The second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America. This year’s Biennial features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme “Make New History.” Artistic Directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee have selected architects and artists whose eye-opening creations will invite the public to explore how the latest architecture can and will make new history in places around the world. The main exhibition is free and open to the public from September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2018.
In 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, URBANUS examine two recent projects: the environmental design for the Five Dragons Temple-the oldest Taoist temple in China located in Ruicheng County, Shanxi Province, abandoned for more than one thousand years then restored as the new spiritual centre and museum of ancient Chinese architecture. And Nantou Old Town rehabilitation project to revitalize a 1730 years old town in Shenzhen, whose exacerbated urbanization has made this town as “a city within an urban village”. Here we are tackling the complexity of balancing preservation and development in the course of a dynamic urban transition.
The solutions for the two projects are not only limited to architectural measures, but also involves social forces. The Five Dragons Temple is the first national monument preservation project in China financed in partnership with private sectors with the help of the 2015 Milan Expo and crowd-funding. This initiative has sparked much public passion and debate regarding preservation of national heritage sites. The Nantou Old Town project utilized the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture（ Shenzhen）, co-curated by partners of URBANUS, to garner attention for the town. By exhibiting these two projects in the Chicago Biennale, URBANUS exemplifies how architects could reach beyond their traditional role to make a new history.