Guangzhou is building its new skyline and has hired foreign architects to design stunning new structures.
In a previous post architectural tour, I focused on contemporary architecture located around the Pazhou Exhibition Center. Today, we will look at Zhujiang New Town (珠江新城), Guangzhou’s new central business district in the urban district of Tianhe (天河区)
Zhujiang New Town (珠江新城) concentrates buildings designed by Western architectural firms which constitute the new face of Guangzhou.
Geographically, Zhujiang New Town is delimited by Huaxia Road (华夏路) to the west and Xiancun Road to the east (冼村路).
Here are architectural highlights of skyscrapers and cultural buildings that are becoming Guangzhou’s iconic landmarks.
Guangzhou New Library 广州图书馆
Completed in August 2011 and fully opened in June 2013, the Guangzhou new library was designed by the Japanese firm Nikken to look like a stack of open books which gives shape to two large atriums which also functions as skylights.
The two main entrances are situated on each side: one on Huacheng square (华城广场), the other near the Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou.
Go around the building to admire the curvy structure and the texture of the building.
Take the lift to Sky One, on the 28th floor of the Guangdong Rural Bank (see below) for a better view.
Entrance is free
Museum of Guangdong Province 广东省博物馆
Designed by Arup, the red and black cubic edifice just south of the new library is the museum of Guangdong province. Open since May 2010, the museum is a cultural landmark of the city and blends perfectly with the urban landscape.
I was particularly impressed by the square atrium that lets in the natural light and around which the exhibition rooms are articulated. I was less impressed by the mold growing on the overhanging ceiling.
If you are an amateur of calligraphy, pottery, ceramics, wood carving and want to know more about Guangdong history and culture, it is definitely the place for you to go.
Entrance is free with ID or passport only.
Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Get there early, the museum is quite popular.
Guangzhou City Opera 广州大剧院
In front of the new library and the museum, the new Guangzhou City Opera, the “world’s most spectacular opera house” represents two stones polished by the Pearl River. It is the work of British architect Zaha Hadid.
Go inside from the lower ground to visit the complex and admire the freestanding steel and window structure that gives the opera its singular shape.
Daytime visit entrance is 30 RMB between 10 AM and 4 PM
International Finance Center
Designed by the Australian architecture firm Woods Bagot, The IFC (International Finance Center) is the tallest building in Guangzhou, the fifth tallest in China and among the top 10 of the world’s tallest skyscraper.
Harboring a pretty simple design, the IFC is also home to the Four Seasons Hotel (from floor 68th to 98th); get in the lift and head to the lobby for a view of Zhujiang New Town.
Pearl River Tower 珠江大厦
Designed by Skidmore Ownings and Meryl, the skyscraper is currently the fourth tallest in Guangzhou. Collecting both solar and wind energy, the building consumes 60% less energy that regular structure, which makes it the first zero-energy seeking ‘green’ building of the city.
Ironically, this beacon of sustainable architecture will be the headquarters of Guangdong Tobacco Company.
Entrance : not open to public at the time of writing.
Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank (广州农村商业银行)
The GRC building is located across Huaxia Road (华夏路), west of the Guangzhou opera. It is easily recognizable with it’s pointy structure atop the lift tower and it’s peculiar design.
Take the lift to the Sky One restaurant between the 28th and 31st floors, a very fancy five star Cantonese restaurant and tea place. As it it the tradition in China, you have to rent a room that can accommodate parties of 6 to 12 people.
You can get a nice view of Huacheng Square, the library, the museum and the opera from the lift.