London unveils “Building Contemporary China” architecture exhibition

LONDON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — From city museum to rural teahouse, an architecture exhibition showcasing diverse projects designed by Chinese architects kicked off here on Friday.

Under the theme “Building Contemporary China,” the exhibition is being held at the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), hoping to enrich an understanding of the techniques and approaches that characterize contemporary Chinese architecture projects and how these relate to the country’s broader culture and society.

Projects on display are works from 11 leading Chinese architects, including the Shougang Xishi Winter Olympics Plaza, the Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia Capital and the African Union Headquarters and Conference Complex in Addis Ababa.

Exploring themes such as urban renewal, rural revival and environmental renovation, the exhibition showcases models, images, films and drawings, providing insight into how Chinese architects adapt to a rapidly changing world.

“I was really struck by … all of the architects are thinking about how the built structure interacts with the natural environment,” Sevra Davis, director of architecture design and fashion at the British Council, said about the exhibition.

“Building Contemporary China will take visitors on a journey through the last 30 years of building practice in China. As we know, those 30 years have been an unprecedented change … in China. When you look at the exhibition, you really see and feel a part of that change,” said Valerie Vaughan-Dick, RIBA chief executive officer, during a speech on the exhibition’s opening ceremony.

“This exhibition signifies the next chapter in maintaining and deepening this vital exchange between architects in the UK and architects in China,” she added.

Wang Jianguo, professor at China’s Southeast University and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Xinhua that there is room for exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and British architectural industries on their journey to decarbonization.

Li Liyan, minister counsellor for cultural affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Britain, said that in addition to the exhibition, Chinese and British architects also participated in forums and academic exchanges in collaboration with Cambridge University. “These activities will greatly promote mutual learning and practical cooperation between China and the UK.”

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