Campaign to save Trieste's iconic Caffe San Marco

In its heyday, the Caffe San Marco was one of the fixed points on the vibrant intellectual map of Trieste, frequented by writers James Joyce and Italo Svevo and poet Umberto Saba. Decades later, in a world increasingly dominated by quick caffeine fixes and multi-ingredient beverages, the historic Viennese-style coffee house has remained a beloved part of the port city in Italy's northeast.

Friday, 31 May, 2013, 5:12am

Tech firms' trophy office plans may signal high point in their fortunes

Amazon's Seattle HQ. Photo: AFP

While much of corporate America is retrenching on the real estate front, the four most influential technology companies in the US are each planning headquarters that could win a Pritzker Architecture Prize for hubris.

29 May 2013 - 2:40am 1 comment

Intelligent designs: greener thinking

The Waterhouse

Bennetts Associates is a London-based architecture practice known for its highly sustainable approach to construction and a portfolio that includes theatres, offices, universities, hotels and historic conservation.

10 May 2013 - 7:32am

Design duo foster debate on the built environment

Industrial Forest at Spring Workshop is an interactive installation that has already stimulated commentary. Photo: ESKYIU

One of the more creative projects to emerge in art-obsessed Hong Kong this year is an intriguing installation by architects Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu Kar-san, of ESKYIU studio.

8 May 2013 - 2:33am

Rockbund cultural hub to balance traditional and modern architecture

The Rockbund Art Museum is part of the restoration of 11 historic buildings. Photos: courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects

With no shortage of new dramatic architectural landmarks in China, it is notable that one of the most intriguing design projects to emerge in recent years is not a monumental skyscraper, but the restoration and subtle extension of a historic contemporary-art museum on the northern tip of the city's famed Bund.

24 Apr 2013 - 5:19am

Hong Kong's heritage policy needs muscle

Historical buildings No 10 and 11 in Wong Chuk Hang San Wai. Photo: Warton Li

The government likes to portray Hong Kong as a city with a clear strategy on heritage conservation. Thanks to growing public awareness and conservation efforts, more than 1,000 buildings and monuments are graded as worthy of protection. The result may sound reassuring in a place known for its strong appetite for tearing down old blocks for redevelopment. But a closer examination by the government auditor shows the situation still leaves a lot to be desired.

21 Apr 2013 - 4:56am

Internet lights up as new People's Daily HQ erected

The Communist Party's main propaganda building is expected to open next year. Photo: Imagechina/Zhang Wei

The shape of the new headquarters of the People's Daily, the Communist Party's main propaganda machine, has sparked heated discussion online for looking a bit too phallic.

The building is still under construction in Beijing, but at its current stage, documented widely in pictures on social media sites, its shape is certainly suggestive.

19 Apr 2013 - 3:15pm

Bank of China Tower is among world's top corporate HQs, German firm says

Bank of China Tower (left), the Petronas Twin Towers, and the BMW headquarters in Munich.

There are no dollar signs or references to money, but the striking Bank of China Tower in Admiralty screams economic might, according to a new list of the world's most eye-catching corporate headquarters.

14 Apr 2013 - 6:58am

Jackie Chan gives last of his historic sandalwood houses to Singapore

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan will give the last six of his collection of 10 historic Chinese sandalwood houses to a Singaporean university, after a decade of failed preservation talks with Hong Kong bureaucrats.

8 Apr 2013 - 5:21am 5 comments

HK$700m conservation project lost in time

Movie director Fruit Chan Kuo is one of the city's creatives - including actor Chow Yun-fat - with offices in the shophouses. Photo: Thomas Yau

A plan to conserve a row of historic shophouses in Mong Kok's flower market has been delayed indefinitely, with the Urban Renewal Authority acquiring only half of the properties there.

8 Apr 2013 - 5:21am

Kai Tak Sports Hub

An artist's impression of the planned HK$19 billion Kai Tak sports hub.

When the Beijing Municipal Government invited bids to build the best Olympic swimming venue ever for the 2008 Games, the brief to architects was simple: give us a centre that meets the Olympic criteria for swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming; that would be a popular and well-used leisure and training facility after the Games; and that costs no more than US$100 million.

5 Apr 2013 - 10:49am 3 comments

World's iconic cities distilled on the mainland

Bianca Bosker says that China copies communities such as Austria's Hallstatt, pictured) to prove its worth because "to copy is to equal". Photo: Alex Hofford

Consume the Western media for any period of time and sooner or later you'll come upon a Funny China Story - reports on the consequences of the mainland's rapid and chaotic economic expansion that are part amused gape, part patronising reflex sneer. 

24 Mar 2013 - 4:39pm

Melbourne tower to be tallest south of equator

Artist's impression of Melbourne's Australia 108, which will be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Photo: AFP

Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, could possibly have the tallest building in the southern hemisphere after approval yesterday for a new 388-metre apartment and hotel complex.

19 Mar 2013 - 3:16am

Architect Joel Sanders seeks building designs that integrate with nature

This penthouse loft in Manhattan's Nolita section has a central light well and a garden, designed by Joel Sanders. Photo: Joel Sanders Architect

Five years ago, New York-based architect Joel Sanders was renovating a Manhattan penthouse when he ran into a problem. "There was a rooftop garden, and what we needed to figure out was how to connect it to the loft," he says. "We decided to reverse modernist convention. Instead of taking hard materials outside, we brought the outside in."

13 Mar 2013 - 5:20am

Architect Bing Thom realises homecoming dream with cultural contract

Architect and designer Bing Thom. Photo: SCMP

If I was offered the chance to do one project, this would be it," architect and designer Bing Thom says of the project that has lured him back to the city of his birth.

25 Mar 2013 - 9:56am