building a future countryside: chinese pavilion at the venice architecture biennale 2018

building a future countryside: chinese pavilion at the venice architecture biennale 2018

on the occasion of the 16th international exhibition la biennale di venezia, the pavilion of china reveals reveal the issues and possibilities of the chinese countryside. titled ‘building a future countryside’, the exhibition features major projects realized during the past several years in rural areas of the country.


‘the motivation for this exhibition is more than just xiangchou, a chinese term that refers to nostalgia for rural lands. we return to the countryside where chinese culture originated to recover forgotten values and overlooked possibilities; from there, we will build a future countryside,’ comments li xiangning, the curator of the pavilion of china.

ruralation shenaoli library by zhang lei
photo by yao li
all images courtesy of pavilion of china at the 16th venice architecture exhibition, la biennale di venezia



in china, the countryside has become a new frontier for experiments in this area, and the country is developing its countryside at a speed and scale unseen in the west. drawn by the promise of boundless opportunity, architects, artists, developers — as well as capital flow — are converging in rural areas across the nation. the return to pastoral life has long been an ideal of chinese literary tradition. in modern times, living in rural areas typically involves aspects such as policy, capital, infrastructure, and technology.

in bamboo by philip f. yuan
photo by bian lin
read more about the project here



while modernization and technological progress promise us better lives with modern living conditions, they also, to some extent, sever the link between rural life and tradition. faced with mass-produced rural housing brought on by urbanization, architects attempt to find a middle ground between tradition and modernization, taking advantage of modern technology in search of a vernacular connection. from the great yellow expanse of the loess plateau to the water towns south of the yangtze, from the vast and abundant plains of northeast china to the green and beautiful farmlands of the south, hundreds and thousands of villages have become sites for industrial development, self-building, and cultural creation. these sites enjoy tremendous opportunities offered by technological innovations, including the internet, logistics systems, and sharing economies.

wuyishan bamboo raft factory by hua li
photo by su shengliang
read more about the project here



the development of the countryside in contemporary china is unprecedented in both its scale and its approaches. more importantly, this development anticipates a new solution grounded in china’s unique conditions. ‘building a future countryside’ depicts the countryside of contemporary china through six episodes: poetic dwellings, local production, cultural practices, agricultural tourism, community reconstruction, and future exploration. this exhibition outlines a freespace for opportunities and anticipates future development.


henhouse of the taiyang organic farming commune by chen haoru
photo by lu hengzhong


pig barn of the taiyang organic farming commune by chen haoru
photo by lu hengzhong


xinchang village central kindergarten inner plaza by atelier deshaus
photo by su shengliang


beijing cidi memo itown by liu yuyang
photo by xiazhi


cloud village by philip f. yuan
photo by philip f. yuan


xiaozuo museum by dong yugan
photo by dong yugan


an old-new house recycling the rural during the celebration by rural urban framework
photo by john lin


chaimiduo farm restaurant and bazaar by zhao yang
photo by wang pengfei
read more about the project here



project info:


curator: li xiangning

commissioner: china arts and entertainment group (CAEG)

organizer: ministry of culture and tourism of the people’s republic of china

presenter: china international exhibition agency deputy

commissioner: li jinsheng, wang chen

assistant commissioners: huang xiaogang, liu zhenlin, li rui, yang xin, xie yanyi, li yunyun, zhang ziwei

collaborators: zhu di, zheng hao, wang mingxian, zhu wenyi, shi jian, li hu

curator’s assistants: yao weiwei, mo wanli, gao changjun research

team: zhang xiaochun, lin lin, deng yuanye

display design: liu yuyang, zhang ziyue

graphic design: ni minqing, li jixin

exhibitors: dong yugan, hua li, liu yuyang, philip f. yuan, rural urban framework, zhang lei, atelier archmixing, atelier deshaus, chen haoru, china new rural planning and design, dong gong, drawing architecture studio, hsieh ying-chun, jin jiangbo, li yikao, li xinggang, seung h-sang, nishizawa ryue, li zhenyu, lyu pinjing, naturalbuild, o-office architects, temp architects, xu tiantian, zhang li, zhao yang, zhu jingxiang


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

SGHS korean pavilion venice biennale

designboom’s coverage of the 2018 venice architecture biennale is in partnership with leading energy company edison. edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.

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