Photo credit: Kris Provoost
As China regains confidence and seems to have succeeded in controlling the coronavirus epidemic, – without claiming victory – let’s embrace Kris Provoost’s remarkable work. These photos symbolize the extraordinary architectural creativity that marked the Middle Kingdom in the midst of an economic boom.
Kris Provoost is a Belgian photographer based in Hong Kong. With an architecture background, he spent seven years photographing the most surprising buildings of the greatest Masters of architecture in the world. Magnificent works brought together in a landmark book: “Beautified China”. Design website Fubiz has just paid tribute to him.
All his work is fueled by his passion for extraordinary buildings, which have often hit the headlines in China. This series of photos showcase exceptional buildings built during the Empire’s economic boom. Kris Provoost endeavors to highlight the details of these buildings. There are also works by Zaha Hadid and Herzog & De Meuron and of course by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who designed the headquarters of Chinese television in Beijing.
« The CCTV headquarter is certainly a unique project, both from an engineering point of view and also from a city image point of view », Provoost told Dezeen. The photographer delivers an enthusiastic and unique vision of a country that seems to be full of architectural treasures. The artist has a very particular approach to photography which he combines with his architectural skills.
The rise of contemporary architecture in China
For Kris Provoost, this series of projects mark a real turning point in the change of architectural style in China, a “form of liberation” that was established through foreign architects, which then pushed their Chinese colleagues to steer towards bolder proposals. “The photo series mark the end of a very flamboyant architectural period of the architectural scene in China”, he said. “Since 2016 or 2017, there has been a visible change, far from the emblematic architecture to move towards a more “contextual” architecture.
« By living and working across China, I was able to appreciate first-hand the strong influence that architecture can have. Not only on the appearance, the functioning or the development of a city, but also on how that city represents itself to the outside world. This is where the iconic architecture represented in this book takes its place. », said the photographer-architect
After obtaining a Master’s degree in Architecture, he moved to Beijing where he began his career in architecture, contributing to buildings spread across Asia. He has worked for highly respected design companies, including Zaha Hadid Architects, Buro Ole Scheeren and GMP and now lives in Hong Kong. As a photographer, he has worked with some of the most well-known architects and engineers. His photos have been published in Vogue, Architectural Digest, CNN Style, The Guardian, Aesthetica Magazine, South China Morning Post, Dezeen, ArchDaily, Designboom.
From vaulted skyscrapers to endless loops, these photos offer a magnificent glimpse of this breathtaking architecture, symbol of a real architectural revolution.