China's architects seem to know no limits, as ever more spectacular buildings grow into the sky. But there is scant concern for individuals - entire neighborhoods are relocated to make way for construction sites, of which China has more than any other country. A fifth of the world's building projects are in China.
Not all of China's new creations are all cement, steel and glass, as the exhibition "Architecture China - The 100 Contemporary Projects" shows. Huge photo exhibits and models on display in the Mannheim Reiss Engelhorn Museum, illustrate the diversity of China's architecture. One example: The new station in Lhasa, Tibet.
Of particular interest to many: China's monumental skyscrapers, which have mushroomed in metropolises all over the country. The boom is set to continue, as Chinese and international architects continue to draw up plans at a frantic rate.
World-famous architects are transforming China's cities. Award-winning Dutch Rem Kohlhaas is one of them. He designed the broadcasting headquarters for China's national television. The building measures 234 meters in height and was inaugurated in May 2013. It is rumored to have cost about one billion US dollars.
Architects and engineers from China have been greatly benefitting from the construction boom - something which has inspired local artists. Photographer and graphic designer Miao Xiaochum digitally combines various elements of Chinese architecture, fusing tradition and modernity.
The OTC Design Museum in Shenzhen in Southern China resembles a UFO. It was designed by Chinese architect Pei Zhu. He is part of the new generation of Chinese architects who are experimenting with European trends and new building materials.
Last year, the Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to Wang Shu. It was the first time that the renowned prize went to a Chinese citizen. The jury lauded Shu for his ability to harmonize buildings with their surroundings. The Ningbo History Museum is one such example.
In Chinese architecture anything seems to go. European architects are able to realize buildings, "which in their partial functional contradictoriness would never have been given planning permission in Europe," architecture critic Gottfried Knapp said.
The exhibition "Architecture China - The 100 Contemporary Projects" is housed in Mannheim Zeughaus, an old building which was built in the late 18th century. Visionary buildings and the future of architecture contrasting with "Old Europe" can be viewed until January, 13, 2013.
China is a playground for architects.