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Landmark Galaxy Soho still largely unoccupied

By Stanley Lee  (CNTV)

16:04, March 22, 2013

The Galaxy Soho building was unveiled in November 2012, but is still largely unoccupied.(CNTV)

It’s a curvaceous, complex and ground-breaking structure. The Galaxy Soho building offers light and space to those fortunate enough to get offices there. Now that its architects have been nominated for two "Designs of the Year" in the UK, let’s take a tour of this Beijing landmark.

The Galaxy Soho building was unveiled in November 2012, but is still largely unoccupied.

It took three years for Zaha Hadid Architects to build this series of terraced, inter-connecting buildings in the heart of Beijing. Satoshi Ohashi, Project Director of Galaxy Soho, said, "the design is like an ’urban topography’ that we are building up the layers of the city that create this organic forms that are responding to the conditions of the city. I think that is what is really exciting about it. What we say are the layers of the city building up become not only buildings, but they become terraces or sun shading, for energy efficiency. Also the shapes aren’t just random shapes, there are soft and malleable but they are responding to the movement of the sun. "

The Galaxy Soho has four different buildings connected by eight bridges which link the complex together. The interior is vast, light and airy. The complex has inner courts which evoke traditional Chinese homes and courtyards. The fluid design can be felt in the interior of the building with its rounded halls and staircases. Much of the inspiration came from the traditional terraced fields of the countryside.

As well as Soho Galaxy, Zaha Hadid Architects have other ongoing projects in China, including the Soho Wangjing. But it hasn’t all been easy. According to Satoshi Ohashi, "How do you create our design, which we are trying to achieve, and then have it built here in China with local labourers. And also everything is procured in China - all the materials, everything is manufactured here and assembled here. I think that was the big challenge."

The Chinese owner of the complex is real estate developer SOHO China group. Maybe one day, if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself working in this amazing structure.

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