Current Work: Zhang Ke, ZAO/standardarchitecture

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 7 - 9pm

Add to Calendar

ZAO/standardarchitecture, Novartis Campus Building C10, Shanghai, China, 2016 © Su Su Shengliang

ZAO/standardarchitecture, Novartis Campus Building C10, Shanghai, China, 2016 © Su Su Shengliang

Zhang Ke founded ZAO/standardarchitecture in Beijing in 2001. He believes that working in a micro scale can impact larger urban masterplans and developments common to China’s recent urbanization. Many of Zhang Ke’s projects focus on the transformation and preservation of Beijing’s historic hutongs – residences organized in cellular courtyard arrangements connected by narrow alleys.

Recent works by ZAO/standardarchitecture include the 2013 Micro Hutong Hostel, an attempt to create small scale social housing within the constraints of traditional Beijing hutongs; the 2016 Novartis Campus Building, an office with outdoor courtyards, passages, and gardens in Shanghai; and visitor centers embedded in the mountainous landscape of rural Tibet. In 2014, the firm designed the Aga Khan Award-winning Cha’er Children’s Library and Art Center, which incorporates and reimagines small buildings and structures that former residents had added to the hutong courtyard over the past 50 years.

Prior awards include the 2013 China Museum Architecture Award; the 2011 International Award for Architecture in Stone; and the WA Chinese Architecture Award in 2006 and 2011. The firm was included in Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard of 2011. Zhang Ke exhibited at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale and has been the focus of exhibitions at the MAK Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, and the V&A Museum in London, among others.

Zhang Ke has lectured at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Universidad Católica de Chile, and the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona. Since 2016, he has taught architecture studios at Harvard GSD.

Introduced and moderated by Billie Tsien

Billie Tsien is principal of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners. Tsien currently serves as President of the board of directors of The Architectural League of New York.

1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs

This lecture is co-sponsored with The Architectural League of New York.

Free for all Cooper Union students, faculty and staff, and League members.

Zhang Ke presentation video documentation thanks to The Architectural League of New York.
Video documentation thanks to The Architectural League of New York. 


Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.