Rolf Rehm, a Dutch architect, this year completed a practice he called “walking” as the city of Shanghai struggled with rapidly rising skyscrapers. Called Ribhiyyu, it looks like many other new Shanghai skyscrapers, with all of its gleaming glass and aluminum. But underneath it — spread over 30 stories, with 40 stories to go — are secret corridors. Through these secret, underground floors, buildings need to somehow rearrange themselves in the face of urban competition. Building houses and shops above the plaza is just one option.
“We are building apartment buildings, restaurants, and shops,” Rehm said, “because you cannot just enclose the city behind high-rises.”
Most of the works Rehm made are built on the sides of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. In 1999, Rehm and a team of urban planners designed “Walk-of-Fountain,” a towering structure that walked through Beijing’s Temple of Heaven square and over to Tiananmen Square. It appears as a tranquil marble sculpture, connected to a 14-story sky tower. The tower drops some 18 stories. Once the water from the fountain is out, the structure will stand alone.