As spring beckons at Phaidon HQ, thoughts turn to the upcoming marriage season. And where better to make plans than this Marriage Registration Center, a multi-storey cylindrical structure in Nanshan, Shenzhen, China created by Chinese architecture practice Urbanus. The cylindrical building is served by a series of ramps and floating pathways which make the approach to married life a befittingly inspiring and optimistic one and signify the bonds of a new union.
Covered in a mesh of aluminium skin, the center is lit by natural daylight via floor to ceiling glass (presumably allowing the visitor one last good examination of his or her intended before signing on the dotted line). The building’s layout is constructed around a spiral pathway that connects the registry to smaller rooms and more private spaces.
Urbanus is committed to the Modernist belief that architecture is a pivotal force for a better life and that architects should push the boundary of their traditional role and be a progressive force in society. The company has been involved in more than 200 projects ranging from culture & education, office, mixed use, renovation & regeneration, residence, interior design, landscape and urban design & research projects. One of the central ideas for the Marriage Center was to bridge the gap between bureaucracy and the citizenry, to make the act of marriage a little less government-controlled, more personal and, indeed, aspirational. We think they've succeeded.