Designer Profile: Kuang Xiaoming & Zhang Hai’Ao of Shanghai Huadu Architecture & Urban Planning

1Name: Kuang Xiaoming
Company: Shanghai Huadu architecture&urban planning (HDD)
Position within company: Director of HDD, Leading architect in HDD

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

I got my master degree in Architecture and urban design in 1994 from Tongji University. After that, I have been working on the architecture design, urban planning and landscape design in Tongji urban planning research institute. Until now, I have done more than 500 projects in China. Being the secretory of Urban Planning Society of China, I am trying to bridging the architecture design and the urban planing with my practice.


Name: Zhang Hai’Ao2
Company: Shanghai Huadu architecture&urban planning (HDD)
Position within company: Chief Architect, Project Manager for the international department

I was born in 1981, as a so called after 80s architect in China. I got my bachelor degree in Architecture and master degree in Architecture theory. Now I am a PHD on Urban Design in Tongji University.

How would you describe your personal design styles?

We are always trying to integrate Chinese culture into the contemporary architecture practice. It is very crucial for us to create certain kind of modern regionalism in Chinese context. We pay much attention to the regionalism context with the respects to the culture identity and the spirit of the time.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

First of all, it comes from the Yanqi lake and the surrounding mountains. We want to create a building integrating into the context. The sunrise on the lake expresses this atmosphere accordingly, showing the integration of the nature and the building.

It is also from the old Chinese philosophy of Circle. Not only could a circle interact with surrounding landscape with its soft edges, it also represents a Chinese value on intergradations of human beings and nature. It also becomes an image of sunrise on the water which has tremendous culture impact to Chinese from thousands years ago. We have so many poems and painting about sunrise. Since it is also built for APEC summit, the circle shape can also be read as a sign of cooperation for all different countries. From the architectural perspective, the shape of the building creates interesting interior space simultaneously.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Architecture is the combination of art and technology. Sustainability and humanity are always very important for architecture design. It is important to create a project which has high architectural value. We have to respect nature with sustainable design. However it is more crucial to have a building could encourage most people in the society including laymen. That is why I am working on the integration of traditional Chinese culture and the modern architecture. A great building should be enjoyed and celebrated by the whole society, not only by academic world.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.

Sustainability, Technology, Energetic atmosphere, Humanity, Art

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?

The architecture design is not a project for one person, but also a Representative of a certain time. And trying to learn from everything, especially our traditional culture.

How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

It will be a great recognition and encouragement of our design philosophy and the hard work of our team! It is also a way of communicating and exchanging knowledge. We are really looking forward it.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are quite a big company working on all kinds of building from residential building to culture buildings. Now we are working on some landscape hotel, highrise hotel, CBD projects and office buildings

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

We want to have more project to showcase our capability in architecture design with more challenge and surprise. We want to continue working on what we believe is good buildings for Chinese cities. The name of the company ‘Huadu’ means many cities in China in Chinese. We want to contribute more to the contemporary Chinese architectural practice.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourselves…

Your most treasured possession?
Kuang Xiaoming: My design experience and creativity ability
Zhang Hai’ao: The ability to respond all challenges quickly

Your favourite holiday destination?
Kuang Xiaoming: Paris, a place combining tradition and modernity
Zhang Hai’ao: Stockholm.

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
Kuang Xiaoming: Shanghai Peninsula hotel
Zhang Hai’ao: Some Chinese traditional hotels in Hangzhou

Your favourite book / film / song?
Kuang Xiaoming: Kevin Kelly ‘Out of Control’
Zhang Hai’ao: I don’t have particular ones. I love all kinds of books, films and songs.

Your favourite food and drink?
Kuang Xiaoming: Jiangsu cuisine, Maotai white wine
Zhang Hai’ao: Cake and cookie

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
Kuang Xiaoming: Staring at landscape in a really small town.
Zhang Hai’ao: Reading

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Kuang Xiaoming: Sculptor
Zhang Hai’ao: Writer