Zhan Wang's animation imagines China as a trade leader in extra-terrestrial minerals

Architectural Association graduate Zhan Wang has produced an animation depicting a fictional technotopian future in which China has built a giant port to distribute minerals mined from the moon (+ movie).

Zhan Wang's Lunar Economic Zone project imagines a celebration taking place in Shenzhen in the year 2028 to mark the arrival of the first shipment of lunar minerals.

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

The animation portrays the architecture and infrastructure required by such a system and the way the parade might be propagandised to present China's technological and economic prowess through the lens of the global media.

"The project uses lunar minerals as an analogy of vast resources that require advanced technologies to extract, in order to talk about China as an emerging global superpower," Wang told Dezeen.

"Through projecting China in this way, the project intends to evoke our fear of a localised resource economy. On the other hand, it is these localised resources that enable China to continue producing the electronic products we desire."

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

Wang developed the project as part of his final year studies at the Architectural Association, in response to a brief calling for students to examine the processes involved in transporting goods and resources around the world.

As the world's largest producer of rare earth minerals, China currently controls 90 per cent of the global market for these materials, which are predominantly used in the manufacture of electronics.

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

The film shows what it might look like if China was able to facilitate an even greater monopoly by being the first to exploit the moon as a resource, and how the resulting wealthy and technologically advanced metropolis might be presented in a show of power to those in the West.

"The important takeaway from the project is that it is an external propaganda of a technotopian future set against the realities of our fears and desires," said Wang.

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

In Wang's futuristic scenario, the Lunar Economic Zone is a trade route between Shenzhen and the moon, which is being quarried for the abundant minerals contained in its rock surface.

The rock is transported in containers by rocket propulsion from the moon to the top of the world's tallest building – a 10,000-metre tower rising over the city.

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

The containers are then parachuted to the ground where they are loaded onto trucks for the journey through the city to thousands of mega ships docked at the world's largest mineral port.

Iconic contemporary buildings in China including OMA's CCTV Headquarters were used as the basis for the exaggerated structures that form the imaginary cityscape.

Lunar economic zone by Zhan Wang

The animation was developed using a range of 3D modelling and motion graphics software including Rhino, Cinema 4D and After Effects.

It was nominated in the student category at the CGarchitect.com Architectural 3D Awards and Wang intends to develop a game based on the project.