The 8th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) Closes Online



On August 19, 2020, the 8th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) (hereinafter referred to as “UABB") themed “Urban Interactions" officially closed online.

For this UABB, the team of Chief Curators included Architect and Director of MIT Senseable City Lab Carlo Ratti, CAE Academician Meng Jianmin and famous curator and art critic Fabio Cavallucci. Academic Curator is the South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino - Michele Boino and SCUT - Sun Yimin). The exhibition consisted of two sections, namely “Eyes of the City" and “Ascending City". More than 140 exhibits presented by over 280 participants from 24 countries and regions explored the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The Two Main Venues at Futian High Speed Railway Station and the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) in Shenzhen well interacted with nine sub-venues in the different districts of the city, completing an organically interactive network throughout the city.

The 2019 UABB has involved the widest scope of disciplines and the most diverse perspectives. The exhibition has been truly in concert with the eternal theme of “urban interactions" both in and outside the venues, uncovering the impacts of digital technologies on life in cities. Statistics showed that, since the opening ceremony in December 2019, more than 250,000 visitors had visited, 164 lectures, seminars and guided tours launched in the main venues and sub-venues. Besides, this UABB had also gone beyond the exhibition venues to raise questions about the topic of future city, which had been discussed by many experts from the academia and the media. The exhibition had been covered by nearly a thousand media reports from international and domestic professional and mass media and major local mainstream media, which received an enthusiastic response.


Six Awards Presented at Online Closing Ceremony

2019 UABB Closing Documentary

The 8th UABB closed online, which has never happened in the history of UABB. Following a documentary that reviewed the exhibition, chief curators Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci, academic curator Michele Bonino, and representative of UABB Academic Committee Zhang Yuxing delivered speeches at the closing ceremony through videos.

2019 UABB Closing Speech

Carlo RATTI said that although the UABB do not close in the way we expected, the discussions on technologies and cities in the exhibition are also of great significance to address the crisis we are in, and it is gratifying to see that UABB is still able to send its messages to the public in such a trying time.

In his video, MENG Jianmin expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all parties that supported the UABB. He believed that the UABB is of profound meanings. The success of UABB is not measured by the exhibition period, but depends on whether it is thought-provoking, forward-looking and enlightening. From these perspectives, the UABB is exploratory, demonstrative and inspiring.

Fabio CAVALLUCCI pointed out that in the past three months, the world has been through drastic changes. But for whatever reason, he hoped that the relationship between China and Italy will be closer. Looking back at the exhibition, some works depict possible crises and challenges in future cities. This shows the unique vision of art and architecture, and this is one of the reasons why we need UABB.

Michele BONINO mentioned that engaging in the curatorial work provides an excellent opportunity for Politecnico di Torino to put theory into practice. Challenging as it may be, but Politecnico di Torino has always been promoting the relations and exchanges with China.

ZHANG Yuxing mentioned in the speech that the theme of the exhibition, “Urban Interactions," is profoundly prescient: “isolation" may become prevailing in cities, and that's why we need closer “interactions". The UABB has made breakthroughs in both the exhibited items and size.


The Organizing Committee Award 

Six awards in two categories were presented to excellent works and partners. In the category of Excellent Work Award, the Organizing Committee Award was given to the venue design of the “Eye of the City" section and the “Nine Cities, Millions of Futures" sub-section of the “Ascending City" section. The venue design of the “Eye of the City" section is jointly completed by Carlo Ratti Associati and Politecnico di Torino. By adopting a zigzagging spatial layout devoid of clear gateways as well as by mimicking the flamboyant visual language of duty-free shops, the venue design responded to the unusual venue of Futian Railway Station and turned the venue into an open art space that was appealing to visitors. The “Nine Cities, Millions of Futures" sub-section is curated by Wu Yan and Chen Yu. 13 participants with different identities are invited to imagine what the future cities look like, and a three-dimensional hybrid work is presented through text, sounds, installations and scenes, attempting to communicate different messages to visitors from different perspectives.


the “Nine Cities, Millions of Futures" sub-section of the “Ascending City" section by WU Yan, CHEN Yu ©UABB


The venue design of the “Eye of the City" section, by Carlo Ratti Associati and Politecnico di Torino ©UABB

The Academic Committee Award 

The Academic Committee Award was given to four works: “Nomadic Wood (Looking)" by Philip F. YUAN uses a twisted “digital periscope" for visitors to perceive the city; “Looking for Brunelleschi" by Yung Ho Chang and Atelier FCJZ attempts to discuss the relation between “see" and "being seen"; “Manufacturing Human" by Wang Zigeng raises questions to humans through a surreal model; “Symbiosis City" by Zhang Zhiyang boldly visualizes an urban system and creates a new logic of urban ecology.


Nomadic Wood (Looking) by Philip F. YUAN


Looking for Brunelleschi by Yung Ho CHANG, Atelier FCJZ


Manufacturing Human by WANG Zigeng


Symbiosis City by ZHANG Zhiyang

The Public Award

After a month long telephone interviews with and voting by the visitors, five works receiving the most votes were given the Public Award. “City and the Sky Above" designed by MVRDV and Airbus boldly envisions a future urban air transportation system; “Image in Place" jointly completed by Chen Hui, Qiao Liu and Zhong Kai displays the intertwined time and space in Chongqing from multiple perspectives through augmented reality technology; “Akin to the Forest" by Sou Fujimoto builds a forest using furniture to explore the scale and boundary of space; “Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscaping" by Wang Weiren, Thomas Chung and Thomas Tsang selects 20 representative tower models to demonstrate the compact and varied urban form of and the free space constructed by the towers in Hong Kong; “data.matrix [n°1-10]" made by Japanese pioneering musician Ryoji Ikeda attempts to play a broad data movement.


Image in Place by Chen Hui, Qiao Liu and Zhong Kai


Akin to the Forest by Sou Fujimoto


City and the Sky Above by MVRDV and Airbus


Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscaping by Wang Weiren, Thomas Chung and Thomas Tsang


data.matrix [n°1-10] by Ryoji Ikeda

 The Outstanding Contributor Award/ Excellent Partner Award/ Excellent Practice Award

In the category of Support and Contribution Award, the Outstanding Contributor Award was given to Shenzhen Futian District Government; the Excellent Partner Award to LVGEM Group and Excellence Group; Excellent Practice Award to nine sub-venues including Yantian Bonded Zone, Bao'an International Art Exhibition Center, Qiaotou Community of Bao’an District, Ban Xue Gang Hi-tech Zone of Longgang District, Historical Guanlan Market of Longhua District, Guangming Cloud Valley, Dapeng Fortress and Xichong of Dapeng New District, and Qianhai Cooperation Zone.

2019 UABB Awards

At the end of the closing ceremony, the audience were invited to write down their expectations and inspire the next edition of UABB. It is hoped that after this wonderful and unique edition, UABB will continue to open up infinite possibilities for cities as an international, vanguard and non-profit event.


Cross over and Spark Future Fantasy through “Interactions"

Urban interactions give rise to a new type of space-time relation. They are also an important methodology in this edition of UABB. This UABB has marked a pivotal point in UABB's 16-year history, as for the first time ever, architecture, urban planning, S&T, art, science fiction and literature etc. are integrated into a platform where practice and imagination join hands, reality and the virtual world overlap, and present and future are interconnected.





the “Eyes of the City" section ©UABB

Exhibited at the venue of Shenzhen Futian High Speed Railway Station, the “Eyes of the City" section is jointly curated by Carlo Ratti and South China - Torino Collaboration Lab. It reveals the technological changes and encourages response to technology in design. Over a course of 15 months, the “Eye of the City" section rooted in “seeing" has gathered and presented the views of many disciplines through an “open-source curatorship". This is the first architecture biennale that is basically completed on site in the world. 





the “Ascending City" section ©UABB

Exhibited in the MOCAPE, the “Ascending City" Section is curated by a team led by Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci. The team gathers interdisciplinary members from different countries, including prestige architects, artists, filmmakers, writers and museum researchers. They discuss and imagine the future in a new and profound way and from multiple perspectives.

The exhibition venues are not only closely related to the city, but also to our surroundings and the world. UABB has always adhered to and practiced the principle that “a city is an exhibition venue" in every edition. As the whole world is fighting against the pandemic, technologies back up the interactions between us. The future may seem abstract, but may see huge potential and drastic changes. UABB once again sparks heated and diverse discussions on this.


Nine Sub-Venues Offer a Big Stage for Urban Practice












Sub-venues of 2019 UABB

The nine sub-venues in the seven districts, namely Yantian, Bao'an, Longgang, Longhua, Qianhai, Guangming and Dapeng not only set a record in UABB’s history in terms of number of sub-venues, but also explore more diverse and abundant urban practices. These sub-venues across the city are located in buildings with different functions, such as bonded area, art museum, historical theater, Hakka ancient market, coastal defense fortress, industrial base, science city, resort, commercial and residential buildings. The sub-venues of different identities interpret the theme of “Urban Interactions" in a more elaborate dimension. They also present the most vibrant urban experience and become a fascinating part in UABB while echoing to the Main Venues.




City / Region Pavilion of 2019 UABB

This edition of UABB also focuses on the newly developed and iterated relationship among the cities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), attracting architects and artists across GBA to actively participate in the creation of the exhibition. The pavilions of Hong Kong and Macao in the Main Venue both reflect the cultural context and role of GBA cities. UABB maintains dialogs with these cities to promote the mutual understanding and cooperation and to present an open, integrated, diverse and cross-disciplinary landscape.


Brainstorming Envisions the Future of UABB


On April 17, a brainstorming meeting was organized to discuss the theme of the nest edition of UABB was held online and attended by participants of diverse background. Members of UABB Organizing Committee, UABB Academic Committee, UABB curators and participants communicated and shared ideas with architectural critics, artists and other guests on these topics: there will be discussions on more cross-discipline topics; the discussions on online technologies and space will continue; the relationship between the main venues and sub-venues will be further explored. From the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to the continuity of the UABB's commonality, from the discussion on the theme to the operating mechanism, the brainstorming meeting has provided a chance for more open discussion on the UABB from more perspectives.

Zhang Yuxing, Chairman of UABB Academic Committee, proposed that in the next edition of UABB, we need to think about how cities should respond to emergencies and incidents, as well as the why and how we should respond. He looked forward to exploring the relationship between the city and nature in the next edition as the future city needs to be built based on deep respect for the nature. Furthermore, he also hoped that UABB could generate in-depth thoughts about the city and the human community, and the achievements of all editions will be systematically sorted out and put in the textbooks for urban planning, research and architecture as “UABBism".


Photos of previous editions of UABB

Known as an international, vanguard and non-profit event, UABB has become an important cultural brand of Shenzhen toward the outside world. It grew and evolved along with the city. Starting from 2005, UABB has become a feast for the minds at the forefront of urban architecture and for citizens in Shenzhen. It is a critical part of urban life and culture in the city. UABB has sought to not only provoke cutting-edge and innovative thoughts around the world, but also exert profound impact in different fields, industries even in the life of every member of the general public to eventually drive innovation in Shenzhen.

Looking forward to meeting you again with a new look in 2021 UABB!


2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen)

Awards List

(In no perticular order)

Excellent Work Award

Organizing Committee Award

“Eyes of the City” Section Venue Design  | CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Politecnico di Torino

“Ascending City” Section Special Project – “Nine Cities, Millions of Futures” | Yan WU, CHEN Yu

Academic Committee Award

Nomadic Wood (Looking) | Philip F. YUAN

Looking for Brunelleschi | Yung-Ho CHANG, Atelier FCJZ

Manufacturing Human | WANG Zigeng  

Symbiosis City | ZHANG Zhiyang 

Public Award

City and the Sky Above | MVRDV, Airbus

Image in Place | CHEN Hui, QIAO Liu, ZHONG Kai

Akin to the Forest | Sou FUJIMOTO

Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape | WANG Weijen, Thomas CHUNG, Thomas TSANG  

data.matrix [n°1-10] | Ryoji IKEDA

Support and Contribution Award

Outstanding Contributor Award

Shenzhen People's Goverment of Futian District

Excellent Partner Award

Excellence Group 


Excellent Practice Award

Sub-Venue of Sha Tau Kok Bonded Zone of Yantian District

Sub-Venue of Bao'an International Art Exhibition Center

Sub-Venue of Ban Xue Gang Hi-Tech Zone of Longgang District

Sub-Venue of Ban Xue Gang Hi-Tech Zone of Longgang District

Sub-Venue of the Historical Guanlan Market of Longhua District

Sub-Venue of Guangming Cloud Valley

 Sub-Venue of Dapeng Fortress of Dapeng New District

Sub-Venue of Xichong of Dapeng New District

Sub-Venue of Qianhai Cooperation Zone