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HK Shenzhen Biennale Kicks Off With 70 Exhibitors

The internationally renowned “2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Hong Kong)” 《UABB(HK) 2013》, formerly known as “the fourth Hong Kong Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale exhibition”, was unveiled at Kwun Tong on Wednesday, December 11. With The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) as the leading organizer, Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) and Hong Kong Designers Association (HKDA) as co-organizers, Create Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government as the leading sponsor, and in collaboration with Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture Organizing Committee, UABB(HK) 2013 showcases the masterpieces of local and internationally architects, designers and artists.

The curatorial theme of this year’s Biennale is “Beyond the Urban Edge: The Ideal City?”. The exhibition will last from December 11, 2013 to February 28, 2014. To kick off this year’s artistic and cultural activities, The Honourable CY LEUNG, GBM, GBS, JP, The Chief Executive of HKSAR has been invited to be the guest of honour of UABB(HK) 2013 Opening Ceremony. The curatorial team of this year’s Biennale is partnered by Professor Colin FOURNIER, and two design and architecture companies, namely URBANUS Architecture and Design (URBANUS) and TETRA Architects and Planners (TETRA).

FOURNIER, the Chief Curator of the team, is currently a visiting Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. There are four Executive Curators working with him in the curatorial team, and they are Mr Joshua LAU and Mr Allen POON, both of whom are TETRA Partners and Co-Founders, as well as Dr Tat LAM, URBANUS Research Bureau Director, and Mr Travis Bunt, Director of URBANUS Hong Kong. Under the curatorial theme, the curatorial team applies an innovative approach to explore and generate new ideas on what are the essentials that constitute an ideal city, further extending the Shenzhen exhibition theme of the “Urban Border”.

The Biennale touches on the seven themes of Edge_Architecture, Edge_Density, Edge_Urban, Urban_Ecology、Urban_Data、Urban_Fringe and Urban_Systems with exhibitions at two locations in Kwun Tong, namely Kwun Tong Ferry Pier and Kwun Tong Promenade (opposite to Kowloon Flour Mills Building). Additionally, the delegation from Barcelona of Spain constructs a “Barcelona Pavilion” as part of the Biennale. Chief Curator Professor Colin FOURNIER said: “The ferry was the main mode of transportation between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in the past, which made the Ferry Pier a natural landmark. But as the socioeconomics of Hong Kong developed, the ferry has increasingly been marginalized, the importance of the Pier has consequently eroded, and both their identities have been redefined. And Kwun Tong Promenade is close to the coastline.

It is yet another example of an Urban Edge, a space that is being re-defined to fit the imagination of the people. We chose Kwun Tong Ferry Pier and Kwun Tong Promenade as the main venue for UABB(HK) 2013 because we hope to explore people’s imagination of The Ideal City while standing on the Urban Edge.” Approximately 70 local, Mainland and overseas architects, designers and artists will participate in UABB(HK) 2013. For three months, exhibits gathered worldwide will be used to create a platform with the purpose of stimulating critical thinking and to establish a cultural dialogue that will touch upon a number of Hong Kong’s urban problems, such as“sub-divided” flats, conservation of HK heritage or buildings, Hong Kong’s relationship with the mainland, and so on. In conjunction with the exhibitions, a series of community activities, such as performances, movie sharing sessions, forums, seminars, workshops and guided tours, etc., will also be organized.

These activities are designed to involve active participation of people from all walks of life and to present to them the curatorial theme from a multi-cultural perspective. “UABB(HK) aims to connect with the public. Themed ‘Beyond the Urban Edge: The Ideal City’ this year, the UABB(HK) 2013 takes place in Kwun Tong Promenade. Kwun Tong Waterfront is regarded as the edge of the Kwun Tong District, denoting the meaning of extension to enlarge space. The Biennale provides a platform to arouse general awareness and promote public appreciation towards architecture, urban planning, and design.” said Ms Ada FUNG, the President of HKIA. Alongside with UABB(HK), the “2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen)”, will be held in parallel, from December 6, 2013 to February 28, 2014 in Shenzhen, under the theme of “Urban Border”, which echoes with Hong Kong’s “Beyond the Urban Edge: The Ideal City?”.

During the exhibition, Hong Kong and Shenzhen will host a number of collaborative events to promote cross-border exchanges, such as Shenzhen Village Tour, Round Table Discussion, etc. Vice-Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal Government, Mr LV Ruifeng, said “UABB not only established a communication and interaction platform for Shenzhen and Hong Kong’s relevant professions, industries and publics, but also accelerated the cities’ design and creative industry development, as well as activated the public spaces and vacant properties. Its influences on urban culture improvement, urban appearance transformation, and urban development ideas were significant. It observed, evaluated, and introspected the world’s urbanization practice in an interdisciplinary way, and mobilized all the people influenced by the urbanization process to participate in the exhibition.”

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