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Linked Hybrid, Beijing, China, 2003 - 2009

The 220,000 square-meter Linked Hybrid complex in Beijing, aims to counter the current privatized urban developments in China by creating a twenty-first century porous urban space, inviting and open to the public from every side. A filmic urban experience of space; around, over and through multifaceted spatial layers, as well as the many passages through the project, make the Linked Hybrid an “open city within a city.” The project promotes interactive relations and encourages encounters in the public spaces that vary from commercial, residential, and educational to rec¬reational; a three-dimensional public urban space.

The ground level offers a number of open passages for all people (residents and visitors) to walk through. These passages include “micro-urbanisms” of small scale shops which also activate the urban space surrounding the large central reflecting pond. On the intermediate level of the lower buildings, public roof gardens offer tranquil green spaces, and at the top of the eight residential towers private roof gardens are connected to the penthouses. All public functions on the ground level, - including a restaurant, hotel, Montessori school, kindergarten, and cinema - have connections with the green spaces surrounding and penetrating the project. Elevators displace like a “jump cut” to another series of passages on higher levels. From the 12th to the18th floor a multi-functional series of skybridges with a swimming pool, a fitness room, a café, a gallery, etcetera connects the eight residential towers and the hotel tower, and offers views over the unfolding city. Programmatically this loop aspires to be semilattice-like rather than simplistically linear. We hope the public sky-loop and the base-loop will constantly generate random relationships; functioning as social condensers in a special experience of city life to both residents and visitors.

The large urban space in the center of the project is activated by a greywater recycling pond with water lilies and grasses in which the cinematheque and the hotel appear to float. In the winter the pool freezes to become an ice-skating rink. The cinematheque is not only a gathering venue but also a visual focus to the area. The cinematheque architecture floats on its reflection in the shallow pond, and projections on its facades indicate films playing within. The first floor of the building, with views over the landscape, is left open to the community. The polychrome of Chinese Buddhist architecture inspires a chromatic dimension. The undersides of the bridges and cantilevered portions are colored membranes that glow with projected nightlight and the window jambs have been colored by chance operations based on the “Book of Changes” with colors found in ancient temples.


2003 - 2009
Beijing, China
Modern Green Development Co., Ltd. Beijing


Design Architects:
Steven Holl
Li Hu
Shu He


Associate Architects:
Beijing Capital Engineering Architecture Design Co. LTD