Inspired by China's fast-paced economic growth and the resulting building boom of the recent decade, Beijing- and New York-based design firm Open Architecture had been researching themes of construction, production steamlining and temporary building, when they came up with HEX-SYS.
'It is a building system that can be easily adapted to many different functions, and most importantly, can be disassembled after each use and reassembled in another location, thus preventing huge waste of our resources,' say the architects.
Exploring the potential of building, as well as ideas around sustainability and architecture, the team invented a way of enabling fast construction in a way that also remains in touch with the country's heritage; the system draws on the ancient Chinese wood building methods. HEX-SYS is 'light, industrialized, flexible, sustainable and reusable', they explain.
Their first prototype has just been completed. Located in Guangzhou and built for the real estate giant Vanke, the light structure is clad in sandblasted and anodized aluminium panels, while its interior is lined with bamboo; a material that is known for being especially environmentally friendly.
The structure in Guangzhou is created out of hexagonal elements – referencing, the architects explain, Le Corbusier's work at the Swiss Pavilion in Paris, built in the early 1930s, and modular building in general. This modularity allows the various parts to work just as easily in many different configurations.
There are three unit typologies to choose from and each one spans about 40 sq m and features an 'inverted umbrella' form. This doubles as a means for collecting rainwater, as each column discreetly hides a pipe. The water is then used for landscape irrigation, adding to the structure's eco credentials. On top of this, the prototype sits lightly on the ground, having required minimal excavation and overall site disruption.