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Cities Grow in Difference: Architecture bienniale opens in Shenzhen


December 18, 2017
by Canadian Architect

On December 14, a press conference in the Nantou Old Town announced the opening of the 7th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (UABB) in Shenzhen, China.  Jointly held in the neighbouring cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the 2017-2018 biennale will run until March 15.Shenzhen, Biennale, UABB, Cities Grow in Difference

Themed as “Cities Grow in Difference,” the 2017 UABB (Shenzhen) is jointly curated by curator and critic Hou Hanru and founding architectural partners of URBANUS Liu Xiaodu and Meng Yan. With more than 200 exhibitors from over 25 countries gathered at Nantou Old Town, 2017 UABB (Shenzhen) aims to explore and reflect on the urban development within a globalized context. It tries to establish the vision of the future cities through works that fuse architecture, art, and design. In addition, more than 200 academic and public events on diversified topics will be presented throughout the three-month exhibition duration. These forums, performances, and workshops will bring visitors a variety of exciting experiences. Meanwhile, 5 Sub-venue Exhibitions at Luohu, Yantian, Longhua (Shangwei and Dalang) along with Guangming New District, and 14 other Collateral Exhibitions all over the city will be simultaneously launched to echo and supplement with those at the main venue.

Calling for Urban Diversity, Inclusiveness and “Symbiosis”

Power and capital, contemporary China has undergone more than three decades of neck-breaking urban development and the Chinese cities have tended to be increasingly homogenous and monotonous. 2017 UABB (Shenzhen), the first biennial that ever takes place in an urban village, represents a call for a diverse, inclusive and robust urban ecosystem based on respect for humanity and history and for the coexistence of urban culture, society, and spaces on various levels. This edition of UABB is integrated with and conducted concurrently with the renewal plan of Nantou Old Town. By implanting the exhibitions into the residents’ daily life and spreading the exhibitions throughout the streets, lanes, houses and factory buildings, 2017 UABB (Shenzhen) intends to explore an urban form known as variety created out of harmony, and making people rethink the urban villages, cities, and public spaces. Under the theme of Cities, Grow in Differences, three sections will be presented, namely Global South, Urban Village, and Art Making Cities. The Global South section is curated by Liu Xiaodu, and Urban Village section by Meng Yan, while Zhu Ye acts as the co-curator for the aforesaid two sections on urbanism and architecture. The Art Making Cities section is curated by Hou Hanru and co-curated by curator and artist Yang Yong.

Diversified Events to Create Urban Knowledge Platforms for the Public

“Urbanism/Architecture” is not just a feast in the professional circle, but a popular topic attracting public attention. Founded in 2013, UABB School aims to bridge the professional circle and the general public through a variety of events, thus make UABB (Shenzhen) a long-lasting platform for imparting urban knowledge.Shenzhen, Biennale, UABB, Cities Grow in Difference

For 2017 UABB (Shenzhen), besides the various thematic forums and lectures hosted by the invited curators, exhibitors, scholars and independent organizations, more diverse academic events will take place, such as the theatre-based forums, urban debate competition, and architecture critics workshops. On the other hand, events welcoming public participation such as performance art, modern dance, live theater, movie shows, and flee market displays will be launched one after another throughout the three-month exhibition. The Lego Series “Brick by Brick”, “Parkour City”, and “Floating in the City” put up by 300,000 Lego toy bricks, and workshops on wood craft, painting and handcraft books will encourage the participation from visitors of all ages to learn about the urban village, its history, present, and future. Guided tours targeting visitors from different backgrounds will lead around the exhibition venue, experiencing the history of the Nantou Old Town and the stories about Shenzhen.
Embracing the 10th Anniversary of UABB.



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