Detours: Tactical Approaches to Urbanization in China

January 7, 2008 - 7:00pm to March 12, 2008 - 8:00pm

First exhibited at the University of Toronto's Eric Arthur Gallery, the Detours exhibition focuses on projects by Chinese architects that critically engage urban development in China today. Each project approaches this shifting context from a close reading of the given social and material situation, setting it apart from strategic initiatives that respond directly to the abstract demands of foreign and local capital or state ideology.

Since the early 1980s, China has been transformed in unprecedented ways: incredible economic growth has created a new middle class, cities have been physically reconstructed, culture has been opened to capitalist markets, and industrial workers have been demoted from privileged citizens to precarious migrants. This urban revolution has brought with it many contradictions. Cities and towns have been quickly produced for immediate effect, projecting the image of a quickly modernizing society, while deep divisions between urban and rural spaces and citizens remain unchanged.

The ten tactical propositions for the production of urban space in Detours tend to resist tendencies toward the contextual erasure and stylistic appropriation commonplace within Chinese architectural design. These projects follow a set of detours in order to negotiate China's complex histories, spaces, cultures, and social realities. The exhibition explores strong experiments and models for architects working elsewhere in the world within the traditions of the urban project, rural studio, ecological urbanism, and urban acupuncture. Includes work by Amateur Architecture, Atelier 3, Atelier Feichang Jianzhu, Jiakun Architects, MADA S.P.A.M., Neno, Ou Ning & Cao Fei, Shenzhen Urban Planning Bureau, Turenscape, and Urbanus Architecture and Design.

The Banvard Gallery is located on the first floor of Knowlton Hall on the campus of The Ohio State University, 275 W Woodruff Avenue, Columbus. The free exhibit runs from January 8 through March 13, 2008, and is open to the public on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Detourscurated by Adrian Blackwell and Pei Zhao; curated for KSA by Marc Syp.