Ma Yansong invites architects to envision the city’s future


With an eye to the future, the first Beijing Biennial includes an exhibition curated by Ma Yansong and co-organized by MAD Architects that juxtaposes historic concepts with forthcoming visions, according to the studio and its founder, whose long-term goal was to imagine a “more open and mutually entangled future.”

In Blueprint Beijing, Yansong presents the work of 20 of his global design peers, eight other architects, and four Chinese science-fiction films with significant historical narratives to envisage how the Chinese capital might adapt and be developed into a more open and livable space.

Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

Pao II A Dwelling for Tokyo Nomad Women, Toyo Ito. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

“Progress in urbanism and architecture comes forth from the imagination of a better life,” the organizers state. “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.”

Astro Balloon 1969 Revisited – Feedback Space, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Wolf D. Prix. Photo by Jerry Chen.

Liminal Beijing, People’s Architecture Office, He Zhe + James Shen + Zang Feng. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

Surreal Beijing in 3 Second Pauses, Atelier Alter Architects, Zhang Yingfan + Bu Xiaojun. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

Examples from Wolf D. Prix, Peter Cook, MVRDV, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid Architects, fellow Chinese architects like Wang Zigeng and Cheng Yanchun, and the American Eric Owen Moss populate the gallery space. By this selection of materials and reproductions of its subject architects and designers, MAD has offered a pathway toward future dialogue aligned with the Biennial’s theme Symbiosis. A video installation concludes the exhibition by asking viewers to participate in an open discussion focused on Beijing’s future. The results will answer questions about the role of architectural practice and urban design in the 21st century across the world. 

Grand Paris plus petit Paris region intensifies instead of further urban sprawl, MVRDV. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

Global Cities, Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

Reviving 2118, WAY Studio. Photo by Zhu Yumeng.

“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,” Yasong said finally.

Blueprint Beijing is open now and will run through Sunday, March 12th. 

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