Throughout China's ultra-rapid urbanization, attention has been focused on set-piece architecture: opera houses, museums. However these would-be icons are the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of development in China's new cities takes the form of residential housing, often standardized and cheap to guarantee a quick return for investment. This development is located in the coastal city of Beihai, on a long, narrow waterfront site. The design concept combines the two typologies that usually define residential developments (high rise towers or long, low rise blocks) to create a bold new structure in the form of a long slab. This shape can maximize the views of residents, but can also easily appear to be a monolithic break between the waterfront and the land behind it. The geometry of the architecture maximizes potential views for the residents; the continuous platform along the roof becomes the public spaces, with gardens, tennis courts and swimming pools on top of the man-made hills. Each opening in the building allows the sea breezes to pass through and creating ocean views from the interior.
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