‘Collective City’ seeks to question how modes
of collective practice and action can challenge
the current paradigms of city development and
offer resistance to the dominant systems of
spatial production. The Seoul Biennale reflects
on new models of co-existence, social practice,
governance, research and speculation, to
suggest alternative concepts of architecture,
the city and the environment. 

URBAN RURAL EXCHANGE (2019-09-07) by Atelier Bow-WowSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Participating architects have contributed from all around the world. Together they present varied critiques on the contemporary processes of urbanization, exploration of ecological and infrastructural systems expanding and defining new territories, questions of material and production, alternative models of development and typological innovation, new forms of tenure and landownership to architecture as a form of activism, protest, mediation and consultation. The layout of the exhibition positions research, proposition and speculation in close proximity to one another in a continuous space, allowing for connections and overlap. There is no defined sequence of experience or orientation, rather the exhibition is intended as an immersion within the many scales and forms of action currently active in the global practice of architecture and urbanism. In this saturated space, the viewer can navigate their own encounter to best understand the challenges facing our world today, the urgent need for transformation of our occupation of the planet, and the potential of architecture and form to engage meaningfully within that context. 

ALTAR OF THE SEVEN BOOKS (2019-09-07) by BaukuhSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism


The Altar is an archaic heptagonal architecture, supported by a scaffolding frame clad by colorful portions of floor carpet. It is crowned by 49 fluorescent tubes and rises from a base made by pedestrian plastic fly curtains. Visitors need to bend in order to enter the calm inner space, whose floor is constituted by a circular long hair carpet. An off-center low altar sports seven architecture books of the city, as a personal offer of collective knowledge to the construction of post-capitalistic urbanity.

MANY (2019-09-07) by Keller EasterlingSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Keller Easterling

MANY is an online platform to facilitate migration through an exchange of needs. It allows cities to attract a changing influx of talent matching their needs to the needs of mobile people for mutual benefit. Social Capital Credits allow communities to consider needs as currencies rather than deficits. Participatory Land Readjustment produces increased property value through spatial rearrangement. Two subtraction protocols demonstrate how to put the development machine into reverse in sensitive landscape and areas of climate risk.

IMAGE AND ARCHITECTURE #: TRIPITAKA KOREANA (2019-09-07) by Bas PrincenSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Bas Princen

Work #11 in the series Image and Architecture captures The Tripitaka Koreana, the world’s greatest collection of Buddhist scriptures consisting of 81,258 wooden printing blocks, dating back to 1237. The collection, housed in four buildings at the Haein Temple, is a sacred space, albeit a space which is not monumental. It is an archive of knowledge that is meant to be reproduced, duplicated, disseminated. It is also a monument of crafts — the buildings in which the collection is kept are equipped with an ingeniously designed natural aircirculation system which has been able to preserve the blocks over millennia.

IMAGE AND ARCHITECTURE # : TRIPITAKA KOREANA (2019-09-07) by Bas PrincenSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

"In the past several years, I have worked with a new photographic printing process, combining rice paper and high resolution digital files, resulting in life size image-objects, able to capture and transfer ‘material’ and ‘materiality’ of architectural spaces and artistic artefacts with marvelous fragility and depth. This allows for a new view of well-known spaces to be created, nearly as direct, one-to-one experiences of deliberately chosen details." ㅡ Bas Princen

PROMISED LAND, RETHINKING TYPOLOGY AND CONSTRUCTION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING (2019-09-07) by Dogma + New AcademySeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Dogma + New Academy

‘Promised Land’ focuses on collective habitation not as an idealist projection, but as a structural re-consideration of the entire housing production process: from land procurement to home ownership, from construction to typology. ‘Promised Land’ is not a solution to the current housing crisis, but an attempt to consider what it is to build affordable housing today in post-welfare Europe.

A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT HOMES (2019-09-07) by amid.cero9Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism


A radical prototype for inhabiting cities in the future, celebrating the disappearance of homes as we know them and taking command of public interiors for communal domestic activities. Based on a deep examination on Korean Bangs, and how the presence of Jimjilbangs has shifted drastically the interiors towards a non-conventional domesticity, the prototype presents a model for collective housing based on dispossession and communal living. A big communal house where the conventional understanding of the domestic is subverted merging it with publicness. The act of sleeping and resting is performed ritualistically and collectively as the last realm of resistance to the acceleration of production and the 24/7 urban rhythms.

A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT HOMES (2019-09-07) by amid.cero9Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

The project presents a renewed idea of cohabitation that examines the relation between the private domestic realm and public space, the eradication of former notions of the home and a radical take on the collective as the fundamental force to shape our cities.

BAMSEOM DANGINRI LIVE (2019-09-07) by Mass Studies / Minsuk ChoSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Mass Studies / Minsuk Cho

The current urban quality of the area around the Danginri Power Plant site on the Han River, facing Bamseom Island, is that of a symphony played by an orchestra without a conductor. It’s where the vision of the city as a machine resulted in an entropic agglomeration of independent performances focused on energy production, flood control, and vehicular movement. It’s a vast urban territory without place, with a historyfree chronology. This all started 90 years ago when Seoul re-engineered itself as a modern metropolis.

BAMSEOM DANGINRI LIVE (2019-09-07) by Mass Studies / Minsuk ChoSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

However, unlike most locations along the Han River walled off by tall buildings, there is potential for this to become the last public area of this scale that can accommodate public activities along the waterfront and with a larger cohesive cultural and ecological ambition. Now it seems beyond impossible to imagine a ‘collective city’ in a hyper compartmentalized world, where the sum is almost always less than the collected parts. How can this urban territory, with these complex incompatibles, become a new ground? What kind of collective effort does it take for the accidentally found site to create a substitute utopia?

PLACES OF PRODUCTION, ALUMINIUM (2019-09-07) by Noura Al-Sayeh and Anne HoltropSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Noura Al-Sayeh and Anne Holtrop

Today, aluminum stands as one of the strongest expressions of the contemporary evolution of the city, both in its application on the facades of new buildings, and in the re-cladding of older buildings, becoming synonymous with a projected image of modernity. Through an investigation of the gestures in the production processes of aluminum, the installation, using film, photography and a sand-casted aluminum prototype, is an attempt to understand the politics and production cycle of the material and to extract a different potential of its use.

CREATION OF SPATIAL VALUE (2019-09-07) by CBC (China Building Centre)Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

CBC (China Building Centre)

Taking into account efficient, centralized, top-down development models, CBC believes that urban and rural development needs to prioritize more profound, subtle human factors. The research conducted by CBC reflects specifically on how to achieve a delicate balance between issues of social development, economy, culture and ecology; an approach that hopes to obtain a new position outside of the traditional urban-rural relation and to generate new possibilities in the field.

CREATION OF SPATIAL VALUE (2019-09-07) by CBC (China Building Centre)Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

CBC summarized this series of actions as the Creation of Spatial Value. The main strategy is to exert the power of design, and architects as a whole; taking advantage of community building and promotion, whilst drawing upon resources of design, culture and community, in order to explore a more bottom-up and acupunctural approach and therefore address urban and rural issues in an innovative way. The exhibition is curated by Peng Lixiao, Director of CBC (China Building Centre), Chief Editor of Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine. Two villages, Louna International Architects’ Village and Xiamutang Village were selected as examples to showcase innovative rural revitalization models.

RE-ASSEMBLING THE ARCHIVE (2019-09-07) by The Open WorkshopSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

The Open Workshop

Re-Assembling the Archive situates the archive as a place of discourse and public assembly. By doing so, it brings this space to the oreground of the public sphere and allows for the reordering of information to construct new histories and knowledge. Inserting the contemporary subject as a participant in assembling the archive, information can now be questioned, critiqued and reordered as an act of knowledge production.

A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT HOMES (2019-09-07) by amid.cero9Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism


A triangular display with three walls of research:
A. The Paradigm of Tokyo: Some thirty years Tokyo, by mutating into a new type of city, caught the imagination of the west — fluid and dynamic — the anti-thesis of the fixed geometries of the historic European City.

B. The Paradigm of the Eurolandschaft: Recent spontaneous evolutions have dispersed previously concentrated urban functions across the entire European landscape. A networked field, connected not only by freeways but also by digital communication. BOLLES + WILSON regularly traverse, map and project new typologies into this thin urban soup.

3 URBAN FIELD RESEARCHES (2019-09-07) by BOLLES + WILSONSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

C. Korça Masterplan: The small city of Korça, high in the Albanian mountains has (since winning the 2012 Masterplan Competition) become a laboratory for BOLLES + WILSON to re-script the city center with localized interventions — urban acupunctures. The fragmentary character of these interventions produces a dispersed field of signification (learning from Tokyo).

Credits: Story

Curator: Beth Hughes
Associate Curator: Hyoeun Kim
Assistant Curator: Livia Wang, Isabel Ogden, Jeffrey Kim, Yoojin Lee
Coordinator: Heejung Hwang
Film Researcher: Anna Livia Vørsel
Photographer: Kim tae yoon

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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