Given the unprecedented opportunities that architects have been given to build in China since the turn of the century, it is surprising that we should focus on a modest middle school in the suburbs of Beijing. Yet, as Austin Williams explains, the Chinese firm Atelier Fronti have tried with Baiziwan Middle School to make architecture relevant in a process which has very little regard for it.
The Greatest Buildings of the 21st Century series is not simply an attempt to celebrate the best in contemporary architecture although it is very much that. It is also a platform for architectural critics to explore in depth their craft through a building they admire. It asks one obvious question, "what is a great building?"but poses another more a complex one: "how should architecture be judged?"