Conference Paper: Peer reviewed

Regional Opportunities: The Seeking of Feasible Modes for Chinese Architects to Deliver non-standard Building Envelope

by Wang S. and Crolla K.

ABSTRACT | The architectural industry has been pervasively engaging with computation. In most developed countries, designers adopt digital applications in virtual representation, simulation, and information exchange in order to expand design vocabularies and simultaneously pursue a higher production efficiency. These trends have impacted China’s architecture as well. In the past two decades, computation has interacted with domestic design generation and project delivery (PD). However, facing a dominative “Design-Bid-Build” (DBB) system and a rigid labour environment, pioneering Chinese architects are currently experiencing digital incompatibility among collaborating parties — the increasing design complexity versus effective methodologies of project delivery. This paper firstly questions the applicability of a Western PD paradigm in non-standard domestic practices and discusses shortcomings in current building and manufacturing industries. It then introduces a digitally enhanced PD hierarchy, in which process-based philosophy and modelling strategy are elabourated. Furthermore, the paper uses two cases of non-standard building envelopes to illustrate opportunities computation brought to architects. It aims to seek the possibility of an architect-led PD mode which fits a Chinese context and argues its peculiarities in comparison with the Western paradigm.

KEYWORDS | Non-standard Envelope; China; Architect-led; Project Delivery; Computation

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CITATION |Wang, Sining, and Kristof Crolla. “Regional Opportunities: The Seeking of Feasible Modes for Chinese Architects to Deliver non-standard Building Envelope”. In G. Ji and Z. Tong (eds.), Digital Culture – Proceedings of 2017 National Conference on Digital Technologies in Architectural Education and DADA 2017 International Conference on Digital Architecture, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, 9-10 September 2017, pp. 215-221