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NAi submits project for Shenzhen architecture biennial

The Dutch submission for the Shenzhen architecture biennial in 2011 is the exhibition ‘Housing with a Mission’ by the Netherlands Architecture institute (NAi). The exhibition will display design solutions for affordable housing that were developed as part of a joint Dutch-Chinese project. The collaboration is interesting for both parties: The Netherlands will have the opportunity to share their expertise in housing and China have challenging work for architects. The designs will be realized next year in Beijing by the Chinese project developer and NAi partner VANKE.

Housing with a Mission.
Dutch architects have been working in China for some time. How does their presence affect Chinese architecture? How do the architects benefit from working with the Chinese? Can their joint efforts provide solutions for problems in Chinese society? The exhibition ‘Housing with a Mission’ provides answers to these questions and shows visitors the process that international collaborations go through to find a common language.

Matching Dutch and Chinese Architects
‘Housing with a Mission’ is the product of NAi’s matchmaking programme in which Dutch architecture expertise is matched with international community projects. With this background in mind, NAi selected five Dutch architecture firms (NL Architects, Arons en Gelauff architecten, NEXT architects, KCAP and BARCODE Architects) and five Chinese architecture firms (Urbanus, Standard, NODE, O-Office and CAFA University) for this project, which consisted of developing new concepts for high-quality affordable housing.

Ant Tribe
The housing is intended for a group of people in China that is often overlooked: graduates with a low income, also known as ‘ant tribe’. The starters, who often live in poor conditions, are actually very important for society because they constitute a large group of highly educated people who are not afraid to speak up. China’s future is in their hands. It’s crucial that this group stay in Beijing, which is why good housing is a high priority for the Chinese government. There is also a lot of opportunity here for project developers and architects.

Innovation Agenda
‘Housing with a Mission’ is the product of the innovation agenda of NAI’s ‘Architecture of Consequence‘ programme, where architects, urbanists and other designers are asked to contribute to making society more sustainable. NAi’s ‘Architecture of Consequence’ programme shows that architecture can play a meaningful role in the solving of societal problems.

The Shenzhen architecture biennial will take place from 8 December 2011 to 10 February 2012 in the main pavilions of the OCAT grounds in Shenzhen. The curator for the exhibition is Ole Bouman who will be working with co-curator Jorn Konijn. This exhibition was realized with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, DutchDFA, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Guangzhou consulate) and VANKE.