“Cities, Grow in Difference” at UABB 2017
The Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), the only exhibition in the world to explore issues of urbanization and architectural development, will be opening for its 7th edition on December 15th, 2017. UABB will be held at Nantou Old Town in Nanshan district, an urban village that was once the administrative center of the Bao’An County. Hou Hanru, Liu Xiaodu, and Meng Yan (in alphabetic order) make up the curatorial team, all known for notable accomplishments in their respective fields.
Exploring Integrated Diversity in the Urban Context
Cities, Grow in Difference, organized into three sections, will represent the interpretation of Chinese/global urbanization and the future prospects of cities. UABB’s main venue is Nantou Old Town, an urban village that embodies the past and present, East and West.
The exhibition will be spread throughout the community of Nantou, creating an interactive experience for locals and visitors alike. UABB is both an exhibition of the urban site witnessing the most dramatic urbanization in the 20th and 21st centuries.
This year UABB will be partnering with architects, artists, and designers to share their thoughts about urban culture through its first ever art exhibition. UABB 2017 aims to gain examples of urban development in Shenzhen and create a broadened discussion of urban issues.
Despite the distinctive venue and topics, this year’s biennale is only not restricted to discussions of urban villages in China, but it also serves as an opportunity to experience resistance and find alternatives to mandatory planning.
Two Worlds Collide: Architecture and Art Connoisseurs Gather at UABB 2017
There will be three sections to provide context, real examples, and interventions to further understand and improve quality of urban villages in China. The first section World | South, curated by Liu Xiaodu, will provide a background for the theme Cities, Grow in Difference.
World | South will present the Southern world from dimensions of natural evolution, historical change, geopolitical shift, and world development. This section features Chinese architect Liu Jia Kun whose works have been featured in Germany, France, and Italy.
The City | Village section is curated by Meng Yan and will detail the situation of China’s urban villages. Urban | Village consists of four sections: the Archive, featuring architectural photographer Zhang Chao, who has been featured in multiple international magazines, present the origin and development of urban villages.
The Armoury details archived cases and proposals; with Iranian-American architect Nader Tehrani alongside Dutch architecture team MVRDV who will exhibit The Why Factory installation. UABB’s premier curator Chang Yung Ho will also be working to make Nantou a cultural stop for the future.
The Art Making Cities marks UABB’s first ever art exhibition, directed by co-curator Hou Hanru, and opening new grounds in the art design world. Art Making Cities explores the unorthodox city-making approaches and its effects on villages.
A series of urban art intervention projects will be conducted by exhibitors who have organised their own social experiments: World War II survivor Yona Friedman, will be arriving for his first time to Shenzhen; David Hammons, known as one of the most expensive artists in the world, will be joining UABB for his passion in social issues.
Cinthia Marcelle, will bring her award-winning pieces to interpret urban villages; Brazilia artists Boa Mistura will colour the streets of Nantou, while Tatzu Nishi will transform it as he has done with landmarks in Manhattan and Amsterdam.
Rejuvenation and Preservation Intertwine at Nantou Old Town
Experiencing immense pressure from rapid urban growth, the urban village of Nantou underwent spontaneous development due to its historical legacy and local policies.
In a rush to meet growing housing demands, villagers built higher levels atop the regulated two-storied residential buildings resulting in high-density blocks of “hand-shaking towers” in the urban village. The exhibition will place art works throughout the village, including lanterns and plants, to create a spontaneous atmosphere for the space. Source and images Courtesy of Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB).
Article by Marco Rinaldi