Urban Renewal—Main Exhibition in Shanghai Urban Space Art Season


Date Sep. 29th-Dec. 15th, 2015
Venue  West Bund Art Center
Chief Curator Wu Jiang
  Mohsen Mostafavi
Sponsored by Shanghai Urban Sculpture Committee
Co-sponsored by

Shanghai Municipal Planning and Land & Resources Administration


Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and TV

  Shanghai Municipal People’s Government of Xuhui District

Guided by the concept “City upon Culture and Art” and combining “exhibition with practice”, 2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season introduced the projects during urban construction into the exhibition and created an urban space art brand event that is “international, public and practical”. SUSAS consists of main exhibition, practice exhibition and combined exhibition. With Wu Jiang and Mohsen Mostafavi as chief curators, the exhibition will be opened in Sep. through Dec. West Bund is the main venue for this main exhibition of the season. 

Main Exhibition of 2015 Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 


City does not only mean an open space that has various forms. Political economy and social culture within the city have become more abstract and changeable. Therefore, by taking analysis and treatment to the recessing or disabled urban structures, Urban Renewal is to solve the urban problems, accelerate the sustainable development of the regional economy and improve the quality of society. As an interdisciplinary urban study, policy and practice, Urban Renewal covers a wide range of topics including planning and design, traffic and housing, infrastructure, political economy, cultural industry, sustainable development, social organization, public welfare and etc. Urban Renewal puts forward a common problem confronting city management world-wide, and is an attempt to search for the concept of city itself.


The theme of 2015 SUSAS is “Urban Renewal”. Its main exhibition consists of five topics: “Theme development: literature and topics”, “Recall: inheritance and evolution of history”, “Prospect: diagram of a booming city”, “Reflection: life in the city/countryside”, and “Interaction: art involving in public space”. The exhibition aims to create a dialogue among the history, the present and the future by opening the city’s mind with imagination, and find out the relation and boundary between material and society, space and media, inheritance and renewal, experience and vision, city and countryside, art and the public, Shanghai and the globe, and hence working out how to integrate them.



In addition, the exhibition also includes the 25th Memorial Exhibition of Mies Van Der Rohe Award and Shanghai Feature Exhibition. The 25th Memorial Exhibition of Mies Van Der Rohe Award will take the data collected from the Mies Van Der Rohe Foundation in Barcelona as basis and display the accomplishments made in European architecture over the past 27 years. In particular, it will be for the first time the exhibition is held in China. Shanghai Feature Exhibition will share about 50 cases of urban renewal in Shanghai to call for more reflection on the current urban renewal happening in Shanghai.

Theme development: literature and topics


The “theme development” section is to present various perspectives towards the theory and practice of “urban renewal” livelily, directly and interactively. In this section, you will learn: evolution of the concept of urban renewal described in academic literature, news report and laws and regulations; interview and discussion on understanding of and suggestions for urban renewal by the city management, planners, architects and the general public; theories and interpretation related to urban renewal, including introduction of the organizations, individuals and urban problems that should be solved; important laws, declaration, publication, meetings and critical incidents in history that are concerned with urban renewal; introduction of development background, strategic target, space design and governance model of classic urban renewal cases; and documentary focusing on important events related to urban renewal.


Recall: inheritance and evolution of history


This section aims to review the practical and theoretical study on urban conservation and renewal, proposing new issues against the regional, national and global context and related strategies. In this section, you will learn: experiences in building rehabilitation and renewal of facility of Chinese ancient cities and historic villages, good practice at home and abroad in protection of historic blocks and renovation of historic buildings as well as cultural inheritance, urban renaissance co-driven by interaction between art and cultural organizations and the city, and so on. Through all these, it shows consideration of the existing urban preservation from different perspectives, multi-strategies tackling with rapid urbanization and the new development opportunities brought by a new life style to the old town. 


Prospect: diagram of a booming city


This section will reveal the digital media culture’s incubation and influence upon architecture and urban imagination. Media not only records and present the practice development of a city and its buildings and thus pushing forward related theories, criticism and disciplines, but also directly takes part in the reform of social production. In this section, you will learn how the new media, computer parameter design and internet technologies lead and explore the urban life style and public space against the backdrop of information era.


Reflection: life in the city/countryside


Current urban practice in China is not limited to cities. Since some polices and public events, practice in countryside has attracted more attention from young architects and scholars. In this section, you will find practice in the countryside by a group of outstanding architects at home and abroad since the year 2000, academic studies on the genres and prototypes of future rural development, and involvement of artists in the practice for the purpose of inheriting the rural community culture. This section aims to respond to over urbanization and unbalanced urban-rural relation, reflect on urban construction by studying the rural philosophy, and probe into the possibility of performing urban-rural composition and interactive practice in the realm of political economy.


Interaction: art involving in public space


As a way of urban development, “Urban Renewal” has provided the time and space connecting the past, present and future for the city and citizens. Through multiple artistic forms of expression including painting, sculpture, installation and video, Urban Renewal the complicated and dimensional topic is represented and discussed. No matter it is criticism to the problems identified during current urban renewal, a creative way of presenting the urban status, or description about people’s dreamed future, what the art focuses on is always the “human-being”. Distortion, indifference, memories and uncertainties of a city are all converted into art works with the “human-being” as reference and backdrop, leading to the most touchable perception approach. 

25th Memorial Exhibition of Mies Van Der Rohe Award


As the most influential award in Europe, the biennial Mies Van Der Rohe Award is considered the top honor for the European architecture and design works. The award is dedicated to providing a communication platform for the contemporary architecture and urban design, and thus contributing to the architecture education and recognition by spreading the contemporary architecture culture. In modern times, how can the Mies Van Der Rohe Award make appropriate judgment and reflection to the history? This exhibition will display the award-winning works and outstanding works over the past two decades through photographs, building drawings and models, reviewing the excellent contemporary European architecture since 1987 and representing the history of contemporary European architecture.


Shanghai Feature Exhibition


Themed “Yue﹒Shanghai”, Shanghai Feature Exhibition will be opened with concepts of “traversing, surpassing and more”. In the “traversing” section, with the historical evolution as a clue, the exhibition will systematically display the background, philosophy and development of the urban renewal in Shanghai. In the “surpassing” section, under the background of globalization, the exhibition will study the meaning of different ways of urban renewal to the future. While in the “more” section, taking the geographic pictures as the basis, the exhibition will in full view display typical cases of the urban renewal in Shanghai. When it comes to the exhibition manner, it out breaks the traditional exhibition layout by integrating the Feature Exhibition space with the Art in Public Space Exhibition on the second floor and the public reception room and transport space on the first floor, resulting in a fair, concatenate and open exhibition effect free of main-slave structure and order. 


Academic Forum

Academic Forum 10:00-12:30 Sep. 25, 2015
Keynote speech

Urban Renewal Representing Ideal, Art and Value


Speaker: Zheng Shiling

  Ecological Urbanization—a topic about public realm

Speaker: Mohsen Mostafavi


Publicity, Culturing and Personality


Speaker: Wu Weishan


Local and Urban Exchange Generated by Art—cases in Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale


Speaker: Fram Kitagawa


Panel: Zheng Shiling, Mohsen Mostafavi, Wu Weishan, Fram Kitagawa, Wu Jiang and Li Xiangning

Theme Forum


Date Sep. 30, 2015
10:45-11:00          Weak Architecture in Rural Area
  HE Wei (Professor,China Central Academy Of Fine Arts,Architect)
11:00-11:15 Art Promoting Rural Rehabilitation
  QU Yan (Artist)
11:15-11:30 Primitive Architecture
  WANG Hao (Rùn Atelier)
11:30-11:45 The Rebirth of Tenon-and-mortise work
  YE Man (Rùn Atelier)
11:45-12:00 Architecture on Hills 
  CHEN Haoru (Principal of Architecture on Hills atelier)
12:00-12:15 Custom Made: Naturalizing urban space
  Halvor Weider Ellefsen (Assistant professor in the Oslo School of Architecture and Design-AHO)
12:15-12:30 On the Spatial Dialectics of Chinese Communism during the transition to the “primary stage of socialism”
  Adrian Blackwell (Assistant professor at the University of Waterloo School Of Architecture)
12:30-12:45 Urban Humanities in Shanghai: New Media for Studying Cities|PVG-LAX CHROMATOPIA: Hi-Risesand Urban Clusters for Pacific Rim Cities
  Jonathan Crisman (UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative)
14:00-14:15 Made in Europe. EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture

Ivan Blasi (coordinator of the Award)

14:15-14:30 Public Realm as City Welfare & Citizens Wellbeing: Cao Yang New Village
  Margherita Turvani (IUAV University of Venice)
14:30-14:45 Art+ Village + City in the Pearl River Delta
  Annie R. Malcolm (Phd.,UC Berkeley)
14:15-15:00 Smell is Information
  Sissel Tolaas (Artist)
15:00-15:15 New Humanism Architecture in Urban Regeneration
  LIN Xiao (An-Design Architects Co., Ltd.)
  Enric Massip-Bosch (Professor in ETSAV, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Valles, principle of EMBA Architects)
15:45-16:00 UNCOVERED- A visual essay from the ETSAB archives
  Ariadna Perich (Vice-dean of ETSAB, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona in Culture-CULT)
16:00-16:15 F.E.E.L.MADRID
  Jose Luis Esteban Penelas (Chair Professor, Director AIR Lab Design Institute in Universidad Europea de Madrid)
16:15-16:30 Urban sustainability of Cities in Cuba
  Enrique Juan de Dios Fernández Figueroa (Professor of the Faculty of Architecture of Havana, ISPJAE)

Curatorial Team

Chief Curator

  • Wu Jiang

  • Mohsen Mostafavi


  • Li Xaingning

  • Zhang Qing

  • Zhang Ming

  • Zhang Zi

  • Wang Lin

  • Xi Wenqin