Construction of Linked Hybrid by Steven Holl


Photographer Iwan Baan has taken a set of photos of the construction of Linked Hybrid in Beijing, a ring of towers linked with aerial bridges designed by architect Steven Holl.

The bridges will contain programme such as lap pools, exercise rooms and cafes. The project is due for completion later this year.

Here's some text from the architects:


Linked Hybrid
Beijing, China
2003 - 2008


Filmic urban space; around, over and through multifaceted spatial layers, is one of the central aims of this Hybrid Building complex with over 600 apartments sited adjacent to the old city wall of Beijing. The aspiration of the developer Modern Group is for an ultra-modern expression of 21st Century ecological urban living, in this 210,000 square meter project.

Current development in Beijing is almost entirely “object buildings” and free standing towers. This “city within a city” envisions urban space as the central aim—as well as all the activities and programs that can support the daily life of over 2500 inhabitants: café’s, delis, laundry, dry cleaners, florists etc, line the main public passages. The eight towers are linked at the twentieth floor by a ring of cafes and services.

The polychrome architecture of Ancient China here inspires a new phenomenal dimension especially inscribing the “spatiality of the night”. The undersides of the cantilevered portions are colored membranes in night light glow. Misting fountains from the water retention basin activate the night light in colorful clouds, while the floating Cineplex centerpiece has partial images of its ongoing films projected on its undersides and reflected in the water.

Focused on the experience of the passage of the body through spaces, the towers are organized to take movement, timing and sequence into consideration. The point of view changes with a slight ramp up, a slow right turn. The elevator displaces like a “jump cut” to another series of passages on a higher level, which pan across exhilarating peripheral views.

The encircled towers express a collective aspiration; rather than towers as isolated objects or private islands in an increasingly privatized city.....the hope of a new type of collective 21st century space in the air is inscribed. Programmatically this loop aspires to be semi-lattice-like rather than simplistically linear. We have an initial series of programs. However we hope the sky-loop and the base-loop will constantly generate random relationships, just as a modern city does.

Mass housing in china has historically been standardized and repetitive. Our hope is to break the pattern; this new vertical urban sector aspires to individuation in urban living. Hundreds of different apartment layouts in a huge variety of types will be available among the 622 living spaces constructed here. And it should be emphasized, that even if this would lead to a commercial advantage, the reason for this individuation is philosophical as well.

Digitally driven prefabricated construction of the exterior structure of the eight towers allows for “beamless” ceilings. Every apartment has two exposures with no interior hallways. Principles of Feng-Shui are followed throughout the complex, which is aimed at sustainability “LEED Gold” rating.

Posted on Thursday March 6th 2008 at 10:15 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Morais

    Nice renders !!!…Just a joke


  • J


  • João

    the idea of a city linked by bridges sounds interesting, at least if we compare with isolated towers… I’m not sure, it gives me the impression of an aereal street connecting the buildings… another way to get “there”…

  • openminds

    i realley dig the idea… but errrmm… imho the bridges are just another way to enter the towers… in fact you enter the tower the same way you would on the ground exceot the fact you’re in level 23 p.e. the traffic inside the towers will stay vertically for the most users… so why not make more of theses bridges? why not make a network of bridges?… the idea is great but the way the idea is built here its a bit of a farce… its like “hey guys look what we’ve done? we’ve connected the towers!” but can the users in level 48 and the users in level 7 profit from theses bridges?

  • reminds me alot of minneapolis,mn’s skybridge setup.

  • opps sorry the correct name would be skyway, same differance :p

  • This looks like something out of my childhood dreams. A fantastic idea.

    We have aboveground pedestrian bridges between many downtown high rises for the harsh winters of Rochester, New York, but theses have proved sadly underutilized because people often need to traverse multiple buildings, and the way through each building is circuitous and much longer than tramping outside through the snow. The bridges themselves are a bit miserable-looking and the result of an outdated aesthetic. I’ll be interested in seeing how these bridges do in light of the objections already raised by others.

  • dj

    How is this any better than what John Portman did to Atlanta?

  • Andrew S.

    Hmm, it seems like all the “bridges” have programs that go beyond getting someone from point a to point b. Some are pools, restaurants, shops etc. In that sense then, the “bridge” aspect of it seems to take a back seat to the other functions. While they might underused if utilized exclusively as bridges, I think the fact that they offer other options than travel will make them much-used spaces, and in turn, as the brief says, “will constantly generate random relationships.”

    I’d like to see them when they’re finished, as right now they look somewhat like all the other concrete commie blocks in Beijing.

  • 50cent


  • Keith L

    I do like the design, however, I think the jury will still be out well after the building’s completion as to how the bridges will actually work. People have already mentioned similar features in other situations functioning in less than ideal manner, but I think since Holl’s bridges embody different communal programs they more closely resemble the shopping arcade in Corb’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille. As some would say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, neither the shopping arcade nor the Unité as a whole worked as it was originally intended. The same thing may happen here, but if the socioeconomic setting had anything to do with the Unité’s failings, then, perhaps it is with some cynicism that I must acknowledge, this 21st century recast of the same theme may work due to the petit-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie who will inhabit this housing complex.

  • luis miguel

    no, no, no, no, esto es horrible.

    donde esta el steven holl de kiasma.


  • Vince B

    Agree with Keith.
    The bridges should not be seen as connections but as part of the commercial-leisure layer of the +-23rd floor.
    Ok it’s funny, ok it looks impressive. Do you think people living in the lower floors will reach the upper floor for this. Well actually why not during the long and coooold winter of Beijing.
    The question is how long this will fit the way of life of the era chinese are in now? Will not this become obsolete in few decades? Because it’s a moment of great excitement and discover of individual wealth for lot of urban families… and so versatile needs. I can’t avoid to imagine a ghost arcade in few years… brrrr
    Anyway, the inner street of the Unite is still there!

  • maaike

    The idea is nice, but I think it isn’t worked out very good. It’s too much of a chaos, I think.

  • M

    Program design will determine whether this project succeeds or fails. The idea of public realms connected in the air has worked fanastically over the years in Hong Kong – because it often contained shopping related program, amenities, etc. Europeans tend to prefer on the ground shopping and prefers the outdoors, whilst more in common with low density living. Asians seem to enjoy the idea of being artificially sheltered – which means this project will probably work successfully.

  • Trevor Patt

    Or not enough of a chaos. Only one path all the way around, why not more of the ‘around, over, and through’? Montaged space and unexpected turns change one’s point of view more than ‘elevator jump-cuts,’ which have just never been quick enough or disjunctive enough to work. Still I like the project, and the colored glows, mists, and projections will probably produce an amazing affect. I have to agree with Vince, though, about the likelihood of the social lifespan of the project. Maybe not though, maybe it will prove deeply resonant, maybe a new set of bridges will be built and woven in in-between, maybe bridges will leap across to other properties?

  • JuiceMajor²

    I didn’t realise this was going to be built!! So far so interesting! Can’t believe all this architect have the luck to design something like that and get it built. In the long run, it will be one off those brutalist building we see doted around UK because of modernisation. History do repeats itself!

  • perplexed and disappointed

    I find the entire complex disappointing. From the massing, to the bridges, to the articulation of the elevations, to the figure/ground relationship, to the colors, to the lack of contextualism, it speaks of a global disaster on many levels. I don’t believe this project should be applauded on any level. It is definately Mr. Holl’s ‘worse’ project to date, and should not be seen as an example of subtlety, or an example for students whether in school — or practioners out of school as an example to follow. Why are these things going on in the name of either architecture or culture?

  • criticalregionalism?

    Where is Mr. Holl building this project? I thought it was in ancient Beijing? Is he too, descrating the former imperial city –turning it into a western market-high-capitalism city?

  • I love this building. Beautiful.

  • THIS is why I say, “America can gleen from other countries and design similar buildings…perhaps BETTER than the original.”

    We can do it! It used to be said that America was a, nay, THE best country in the world. Everything was ‘better’ in America. Well, wake up people. America is falling and falling fast. We COULD be the greatest country in the world if we can stop being so self-righteous. We could once again be the ‘leader’ in eco-construction.

    I watched the show and found it very interesting. I wasn’t particularily fond of the bridges either, but I we (America) could do it better. And we need to be aware of people who have vertigo, are in wheelchairs, etc. If an elevator be redesigned to move horizonally? Maybe that would be better than bridges. And a designated building (within itself) just for cigarette smokers. (as an ex-smoker, I cannot be in the same room or walking down the street and smell cigarette smoke) The possiblities are endless! If you can imagine it, it can be done.

  • Duke of pasir ris

    Utopian idea.