Eight projects by young Chinese architects exhibited at MoMA


An exhibition highlighting a new generation of Chinese architects who prioritize social, cultural and environmental sustainability in their work is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Appointed Reuse, renew, recycle: recent architecture from China, the exhibition was organized by the modern Art Museum (MoMA) to spotlight the country’s emerging and “resource-aware” architects.

It presents a total of eight projects from seven architectural studios, presented through a mixture of models, drawings, photographs and videos.

“Our aspiration with this exhibition is twofold,” said MoMA curators Martino Stierli and Evangelos Kotsioris.

“On the one hand, to shed light on the practice of a young generation of Chinese architects, whose remarkable and innovative work is still little known in the West; and on the other hand, to discuss their work as a progressive project for a more resource-conscious, future for architectural practice in other parts of the world, ”the couple told Dezeen.

Above: MoMA hosted an exhibition on Chinese architecture. Top image: Vector Architects’ Alila Yangshio Hotel is one of eight projects featured. Photos are by Robert Gerhardt

According to the curators, the exhibition also illustrates the country’s abandonment in the creation of “urban megaprojects and spectacular architectural objects”.

Indeed, the new generation of Chinese architects are advocating for smaller-scale interventions that are more responsive to the existing built environment, they said.

“China’s unprecedented economic and societal transformation over the past three decades has been accompanied by an unprecedented construction boom that has made the country the largest construction site in history,” said Stierli and Kotsioris.

“Recently, however, a redesign began, led by a younger generation of architects who work independently of state-run design institutes. Their varied practices are marked by general skepticism towards the tabula rasa approach.”

While the architects do not identify themselves as a group, curators said they share a common interest in reusing existing structures, renewing neighborhoods and infrastructure, and recycling building materials into China.

“A common thread clearly runs through their practice and their continuous investment in an architecture that is both contemporary, but rooted in the specificity of the culture and context of China,” explained the curators.

“These eight projects challenge Western conceptions of sustainability, which are often characterized by a very technocratic approach to the practice of construction and a neglect of the human and social dimension games of architecture.”

Read on for the eight projects featured in Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture:


Chi She Gallery by Archi-Union Architects
The photo is by Shengliang Su

Chi She Gallery by Archi-Union Architects

This 200 square meter gallery occupies a former warehouse located in the West Bund district of Shanghai. Archi-Union Architects used green-gray bricks salvaged from demolished buildings to construct a second envelope for the building.

The three-dimensional geometry of this new masonry wall was computer-designed and fabricated on-site using a mobile robotic system.


Micro-Hutong by ZAO / standardarchitecture
Photo is by Zhang Ke

Micro-Hutong by ZAO / standardarchitecture

Micro-Hutong is the result of a research project exploring ways to save and revive Beijing’s hutongs – alleys formed by rows of traditional courtyard houses that have been the target of mass demolition in the city.

ZAO / standardarchitecture transformed a 35 square meter hutong into a guest house by inserting a series of independent living units, arranged as overhanging volumes facing inward. In the center is an irregularly shaped courtyard which can be used as a shared gathering space.

The gray tone of the guesthouse was achieved by mixing concrete with India ink and refers to the traditional gray bricks in the hutong.


Bamboo Theater by DnA_Design and Architecture
The photo is by Wang Ziling

Bamboo Theater by DnA_Design and Architecture

The Bamboo Theater is a performance stage that was created near the village of HengKeng by bending and rolling bamboo trees into a circular arrangement to form a dome-shaped dome.

It is part of the long-term rural revitalization program of DnA_Design and Architecture founder Xu Tiantian in mountainous Songyang County, for which she has designed dozens of reversible architectural interventions that she calls “architectural acupuncture. “.


Long Museum West Bund by Atelier Deshaus
The photo is by Shengliang Su

Long Museum West Bund by Atelier Deshaus

This museum was built on an old wharf used for transporting coal in Shanghai. The design of Atelier Deshaus combines old and new architectural elements that all celebrate the site’s industrial past.

Among the original features preserved at the site is a coal hopper unloading bridge built in the 1950s, which is now used as an open-air covered space, as well as an old two-story garage that was converted into an underground exhibition space.


Jinhua Ceramic Pavilion by Amateur Architecture Studio
The photo is by Lv Hengzhong

Jinhua Ceramic Pavilion by Amateur Architecture Studio

Jinhua Ceramic Pavilion is a one-story teahouse designed by Amateur Architecture Studio for Jinhua Architecture Park, an outdoor recreation area in Jinhua City.

Embedded into one of the slopes of the park, the sloping pavilion is intended to resemble the traditional Chinese ink stones which are used to mix dry ink and water in art and calligraphy. It is covered with a series of handcrafted ceramic tiles.


Sketch of the regeneration of the village of Wencun by Amateur Architecture Studio

Regeneration of the village of Wencun by Amateur Architecture Studio

Another project of Amateur Architecture Studio featured is its regeneration of the village of Wencun, which involved the renovation of existing homes and the design of thirty new residences inspired by the traditional courtyard structures of the region.

The studio hopes its approach will serve as a prototype for renewing other villages in China.


Imperial Furnace Museum by Studio Zhu Pei
The photo is from schranimage

Imperial Furnace Museum by Studio Zhu Pei

Designed by Studio Zhu-Pei, this museum occupies a site in the historic center of Jingdezhen, widely known as the “porcelain capital” of China.

It includes a series of vaulted structures made from a mixture of newly fired red bricks and others salvaged from old kilns. These vaulted structures house the museum’s collections and refer to the shapes of traditional brick kilns, many of which can still be found nearby.


Alila Yangshio Hotel by Vector Architects
The photo is by Shengliang Su

Alila Yangshio Hotel by Vector Architects

The industrial facilities of an abandoned 1960s sugar factory have been converted to create this hotel near the city of Guilin.

Vector Architects adapted and reused the old brick structures to create a reception space, restaurant, function room and library, while a new oblong concrete version accommodates the guest suites.

Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture from China is on display until July 4, 2022 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For details on other architecture and design events, visit Dezeen Events Guide.


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