SETTLING THE NOMADS
VENICE BIENNALE 2016


Mongolia is facing a critical moment in its urban evolution. The economic reforms following Soviet withdrawal in 1990 coupled with the discovery of vast reserves of coal, gold, and copper has led to massive rural migration to the capital city of Ulaanbataar. This has resulted in the doubling of the population over the past 25 years and the expansion of the city’s territory to over 30 times its original size from 130km2 to 4700 km2.

Predicted high GDP growth rates and the promise of development projects lead nomadic herdsman to sell their livestock and move to the city in search of a better life. The nomads settle on any available land, occupying residual inner areas, slopes and the periphery of the city. When migrants arrive they simply erect a traditional felt tent - a ger – and surround the plot with a wooden fence.

Our intention ot is to highlight that the design is a strategy for the evolution of the ger, to give it validity and relevance in the process of urbanisation. This provides Ulaanbaatar with a specific mechanism for urbanisation that resides in its nomadic culture, rather than a generic and imported form.




ARCHITECTURE AS ART
MILAN TRIENNALE 2016





RURAL VILLAGES: ADAPTATION & EVOLUTION
SHENZHEN BIENNALE 2015


The phenomenal growth and development in the PRD over the past 40 years cannot be considered without the village. From pioneering villages that restructured their economies from agriculture to industry, to urban villages that facilitated migration through dense housing blocks, the village has been the basic building block of the urbanization process.

After this first wave of industrialized urbanization, what role will the village play in the future of the PRD? As Shenzhen continues to modernize, urban villages are replaced, and factories are being succeeded by third sector service economies. So, what about the villages far from the city, the ones where the flood of migrants once came from?




CHINESE PANORAMA
CHICAGO BIENNALE 2015





URBAN TREND: RURAL MIGRATION
BMW GUGGENHEIM LAB 2013


"Rural Migration" refers to rural villagers who move to urban areas in search of work. In cities in China, these migrants often live in dense urban villages that have emerged as a direct result of the difference in policy over land-use rights between urban land and rural land. As migrants send their earned money home, urban villages and rural villages become more interconnected. The influx of economy is deposited into a process of house construction whereby the rural village begins to resemble the urban village. Bigger houses are status symbols, displaying the new wealth earned from employment in the cities. The rural village gradually becomes denser, even though the population steadily declines as rural migrants are drawn to the city.

Rural Migration (2013) presents the co-evolution of the urban and rural village and their condition of interdependency, showcasing a series of built and hypothetical design projects that engage with public space and public programs that acknowledge the increasing synergy between the rural and urban, while working toward authentic contemporary identities for each.

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THE FUTURE OF PEOPLE'S HISTORY
GET IT LOUDER 2012


In 1950 the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short article entitled “The Wall and the Books” about the first emperor of China, Shih Huang Ti. In his article he attempts to reconcile two actions of immense proportion which defined this emperor, the burning of all the books prior to himself and the construction of the great wall of China. Borges examines the dilemma of two actions that seem impossible to achieve and at the same time opposite in their character. He asks whether virtue lies in the “opposition of constructing and destroying on an enormous scale”. In a very realistic sense, this is the dilemma that faces China today.

If we are to talk about ‘The People’s Future’, rather than focusing on who and where the people are, we are interested in the problem of how to reconcile the future with the past and the present. In designing for the future the past must not only be acknowledged, but rewritten as a way to make room for the future. In four distinct projects located in villages throughout China, we will present our work as architects: a bridge, a school, a house and a village. Each project deals with our dilemma in dealing with the past and our attempts to reconnect between the past and the future.


RURAL URBAN ECOLOGY
CHENGDU BIENNALE 2011


Chengdu Biennale




RURAL URBAN ECOLOGY
VENICE BIENNALE-HK OLD POLICE STATION 2011


Quotidian Architectures




RURAL URBAN ECOLOGY
VENICE BIENNALE-HK PAVILION 2010


In China’s recent drive to urbanize to provide new areas for economic growth, the tension between agricultural land and urban land is reaching a critical impasse. The dwindling supply of fertile arable land due to urbanization is exacerbated by a growing population that is wealthier and consuming more meat per capita than ever before. The reduction of available agricultural land pressurizes the supply of food, water and energy demanded by China’s urban population, intensifying the consumption of fertilizers and chemicals. A recently released government report revealed that agriculture is “a bigger source of water contamination in China than factory effluent”. This context can be described as an urban-rural ecology undergoing constant transformation precipitated by China’s ongoing economic reformation. The exhibition is composed of large panorama displaying the dynamic context of this rural transformation as a backdrop to a series of models describing architectural propositions for these sites.

Quotidian Architectures