China Imposes Limits on Skyscraper Construction, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Ping An Finance Center in Shenzen, China, by Kohn Pederson Fox

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China, known as the capital of supertall skyscrapers, is now limiting their construction.

Despite China rising to prominence as the world’s capital of skyscrapers, the government is now enforcing strict regulations on new supertall buildings. New rules from China’s National Development and Reform Commission are prohibiting the approval of any new buildings taller than 500 meters (1,640 feet), limiting buildings taller than 250 meters (820 feet), and requiring any building taller than 100 meters (328 feet) to match the city’s spatial scale and comply with local fire codes. These rules will mostly impact Western firms behind many of China’s tallest skyscrapers, including Kohn Pedersen Fox and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

“It had gotten out of control,” Antony Wood, CEO of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, tells Fast Company, noting that Chinese building booms often amounted to arms races between cities vying for global attention without much care given to urban contexts. “It’s not necessarily going to mean a cessation of tall building activity or urban density, it just means they’re going to be better thought out.” Any lasting change will take time to realize—eight of the world’s ten tallest buildings under construction are currently in China.

Italy and France both require vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to enter most venues.

Those attending Milan’s Salone del Mobile or Paris’s Maison & Objet in September will likely need to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test in order to enter most venues in each city. Paris was first to enforce the so-called “health pass” for people seeking to enter museums, restaurants, cafes, large shopping centers, or any venues with more than 50 people; Italy followed suit shortly afterward. The new regulations arrive as the world grapples with increased infections thanks to the new, more contagious Delta variant, which has caused Italy’s number of new Covid-19 cases to reach 5,057 on Thursday—more than double the previous week. “The Green Pass is essential if we want to keep businesses open,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at a press conference. “The virus’s Delta variant is menacing.”

Marc Jacobs Spring 2022 backstage

New York Fashion Week is plotting a long-awaited return with live events this season. 

After a year-long hiatus from in-person interaction, New York Fashion Week is returning to the physical stage. The Council of Fashion Designers of America is partnering with IMG to launch the official schedule of the highly anticipated event, which runs September 8–12 with Ulla Johnson and Tom Ford in the opening and closing slots respectively, and an epic conclusion—the Met Gala—on the 13th. The CFDA sold the rights to the stage and operation of fashion week to IMG in 2001; while the former established the “official” fashion calendar, the latter organized independent events during the week by capitalizing on financial sponsors. This season, however, marks the first time the two parties will be officially working together. 

In New York, SOM unveils a $400 million public health lab for underserved communities. 

SOM has unveiled plans for a new Public Health Laboratory in Harlem that will replace an existing center to bridge an infrastructure gap that underserves Hispanic and Black communities. Recently recognized by the Public Design Commission’s Award for Excellence, the $400 million laboratory will operate on an adaptive forum that is geared toward clinical, environmental, civic health concerns. The 230,000-square-foot facility will host essential health and communal functions along with administrative offices. “The design of the new laboratory is the culmination and celebration of mission, culture, and place,” says SOM’s senior designer Scott Habjan in a statement. “It moves beyond familiar institutional aesthetics to convey the duality between the building’s precise, rigorous laboratory environments and its dynamic Harlem context.”

The former A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Photography by Matthew Carbone

New creative gathering spaces may start opening again after Covid forced many to close.

The ongoing pandemic’s financial blitz saw the closure of several creative spaces. Operating on a public-oriented model, co-working and community spaces were hotspots for artistic expression and celebration, but the abrupt halt of in-person gatherings saw income from occupancy fees, sponsorships, and fundraisers disappear. North Brooklyn’s A/D/O, the A+D Museum in Los Angeles, the Feminist Center for Creative Work, and others shifted to digital-only programming or ceased operations entirely. Although downsizing became the norm, the recovering global economy forecasts the reemergence of these community spaces with restored funding and enhanced mission-focused programs. 

A new tunnel may cause Stonehenge to lose its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Stonehenge is poised to lose its UNESCO World Heritage status following the approval of a two-mile tunnel on the site, despite warnings about the project’s negative effects on the landmark’s historic value. As noted by Chris Blandford, the president of World Heritage UK, there’s a “low awareness at the government level” of the prestige carried by the country’s UNESCO sites. The lack of national foundations that fund these cultural assets means that most heritage sites are run by local authorities with narrow financial pipelines; a 2019 report by World Heritage UK noted that the country’s UNESCO sites receive roughly £5 million ($6.9 million) from the government, paling in comparison to the £70 million ($96.7 million) allocated for 15 national parks.

Diplo x Crocs

Today’s attractive distractions:

Here’s how Henry the vacuum cleaner became an accidental design icon

JW Anderson adds a flavorful angle to his apparel with crocheted radishes

A chunk of an ancient supercontinent gets unearthed under New Zealand.

Crocs accuses a whole medley of brands of copying its “iconic” footwear.

All Stories