The 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (2015 UABB), the world’s only biennale dedicated to the themes of urbanism and architecture, announced its highlight exhibits. Based in Shenzhen, one of China’s first Special Economic Zones, 2015 UABB will feature presentations from over 72 exhibitors from six continents who will all explore the theme “Re-Living The City”. Opening to the public on 4 December this year, 2015 UABB will take over the former Dacheng Flour Factory in Shekou, a declining factory complex built in 1980s that will be transformed into a multifaceted exhibition venue especially for the biennale.
2015 UABB is curated by four of the world’s leading architects, critics, and educators: Aaron Betsky, Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, and Doreen Heng Liu. Renny Ramakers (Droog Foundation/Design+Desires), will contribute as a co-curator of the Biennale. Jason Hilgefort and Merve Bedir will be the curators of “Aformal Academy – RE: Learning the City”, a three-month laboratory of collaboratory learning set to investigate and speculate the built future.
2015 UABB explores the reimagining, repurposing, and remaking of our existing urban spaces and architecture. The biennale aims to show ways in which designers can work with people to make the city more useful, just, and sustainable. The biennale will be presented in five primary exhibitions: “Collage City 3D”, “Maker Maker”, “Pearl River Delta 2.0”, “Radical Urbanism”, and “Social City”. “Aformal Academy – RE: Learning the City” will be the educational platform for 2015 UABB. Exhibitors from different parts of the world will present new and innovative ideas of how we can build upon what already exists to create a more comfortable and efficient urban environment.
Collage City 3D
“Collage City 3D” will present a new perspective of a city by bringing together the left-overs, the images, the forms, and the life usually buried in the buildings and streets. It will be a collective, site-specific collage that will showcase, intensify, and represent the reality of the Pearl River Delta. A dozen architects, artists, and designers will build a maze-like structure with materials, forms, and images that are found in Shenzhen and the surrounding area over the course of three to six weeks. Each participant will have an area of up to 10 cubic meters as their working area on the ground floor of the main exhibition space at the site of 2015 UABB, and they will all work collaboratively to create a finished structure that will invent possible uses. The collage makers will find collaborators who might perform, cook, live, or otherwise bring the structure to life. The collage will be repurposed after 2015 UABB.
Highlight exhibits of “Collage City 3D” include Power to the People by The Heidelberg Project, a Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Power to the People will explore the idea of empowering citizens to think creatively about what is possible for themselves and consequently their immediate environment. The Heidelberg Project will create a frame of a house constructed out of repurposed or recycled wood, the exterior of which will be transformed using various materials from Detroit and Shenzhen. The creative process of Power to the People will unfold in an organic way and be open to incorporate the unexpected and the culture of Shenzhen.
Shenzhen Entropy by Rob Voerman will consist of two pavilions connected by an improvised open place. One of the pavilions will have a dark interior with colored windows that filter the light and sound coming in from the outside, creating a melancholic atmosphere that recalls the memories of migrant workers in Shenzhen. The other pavilion will consist of a workspace, with the walls partially cut and the interior extended into a parasitic architecture. Shenzhen Entropy explores how the slowly evolving countryside and villages left behind by migrant workers can influence city planning, as well as the boundaries between private and public, work and life, formal and informal. Migrant workers in Shenzhen will be involved in the project through workshops, performances and presentations.
“Maker Maker” aims to bring the best experiments in making that combine together digital and hand-crafting. The “makers” in “Maker Maker” will prioritize the object and build economies around it through human labor and the newest digital equipment in Shenzhen. “Maker Maker” examines the power and drive of the individual to innovate and create opportunities. Throughout the term of the exhibition, some makers will be on site producing their goods and providing workshops.
Highlight makers include Eskayel, Phil Ross, and Brandon Kruysman & Jonathan Proto. Eskayel, a New York based surface design studio that creates eco-friendly furnishings and accessories founded by Shanan Campanaro, will present SURFACE II SURFACE at 2015 UABB. Three fabrics that combine modern and ancient technologies, exploring techniques in hand painting, digital printing, and hand weaving will be shown at the “Maker Maker” pavilion. These include: museum-quality textiles using natural dyes and non-traditional motifs handcrafted by traditional weavers in the remote islands of Sumba, Indonesia; sari silk rugs with 100% recycled fibers hand-knotted in India; and hand woven sisal grasscloth wall coverings made of sustainable and renewable fibers.
American artist and scholar Phil Ross has been studying the Lingzhi mushroom as his subject for more than 20 years. He has used the living fungus to grow artworks for museums and exhibitions, and eventually he learned to manipulate the tissue of the fungus for practical applications. For 2015 UABB Phil Ross will present many artifacts from his research on Lingzhi. In this exhibition titled Bringing Fungus to China, the artist will be showing the many different ways that fungus can be used as a resource for the future. While aesthetically beautiful and a natural source of complex polymers, this fungus provides a view of Chinese culture.
Brandon Kruysman & Jonathan Proto will examine how the convergence of new materials, advanced methods of making, and novel simulation tools have enabled designers to explore “motion” as a key feature of interaction with users. Brandon Kruysman & Jonathan Proto will develop dynamic furniture scale objects that will roll and tumble, exploring reconfigurable environments and spaces. 2015 UABB visitors will be encouraged to interact with the objects.
Pearl River Delta 2.0: Balance is More
“Pearl River Delta 2.0: Balance is More” is about the future of the PRD. Known as the “world factory” and a pilot region for China’s rapid urbanization over the past three decades, the PRD is now reaching its ceiling of development. The development of the PRD is out of balance: the region’s social and ecological environments cannot catch up with its robust economic growth. PRD 2.0 will invite both research and design proposals to explore alternative futures for the PRD. Ten architects in collaboration with researchers or institutions will design utopian or alternate scenarios for the PRD based on their research. The materials will be presented in drawings, models, fragments, videos, and other visuals.
Shenzhen-based architecture office Urbanus will present Hyper Metropolis – Speculations on Future Hybrid Lifestyle. Through an animation of a revised urban system with an updated density distribution and new urban infrastructure, as well as a 1:50 scaled model illustrating a hybrid lifestyle in the hyper metropolis in the future PRD 2.0 era, Urbanus will explore the potential new lifestyles and new urban environments of Shenzhen’s young entrepreneurs.
WISE Architecture from Korea will bring The City that Re-Lives its Memories to 2015 UABB. The installation will be in the form of the factory building in which the biennale will take place. Composed of several levels of slabs with columns in between, the structure will be filled with ordinary objects from the city: brick walls, metal frames, billboards, used furniture, tiles, dishes, old books, some plants, bikes, etc. The factory building will change according to the installation: the venue will be re-populated by people who bring in with them reusable things that will be used to set up instant walls, creating an example of an instant and regenerative urbanism that revives the city’s memories.
Beijing-based MAD Architects will present The Future Forest City on the Sea: Shenzhen Qianhai Zone, envisioning a new artificial environment that will be an “Eden” to hold up people’s dream for the city future. Through research, MAD Architects will examine further how Shenzhen should deal with its own urban development problems.
In Social City citizens take the lead, and experts in architecture and city planning are invited to reflect on the shared desired elements which constitute Social City. It challenges top down city planning, bottom-up utopias, smart city naivety, superficial urban solutions, traditional lifestyle categorizing, and big data misuse. Social City consists of an installation in the UABB exhibition and an online platform (www.socialcities,org). The installation will give insight in the city life of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Its diversity will be caught in information which is derived from the repository of various personal activities, intentions and affections, which users have been putting on the internet. These soft data will be extracted and visualized in digital maps with the OSCity web-tool developed by Mark van der Net. Complementary to the digital data are the drawings which artist Jan Rothuizen is making of real life in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The digital and real mapping will be linked to in-depth conversations with individual citizens about their dreams, desires and needs by students of Design Academy Eindhoven and PolyU Hong Kong. All this information together will be the start from which innovative solutions for local problems will be designed, and new opportunities in the two cities will be explored. Visitors of the exhibition can directly react to the proposal. The online platform will be worldwide for both citizens, as well as for professionals in architecture, urban planning, and other disciplines. Citizens are invited to share their dreams, desires, and needs via a quiz. The results of the kick off quiz will shape the virtual city. The more people participate, the more Social City will grow. The next quizzes will focus on a variety of topics such as local economy, public space, mobility, governance, and community building. The platform is a unique online combination of shared dreams and desires of citizens, hard data and discourse by professionals. The beta version of the platform was launched at the Beijing Design Week in September 2015. The final version will be presented in the installation at UABB.
Radical Urbanism looks for, gathers, and exhibits existing informal alternative city cases and test prototypes from across the world. This project generates radical architecture through research and design.
In this section, Anna Heringer and Martin Rauch will present Urban Earthworks, revealing the potentials of Earthen, a traditional and local, and therefore sustainable, method of construction that has rarely been given serious consideration for urban contexts in contemporary research. The project will showcase both current state-of-the-art practices in creating prefabricated rammed-earth elements on a 1:1 scale as well as statistical representations and illustrations envisioning the future of earthen works on the urban scale. The full-scale, rammed-earth mock-up will show a minimalistic living room imagined for an urban context, anticipating how this aesthetically pleasing, technologically advanced, climatically relevant, and common-sense material could engender a radical re-imagining of contemporary cities.
In addition to the indoor exhibition, 2015 UABB will also feature outdoor installations, national pavilions, collateral exhibitions, as well as UABB School, an important education platform that offers a wide range of courses and activities to the general public during the exhibition and preopening period.
Aformal Academy – RE:Learning the City
As a part of UABB school, “Aformal Academy – RE:Learning the City” is a spatial and co-creational knowledge exchange, where professors, foreign and local students, lecturers, local craftsmen, in-town guests, local researchers, exhibitors, and citizens crash together in a free flowing information exchange, creating a process of multi-layered learning across disciplines for all. “Aformal Academy – RE:Learning the City” will start by questioning everything, and REthink the object as the core manner of perceiving architecture and urbanism. It seeks frameworks that enhance the REinterpretation of buildings, the REmaking of our cities, and the REimagination of our daily lives. By operating within an adapting building, on a transforming city, and a mongst an ongoing biennale, “Aformal Academy – RE:Learning the City” will not only be a series of educational workshops parallel to the biennale, but also a hybrid of learning by making, exhibition, and social space, engaging the public at large with the evolving library of provocations and the spatial archive of explorations. “Aformal Academy – RE:Learning the City” is curated by Jason Hilgefort and Merve Bedir, both partners of Rotterdam / Istanbul based Land+Civilization Compositions, in collaboration with Ljubo Georgiev and Hristo Stankushev.
Aaron Betsky commented: “This Biennale shows that we don't need more buildings, we just need to use our existing structures and cities better.”
Doreen Heng Liu said: “It seems that ‘reliving the city’ is about re-positioning ourselves, but ultimately it is about how to live our future. It is an attitude, a position, and an action plan.”
Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner said: “Faced with contemporary urbanization patterns, we are forced to question how cities and city-making have traditionally operated. More to the point, architects and designers we are forced to rethink how we can operate within the city, learning from its emerging intelligence and shaping its outcomes to radical and tactical ends.”
2015 UABB will take over the former Dacheng Flour Factory, a declining factory complex built in 1980s transformed into a multifaceted exhibition venue under the direction of the Curatorial Team and Shenzhen-based architecture office Node. Through its transformation which involves preservation of the industrial relic and introduction of additional programs, the Flour Factory will become an important representation of the theme of this year’s Biennale, “Re-Living The City”. Transformation work of the Flour Factory began in August and will be completed in November.
Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) is currently the only biennial exhibition in the world to be based exclusively on the set themes of urbanism and urbanization. Co-organized by the two neighboring and closely interacting cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta, concerns itself with globally common urban issues, extensively communicates and interacts with the wider public, is presented using expressions of contemporary visual culture, and engages international, avant-garde dimensions as well as discourses of public interest. UABB is a forward-thinking biennale that focuses on the conceptual issues on urbanism and architecture. With around 770 exhibits and 310 activities since the biennale launched in 2005, UABB has attracted over 860,000 visitors worldwide. The past five editions of UABB(SZ) have investigated a range of themes including ‘Urban Village & Spontaneous City’, ‘City of Expiration and Regeneration’, ‘Public Space’, ‘Urban-rural Relationship and Agriculture’, and ‘Border/Edge’. The research, ideas and discussions have made a significant impact on the global discourse on architecture and urbanism as well as on Shenzhen, a “Vanguard” city.
UABB will further strengthen its role as a knowledge platform and set up the UABB School. During the exhibition period, the UABB School will publicly recruit programs and invite lecturers to plan a series of courses and events for the public.
Download the information related to this event here.
Title2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture
OrganizersThe 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen)
FromDecember 04, 2015 11:28 AM
UntilFebruary 29, 2016 11:28 AM
VenueDacheng Flour Factory, Shekou, Shenzhen
AddressGangwan Avenue Nanshan