By Clifford Pearson
Ten years ago, Architectural Record and its sister publication BusinessWeek teamed up to honor architects and clients who work together to create great buildings. The awards program has become a huge success, showcasing innovative architecture that advances the mission of all kinds of clients—private businesses, government agencies, even cultural organizations. These winners prove that good design can help make companies more profitable, government agencies more efficient, and cultural organizations more popular. So when we say “Good design is good business,” we are talking about more than just RMB and dollars.
For the first time, we are bringing this program to China. Our plan is to run the China awards every second year, in conjunction with the bi-annual Global Construction Summit, organized by McGraw-Hill Construction (Architectural Record’s corporate parent) and China International Contractors Association. We hope the BW/AR China Awards will become an important record of the best architecture built in China and encourage clients to employ design as a powerful tool in establishing their brand identities, expressing their goals, and organizing their work forces.
The first group of winning projects are located all over China—from Lijiang and Chongqing to Shenzhen and Beijing—and their architects come from both China and abroad. They range from a small elementary school made of local stone to a modern glass-and-steel office building. But all of them embody a set of values in which design is seen as an investment, not just an expense. And all of them show the benefits of architects and clients working together to rethink basic assumptions and explore new ways of solving design challenges.
With China in the midst of an unprecedented building boom, we feel that an awards program that honors the best of this work will set a standard that others will have to follow.