With nearly 10 million inhabitants, Seoul is one of the most representative examples of major modern cities. As such, it is a particularly relevant setting for this international event focused on the development of towns and cities around the world. The Seoul Biennale, with its close links to architecture and urbanism, aims to offer a platform for dialogue, discovery and the promotion of projects and research that explores the city of today and tomorrow.
After the first two events, entitled “Imminent Commons” (2017) and “Collective City” (2019), the third Biennale, entitled “Crossroads: Building the Resilient City”, continued to explore cities around the world. While some forty cities were represented in 2017 and 85 in 2019, for this 2021 event Seoul welcomed contributions from over one hundred cities from five continents. This event is now a must for anyone who loves cities and all the issues that relate to them.
This third event, entitled “CROSSROADS: BUILDING THE RESILIENT CITY”, is, along with the Venice Biennale, one of the key architectural events to be produced in the wake of a pandemic that has deeply challenged the ways in which we operate.
These transformations will have a certain impact on the construction of our living spaces, perhaps in favour of more hybrid or even a-programmatic architecture. This crisis probably means the end of the already much-criticised leitmotif of modern architecture, “form follows function”. Cities, central as they are to global issues, are now facing unprecedented challenges, including health risks, climate change, industrial decline, technological competitiveness and the management of migration flows. As such, the event’s director has chosen to set this year’s Biennale the theme of resilience.
Entitled “Crossroads: Building the Resilient City”, the Biennale continued to explore cities through architecture, urbanism, art and design, with an emphasis on the virtues of dialogue and shared knowledge. Through a series of themed exhibitions, conferences and round tables, it aimed to start an active conversation on the city of the future.
Six exhibitions were planned, bringing together 190 participants, 20% of them Korean architects. Participants have a wide variety of backgrounds and include young architects, researchers, town planners and renowned figures, such as several Pritzker winners. Over 100 global cities from five continents were represented. Within the main exhibition, 25% will be from Asia, 35% from Europe and 40% from the rest of the world.
The biennale venues
Franklin Azzi architecture, Bruther, Chartier Dalix SAS, uapS sarl, MDP Michel Desvignes paysagistes, Maco, galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Marc Ibos Myrto Vitart, Marc Mimram Architect Engineer and Associates, Jakob+MacFarlane architects, Renzo Piano building Workshop, Lucy & Jorge Orta, Alexis Peyer/ MR&A, collectif Fragment, Collectif Vous.
4 - “Global Studios Exhibition” - curated by Archiworkshop - Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Offers a space for projects arising from academic research. The works take the form of pavilions, selected through a call for proposals sent to universities around the world.
6 - “Seoul Exhibition" - curated by BARE - Seoul Hall of Architecture & Urbanism. Presents innovative architecture and urbanism projects developed in the South Korean city.
• The exhibition Partager l’architecture avec les enfants (Sharing architecture with children) produced by Arc en rêve centre d’architecture (Bordeaux);
• The exhibition La ville au loin (The city far away) produced by the FRAC Centre-Val de Loire (Orléans);
• The exhibition L’art des sentiers métropolitains (The art of metropolitain trails) produced by the Pavillon de l’Arsenal (Paris).
Participating architects and designers include:
- Morphosis - Thom Mayne, Pritzker Prize winner
- Empt, Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale
- Elemental - Alejandro Aravena, Pritzker Prize winner
- Renzo Piano building workshop, Pritzker Prize winner
- Barozzi Veiga, Mies Van Der Rohe Prize winner
... along with a host of other talents, both established and up-and-coming architects!
The Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism is organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, with the support of the Institut français and the Cultural Service of the French embassy in South Korea.
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