fbpx Biennale Architettura 2021 | China (People's Republic of)
La Biennale di Venezia

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China (People's Republic of)

Yuan-er, a courtyard-ology: from the mega to the micro

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07
    11 am - 7 pm

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 am - 6 pm
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Commissioner: China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd (CAEG)
Curator: Zhang Li
Exhibitors: Zhu Zheqin (Dadawa), He Wanyu, Cui Kai, Chang Qing, Zhuang Weimin, Zhou Kai, Liu Jiakun, Xiao Wei & Cadi, Lyu Zhou, Liu Chang, Zhao Peng, Michele Bonino & PoliTo, Chen Xiong, Cui Tong, Dong Gong, Gui Xuewen, Guo Mingzhuo, Hu Yue, Li Cundong, Li Hu & Huang Wenjing, Li Xinggang, Liu Doreen Heng, Liu Xiaodu, Liu Yichun & Chen Yifeng, Loehlein, Gisela & Xjtlu, Lyu Pinjing; Ma Yansong, Mei Hongyuan, Meng Yan, Ni Yang, Qi Xin, Shen Di, Shen Zuowei, Song Zhaoqing, Sun Yimin, Wang Hui, Wang Xiao’an, Yang Ying, Zhang Jie, Zhang Ming, Zhang Pengju, Zhang Tong, Zhang Yue, Zhao Yang, Zhao Yuanchao, Zhu Xiaodi, and many others


The Pavilion proposes a 5-section inquiry into the yuan-er (multifamily courtyard). In section 1, various architects give individual stories of inspiration and interventions related to yuan-er through tablets and phones. In section 2, six Chinese architects and six historians dissect classic examples and give radical interpretations through hologram projections. In section 3, visitors are invited to design their own yuan-er using an AI programme featuring the vocabulary of young Chinese architects. In section 4, a sound installation takes the visitors on a journey of the senses in yuan-er. In section 5, an outdoor parlour shares the stories people's creative use of yuan-ers - the courtyard space, for daily leisure and healing.

Biennale Sneak Peek

Image 1 – How will we live together?
Yuan-er from mega to micro
: the courtyard has been a vibrant co-living typology across cultures and across times. And Yuan-er has been the basic molecule of all traditional urban and social fabrics in China, with cases ranging from the mega, like the Forbidden City, to the micro, like hutongs.


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
China Pavilion makes an inquiry on Yuan-er. Through the exhibition it will unfold the essence of Yuan-er, and how it is still able to bring people of such diversity closer to each other. What are the space-body relations that generate cohesive urban communities extending from one Yuan-er to another? How would wisdoms of past Yuan-ers benefit the architecture of our time for people to live together?

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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura