At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chinese Firms Look to Tradition to Write a New Chapter in Their Nation’s Architectural History

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Five Dragons Temple in Shanxi Province, designed by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying Five Dragons Temple in Shanxi Province, designed by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying

This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.

When we think of contemporary architecture in China, we often refer to the megaprojects by international architecture studios that tend to get covered most in the design media.. From OMA’s CCTV Headquarters and Shenzhen Stock Exchange to the recently completed Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV and Poly International Plaza by SOM, these projects dominate urban skylines at a  singular scale that suggests they were built to impress.

Beyond individual buildings, China’s mega-architecture boom is rapidly developing entirely new cities, a process designed to relieve the country’s principal metropolitan areas

Chi She exhibition space in Shanghai, designed by Archi-Union. Images by Yuchen Hu (left) and Shengliang Su (right)
Installation view of Archi-Union projects at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Image by Steve Hall © Hall Merrick Photographers
Fab-Union in Shanghai’s West Bund neighborhood, designed by Archi-Union. Images by Hao Chen (left) and Shengliang Su (right)
Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre in the Dashilar neighborhood of Beijing, designed by ZAO/standardarchitecture. Image by Shengliang Su
Micro Hutong by ZAO/Standardarchitecture in Beijing. Image by Chen Su (left) and Shengliang Su (right)
Five Dragons Temple by URBANUS. Image by Yang Chaoying
Continue reading "At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chinese Firms Look to Tradition to Write a New Chapter in Their Nation’s Architectural History"

Choreographed Performance at Farnsworth House Explores “Queer Space” in the Work of Mies van der Rohe

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© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly © Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly

This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” This famously misattributed analogy has floated through the arts world for decades as shorthand for the difficulty of imposing the gestures of one creative discipline onto another. But why should dance and architecture get lost in translation? Isn’t there an inherent poetry to the movement of bodies navigating the built environment?

© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly © Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly

Creative links between architecture and dance stretch back at least as far as the Bauhaus, the pioneering German design school where performances like

© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
© Bradley Glanzrock, LStopMedia.com. Courtesy of Gerard & Kelly
Continue reading "Choreographed Performance at Farnsworth House Explores “Queer Space” in the Work of Mies van der Rohe"

Frank Gehry, Architectural Education, and the “Future of Prisons”

Last week the Architect’s Newspaper reported that Frank Gehry, the 88-year old superstar of American architecture, is teaching a course at SCI-Arc this spring entitled “The Future of Prison.” To denizens of architecture Twitter, which has specialized in outrage over the past several months, the news seemed like a bad April Fool’s joke. Even the course description had the tone-deaf optimism of a Silicon Valley pitch line, asking “emerging architects to break free of current conventions and re-imagine what we now refer to as ‘prison’ for a new era.”