6th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \Architecture (2015 UABB) Close

The closing ceremony of the 6th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (2015 UABB) was held on February 28th, at Dacheng Flour Factory, the main exhibition venue for the biennale. Since its commencement on December 4th, 2015, the biennale has held 209 activities, displayed 160 exhibits and attracted over 250,000 visitors.

Four categories of awards, namely Mentor Committee Appraisal Awards, Academic Committee Awards, Public Awards, and Independent Jury Awards were given to winning exhibits at the closing ceremony. Curators recommended “Floating Fields”, which was appraised by the Organizing Committee as the winner of Committee Appraisal Awards. The landscape facility of “Floating Fields” was developed and constructed based on the “Re-Living” concept. It brought back several agricultural/aquatic plants, and resurrected the “unique poetic and beautiful ecological landscape in the Pearl River Delta Region.” Besides, it has become a public space that enhances people’s experience of the city. Projects such as “Cartographies of Planetary Urbanization”, “Radical Temporalities: The Landscape of Ephemeral Urbanism”, and “Cacophony Collage: a thousand music boxes and one city wall” were unanimously recommended by the Academic Committee for their feasible research and definite academic standpoints, and won Academic Committee Awards.

“Symbiotic Village”, “City of Wind”, and “Social City” won public recognition for their creativity, sense of presence and visual presentation through a poll conducted at UABB venues, on the official website and platforms like WeChat, over a period of one month.

The Independent Jury consisting of five renowned international architects and critics selected the following winners: Gold Award winner, “The National Pavilion of the Western Sahara”; Silver Award winner, “Hyper Metropolis-Speculations on Future Hybrid Lifestyle in Shenzhen”; and Bronze Award winners, “Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City”, and “Unidentified Acts of Design” that focus on local design.

The Organizing Committee acknowledged and awarded prizes to special contributors, exceptional partners, most popular exhibition sponsors, and strategic partners. They also praised volunteers of 2015 UABB for their excellent work.

2015 UABB’s curators Aaron Betsky, Hubert Klumpner, and Doreen Heng Liu spoke about solutions for urban problems and described their views on ideal urban buildings for the future.

Yang Hong, Standing Committee member of Shenzhen Municipal Committee and party member said in his speech: “2015 UABB advocates reuse, rethink and re-imagination of urban buildings, which is in line with Shenzhen’s strategic sustainable development goals in its 13th Five-Year Plan that is geared to meet shortage of space. 2015 UABB aims to educate people about the importance of making use of existing city and building spaces, rather than constructing more buildings. It has a very important meaning for Shenzhen.”

Yang Hong spoke highly of the suggestion that 2017 UABB should be held in urban villages. According to him, urban villages are home to more than 7 million people and have buildings that are a dozen, hundred, and even two hundred years old that can present the history of Shenzhen’s reform, its modernity, as well as the modern life history of its citizens. Yang also expressed his sincere wishes for a better UABB.

At the end of the closing ceremony, Yang Hong, Standing Committee member of Shenzhen Municipal Committee; Wang Youpeng, Director of Urban Planning, Land & Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality; Lin Yunfeng, Director of Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \Architecture Organizing Committee; and Ole Bouman, Representative of Academic Committee Mentors, and Curator of Shekou Design Museum collectively revealed the countdown board for the 2017 UABB. Other activities on the same day included Themed Speeches, Urban Agriculture Forum and guides to UABB Harvest Parade.

Renowned artist Cao Fei delivered a themed speech in the morning, which used images and multimedia records to showcase each node in China’s urbanization process over a decade, and reflected her thoughts about modern life. Taiwanese architect Huang Shengyuan spoke of his experience in Yilan, to share his strategies on cooperating with communities, inviting public participation, working in line with local conditions, and his attitude towards life. Starting with “Floating Fields” project at the venue, Urban Agriculture Forum discussed the possibility of integrating “Urban Agriculture” in cities, and encouraged people to participate and experience the joy in harvesting vegetables.

UABB exhibitions broaden knowledge about our city

UABB has always focused on urbanization. 2015 UABB focused on urbanization cases across the world, such as “Reuse” and “From Bottom to Top” that expanded our innate ideas about our city and urbanization. “Temporalities” broke the idea that modern architecture and modern cities attached great importance to permanency, and it also reminded us that all buildings are temporary, and that we should respond according to times and location. The National Pavilion of the Western Sahara, which won the Independent Jury Gold Award at the opening ceremony, focused on spontaneously building cities for Sahara Desert refugees. They used an extreme way to deal with the relationship between humans, land, resources, technology and rights. It revealed that due to various temporary or extreme circumstances such as extreme lack of resources, people use smarter methods to seek brighter future and dignity. Battle for the Beach from American citizens, Dangers that Threaten Urban Citizens Living Near Nuclear Power Plants ,Buildings used as war evidence, each was impressive and powerful.

The Collage City 3D exhibition used local materials procured from Shenzhen. It advocated people to utilize materials in their surroundings, and combine with the existing status to create something new and innovative from the old. They also advocated practicability and social concepts as the main theme in constructing buildings, so as to meet constantly changing future demands and human activities.

The UABB exhibitions and related discussions greatly expanded and enriched our knowledge about our city. In a sense, UABB played the role of being an “Urbanology library”, and helped us understand and view the city in more open-minded ways.

Profound and Intense Discussions on Regional Issues

Pearl River Delta was in the spotlight at the 2015 UABB for the first time. The Curator proposed that PRD 2.0 needed to keep a balanced flow between various aspects such as people, land, spirit, history, and buildings. In the weekly discussion at “Bay Bar”, some experts proposed the possibility of PRD’s experimental spirit and system innovation. With the irreversible trend of urbanization in China, more people are likely to move to advanced cities, which will put greater pressure on cities similar to Shenzhen. Thus UABB’s exhibition presented Shenzen’s hybrid lifestyle in order to speculate how to create a higher density city to accommodate more people and construct urban societies.

Shenzhen’s particular urban phenomena such as outskirt-downtown border and urban villages have been mentioned, researched, and discussed several time. Therefore, topics such as settlements, immigrants and nostalgia appeal to most people. These topics are discussed every year at UABB, however, 2015 UABB engaged in more profound and intense discussions to reflect its focus and speedy response to current and local topics.

Public Actively Participated in UABB

The public actively participated in 2015 UABB, which attracted more families over the weekends than it had in its previous editions. The public had over ten different activities to choose from every weekend. Compared to the last edition, 2015 UABB had a richer and more diverse content and form. Content covered architecture, photography, drawing, drama and handicrafts. Activities included lectures, workshops, and markets. UABB was a real cultural exchange platform for the public and a bridge connecting professionals with others.

The architectural models created by famous architects and children were very popular among children, and the TEDx speech themed “Re-living the City” attracted many young people. The Shekou Roundtable series activity on “Shekou-Shenzhen-China-One Belt One Road” drew attention of a lot of people concerned about society. Some cultural scholars spoke highly of UABB. It was more than an exhibition, but rather a large-scale cultural event where visitors could attend exhibitions, learn, play, and communicate with speakers freely and equally.

Bigger Surprise Awaits you at 2017 UABB
2015 UABB established its sub venue for the first time, with 25 collateral exhibitions taking active part in UABB, which helped it gain wider coverage in Shenzhen. UABB has been held six times since 2005, and it has not only featured excellent exhibitions but also subtly influenced people’s understanding of urbanism and architecture. It has brought more rational thinking to the vibrant and youthful Shenzhen, making UABB a landmark cultural brand to be shared, experienced, and absorbed by more people. UABB represents the cultural genes and spiritual wealth of Shenzhen.

During 2015 UABB, the Organizing Committee held a brainstorming session called “Looking Forward to 2017”, inviting professionals and people from all walks of life to look ahead at future. Participants suggested that the 2017 UABB theme focus on urban issues in Shenzhen and China as a whole, to make the theme more proactive and powerful. Participants also proposed some suggestions for UABB venue locations. They suggested that the venue location be shifted from an industrial site to an urban village or some other location. Seven critical issues that had been affecting UABB were summarized, including the contradiction between independent curator responsibility system and organizing committee system, the theme focusing on Shenzhen or China or the whole world, modernity and anti-modernity, contemporaneous or futuristic, venue and city, works and visitors, and short exhibition period and long-term operation.

At present, UABB (SZ) Organizing Committee has officially launched the call for applications to register as curator for 2017 UABB. A bigger surprise awaits you at 2017 UABB.


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