THAD curves prefabricated shelter over historic Peking Man cave

An undulating shelter has been constructed over the Peking Man cave, a historic site in China that is home to ancient human fossils, in an effort to protect it from weathering.

Designed by the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University (THAD), the shelter blocks rain and wind out of the cave, while also reducing fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

The cave is part of the Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site near Beijing, which has yielded a number of significant archaeological discoveries including a collection of fossils of Homo erectus skeletons dating back 750,000 years that are known collectively as Peking Man.

THAD's shelter, which was completed in 2018 but photographed recently, was commissioned after a severe rainstorm led to the cave system being damaged by flooding.

It is composed of overlapping panels

"The site is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent but also illustrates the process of evolution," explained THAD.

"The semi-closed structure was adopted to maintain the natural condition of Peking Man cave as a buffering space that protects it from the uncertainties."

The Seeds are a group of shingle-clad pods nestled in a Chinese forest

ZJJZ Atelier has completed a cluster of ellipsoidal holiday cabins for a woodland hotel in Jiangxi, China, which are wrapped in wooden shingles and mirrored aluminium tiles.

Shanghai studio ZJJZ Atelier designed the buildings for the Tree Wow hotel, which specified that the pods should be inspired by natural forms to echo their scenic surroundings.

It is the second project the studio has designed for the complex, with the other being The Mushroom guesthouse that has a large conical roof.

Above: ZJJZ has designed a group of holiday cabins. Top image: they are part of a woodland hotel in China

According to the architects, the design of The Seeds was based on the functional demands of the buildings, rather than a direct attempt to copy a particular natural shape.

"Instead of creating merely imitative forms, we focused on developing the spatial experience by staging views and establishing the relationship between the structures and their surrounding environment," explained ZJJZ Atelier.

Each pod has round windows

Each of the four Seeds is raised above the ground on stilts and accessed via an external staircase. Inside, the pods contain a bedroom, bathroom, storage area and an attic space for lounging.

Round windows inserted into the surfaces of each pod have been arranged to provide specific views of the surroundings. Smaller windows at the side look onto the adjacent woodland, while a bigger opening in the attic frames a view of the treetops and the sky.

At the front, the largest of the openings contains doors that open onto a circular terrace. The terraces are supported by independent pillars and one of their decks is punctured by a hole with a tree growing through it.

Internally, The Seeds are lined with wooden boards that follow the flowing shapes of the external shells. The different tones of the wood accentuate the sweeping curves of the non-linear surfaces.

An attic lounge overlooks the living space. Photo is by ZJJZ

ZJJZ Atelier was established in 2017 and has worked on several hotel and hospitality projects, including a hotel comprising wooden cabins scattered across a mountainside in Guizhou Province and a bar and restaurant in the same region that can be opened up to immerse guests in the mountain scenery.

Photography is by Tian Fangfang unless stated.


Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designs Shenzhen airport terminal

Architecture studio Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has designed a terminal for an airport in Shenzhen, China, that will be arranged around a large covered garden. The 400,000 square-metre terminal will be an extension to Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport and is designed to handle 31 million visitors a year.

The building will have a streamlined form with an undulating, sweeping roof that emulates the pattern of airflow.

Airport will be built around central garden

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' terminal will include a central 10,000-square-metre garden that was designed to act as a "front door" to the city of Shenzhen.

"The design concept has at its heart a 10,000 square-metre central garden space, the size of 40 tennis courts," said Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners partner Andrew Tyley.

"The garden acts as the front door to Shenzhen connecting and integrating ground and air travel."

According to the studio, the terminal will include vast green spaces and landscaped walkways to promote wellbeing.

"It is a building where passengers' wellbeing and pleasure are at the heart of the design," said Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners senior partner Ivan Harbour.

"This is an airport that celebrates the hellos and goodbyes in a natural environment at its heart," he continued.

"These are the emotional moments that, despite the ever-increasing speed of our daily lives, remain important to us as individuals."

The terminal hopes to become a landmark

The terminal was developed in collaboration with China Northeast Architectural Design & Research Institute as part of an international competition.

According to the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the building will attempt to meet sustainability goals through its compact form, control of solar gain, low water use, and the harvesting of rainwater.

Grimshaw Architects have also designed a transport hub for the Shenzhen Bao'an Airport that will accommodate highspeed rail and other transport systems.

Elsewhere in Shenzhen, a music conservatory enveloped in decorative louvres designed by EMBT  along with a 700 metre-long university building designed by Dominique Perrault Architects is being built as part of a city-wide development for 10 new cultural buildings that form part of the Shenzhen Ten Cultural Facilities of New Era masterplan.


Grimshaw models Shenzhen airport transport hub on mangrove trees

Mangrove trees informed the design of the Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub, which architecture firm Grimshaw has won a competition to build at an airport in China.

The large transport interchange will form part of the Shenzhen Bao'an Airport and is hoped to become a landmark and gateway for the wider Greater Bay Area, which is home to nine cities.

'Grimshaw has designed the Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub'


Grimshaw's design, characterised by sweeping columns and an undulating roofscape, was modelled on mangrove trees in honour of their symbolic significance in Shenzhen.

According to the studio, it is also an attempt to replicate the highly efficient, natural forms of the tree species, which it describes as "one of the planet's most effective carbon absorbers".

It will be built at Shenzhen Bao'an Airport


"We are often inspired by the transfer of geometries and forms from nature into architecture," explained Jolyon Brewis, partner at Grimshaw.

"We have applied this approach to the master plan and interchange design at Shenzhen Bao'an Airport which is directly inspired by the mangrove tree. Not only does this have symbolic value as an important tree to Shenzhen, but it has led us to a solution for the building that is highly efficient."


Grimshaw's design was the winning entry of an international competition for the Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub, chosen over entries by the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster + Partners and BIG.

It was developed with a wider competition team consisting of Mott MacDonald, China Aviation Planning and Design Institute, Beijing Urban Construction Design and Development Group, Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Atelier Ten and Gross Max.


Inside, visitors to Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub will be guided through arrival and departure spaces that are naturally lit and filled with sweeping columns that evoke tree roots.

There will be spaces both above and below ground in a nod to mangrove trees, which have roots that weave between air and water.

The transport hub will be developed by Grimshaw to achieve LEED Platinum and Chinese 3 Star ratings, which are the highest certifications awarded in terms of energy performance by the two green building standards.

According to the studio, this will be achieved in part through the efficient use of materials – such as the repetition of components.

Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub is the latest in a string of buildings being developed in Shenzhen by a list of illustrious architects.

This includes 10 cultural buildings that are being created for the major Shenzhen Ten Cultural Facilities of New Era masterplan. Among them are a music conservatory wrapped in decorative louvres, a pebble-shaped science museum by Zaha Hadid Architects and a giant opera house on the waterfront Jean Nouvel.

Elsewhere, Grimshaw is currently developing a carbon-neutral terminal for Delhi Noida International Airport in India, alongside Nordic Office of Architecture, Haptic and STUP.

Its plans to expand London's Heathrow airport have also been given the go-ahead once more, after an argument that the expansion would undermine the UK's commitment to the Paris Agreement was overturned.

Visuals are courtesy of Grimshaw.