Shenzhen stock exchange building : inside China’s ’miniskirt’ (Réalisé par l’agence de Rem Koolhaas : critique et interprétation, avec une jolie conclusion)
Today, the view from the 46th floor of Shenzhen’s new stock exchange is filled with an endless army of towers. Dual-pronged spires and spear-shaped peaks thrust upwards into heavy skies. There are cliffs of curtain-wall glazing, rendered in metallic blues and greens, pinks and golds. The city already has replicas of the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower, its own pyramids and Sydney Opera House (all marshalled into the Window of the World theme park) – so where do you start with something like a stock exchange? What structure best symbolises the summit of all capitalist ambition, the pinnacle of former Communist party leader Deng Xiaoping’s dream of wealth creation?
The architects hired to answer this £300m question are OMA, the Dutch practice headed by Rem Koolhaas and in China best known for Beijing’s outsize CCTV headquarters, completed last year. Rather than compete with Shenzhen’s proliferating skyline – which OMA partner David Gianotten describes as a “cacophony of shape-making” – they have elected to build something calmer and quieter.
At first glance the results are slightly nondescript: a 250m-high concrete office building punctuated by a monotonous grid of square windows. But get a little closer and you find that the podium, on which the tower would normally sit, has been hoisted 10 storeys upwards, where it hangs improbably above a public plaza.
(...) The summit is reserved for a VIP dining club, its banqueting halls upholstered with leather and raw silk; there are bamboo floors and aluminium walls, and views of a private roof garden planted on the podium. But once again, these spaces lack character or meaning, giving a bland sense of lobotomised luxury. (...)
In the end, it is this that marks the project apart from its neighbours: a muted grey cadaver among a riot of mirrored facades and faux-stone panelling. As we leave, the building begins to dissolve into the haze. This seems fitting: OMA’s hollow shell, built to house a largely virtual process, is eerie, tyrannical, arresting. But it also looks as if it might not be there at all."