No. 459 . 20 January 2010 
ArchitectureWeek
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Holl's Linked Hybrid

by Jo Baker

China's recent willinginess to be an architectural testing ground has left it with a fair share of question marks dotting urban horizons, but in Linked Hybrid the gamble may have paid off. The bold, high-end residential complex in Beijing, by Steven Holl Architects, offers a more pervasive and open sense of neighborhood than most other modern high-rise housing in the city.

The 221,000-square-meter (2.38 million-square-foot) complex combines eight square-edged apartment towers, a sleek ninth tower slated for a hotel, and assorted other structures. What elevates the venture is the way public and communal facilities are woven throughout.

The project also looks likely to receive a Gold rating under LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development, for which it was a pilot project. Certification is currently pending.

Centered on Connection

Known as Grand Moma to its residents, Linked Hybrid was shaped by the architects' wish to forge connections — both among residents and between residents, neighbors, and visitors. Holl and his Beijing partner, Li Hu, were keen to counteract the cloistered feeling that seals off many of the Chinese capital's new "object" residential buildings.

This intent is most strikingly expressed in the glass bridges that loop between the heavy geometry of the eight residential towers and the rounded glass hotel tower, giving residents a high street in the sky. Located between upper floors of the 14-to-21-story towers, each of these large skybridges has been made functionally distinctive — one with a tea shop, another with a swimming pool (yet to be opened), another with a small auditorium. All boast phenomenal views.   >>>

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