The Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) – the world’s only forum on urban development is a biennial event that brings together architects, artists, and designers from around the world to discuss and showcase new approaches to architecture and development in urban environments.
The seventh iteration of the UABB officially opened on 15th December (2017), and will be held until 17th March (2018) in the ancient urban village known as Nantou Old Town, located at the heart of Shenzhen city. The urban village exists in a symbiotic relationship with the city, straddling the division between rural and urban – as well as the past and the future, with its 1,700 year history existing in contradiction with mainland China’s fifth-largest first-tier city.
Much like any other urban village, Nantou Old Town serves as the traditional landing point for rural migrants seeking a life in the city, currently home for just under half of the city’s total population (around 45 percent) in a footprint occupying less than a fifth (16.7 percent) of the space. Nantou Old Town’s paradoxical characteristics make its existing fields and structures the appropriate settings for exhibitions aimed at improving both planned and spontaneous development while retaining the traditional culture.
Themed “Cities Grow in Difference”, the 2017 biennial hosts over 200 award-winning exhibitors from 25 countries, in a three-part collection curated by the acclaimed Hou Hanru, along with architects Liu Xiaodu and Meng Yan. The first section – titled “World | South”, is curated by one of the founders of URBANUS Architecture & Design, Liu Xiaodu, providing an overview of the current state of globalization, and featuring the works of renowned architect Liu Jia Kun – whose works have been featured in Germany, France, and Italy.
Another principal of URBANUS – architect Meng Yan, curates the “City | Village” section, consisting of four sub-collections: “Archive”, which features works by architectural photographer Zhang Chao capturing images that present stories on the origin and development of urban villages; the “Armoury” which details archived cases and proposals; “The Why Factory”, an installation borne from the minds of Iranian-American architect Nader Tehrani and Dutch architecture team MVRDV; and an assembly by UABB’s premier curator, Chang Yung Ho, to highlight the culture of Nantou.
The acclaimed art curator and Artistic Director of MAXXI (Rome), Hou Hanru, has assembled UABB’s first art exhibit – a series of urban art intervention projects conducted by international artists including Yona Friedman, David Hammons, Cinthia Marcelle, Boa Mistura, and Tatzu Nishi.