Installations, photography, videos, and architectural models by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Sir Peter Cook, MAD Architects, MVRDV, OPEN Architecture, and Eric Owen Moss are just a few of the highlights of Blueprint Beijing, the concluding exhibition of the first Beijing Biennale, which will close on March 12, 2023. Curated by Ma Yansong and co-organized by MAD Architects (which Ma Yansong founded), the event is an invitation to reflect on the future of both the city and the world through current projects – mostly site-specific works and installations – as well as the in-depth study of archival materials. As the curator says, the driving force behind progress in urban planning and architecture is the imagination, a vision of a better life. From this perspective, the architect has the additional creative task of identifying and tracing the future trajectory of cities by constantly weighing up tradition and innovation, past and present, the local and the global, and life as individuals and life as a community. As the architect’s medium, any project is an intersection between history and a vision of tomorrow. It’s therefore vitally important to understand and exploit its pioneering nature, as well as inspire ethics and sensitivity in its particular part of the world. And this is what this exhibition sets out to do.
Blueprint Beijing can therefore be seen as a collection of inspirational trajectories regarding the future of Beijing. But it also showcases the vision of architecture professionals for establishing today the foundations for long-term international dialogue tomorrow. These same foundations could also be harnessed by Beijing itself for rethinking its own organization and urban planning through an open, inclusive strategy that would attract the most qualified international professionals to the city.
A video installation has been produced for this final part of the Beijing Biennial. Partly an overview of the first edition of the event, it also invites participants to answer various questions: What links the past and future? What is the identity of an architect, and what does the future hold for the profession? And what role could Beijing play in all this? The installation is therefore a way to encourage open discussion both locally and internationally with the aim of creating a more open, inclusive, and livable city.
“The main theme of Blueprint Beijing is the future,” explains Ma Yansong. “In the exhibition, one part is about the Beijing of the past that everyone is familiar with, and the other part is about the Beijing in everyone’s imagination. We’ve juxtaposed the works of architects with idealistic visions, and creative imagination about cities and buildings with historic visions from around the globe over the past century within one space. Although the site is not large, the content is very dense, rich, and informative. 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, a more open and mutually entangled future.”
Location: Beijing; China
Curator: Ma Yansong
Date: January 14 - March 12, 2023
Individual photo credits are included in each gallery image
All images courtesy of MAD architects