BJDW presents ‘across chinese cities – china house vision’ at the venice biennale
Promoted by beijing design week at the 2016 venice architecture biennale, the exhibition ‘across chinese cities – china house vision’ is part of an international program launched two years ago at the 14th edition of the event. named ‘across chinese cities’, the program aims to generate content and research relating to the country’s contemporary urban condition. by engaging both professionals and academics, the display helps shape a new critical focus for architecture in china, envisioning new relationships with other fields and disciplines.
Curated by beatrice leanza of BJDW and michele brunello of DONTSTOP architettura, the exhibition is an iteration of the project ‘house vision’, a pan-asian platform of multidisciplinary research and development initiated by designer kenya hara and sadao tsuchiya in japan from 2013. occupying two floors of venice’s palazzo ca’ tron, the exhibition premiers a body of research produced by 12 architectural practices and relevant collaborating companies. the proposals are presented via newly designed installations specifically realized for the show, integrating research data, material archives, and conceptual renditions of their ongoing development.
Grouped in five thematic clusters, these ideas cover the past 18 months of research expounding upon a wide geographic blueprint of contemporary china, from urban to rural areas. as one of these five, a special project dedicated to the 2016 guest city chengdu has been developed by the beijing centre for the arts under the title ‘kitchen home project’.
The primary thematic contents are presented on the first floor, integrated in an installation of lightweight wooden structures and translucent surfaces designed by DONTSTOP architettura and omri revesz studio, with visual and graphic design by shenzhen-based sans practice. the proposals address the wider cultural and historic implications affecting the habitat and role of architectural practice in today’s china as increasingly impacted by environmental factors, shape-shifting demographics and generational segmentation.
The projects in the first section ‘the hybrid unit’ consider the historical rapport between the private and public sphere, investigating the efficacy of vernacular forms of spatial thinking and resilient social formations in the contemporary city. these include: the bike house (atelier FCJZ/ chang yungho), hutong MINI house (ZAO/ standardarchitecture/ zhang ke), micro garden in hutong toilet (MAD architects/ ma yansong).
The second section ‘dematerialized space’ collates projects that examine transforming rituals of habitation and notions of the home often unhinged from traditional architectural forms. the schemes reference today’s mobile techno-social lifestyles, typical of younger generations. these include: the house of belongings (atelier deshaus/ liu yichun), the house of spontaneity (trace architecture office/ hua li), i-living (crossboundaries architects), and the thousand hands house (atelier fronti/ wang yun).
Proposals in the third section ‘rural frontiers’ peruse ‘the vernacular dimension of the rural’. these projects seek to empower an alternative economy of sustainable habitation and productive co-dependency for the revitalization of endangered natural ecosystems. these include: pole house (AZL architects/ zhang lei) and back home (approach architecture studio/ liang jingyu).
The section ‘community plus’ tackles the new social demographics of so called ‘ant tribes’, the work-and-living habits of ‘millennials’, and the phenomena of collective housing in face of alarming pollution and unabated urban growth. these include: overlapped living (URBANUS/ wang hui), urban furniture – co-living (B.L.U.E. architecture/ shuhei aoyama) and breathing home – start-up home (NEXT architects/ john van de water & jiang xiaofei).
A set of installations, presented on the ground floor, form a special project hosted by chengdu media group, developed by beijing center for the arts (BCA) in collaboration with kengo kuma (the floating kitchen), winy maas/ MVRDV (the infinity kitchen), and critic and food expert au yeung ying chai (kitchen home). the three schemes consider the cultural dimension of food-making, again investigating the relationship between public and private realms. these large scale installations include both object-based and multimedia presentations that form the first findings of this ongoing multidisciplinary program.