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Detours: Tactical Approaches to Urbanization in China


October 24, 2006
by Canadian Architect

This exhibition runs from October 23, 2006-March 10, 2007 at the Eric Arthur Gallery at the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. The exhibition focuses on projects by Chinese architects and artists that critically engage urban development in China today. These practitioners approach their context in flux from a tactical perspective that starts with a close reading of the given social and material situation, setting their proposals apart from strategic initiatives that respond abstractly to the demands of foreign and local capital or state ideology.

Since the early 1980s, China has been transformed in unprecedented ways. Incredible economic growth has created a new middle class, cities have been physically reconstructed, culture has been opened to capitalist markets, and farmers have moved to cities to find work. However, this urban revolution has brought with it many contradictions. Cities and towns are being quickly produced for immediate effect, projecting the image of a rapidly modernizing society, while the uneven development of urban and rural spaces and people intensifies.

This exhibition presents eleven propositions for the production of urban space in the context of this transformation. Each project resists tendencies toward contextual erasure and simple stylistic appropriation that have become commonplace within Chinese architectural design. Faced with this set of reductive strategies, the initiatives found here follow a set of intentional maneuvers in order to negotiate China’s complex histories, spaces, cultures, and social realities. While these practices have been developed in response to specific circumstances within Chinese society, they also offer strong experiments and models for architects and artists working elsewhere in the world.

The work of the following architecture firms will be on display: Ai Weiwei, Amateur Architecture, Atelier 3, Atelier Feichang Jianzhu, Jiakun Architects, Mada S.P.A.M., Neno, Ou Ning & Cao Fei, Shenzhen Urban Planning Bureau, Turenscape, Urbanus Architecture and Design.



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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