Uabb: The Latest Architecture and News
The Urbanism\Architecture Bi-City Biennale (UABB) in Shenzhen finished in February, but at least one element of it lives on. Floating Fields, a project by Thomas Chung, Associate Professor of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was installed at the UABB site at the Dacheng Flour Mills in Shekhou as a demonstration of a concept to return agriculture to the Shenzhen's bay with floating agricultural fields. The project, which forms the major landscape piece at the Biennale, received the Biennale Organising Committee Award at the event's closing ceremony.
The 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism exhibits, makes, and discusses architecture that reflects the reuse and rethinking of existing buildings, the re-imagination of our cities, and the remaking of our daily lives by design. It is be a biennale of fragments, not abstract plans; of collage, not grids; of tactical urbanism, not top-down strategies. The ETH Zurich Master of Advanced Studies Program in Urban Design – chaired by Marc Angélil and directed by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes – has investigated informal settlements in Cairo, looking into designs for affordable housing units in the neighborhood of Ard-el-Liwa.
Earlier today in Shenzhen the 6th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB) opened its doors to public. Under the overall theme "Re-Living the City," curators Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner of Urban Think Tank headed up the "Radical Urbanism" exhibit in the main venue. Brillembourg and Klumpner invited the exhibition participants to show how we can learn from ad-hoc and "bottom-up" initiatives for alternative urban solutions. In the following essay - originally printed in the UABB 2015 catalogue - the curators call for us to "rethink how we can operate within the city, learn from its emerging intelligence and shap[e] its outcomes to radical and tactical ends."
The notion of a radical urbanism draws us unavoidably into the realm of the political. Imagining a more equitable and sustainable future involves an implicit critique of the spatial and societal conditions produced by prevailing urban logics. As such, we are not only reminded of Le Corbusier’s famous ultimatum, “architecture or revolution,” but its generational echo in Buckminster Fuller’s more catastrophic pronouncement, “utopia or oblivion.” Both were zero-sum scenarios born of overt social disjuncture, whether the deprivations and tensions of the interwar period, or the escalating conflicts and ecological anxiety of the late 1960s. While the wave of experimental "post utopian" practices that emerged in the early 1970s positioned themselves explicitly in opposition to perceived failures of the modern movement, these disparate groups shared a belief – however disenchanted – with their predecessors in the idea that radical difference was possible, as well as a conviction that a break was necessary.
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.
The 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture (UABB) has launched an open call for exhibitors. Co-organized by Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB is the only biennial exhibition in the world that is based exclusively on the themes of urbanism and urbanization. This year's edition, which will run from December 2015 to February 2016, will be based around the themes "Re-Living the City" and "Visions 2050 - Lifestyle & The City." All those who are interested in participating as an exhibitor should submit their proposals to the organizers of the Shenzhen curatorial team (here) and Hong Kong curatorial team (here) before June 30, 2015. See our past coverage on the 2013 UABB to learn more about the event.