Design + Architecture

Cities of the Future

by Nicola McCormack

Galaxy SOHO, Beijing

Once Zaha Hadid, the queen of deconstructivist architecture, has finished with it, the Chaoyangmen neighborhood of Beijing will look like an alien spacecraft. Her latest project, Galaxy SOHO, due for completion in 2012, is an undulating series of buildings and bridges, plus a garden and atrium, that flow into one another to create a retail and office development covering nearly 3.5 million square feet. The structure, in northeast Beijing, will contrast sharply with its staid surroundings, including the nearby Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Space-age buildings don't come cheap, but if the cutting-edge stadiums built for the Olympics are any indication, tourists will be arriving by the busload to get a snapshot of Hadid's mother ship. Oh, and just in case you didn't notice, Galaxy SOHO is based on Old Beijing's traditional courtyards—no, we can't see it either.

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