MAD Architects founder Ma Yansong has curated an exhibition as part of the first Beijing Biennial 2022 which opened to the public on January 13, 2023.
The exhibition, titled Blueprint Beijing, is presented in the Architecture Section of the Biennial in M WOODS Hutong, a sub-venue of the Biennial in Beijing, China.
The exhibition includes world-renowned architecture offices such as Coop Himmelb(l)au | Wolf dPrix, MVRDV, Peter Cook, OPEN Architecture, Zaha Hadid Architects, MAD Architects, Junya Ishigami, Toyo Ito, Eric Owen Moss Architects.
The first Beijing Biennial 2022 officially opened on January 13, 2023 and will be on view until March 12, 2023.
Installation view, Blueprint Beijing. Image © Zhu Yumeng
“The main theme of Blueprint Beijing is the future,” said Ma Yansong, who previously spoke to World Architecture Community as part of WAC Live Interview Series.
While one part of the exhibition focuses on the past of the Beijing that everyone is familiar with, the other part is about Beijing, where everyone is filled with their imagination.
Guided tour by curator Ma Yansong at the opening. Image courtesy of MAD
Blueprint Beijing exhibition comprises 20 main participating architects/artists from around the globe, presenting their ideas in a variety of media including architectural models, installations, photography and video.
In addition, 8 architects and collectives present visionary ideas through historic archives, as well as presenting 4 Chinese science fiction films with historic significance.
Filter City, City as a Room, Cook Haffner Architecture Platform – Sir Peter Cook. Image © Zhu Yumeng
“Architects from different regions and generations responded to the curator’s questions about the future and the city of Beijing, ultimately presenting their unique vision on the topic,” said MAD Architects.
The exhibition is presented as “a collective creation with the vast majority of works” created as site-specific commissions or adapted reproductions.
The works in the exhibition transcend geography and age so as to collide, dialogue and resonate with ideas and emotions in order to stimulate the viewer’s imagination about the future of the city.
Astro Balloon 1969 Revisited – Feedback Space, Coop Himmelb(l)au | Wolf dPrix. Image © Jerry Chen
Blueprint Beijing is about the future
“The main theme of Blueprint Beijing is the future. In the exhibition, one part is about the Beijing of the past that everyone is familiar with, and the other part is about the Beijing in everyone’s imagination,” said Ma Yansong, founder of MAD.
“We have juxtaposed the works of architects with idealistic visions and creative imagination about cities and buildings with historic visions from around the globe over the past century within one space,” he continued.
“Although the site is not large the content is very dense, rich and informative. The opening of Blueprint Beijing in 2023 is also very much in line with the content of our exhibition, because the future must be full of imagination, full of energy, a more open and mutually entangled future,” Yansong added.
Pao II A Dwelling for Tokyo Nomad Women, Toyo Ito. Image © Zhu Yumeng
The blueprint, acting as an architect’s tool, refers to both the archive of history and the imagination of the future. “Great architects transform reality through visionary thinking,” according to MAD.
Buildings are the largest and longest-lasting public medium in human society, and it is crucial to continuously push forward their pioneering nature, to be able to inspire and contrast with the ethos and culture of a city, a region and a nation. History is formed by our imagination of the future throughout the past.
Beijing 2050, MAD Architects, Ma Yansong + Dang Qun + Yosuke Hayano. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Thanks to this exhibition, the show also underlines a key selection of inspiring movements developed in Beijing and around the globe, all envisioning the future.
“Progress in urbanism and architecture comes forth from the imagination of a better life. An architect’s creative task is to find a new direction through the constant confrontation and pull between tradition and innovation, local and global, individual and group, preservation and development — it is an experiment that never ends,” MAD added.
The New City, Eric Owen Moss Architects. Image © Zhu Yumeng
According to the studio, the long-term goal of the exhibition is to create a platform for open and international dialogue within the professions of urbanism and architecture, as a pertinent reminder to look beyond differences and politics.
The exhibition is not only creating space to rethink the future of China’s capital through an open, inclusive and engaging strategy, it also bring together global voices with both established and emerging talent in China.
Global Cities, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Zhu Yumeng
For example, a video installation, presented in the concluding chapter of the exhibition, presents a manifesto of sorts, inviting participants to respond to the question of what connects our past to the future, the question of identity as an architect, the future of the profession and what Beijing stands for within this context.
Grand Paris plus petit Paris region intensifies instead of further urban sprawl, MVRDV. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Ultimately the installation presents an open-ended discussion as a provocative conclusion to the exhibition, with the aim to open up communication, both locally and internationally, for a more open, inclusive and livable city.
Visionary Archive, Installation view. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Screening Room, Installation view. Image © Zhu Yumeng
House Restaurant, Junya Ishigami. Image © I-Ting
OPEN Metropolis, OPEN Architecture, Li Hu + Huang Wenjing. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Bike City, FCJZ Yung Ho Chang. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Restaurant inside the Wall, Drawing Architecture Studio. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Liminal Beijing, People’s Architecture Office, He Zhe + James Shen + Zang Feng. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Reviving 2118, WAY Studio. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Super Domino, Cheng Yanchun. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Surreal Beijing in 3 Second Pauses, Atelier Alter Architects Zhang Yingfan + Bu Xiaojun. Image © Zhu Yumeng
Beijing in Imagination, Wang Zigeng. Image © Zhu Yumeng
2022 Beijing Biennial, themed Symbiosis, aims to reflect on how human civilization and natural ecology should coexist, and how digital technology and creative design can intermix and develop.
Cook Haffner Architecture Platform | Sir Peter Cook
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU | Wolf dPrix
FCJZ | Yung Ho Chang
Drawing Architecture Studio
MAD Architects | Ma Yansong + Dang Qun + Yosuke Hayano
Eric Owen Moss Architects
OPEN Architecture | Li Hu + Huang Wenjing
Atelier Alter Architects | Zhang Yingfan + Bu Xiaojun
Zaha Hadid Architects
People’s Architecture Office | He Zhe, James Shen, Zang Feng
Richard Buckminster Fuller
Joshua V. Hassel
Wang Jiayi + Roger Pigaut
Architectural History Advisor: Wang Mingxian
The first Beijing Biennial 2022 Architecture Section
Curator: Ma Yansong
Location: M WOODS Hutong, Beijing, China
Public Date: 11am-7pm, January 14 – March 12, 2023
Top image: Installation view, Blueprint Beijing. Image © Zhu Yumeng.
> via MAD