Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture
In Collaboration with 14th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

The 14th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (abr. as “Venice Biennale”) will open to the public from June 7 through November 23, 2014. Rem Koolhaas, the Director of the Biennale, has assigned the theme “Fundamental” to this year’s biennale and its Central Pavilion exhibition. At the mean time all country pavilions are given a same theme of “1914 -- 2014: Absorbing Modernity”. 

During the 14th Venice Biennale, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) will collaborate with two pavilions (China Pavilion and Finland Pavilion) to host promotional events named “UABB@Venice”, which includes exhibition, forums and other more public events.


“UABB@Venice” promotion continues the communication between Shenzhen and Venice, also the two city biennales, which started from 2009. Meanwhile, Shenzhen and Finland have realized the first cooperation of a city and a nation in the history of Venice Biennale, and made breakthroughs in exhibition mechanism and culture interaction.

In addition to the “UABB@Venice” series events, the outcome of “Reading Yingzao Fashi Workshop” organized by OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) and as one of the important parts of 2013 UABB, a roof model which was built up based on Yingzao Fashi (China’s first comprehensive architecture book, written in Song Dynasty) will be exhibited in Venice Biennale under its theme as a “Fundamental” of traditional Chinese architecture.

In 2013 UABB, OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) organized “Reading Yingzao Fashi Workshop”.

Visitors will see the best of UABB in Venice Biennale, get to know the decade history of the urbanism\architecture biennale growing from the fast developing Chinese city, as well as its interactive feature as an urban catalyst, and to further understand the communication between Chinese and European design cultures.


UABB@Venice@China Pavilion

Space Design of China Pavilion

Mr. Jun Jiang is the Curator of the Chinese Pavilion* of 14th Venice Biennale. Themed as “Mountains beyond Mountains”, China Pavilion will be designed by a numbers of the most established architects, designers and research professionals. UABB will be hosting an event series of “UABB@Venice” through collaborating with the China Pavilion, which includes the news conference, a 15-day long Retrospective of “Synergy For Symbiosis”, Urban Development Forums and other academic seminars.

The Retrospective will summarize the UABB 10-year's growth history and its contribution to the city development of Shenzhen. A selection of exhibits and stories from the five editions of UABB will be presented in forms of case cards, story books and physical models; documentaries and interview videos of the UABB will be loop played on site; and furthermore the contribution that the bienniale as a public event has brought will be discussed over. A special forum will be arranged regarding the Synergy for Symbiosis in city developing, that is a developing mode with the government leadership, support from corporates, experts’ supervision and public participation. The past curators and exhibitors of UABB will be invited as guests for the forum.

*Note: Rem Koolhaas, the Director of 14th Venice Biennale, has assigned a same theme of “1914 -- 2014: Absorbing Modernity” to all country pavilions. The China Pavilion is to elaborate the theme as “Fundamental -- 1914 - 2014: Reconciling Modernity”. The exhibition is planned basing on a longitude (or general principle) of Jia-Cheng-Guo-Tianxia (Household-City-State-Nature) and Cang-Xian-Tong-Bian (Veil-Unveil-Access-Change), as well as a latitude (or hierarchy) of Sheng-Zhang-Shou-Cang (Sprout-Growth-Restraint-Reservation). In details, there are three teams of architects designing the exhibition space; three types of materials and structural systems are to be applied to build the space and corresponding detailed architectural elements such as site base, the main structure and courtyards; those elements will work together to demonstrate a mutual-reinforce-andrestrain model of Chinese philosophy in an architectural way. As for the exhibition content, an ideological sway between Formism and Functionism of 100 years’ Chinese architecture with a latent clue of “extracting the Yi (Imagery) out of form” will be presented to the audiences.


UABB@Venice@Finland Pavilion

“Re-Creation” in the Value Factory of 2013 UABB

Themed on “Re-Creation”, the Finnish Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale will feature a special installation commissioned by the Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA) in collaboration with UABB and the Architecture Information Centre Finland. The exhibition is co-curated by Ole Bouman (Creative Director of 2013 UABB) and Juulia Kauste (Director of MFA) which will indicate the complementation and mutual promotion between the design cultures of Shenzhen and Finland.

"Re-Creation", which was originally exhibited on 2013 UABB, is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila*. One part of the installation was constructed by a Chinese designer Gigi Leung, and the other by a Finnish master carpenter and his team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders. Presented in the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, it takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue. “Re-Creation” is the result of a deliberate and mutual exposure of the almost timeless architecture fundamentals of a nation to the rapidly changing cultural realities of a modern city: Finland and Shenzhen. A Nordic nation, reputed for its calm and serenity meets a city, famous for its speed and frenzy at the heart of Pearl River Delta. It reveals the qualities that emerge from this encounter, showing how “Absorbing Modernity” may produce specificity.

“Re-Creation” is not only a cultivation of the fundamentals of space and shelter. It is also an interaction between the authentic (the original) and replica (the copy), between national identities and global realities. Re-invigorating the cultural value of local tradition by directly exposing it to the realities of globalization, it creates something new that neither China nor Finland could do alone.

This way, a traditional gesture becomes a true act of modernity, going beyond the easy opposition between two categories.

Before the official opening of 14th Venice Biennale, Shenzhen and Finland will co-host a public event to discuss these efforts and their relevance for contemporary architecture. Chinese and Finnish architects and curators will participate.

*Note: From OOPEAA, Office for Peripheral Architecture, formerly known as Lassila Hirvilammi Architects.

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