The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) today announced Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture from China, an upcoming survey of contemporary Chinese architecture in which environmental concerns and social responsibility play a pivotal role in their respective designs, as their next major show. Opening September 16 and on view through July 4, 2022, in the museum’s street-level galleries, Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture from China will showcase eight different projects of varying typologies through newly acquired models, drawings, photographs, videos, and architectural mock-ups.
As noted in a MoMa press release, Reuse, Renew, Recycle was developed over four years and included site visits to the featured projects—including a defunct sugar mill transformed into a hotel in the mountainous Guangxi region and an outdoor theater framed by towering bamboo in Songyang County’s ancient Hengkeng Village—and dialogues with their respective architects.
The presented projects are the work of seven architectural practices, all of them belonging to a younger generation of Chinese designers who are “working independently from state-run design institutes” and “invested in relatively small-scale interventions that seek to meaningfully engage with the preexisting built environment and established social structures,” according to the museum.
The emergence of these young and socially conscious studios comes after years of urban development shaped, at a breathtakingly rapid clip, largely by Western firms. As noted by MoMA, many of the projects completed by this next generation of Chinese architects are located outside of the country’s bursting-at-the-seams megacities and instead in secondary population centers and rural areas where there’s often a greater appetite for culturally and environmentally sensitive built works that, per the museum, “serve as a progressive blueprint for a less extractive, more resource-conscious future for architectural practice at large.”
The featured studios of Reuse, Renew, Recycle are: Amateur Architecture Studio (2012 Pritzker laureate Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu), Archi-Union Architects (Philip F. Yuan), Atelier Deshaus (Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng), DnA_Design and Architecture (Xu Tiantian), Studio Zhu Pei (Zhu Pei), Vector Architects (Dong Gong), and ZAO/standardarchitecture (Zhang Ke).
Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture from China is being organized by Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, and Evangelos Kotsioris, curatorial assistant, Department of Architecture and Design. Li Xiangning, a professor at Tongji University in Shanghai is acting in an advisory role for the exhibition. AN will publish a review of the show when it debuts this coming September.