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04/11/2013Architectural Biennale breathes new life into old Shenzhen factory

Architectural Biennale breathes new life into old Shenzhen factory
Old float glass factory transformed into dramatic new ‘Value Factory’ as an UABB(SZ)  2013 showcase venue
 
(October 17, 2013) A major attraction of the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale, UABB(SZ) [Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture(Shenzhen)], is the creative and dramatic transformation of an old Shenzhen glass factory into one of the Biennale’s core venues for this year.
 
Spearheaded by Ole Bouman, the UABB(SZ)’s curator and Creative Director, the project adhered to his manifesto statement of “Biennale as risk.” The revitalisation effort not only provides a unique and functional exhibition space for the Biennale but it reclaims a piece of heritage and history. As a broader objective, the makeover is also a step in redefining Shenzhen’s identity. In completing the urban intervention, Mr. Bouman now calls it a “Value Factory” to manufacture ideas and knowledge.
 
Built in 1986, the former Guangdong Float Glass Factory had been derelict since 2009. The metamorphosis began in May as an international collaboration effort. At Mr. Bouman’s invitation, architectural and design firms from as far as India, Brazil and the Netherlands worked with Chinese design partners in a “Matchmaking Workshop” as different design teams paired off to execute their collaboration on various parts of the factory – from the entrance, storage facilities, the main hall and various silos. The transformation process will be completed in only three months.
 
The revamped glass factory will not only be an exhibition showcase for the biennale’s three months, but it aims to serve as a facility for nurturing, and a source of, inspiration for the city hopefully for years to come.
 
Already, the “Value Factory” appears to be achieving its goals, by developing strong alliances with partners both local, regional and from all over the world. Among them include globally renowned cultural institutions like Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), MAXXI, OMA, Droog Design, International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo, MIT, MoMA New York, and the Berlage.
 
As a venue for the Shenzhen’s UABB(SZ) 2013, the old Guangdong Float Glass Factory, along with the other exhibition site the Border Warehouse (Shekou Ferry Terminal old warehouse), has elevated it from just design and architecture installations to a significant cultural and social event relevant to urban sustainability and regular citizens. The exhibition in Border Warehouse, presented by Curators, Academic Directors Li Xiangning and Jeffrey Johnson will be soon highlighted in next release.
 
As Mr. Bouman declares in his manifesto, “(the biennale) is a vehicle for change, for real change. It produces leverage for alternative histories and a new future.” In short, the former glass turned “Value” factory will strive to create value by preserving it.
 
written by DT Communications
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