2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season Main Exhibition Pavilion


A city is beyond an open territory with multiple spatial possibilities, and its political economic social and cultural implications are becoming more abstract and diverse in the process of globalization. Urban regeneration is about the “pathological” analysis and treatment of debilitating or ineffective urban structure in order to resolve urban problems and promote sustainable development of regional economic environment and improvement of social quality. As an inter-disciplinary approach that engages urban research, policy and practice, urban regeneration encompasses planning and design, transportation and housing, infrastructure facilities, political economy, cultural industry, social organization, public interests and other discourses. Therefore, it is a common challenge faced by urban governance globally as well as a continuous exploration of the concept of “urban” itself.

2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season is on the theme of “urban regeneration.” The main exhibition provides five entry points to approach the subject, which are “Interpretation of the Theme: Literature and Discourse”, “Retrospective: Inheritance and Regeneration of History/ Tradition”, “Prospective: Emerging Urban Paradigms”, “Reflection: Urban/ Rural Dual Life” and “Interplay: Intervention of Art into Public Space.” It aims to create a dialogue between the past, the present and the future; instigate urban imagination; explore the boundary, correlation and integration of materialism and society, space and media, inheritance and regeneration, experience and projection, urban and rural, art and the public, and the globe and Shanghai.

In addition, two special exhibitions are on display: “25 years of Mies van der Rohe Award” and “Case Studies of Urban Space-Shanghai Urban Study.” “25 years of Mies van der Rohe Award” introduces the trends and shifts in the field of architecture throughout the past four decades on a global scale. It is the exhibition’s debut appearance in China. “Case Studies of Urban Space-Shanghai Urban Study” features eighty case studies of urban regeneration projects in Shanghai in attempt to reflect the current state of studies and explorations of urban regeneration in Shanghai.


Interpretation of the Theme: Literature and Discourse

“Interpretation of the Theme: Literature and Discourse” section introduces the theory and practice around “Urban Regeneration” in an accessible and interactive way. The content includes academic researches, media coverage, laws and regulations that contribute to the evolution of the concept of urban regeneration; interviews and discussions on urban regeneration with city administrators, planners, architects and the public; theoretical discourse around the interpretations of urban regeneration including related organizations, key figures and urgent urban issues; historical knowledge of important urban regeneration related legislations, manifestos, publications, conferences and crisis; development background, strategic objective, spatial design and governance mode of classic urban regeneration case studies; and presentation of documentary films on key urban regeneration events.

Retrospective: Inheritance and Regeneration of History/ Tradition

“Retrospective: Inheritance and Regeneration of History/ Tradition” section traces the trajectory of relevant theories and practices of urban historic conservation and regeneration, and proposes new issues and urban strategies in local, national and global contexts. This section showcases the achievements in architectural renovation and infrastructural renewal of ancient Chinese cities and villages; case studies of historic district conservation, historic architecture renovation and preservation of cultural inheritance from all over the world; the operation of art; and the urban regeneration movements driven by mutual motivations between cultural institutes and cities. It demonstrates multifaceted viewpoints on current urban historic conservation, dynamic strategies for rapid urbanization, and development opportunities of old city regeneration generated by new lifestyle.

Prospective: Emerging Urban Paradigms

“The Prospective: Emerging Urban Paradigms” section discusses how digital media culture has stimulated and impacted on architectural and urban imagination. Media not only documents and represents the conditions of urban architectural practices, promotes the development of theories, criticism and disciplines, but also directly participates the shifts in social production. This section showcases how new media, computer parameter design and internet technology has influenced new urban lifestyle paradigms and urban public spaces against the backdrop of information age.

Reflection: Urban/ Rural Dual Life

Nowadays, urban practices are no longer confined to urban territories in China, rural practices are drawing increasing attention of young architects and scholars through policies and public events. Through showcasing rural practices by renowned local and international architects since 2000, studies of forms and prototypes of future rural development by scholars, and social intervention led by artists in attempt to sustain rural village culture, this section responds to the thesis of overurbanization as well as the imbalanced relation between urban and rural, considers rural philosophies, reflects on urban constructions, and explores the possibilities inherent in political economies generated by city-village integration and mutual practice.

Interplay: Intervention of Art into Public Space

As an urban development pattern, “urban regeneration” offers cities and city dwellers a spatial-temporal scale that connects the past, the present and the future. Art is the representation of the connotation of “urban regeneration”, as it manifests, examines and envisions this complex and multidimensional theme through the forms of painting, sculpture, installation, film and image, etc. Whether the criticism of problems in current urban regeneration schemes, or creative presentation of urban condition, or the depiction of prosperous projection, “human” is always the central concern of the artworks. The distortion, indifference, memory and possibility of the city in human scale provides the most striking perceptive path to access the artworks.


Special Exhibition: 25 years of Mies van der Rohe Award

Mies van der Rohe Award is the most influential architecture award in Europe. It is the highest honor given biennially to architectural design works. It aims to cultivate a platform to exchange and explore contemporary architectural and urban planning practices, and contribute to the education and understanding of architecture through disseminating contemporary architectural culture. Situated itself in a contemporary age, how can Mies Award comment, judge and reflect on the history in relation to its current milieu? This exhibition features archival materials of prize-winning works and significant projects from the past twenty years, including photo documentations, architectural drawings and models. The exhibition revisits outstanding European contemporary architectures since 1987 and presents the configuration of European contemporary architectural history.

Special Exhibition:YUE • Shanghai

YUE • Shanghai

“Yue”, a Chinese character, contains multiple connotations and embraces uncertainties.

It could mean cross-dimension, referring to the focus on the mobility and related experience of human beings.
It could mean cross-boundary, which should be understood as the focus on the perceivable boundary and the dissolution of such a boundary.
It also has the meaning of “more”, which focuses on the course of the development and the characteristics of certain subjects.

The concept of Shanghai here is not a merely geographical idea, but more like a concept of vicissitudes and the gradual and long-term course of development. The concept of Shanghai here refers to something that fills out the vacancy between the elimination and creation in this city. It refers to a city that encourages the mobility of humans and their experience.

The concept of Shanghai presented here is not a city with clearly separated functions, but more like a changeable system that remains in variation and a living environment in which generality coexists with otherness. It is a city that tolerates differences.

The concept of Shanghai is not the reproduction of a piece of memory, but more like the outcome of the growth of humanity and the acceptance of universal values. It is a city that features and enjoys featuring its local characteristics.

This is the fundamental reason and idea to have the “Yue·Shanghai” in the “Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2015”. This exhibition totally collected more than 50 typical cases about the variations of Shanghai city in the recent 3 decades and created an exhibition site that did not present exhibited items in any given orders due to its emphasis on equality.

The urban renewal process of Shanghai could not be fully interpreted without a proper understanding on the background of the rapid urban development in China. The rapid growth of Shanghai was made possible under the urbanization and modernization of China in 1980s. The unique advantages and the special position of Shanghai in China determined its ability to have the strong and rapid urban development momentum in the wave of consumerism driven by political power, capital power and the strength of globalization. Under this situation, the cases and experiences about the development of shanghai were getting more diverse while the universally accepted values expressed in these cases became much more complicated. Thus, it is urgent and significant to retrospect the course of urban renewal of Shanghai and clearly interpret the concept of urban renewal.

Cross-dimension, referring to the focus on the mobility and related experience of human beings.
Cross-boundary, which should be understood as the focus on the perceivable boundary and the dissolution of such a boundary.
“More”, which focuses on the course of the development and the characteristics of certain subjects.

Taking the historical evolution as a clue, exhibiting Shanghai urban renewal about its background, philosophy and development process systematically;

Taking the "globalization" as the background, discussing Shanghai urban renewal model for the future significance;

Taking the " In-Situ" as a framework, displaying Shanghai Urban Renewal typical cases panoramically with geography-based form of exhibition.

Breaking the traditional exhibition layout mode, mixing the space of "Shanghai Special Exhibition", "Art Intervention in Public Space" exhibition on the 2nd floor, Public reception space and public circulation space on the 1st floor together. Presenting an equal, parallel, open-ended, no master-slave exhibition structure with a panoramic and geography-based mode.

The pavilion is a holistic exhibition space, was formed of radial rectangle frame consisting of red pipes and the frame can also generate a series of  independent exhibition units. A huge Shanghai map was pasted on the ground floor, covered the whole exhibition area, in order to show Shanghai Urban Renewal typical cases to visitors directly and clearly.