West has designs on China's future

By Andrew Moody (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-07 10:50
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West has designs on China's future

Paul Katz, president of Kohn Pederson Fox, said that in the inner cities the planning process was quite considered. The review panels will consider everything very carefully. [PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY]

New market trend

"Chinese developers in some cities are now on their second and third waves of development and have much higher aspirations of what they would like from their buildings in terms of their sustainability, quality and utility and also efficient use of materials, " added Katz at KPF.

"The inhabitants of cities also have greater lifestyle expectations and want something much more sophisticated than 15 years ago. It is hard to believe how quickly this has happened."

Latham at C.B. Richard and Ellis said the demand for quality buildings went right down to workers themselves.

"The competition for talent at the moment is tight and Chinese firms need to provide a working environment that is comparable with their international counterparts in order to attract talent," he said.

The speed at which buildings in China can be built still astounds Western architects used to having to battle it out with planners, often having to go through public planning inquiry hearings.

"If you look at the timeframe of a typical project in San Francisco it would take from the beginning of inception to completion around 10 years. The same project would take you three years or less in China," added Winey at Gensler.

Katz said one of the biggest changes in recent years has been the quality of construction materials available in China.

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"When we first came to China everything was imported, from the glass and metal to the elevators. Now everything is manufactured domestically and the quality of the materials is of the highest level," he said.

The level of building design in China is now such that international architectural firms believe that many of the new innovations being tried out here will find their way into buildings in the West. The East could be at the vanguard of change.

"A lot of what we do in China, certainly from the technology perspective, will be brought back to the United States and Europe," added Winey.

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