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Town Ørestad, Copenhagen
Country Denmark
Client Nordea Danmark Fonden
Started 2005
Completed 2006
Architect Lundgaard & Tranberg
Engineer COWI A/S

Tietgenkollegiet (English: Tietgen Student Hall), named for Danish financier C. F. Tietgen (1829-1891), is a student residence built in new district Ørestad close to the centre of Copenhagen.

The building has a conspicuous circular shape, inspired by traditional southern Chinese Hakka architecture[1], and is designed by Danish architects Lundgaard & Tranberg in 2006. The design has won it a RIBA European Award.


The round building has seven stories. Five vertical lines divide the building both visually and functionally into sections and also serve as continuous passages that provide access from outside to the central courtyard and to the different stories. The ground floor has common facilities: a café, auditorium, study and computer rooms, workshops, laundry, music and meeting rooms, and bicycle parking. The apartments are located on the other stories, 12 in each segment. All rooms face the façade and have a view of the surroundings. The common kitchens/auxiliary rooms, lounges, and terraces are located on the central court, bringing residents together.

Its concept focuses on how the accommodation can help encourage the personal and social development of the students. The courtyard, around which all common areas are located, reinforces the idea of community. It also enables the often monotonous student corridor to become not only spatially interesting but unending, linking all student ‘houses’ on each floor


There are 360 rooms, 10% of which have been designated for international exchange students. The building is circular, with 6 floors and rooms set up in blocks of 12. Each room has its own washroom and there are four sizes to the rooms: 26 sq. metres, 29 sq. metres, 33 sq. metres, and 42 sq. metres, approximately. Each block has shared kitchen and living room, with each living room having a unique set of furniture and other items.

More info here

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Graphic design

A lot of graphic design elements are needed to promote such an event, the most viewed probably being the logo, mascots and pictograms.

Walking a tightrope: Graphic design for Olympics
Graphic designers create “pictograms” (left) to represent different Olympic sports based on jingwen (right), the script found on 2,000-year-old bronze carvings.

beijing olympic logo

The Beijing Olympics logo

beijing olympic pictograms

The Beijing Olympics pictograms

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

The Beijing Olympics mascots

Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace — and good wishes from China — to children all over the world.Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China’s most popular animals — the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow — and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name — a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together — Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni — they say “Welcome to Beijing,” offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature — the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky — all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.

Spreading Traditional Chinese Good Wishes Wherever They Go

In the ancient culture of China, there is a grand tradition of spreading good wishes through signs and symbols. Each of Fuwa symbolizes a different blessing — and will honor this tradition by carrying their good wishes to the children of the world. Prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck will be spread to every continent as Fuwa carry their invitation to Beijing 2008 to every part of the globe.

At the heart of their mission — and through all of their work — Fuwa will seek to unite the world in peace and friendship through the Olympic spirit. Dedicated to helping Beijing 2008 spread its theme of One World, One Dream to every continent, Fuwa reflect the deep desire of the Chinese people to reach out to the world in friendship through the Games — and to invite every man, woman and child to take part in the great celebration of human solidarity that China will host in the light of the flame in 2008.

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

In China’s traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest. And so Beibei carries the blessing of prosperity. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life.

The ornamental lines of the water-wave designs are taken from well-known Chinese paintings of the past. Among Fuwa, Beibei is known to be gentle and pure. Strong in water sports, she reflects the blue Olympic ring.

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Jingjing makes children smile — and that’s why he brings the blessing of happiness wherever he goes. You can see his joy in the charming naivety of his dancing pose and the lovely wave of his black and white fur. As a national treasure and a protected species, pandas are adored by people everywhere. The lotus designs in Jingjing’s headdress, which are inspired by the porcelain paintings of the Song Dynasty (A.D.960-1234), symbolize the lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature. Jingjing was chosen to represent our desire to protect nature’s gifts — and to preserve the beauty of nature for all generations. Jingjing is charmingly naïve and optimistic. He is an athlete noted for strength who represents the black Olympic ring.

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

In the intimate circle of Fuwa, Huanhuan is the big brother. He is a child of fire, symbolizing the Olympic Flame and the passion of sport — and passion is the blessing he bestows. Huanhuan stands in the center of Fuwa as the core embodiment of the Olympic spirit. And while he inspires all with the passion to run faster, jump higher and be stronger, he is also open and inviting. Wherever the light of Huanhuan shines, the inviting warmth of Beijing 2008 — and the wishful blessings of the Chinese people — can be felt. The fiery designs of his head ornament are drawn from the famed Dunhuang murals — with just a touch of China’s traditional lucky designs. Huanhuan is outgoing and enthusiastic. He excels at all the ball games and represents the red Olympic ring.

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Like all antelopes, Yingying is fast and agile and can swiftly cover great stretches of land as he races across the earth. A symbol of the vastness of China’s landscape, the antelope carries the blessing of health, the strength of body that comes from harmony with nature. Yingying’s flying pose captures the essence of a species unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the first animals put under protection in China. The selection of the Tibetan Antelope reflects Beijing’s commitment to a Green Olympics. His head ornament incorporates several decorative styles from the Qinghai-Tibet and Sinkiang cultures and the ethnic design traditions of Western China. Strong in track and field events, Yingying is a quick-witted and agile boy who represents the yellow Olympic ring.

The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Every spring and summer, the children of Beijing have flown beautiful kites on the currents of wind that blow through the capital. Among the kite designs, the golden-winged swallow is traditionally one of the most popular. Nini’s figure is drawn from this grand tradition of flying designs. Her golden wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced “yan” in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among Fuwa, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow. She is strong in gymnastics and represents the green Olympic ring.

Torch design

Apart from all the marketing items, some other objects have to be designed for the Olympic Games, such as the olympic torch or the medals.

olympic torches

Recent Olympic Torches, the New York Times has a complete collection of Olympic Torches.

The Torch Design 3D animation

The Beijing Olympic Torch boasts strong Chinese characteristics, and showcases Chinese design and technical capabilities. It embodies the concepts of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics.

The Key Facts about the Torch

The torch is 72 centimetres high, weighs 985 grams and is made of aluminium. The torch is of a curved surface form, with etching and anodizing being used during its production. A torch can usually keep burning for approximately 15 minutes in conditions where the flame is 25 to 30 centimetres high in a windless environment. The torch has been produced to withstand winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour and to stay alight in rain up to 50mm an hour. The flame can be identified and photographed in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness. The fuel is propane which is in accordance with environmental guidelines. The material of its form is recyclable.

The Artistic and Technical Features of the Torch

The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games has a very strong Chinese flavour. It demonstrates the artistic and technical level of China. It also conveys the message of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics. The shape of the paper scroll and the lucky clouds graphic, expresses the idea of harmony. Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games is designed, researched and produced in China. BOCOG owns all intellectual property rights.

The Fuel for the Torch

Under the concept of a Green Olympics, environmental protection was a key element listed in the invitation documents to the design companies, by BOCOG. The fuel of the torch is propane, which is a common fuel which also comes with a low price. It is composed of carbon and hydrogen. No material, except carbon dioxide and water remain after the burning, eliminating any risk of pollution.

The Burning System

Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. It can stay alight in severe weather conditions such as strong wind, rain, snow, hail, etc. The flame can also be identified in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness so as to satisfy the requirements of capturing photographic images and video footage.

The Design Timelines

2005 August            BOCOG developed the design concepts and requirements of the torch.

2005 December       BOCOG recruited potential torch designs from the design society. In total, BOCOG received 388 pieces of works.

2006 June-August    BOCOG selected the structural designer and the burning system designer.

2007 January          Beijing Olympic Torch was approved by IOC

Scale Model

  • The obverse side The middle part
    The obverse side                        The middle part
  • The upper part The lower part
    The upper part                        The lower part
Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Obverse face of the medal
Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Reverse side of the medal

The medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is designed with inspiration coming from “bi”, China’s ancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern. The medals, made of gold and jade, symbolize nobility and virtue and are the embodiment of traditional Chinese values of ethics and honor, sending forth strong Chinese flavor.

The medals are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness. On the front side, the medal adopts standard design prescribed by the International Olympic Committee. While on the back, the medal is inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centerpiece. The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade “huang”, a ceremonial jade piece with decoration of double dragon pattern and “Pu”, the reed mat pattern.

Noble and elegant, the Beijing Olympic Games medal is a blending of traditional Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit. It gives the winners of the Games great honor and acclamation as recognition of their achievement.

Note: bi, a flat jade disc with a circular hole in the center

Huang, a semi circular jade ornament

Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Obverse side of the medal and the ribbon
Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Reverse side of the medal and the ribbon



承启楼 (cheng qi lou)

f1The Hakka’s most famous earthern buildings will be the 承启楼 (cheng qi lou). situated in northern  Fujian. In the book  “中国古代建筑史”(China’s history of  ancient buildings), it has been used to symbolize the Hakka earthen  buildings. The building follows the inner connected corridor model. The building outer diameter is at 62.6 metres, it is consist of 4 concentric circular houses. At the central part of the building is made up of an ancestral hall ,a cloister and a semi circular courtyard ( 天井). Together they formed a single storey round house. Outside this house is 3 encompassing rings of houses.  The first ring is divided into 20 compartments/rooms , the center with  34 and the outer with 72. This outer ring building is 4 storeys tall, has 4 stairways,1 huge door and 2 side doors. The thickness of the wall at the lower level is at 1.9 metres. The roofs of these ringed houses are massive so that they could protect the building’s mud walls from rain. The bottom level of the outer ring houses are used for the kitchen, 2nd level as storeroom, granary and the 3 rd and 4th level as the living quarters. The whole builiding has 370 such living quarters. The dwellers boasted, said if one were to stay for a day in each rooms, one would take more than a year and the corridor encompassing the quarters is nearly 1 km long, there one could see how gigantic this building is.


承启楼 (cheng qi lou) currently has resides 300 people  of 57 families.  It is said that it was built by the 15th generation Hakka living there, now the generation is around 30. It is built at 1709 and used 3 years to complete. Legends say that this building depended hugely on the good weather to complete, it was also called the “天助楼” (heaven aided building). During the peak of its occupancy, it has 600 dwellers of 80 families. It is say if a new bride enters the building, she would need 2 years to know all the people inside , provided if she knew one person a day.

Translated from 客家土楼民居

围屋 (surrounded houses)

Note: 围屋 (surrounded houses) a generalized term for Hakka defensive houses.

围屋 ( surrounded houses) is the heritage of the migratory Hakkas.  They reside in the mountainous area and would have to  defend themselves from the nature and the local indigenous people. Due to to these threats,  they have fortified their houses into fortress like structures. Thus, these 围屋 ( surrounded houses) is the combination of Hakka’s civil and military qualities,slowly and independently evolved structures.   Its a easy to guard hard to attack place, a communal , simple contended place to live in.

Due to the the little farming economy, the Hakka living in the structures, either of the same  family or same race, came to help each other, thus generated as self reliant and self sufficient living community. To stay permanent in a foreign land, the hakkas will need to keep a close bond to each other for survival.  No wonder that these house have a close family astmosphere and strong racial culture .

The design, construction and usability of the of 围屋 ( surrounded houses) shows hakka forefathers as a extraordinary and skillful people. As time passes, they formed into different house styles. The Hakka believe in “fengsui” , the structure and formation of the building is building accordance to the surroundings. Thus, these structures will blend nicely with nature.

The 围屋 ( surrounded houses) began during the Tang and Song dynasty but proliferate during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The building method of the Hakka use are from the most advanced from the Hans, using roof beam 抬梁 and combined with the penetrating pillar 穿斗 method. The building material consists of sand, stones , soil and clay. The usual area for these structures is 8-10 hectares , but the biggest can used up to more than 30 hectares.Building of these structures could use up to 5 years , 10 years or even more.The  material for the mud wall is usually clay and “yellow soil ” (黄土) which is  “stickier” and higher in sand content. The mixture cannot be used in its direct form, but it have to go over a process of continuous turning and hoeing until a mature form.  Some used the mixture of yellow soil, white ash and sand, a few even put sugar water and sorghum sauce  into these mixture to make the walls stronger. The foot of these structures are made up by cobblestones, to prevent soaking of flood water. The thickness of the wall decreases as it goes up.

Below are some type of 围屋 (surrounded houses).


五凤楼 (five phoenix building)
This type of house is the most widespread and most in amount. The cultural content is the most complicated. It is the Hakka’s most related structure with the central plains building form. The courtyard formed by the side walls , are plain but elegant, the repeating windows gives a sense of rhythm. If richer families reside, they will adorn the building with colour patterns and cravings.

方形土楼 ( 四角楼) rectangular earthern building
This buildings are the 2nd most widespread buildings followed by the 五凤楼 (five phoenix building). This structure combines the central plains cultural quality of the 五凤楼 (five phoenix building) and the round earthen houses explorative spirit, forms a equilibrium.


圆形土楼 circular earthern building
This building haev defense function. It is built in later periods, populated at the rims of explored land of the forefathers. The inside of the building feels like a maze, rings followed by rings  seems neverending. However, this structure makes uses of the moving spaces and communal spaces , though living in the enclosed area, it doesn’t give the feeling of stuffiness. Also neighbours could see each other from side to side, brings a sense of security.


围龙楼 (encompassing dragon builfing)
By shaping the side buildings of the 五凤楼 (five phoenix building) into shape of a horseshoe  forms the building. It is commonly seen in the Guangdong area. The Backyard is taller than the front yard by 1 metre, sloping at around 30 degrees.  The Hakka believe this is a dragon. the cobblestones are seen as scales of the dragon, it is to remind themselves as descendants of the dragon.

translated from book 广东客家博物馆陈列

福建客家土楼探秘 / Hakka Earth Dwellings

a short documentary on the tulou

Hakka Food Documentary

Life inside Hakka Fortified Earthern Castles

Documentary on the Life style in the Tulou