MIND LANDSCAPES. STUDIO ZHU - PEI, BIEJING

MIND LANDSCAPES. STUDIO ZHU - PEI, BIEJING.

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Zhu Pei is one of the leading architects in China providing substantial solutions to urgent challenges and questions of ongoing urbanization within the country. The rapid rate of urban growth, as well as the commercial pressures of mass consumer society, require well-considered concepts that also satisfy the need for authentic architectural expression. In the cacophony of urban collages and architectural super signs against the backdrop of the real megacity, Zhu Pei has set off in search of his own roots within traditional aesthetic concepts, successfully adapting them for implementation in his work. By drawing on traditional concepts of space and the built structure, he has been able to devise solutions that are specific to the location and region, while demonstrating great skill in terms of form, aesthetics, and materiality. Informed by an understanding of the global architectural discourse, he follows his own path to give each of his buildings a specific character within a contemporary architectural form. Studio Zhu-Pei was founded in 2005, acquiring international acclaim for its work on the Cai Guoqiang Courtyard House Renovation (2007), the OCT Design Museum in Shenzhen (2012) and the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing (2015). With his architectural accomplishments, Zhu Pei is considered to be at the vanguard of contemporary architecture in China. This exhibition presents five large cultural buildings by the architect, which are currently being built: the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Dali, the Shijingshan Cultural Center in Beijing, the Shou County Culture and Art Center in Anhui province, and the Museum of Imperial Kiln in Jingdezhen. The buildings stand out as individual, creative solutions that have been developed with remarkable sensitivity to the urban and cultural context. Zhu Pei responds to the conditions at hand, articulating his surroundings in a modern architectural language or integrating the new buildings into the given context. The numerous models, plans, and films on display illustrate the specific relationships between the projects and their surrounding environment. The buildings powerful formal expression is revealed in an installation against a backlit panoramic background of the architect's striking ink drawings. Inspired by the duality of yin and yang, the Performing Arts Center will be the new home of Yang Lipings dance company, the first of its kind to openly list on the Chinese stock exchange. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how two related yet opposing elements can be brought into harmony. On the outskirts of the city of Dali in Yunnan province, Zhu Pei contrasts and unites the undulating, hilly topography of the theater's organically-shaped performance spaces with an expansive, rectangular accessible canopy. This significant new building does not seek to become a monument, but instead sets the stage for the vast natural landscape beyond it: the towering Canshan mountain range in the back and the Erhai Lake before it.

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