Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture(Shenzhen) wraps in grand style


Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture(Shenzhen) wraps in grand style

Urbanism symposium closing ceremony celebrates success

(February 28, 2014) The world’s one and only Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture(Shenzhen) [UABB(SZ)] concluded its three months of exhibits and symposium events with a grand closing ceremony at the Value Factory site, a former Guangdong glass factory renovated specifically for the biennale and where many of the events were staged. In attendance at the cceremony were honourable guests including Shenzhen mayor Mr. Xu Qin and Vice Mayor Mr. LV Ruifeng.

Preceding the ceremony was an invite only launch of the UABB Catalogue. Dignitaries then joined the closing ceremony which featured congratulatory words from leaders of the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government. They were followed by speeches by the UABB’s lead curators Ole Bouman, Li Xiangning and Jeffrey Johnson. A short documentary video highlighted the outstanding achievements and hard work of all who took part in the successful biennale.

As part of the event, a representative from the China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Company Ltd and UABB Creative Director Bouman spoke on the future of the former Guangdong Float Glass Factory, so lovingly restored for use as one of the two main venues for the Bi-City Biennale. Both speakers talked highly about its unique historical aesthetics, the experimental new designs and its continued use after the exhibition as a ‘Value Factory’ where international and local designers and innovators can be housed to create and initiate new and exciting products and projects.

"We have delivered a complete cultural facility," Bouman mentioned. "The Value Factory synthesizes more than a dozen roles to shape a unique new institution to celebrate architecture in its broadest sense. It combines a manifesto hall, silo adventure, urban beacon, chapel, panorama deck, museum, event platform, urban farm, design and consultancy studio, academy, education centre, think tank, exhibition facility, workshops, shop, bar and restaurants. And that’s only in its default setting."

Closing Forum

International Forum 2



BOOK LAUNCH EVENT FOR UABB CATALOGUE: Ole Bouman, Li Xiangning and Jeffrey Johnson


BOOK LAUNCH EVENT FOR UABB CATALOGUE: ELISABETH BREDDELS, Director of Volume Magazine (Special Issue for 2013UABB)

Awards Presentation

A major portion of the closing ceremony was dedicated to the UABB Awards celebrating the best of the three months of exhibitions and urban city display.

Organising Committee Award

Academic Committee Awards 

The Value Factory Renovation project was honoured with the Organising Committee Award. The Academic committee Awards went to four recipients: ‘Working On Yingzao Fashi’ by programme partner the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA); ‘Value Farm’ with programme partners the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong Value Farm; ‘14 City Cases - Past, Present and Future’ by curator Zoe Alexandra Florence; and the UK Pavilion’s ‘Liquid Boundaries’ curated by Jeremy Till of Central Saint Martins.

Public Choice Awards

In the Public Choice Awards, which were voted on by visitors on site and online, three prizes were presented to exhibits by Li Danfeng and Zhou Jianjia of Yearch Studio (New York) for 'Communication or Confrontation, a Timeline of City Edge',' Shenzhen Hong Kong Special Material Zone' by program partners Droog with TD-SZHKSMZ; and the Victoria & Albert Museum's 'V&A-Rapid Response Collecting'.

Shenzhen Mayor Mr. Xu Qin awarded China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Company Ltd

Partners Acknowledgement

Best Volunteer Award 

The Best Sponsor Exhibition was '[HOROY] City Prosperity Era'. Outstanding Volunteers awards were given to twenty valuable members of the team and plaques of appreciation were presented to partners (sponsors).

Performance: Dimen Dong Folk Chorus

The closing ceremony concluded with a rousing performance by the Dimen Dong Folk Chorus, an ancient and popular singing group from South-west Guizhou Province. They have appeared abroad numerous times including at the Smithson Folk Art Festival and the Kennedy Centre.

UABB Recap and Statistics

The 2013 Biennale was unique in that the exhibition programme was split between two teams and two main venues. At the transformed former Guangdong Float Glass Factory, UABB Creative Director Ole Bouman explored his manifesto of “Biennale as risk” and in three months turned the formerly derelict factory into a ‘Value Factory’ nurturing local, regional and international collaborations. Among the globally renowned cultural institutions taking part included the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), MAXXI, OMA, Droog Design, International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo, MIT, MoMA New York, and the Berlage, etc.

Curator Bouman noted, "We had 25 program partners from all over the world: from to design labels, to arhcitecture studio's, from museums to schools, from biennale to architecture centers."

The second main venue was the abandoned old warehouse at the Shekou Ferry Terminal, renamed the “Border Warehouse”. Curators Li Xiangning and Jeffrey Johnson adopted the space for exhibitions and re-conceived it as a space that can continue to play a role in Shenzhen’s cultural landscape. The post-industrial site at the transport terminal was perfect for their curatorial “documentary” on the theme of ‘Crossing Urban Boundaries’. The exhibition was organized into five sections: Border Documentary Timeline, which established the historical and conceptual framework; Crossing Border Case Studies, which presented research, projects and speculations; Exploring Social Boundary, which focused on critical issues usually less visible and marginalized; National and Regional Pavilions, where invited curators from nine countries and regions created exhibitions; and Border Video Galleries, where 12 different interpretations of urban borders through the medium of video were continuously projected. Collectively, the more than 80 exhibitions and 100 participants constructed a diverse historical narrative on the city and its boundaries—both visible and invisible. The exhibition not only represented historical conditions of the city but also brought to light many critical issues confronting cities today, both in China and around the world.

In total, exhibitors came from 21 countries including China, Netherlands, France, Finland, UK, America, Spain, Brazil, India, Switzerland, Nigeria, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sweden, Belgium, Japan, and Italy. 135 exhibition projects were presented over the three months, with Venue A (Glass factory) featuring 34 and Venue B (Shekou Ferry Terminal) showing 101 displays. Over the three months of the Biennale, 104 events, both public and professional only, took place. A total of 33 of the events occurred in the whirlwind of the opening week. The rest of December saw 18 other events, followed by 24 in the month of January and 29 (including the events during the closing ceremony) in February.

With figures up to the end of January 2014, the total number of visits was roughly 120,000 people, with the final figure expected to over 180,000.


Recap of important events 

Among the significant professional workshops presented were OMA’s (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) modern explorations of the Song Dynasty roofing construction manual, the Yingzao Fashi. Created some 3,500 years ago, the important Chinese architectural artefact has fascinated OMA’s Stephan Petermann and Cedric Van Parys, who led their workshops in attempting to interpret and translate the text into English, while a second aspect of the workshop in their facility focused on creating a scale replica of the the ancient roof jointing techniques in blue styrofoam. The result will be displayed at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

Another significant achievement in professional development this year is the UABB’s new Value Factory Academy, an Architects in Residence programme offering tutorials and consultation. Four professionals were invited to take part along with creative director Bouman. The inaugural Architects in Residence included Martine de Maeseneer from Brussels, New York’s architecture photographer Richard Schulman, critic Ruta Leitanaite from Lithuania, and sustainable urban strategist Gunter Wehmeyer. Through a series of workshops and public lectures on the art of design, photography and curating, the efforts led to a graduation exhibition at the Value Factory closing.

A major public exhibition was the Value Farm, inspired by Hong Kong’s urban vernacular of urban rooftops and street markets. With involvement from the Shekou community, produce was planted, harvested and enjoyed in communal dining events that were popular with entire families. The farm also paid homage to the 170 year-old Graham Street market now being demolished. The farm was designed and conceived by Thomas Chung, community initiatives were curated by Tris Kee. In a 100 square metre piece of land in Shekou’s Value Factory, a wide of variety of crops were planted in a bricked enclosure divided into plots that re-examined agricultural possibilities in urban roof settings in post-urban Hong Kong.

A final important move for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism is the new programme, the UABB School. This new project with forums, workshops and events all under one banner engages professionals, students, the general public, entire families and others is a major highlight of the exhibitions. Organised by the ATU, youngsters were trained to be tour guides, thus engaging a younger generation in the architectural urban exhibits and sowing seeds for future biennale. The volunteers from 12 to 18 years-old are given two weeks of training, practice and learning to explain and familiarise themselves with the details and renovation of the Guangdong Float Glass Factory. These youngsters then acted as tour guides for visitors on Sundays. In addition to integrating the local community, this programme further strengthened the role of cultural education.


[More images downloaded from HERE]


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