By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Haiwei Xie lands GAGA 2012 prize

RCA graduate Haiwei Xie has won the 2012 Global Architecture Graduate Awards, run by sister title The Architectural Review

Her B.R.I.C. House scheme for the controversial Chelsea Barracks site combines the traditional English picture of domesticity with the acronym for the emerging economic nations − Brazil, Russia, India and China.

‘The intention is to create a high-quality but low-price, high-density but low-rise housing development aimed at a diverse and multi-cultural society,’ says its designer.

The architecture is shaped for the emerging groups of single parents, single persons and immigrants, and accordingly prioritises public space over private provision. Everything but personal bedrooms is shared, and Xie develops what she calls ‘public living rooms’, using development patterns borrowed from the four B.R.I.C. nations.

According to the AR, the project convincingly positions itself, not only in the global political and economic landscape, but also, architecturally, as a proposal for one of the capital city’s most contested sites.

The dexterity and bravura of the presentation’s sampling of recognisable elements from many different places in order to make something new and distinctive neatly marries Xie’s visual rhetoric with her intellectual intent. It is also, in its more-or-less happy collision of cultures, a perfect metaphor for how the story of London is evolving; and − as the tale of a Chinese student coming to a London institution, thriving, and winning a global award − a small parable of that larger 21st-century story: East meets West.






Subscribe to AJ for £3 per week

Subscribe today and receive 47 issues of the magazine, 12 issues of AJ Specification and full access to and the AJ Buildings Library

Are you a student?

Students can subscribe to the AJ for £8 per month or £1.60 per week! Click here to start receiving the most recommended magazine for architecture students


Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters