Amid population growth and unprecedented urbanization, China's rise has been enabled by its ability to build quickly and cheaply. But meeting the country's construction demands has come at the expense of architectural identity, according to Philip Yuan, founder of the firm Archi-Union Architects. 

"It's a kind of copy and paste process," Yuan says of the repetitive, nondescript buildings found in Chinese cities. "It's a pity, (because by) building too fast, we lose tradition and identity of what China should be."

Instead of producing more cookie-cutter tower blocks, the Chinese architect has been exploring experimental new approaches to construction. His techniques, which include the use of digital fabrication and robotics, could offer a new way to produce sophisticated buildings in shorter timeframes.

Can robots transform Chinese architecture?