Galaxy Soho

Architecture in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

Along with the CCTV Tower and the Bird's Nest, Běijīng's remarkable Galaxy Soho building has announced itself as one of the capital's modern architectural landmarks. Opened in 2012, the low-rise complex writhes and flows like an alien spaceship, in stark juxtaposition to the adjoining hútòng housing (which controversially was cleared for its development). Designed by acclaimed British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid (1950–2016), it is typical of her work, characterised by sleek contours and an interconnected design with adjoining walkways and space-age Modernist facade.

Perhaps due to its isolated perch along the East Second Ring Rd, or the short-sighted commercial model employed by developer SOHO China, Galaxy Soho has failed to hit the stratosphere commercially speaking, and remains an underutilized mix of office and commercial units, with a few sleepy cafes, restaurants and a live music venue thrown into the mix.