Crossboundaries - The Known: evolving relationship between humans and the built environment
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The Known: evolving relationship between humans and the built environment


Special Projects  /  Completed
Crossboundaries was invited to join 70 other architects, planners, designers, artists and urban researchers in interpreting the Pingshan Art Museum's exhibition theme called the "Unknown city". Crossboundaries' response was an installation named "The known" that underlines the question of the evolving relationship between humans and the built environment.

Visitors of “the Known” stop for a moment and play, immersing into an illusion that leaves them wondering what is real and what is not. “The Known” is an installation artwork that isolates the stair as a representative element in architecture, and tries to examine some crucial relationships between humans and built environment in context of the uncertain and technology-driven future. The installation is a response to the exhibition's theme – Unknown City - at the Pingshan District Art Museum in Shenzhen, China.

Abstract and refined urban materials - concrete, steel and glass - form a cycled mirroring image. In a semi-open room enclosed by four mirror plains, a prefabricated concrete stair is hung upside down fixed only at two points. It implies that new ways of building technology such as prefabrication can accelerate building processes and the growth of our cities.

Staircases allow people to navigate through three-dimensional spaces. The possibility to animate this passage makes way for alternative perspectives on the spaces and buildings we connect through. In this case this single flight set against the mirrors represents a journey and the individual’s unique position in it. When standing on the mirror floor and observe, the visual illusion of the staircase creates a complex structure; and the reflections of ourselves position us in it.
“The Known” challenges you to think about what you might or might not know in real space. In this case an illusion twists your mind: is it going up or down, what is revealed and what is hidden. The beauty of repetition (and reflection) brings individuals to an inquisitive and curious state paralleled with the symbolism of rapid growth and mass production in our cities.

Cities often offer unpredictable temptations and confusions to individuals, even though majority of the physical components of cities are known facts to us. It inspires us to think: how do human beings deal with the relationship between themselves and the manufactured environment, in which their spiritual needs are placed within.


 People's Government of Pingshan District, Shenzhen
 10 mq
 Crossboundaries, Beijing
 Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao, GAO Yang, YU Zhaoxiong, HOU Jinghui, HAO Hongyi, HUANG Biao
 China Construction Science & Technology Co., ltd. (FAN Zesen, XU Muye, LUO Chuanwei)
 China Construction Science & Technology Co., ltd.
 BAI Yu, DONG Hao, HAO Hongyi


Crossboundaries contributes to a vital built and social environment through the broad field of design and the subject of architecture, from urban planning to graphic design, from teaching to consultancy, events curation and research. We create enduring products that often deal with remarkable technical processes and always have an engaging human relationship.
Founded in 2005 and organized as an international partnership, Crossboundaries has staff originating from and trained in Asia, Europe, North and South America with offices in Beijing, China and Frankfurt, Germany. We provide unique spatial solutions deriving from local cultural knowledge and transnational expertise.
After receiving their Masters Degrees in Architecture from Pratt Institute, founders DONG Hao and Binke Lenhardt worked in New York for several years before making their home in China. After working in the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) they founded Crossboundaries in 2005.


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