beijing design week presents across chinese cities at venice biennale
 
beijing design week presents across chinese cities at venice biennale beijing design week presents across chinese cities at venice biennale
jun 20, 2014

beijing design week presents across chinese cities at venice biennale

beijing design week presents across chinese cities at venice biennale
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

in collaboration with italian studio dontstop architettura, beijing design week presents ‘across chinese cities – beijing’ – a collateral event of venice’s 14th international architecture exhibition. expounding upon rem koolhaas’ curatorial premise of an ‘absorbing modernity’, the exhibition serves as a conversation between the built forms and communities that surround an architecture of resilience, and the relationships unique to the beijing region. the installation uses the historical district of dashilar as a lens with which to investigate the chinese capital’s urban fabric, considering the processes of continuous adaptation which define the area.

 

the display is presented across juxtaposed sections, ‘across city sections’ and ‘across dashilar’. the two components examine cross-references and counterpoints between the city’s macro transformations of a modernistic evolution over the past century, and the micro change-agents that traversed the history of dashilar since its foundation as the ‘outer city’ during the yuan dynasty.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
the exhibition is a conversation between the built forms and communities that surround an architecture of resilience
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

‘across city sections’ provides an overview of what the curators refer to as beijing’s ‘urban mutation’. a large scale installation, realized as five 7 meter-long display tables containing 1:500 scale 3D printed models, maps the city with a linear timeline marking five crucial moments during its history. from within these spatial and temporal sections, the invariant core of the forbidden city and the grand transformations of the urban fabric are set in contrast with the small-scale changes of dashilar, attesting to its adaptive capacity across different historical thresholds: 1488 – foundation of dashilar; 1914 – construction of experimental xiang chang district; 1958 – inauguration of tian’anmen square; 1992 – opening of henderson centre, first shopping mall; 2014 – beijing today.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
a large scale installation maps the city with a linear timeline
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

surrounding the central installation, ‘across dashilar’ forms an explorative path contemplating a historical discussion based on four specific periods of time – the yuan dynasty, the ming and qing eras, the economic reforms of the 1980-90s, and the XXI century. located southwest of tian’anmen square, dashilar is a densely populated quarter of traditional courtyards and hutongs where behavioral and spatial hierarchies were often subverted. here specialized craftsmanship and performing arts once flourished so making it the commercial and cultural heart of the capital since the ming dynasty. through seven thematic frameworks the exhibition examines the entanglement of socio-cultural dynamics and political factors that shaped the unruly architectural and social features which have long remained untouched by tested methods of urban revitalization.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
five 7 meter-long display tables contain 1:500 scale 3D printed models
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

photographic material and historical documentation assembled with the collaboration of beijing based sans practice, is presented for the first time, tracing the evolution of dashilar from external settlement of the imperial city to endangered historic district of the global metropolis. a series of case studies on building typologies, traditional industries, entertainment outlets and tea houses contextualize the more than 20 contemporary projects. as a result of the three year cooperation between beijing design week and dashilar platform these interdisciplinary works were realized by a wide range of studios in response to the area’s infrastructural and communal ecosystem as part of a regeneration scheme based on community participation.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
grand transformations of the urban fabric are set in contrast with more small-scale changes
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

‘dashilar pilots’ proposals by reMIX architecture, people’s architecture office and matali crasset present solutions for the dynamic renovation, adaptive reuse and soft intervention of existing sites in the area, while zhang ke‘s ‘micro hutong‘ project, interacts with the hyper-dense context of the hutongs as a communal space for the inhabitants. these are further accompanied by a selection of works on various media ranging from photography, sound art, video, animation and interactive applications, to co-design and collaborative projects with local residents and craftsmen.

 

a related film program includes documentaries and the special screening ‘beijing on film – 1980s – 1990s’ curated by xie meng, which examines how the city of beijing, its landscapes, and its residents, are depicted in five narrative films from the 1980s through the turn of the century. these films subtly capture essential elements of beijing – the public bathhouses, temple fairs and honeycomb briquettes – that are gradually disappearing from public life and memory.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
surrounding the central installation, ‘across dashilar’ forms an explorative path initiating a historical discussion
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

a special installation by MAD architects is found inside the exhibition space, details proposals for ‘nanjing zendai himalayas center‘, a project set to be complete by the chinese office. the result of a cross-over between architecture model and landscape installation, this work creates an ideal green open space spreading on the ground level of the city, where the natural and the man-made are brought together in an interplay of indoor and outdoor dimensions. layers of semitransparent sliced paper mountains tower at the rear of the space – based on traditional chinese gardens.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
photographic material and historical documentation is presented for the first time
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

fundamentals and absorbing modernity, bring one to reflect on the titanic clash between the languages and references of local and global architecture, and on the dialectic conditions which inspire and animate the spatial interventions in most cities of the world. places like dashilar and venice, however, are resisting and preserving their peculiarities; their endurance is the ability of adaptation, of resilience, of constant re-invention and mutation’, explains michele brunello, architect and co-curator of the exhibition.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
a series of case studies contextualize the more than 20 contemporary projects
image © beijing design week

 

 

 

beatrice leanza, creative director of beijing design week and co-curator of the exhibition has described the installation as ‘one that provides narrative disclosure to the developments of situated architectural knowledge across the chinese capital while exposing transcultural and transdisciplinary dynamics of creative and social appropriation unique to dashilar ever since its foundation, where the ‘street’ is a key site of public discourse’.

 

ensuing from a collaboration with venice municipality, beijing design week’s participation to la biennale di venezia 2014 will be a first step in a three-year long program of cultural collaboration and exchange between the two cities.

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
a special installation by MAD architects details proposals for ‘nanjing zendai himalayas center’
image © beijing design week

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
the project creates a green open space spread across the ground level of the city
image © beijing design week

across chinese cities beijing venice architecture biennale designboom
the exhibition within venice’s arsenale nord
image © beijing design week

 

 

across chinese cities – beijing

 

organization: beijing design week
curators: michele brunello (dontstop architettura) and beatrice leanza (beijing design week)
special installation: ma yansong
in collaboration with: dashilar platform, neill mclean gaddes, yijing xu
participants:
for ‘across city sections’: dontstop architettura
for ‘across dashilar’: abitare china magazine, the school of design – CAFA (central academy of fine arts), matali crasset, CYJO, instant hutong, nippon design center, LAVA design agency, lumalu, meta:hutongs, people’s architecture foundation, people’s architecture office, reMIX architecture, SANS practice, varvara shavrova, standardarchitecture, studio ramoprimo + MDDM studio, the DaZhaLan Project (cao fei and ou ning), jia yong, MAD architects, michael young, hua xinmin, cui yong.
coordination: beijing gehua-rizzoli design communication co.,ltd, dontstop architettura (michele brunello e marco brega) GA holding beijing dashilar investment limited
senior consultants: ma yansong, stefano boeri, wu chen, wu wenyi, fang zhenning, zhu xiaodi, zhang ke, chen zhanhui, kengo kuma, cai hongyan, zeng hui, wang zhizhong, jia rong
exhibition design: dontstop architettura (michele brunello and marco brega) with omri revesz studio.
team: silvia bertolotti, giorgio donà, massimiliano savino, shilong tan, giuditta vendrame, yibo xu and the collaboration of donatello de mattia
official sponsor: shanghai zendai group, sunshine 100 china holdings ltd.
with special support from: beijing municipal commission of urban planning, xicheng district people’s government of beijing municipality, beijing industrial design center, embassy of italy in beijing, fondazione italia cina, city of venice–venice expo committee
special thanks for the installation ‘across city sections’: xichen zhang, associate professor, school of design, jiangnan university, china
digital fabrication: fablab venezia
3D printers made in italy: wasp

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