Category: Exhibition
Principal Architect: Meng Yan, Wang Hui

Urbanus Project Team: Rao Enchen, Liu Yu



To correspond with “Fundamental,” the key word of 2014 Venice Biennale, the China Pavilion draws on the theme “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” showcasing an inherently Chinese architectural system through spatial variation and fundamental construction principles.

Underlying the varying scales, from small artifacts to large urban plans, the system of Chinese architecture operates on the basis of a specific matrix. In ancient Chinese wooden architecture, the Plinth demonstrates traditional structural etiquette. In the early days of its development, the timber framed “flat-base plinth” shared the same structure with traditional Chinese furniture. The prototypical Chinese “stool” is a furniture typology that dates from the Ming Dynasty. Through various combinations and configurations, the stool can be transformed into a multiplicity of new identities as footrest, table, teapoy, shelf, low bed, and so forth, allowing people to sit and rest, and providing space for exhibition and exchange. Further, it can become a “foundation” that defines the spatial boundary of the “house” for the indoor exhibition venue. Eventually, it evolves into “mountains” with varying heights, which break through the corner and extend from the indoor to the outdoor and connect the spaces that are fragmented by walls.

With the prototypical stool therefore utilized as the base component, we reconstruct the plinth in a modularized fashion to respond to the theme at both ends of the scale, where the elemental units and the organizing principle of their composition are simultaneously fundamental. The installation is composed of furniture, a house foundation, and mountains; together these elements define a general spatial layout and link the indoor and outdoor spaces. Chinese traditional architecture pursues the continual recombinations of a single type of component, which works in concert with the overall construction, instead of seeking a kaleidoscope of individualized components. It focuses on the unification of internal and external, of micro and macro.


Credits and Data:

Theme of the Whole Biennale & All National Pavilions:Fundamental | 1914-2014: Absorbing Modernity
Theme of Chinese Pavilion:Mountains Beyond Mountains | 1914-2014: Reconciling Modernity
Director of 14th Architecture Biennale Venice: Rem Koolhaas      Chinese Pavilion Curator: Jiang Jun

Project Location: Arsenale / Vergini Garden, Venice
Exhibition Time: 2014/6/7 -11/23
Design Period: 2014/03-2014/05
Construction Period: 2014/05/10-2014/06/05

Exhibitors: URBANUS (Framework) | Duoxiang Studio (Partition) | OPEN Architecture (Courtyard)
Artist: Zhang Jian    Visual Design: Tomeetyou Graphics     Research Team: Stanislaus Fung, Dai Chun, Gao Yan,Shi Yang, Fred Chen     Lighting Design: Zhang Xin, Han Xiaowei
Photographers: Meng Yan, Liu Yu