built over last Christmas time and finished before New Years Eve of 2012.)”

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