Under the theme of "Crossroads: Building the Resilient City", the 2021 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism explores cities through architecture, design, and urban planning by highlighting "the virtues and dialogue of crossroads of knowledge" through exhibitions, installations, and events, that tackle the city of tomorrow led by architect Dominique Perrault. With more than 100 participating cities across five continents and installations by world renowned architects and designers, the Seoul Biennale will take place at various locations across the city from September 16 until October 31st, 2021.
In February 2020, Dominique Perrault was appointed General Director of the 3rd Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. With multiple projects and research works in the city, Perrault wants to "assert the importance of dialogue, of cross-fertilization of expertise and approaches, as a nourishing ground for architectural design and urban planning, a space for the fertilization of new territories".
The Biennale is one of the first architectural events this year to be produced within the context of a pandemic, challenging the norms and functions of our modern, technological civilization, and reshaping the way people move, live, and work in built environments. The event highlights the urgency to go beyond what people normally envision for the city, and discover its unknown areas and places that have not been in communication with each other yet to work towards the creation of more sustainable cities.
This crisis is probably the harbinger of the end of the much-criticized "form follows function” leitmotiv of modern architecture. Cities, at the heart of global issues, are facing unprecedented challenges: sanitary risks, climate change, industrial decline, technological competitiveness, and management of migration flows. The Seoul Biennale offers the public a platform for exchanging and discovering experiences and projects carried out in more than a hundred cities and metropolises around the world. This is why I thought it was right to place this edition under the sign of resilience. -- Dominique Perrault, General Director of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
The SBAU 2021 is structured as five subthemes that will be used to approach the content of the Biennale’s exhibitions: Crossroad 1 on urbanism : ABOVE X BELOW, Crossroad 2 on architecture: HERITAGE X MODERN, Crossroad 3 on design: CRAFT X DIGITAL, Crossroad 4 on landscape: NATURAL X ARTIFICIAL, and Crossroad 5 on the city: SAFE X RISK, along with parallel themed exhibitions.
Architect Choon Choi, Sujeong Park and Heejun Sim, founders of Archiworkshop, design group FHHH Friends, and architectural studio BARE will be accompanying Dominique Perrault in the curatorial process. An international scientific committee will also be in charge of enriching the debates and the reflection on the Biennale’s theme.
The List of participating exhibitors includes: XDGA, HISS x ìssí, SEALAB, Kengo Kuma & Associates, WASP, GEOEG and EPFL x HEAD, COLLECTIF VOUS and EVA Studio, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, CSK Architects and The Barlett UCL, ELEMENTAL, Manuel Cervantes Estudio, Aires Mateus & Associados, Lda, Barozzi Veiga, Superellipse, Bernard Khoury / DW5, MECANOO, Harvard GSD, Carlo Ratti Associati, TOPOTEK 1, and SANAA, along with other world renowned architecture and design firms.