The reaction from the audience was pretty well uniform: blimey, why haven’t we heard more about these people? The occasion was the launch of “From Beijing to London: 16 Contemporary Chinese Architects” at the Building Centre.
An impressive number of the 16 architects in question had made it over for the opening with its lectures, and British architects turned out in force to see and hear them. Earlier in the day I was delighted to meet them face to face as part of a welcome delegation at the RIBA.
They are described as “the most promising generation of Chinese designers” and certainly the talent is there in abundance. Go and see the show if you can before it closes on April 28. Oddly this came about as Chinese Architecture’s contribution to the London Book Fair, and each project is presented in the form of a book on a lectern, plus a timeline around the walls.
No room to go through it all but I’ll share with you one building in particular – the extraordinary rough-brick Fule International Ceramic Art Museum by Liu Kecheng, an architect with a specialism in heritage and ancient monuments. “I believe there are enough good things on the earth,” says Liu Kecheng. “All my architecture is about discovery and display.”
The message from the show – and the lecture by Wang Hui of practice Urbanus – is that all Chinese architecture is not hell-for leather urban development. There are many different and subtle sides to it. This exhibition, co-ordinated by China’s Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine, gives us a good flavour.
It’s on at the Building Centre, Store Street, London WC1E 7BT. www.buildingcentre.co.uk