• ‘2×2: Imagine to Innovate’ The 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism & Architecture HK

    15 October 2019

    (14 October 2019, Hong Kong) A Press Conference was held today at The Mills, to officially unveil this year’s Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Hong Kong) (UABBHK2019).

    UABBHK2019 is the Hong Kong portion of the unique bi-city biennial architectural exhibition. It opens in two cities, Hong Kong and Shenzhen simultaneously with the theme on Architecture and Urbanism. It aims to create an environment for creative exchange between professionals, students, and academics from urban design and planning, architecture art, and cultural industry as well as the general public.

    Entitled “2×2: Imagine to Innovate”, UABBHK2019 will explore new ideas and experiments that can bring positive change to the city. It also hopes to build on an initial idea of ‘ImaginiCITY’, a hypothetical index to measure the level of imagination in the town, to create a ‘Listening Biennale’ for UABBHK2019 to encourage the expression of imagination.

    Jointly organised by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation (HKIABF), in conjunction with The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) and Hong Kong Designers Association (HKDA), and sponsored by CreateHK, a dedicated agency under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government, the event will take place mainly at The Mills, the cultural hotspot in Tsuen Wan from 19 December 2019 to 15 March 2020.

    The energetic curatorial team consists of Chief Curator Mr. Roger Wu, Co-curators Mr. Alan Cheung, and Ms. Sarah Mui, as well as a number of international curatorial advisors. They believe that how current and future generations imagine and envision the city will unlock unlimited possibilities in city living. To this end, they have identified three interrelated sub-themes for the biennale: IDENTITY, LIVEABILITY and SUSTAINABILITY.

    Through the IDENTITY sub-theme, the exhibition will challenge the typical perception of Hong Kong and encourage innovative ways to establish, project and imagine the city’s identity using the latest technology. Such fundamental exploration of the city’s identity will, in turn, inform discussions of the other sub-themes LIVEABILITY and SUSTAINABILITY.

    The LIVEABILITY sub-theme explores new ways to achieve quality living space and opportunities in the city. It would enrich the identity of our city, beyond a cautious approach to merely surviving under the pressure of our day-to-day lives. A series of exhibitions and programmes will reveal how technology can help in evaluating the physical as well as spiritual needs, living patterns and responses from citizens to improve and sustain our city’s liveability.

    The SUSTAINABILITY sub-theme is about an ongoing process rather than an end-product. It is more about building sustainable communities based on the identity and liveability explorations mentioned above. The exhibition will explore how we can build a healthier, more vibrant, and more thriving city through the goal of being sustainable. Throughout the exhibition, these three sub-themes will overlap to create a holistic picture of interpretation.

    The Chief Curator Roger Wu said, “UABBHK2019 will be relevant to everyone in the city, from children to the elderly, and from industry professionals to government officials. Through our professional knowledge, connections and interaction, we hope to evoke a fresh new and sustainable future by sparking the imagination of future city builders. By doing this, we hope to suggest new ways to solve some of the city’s current problems and anticipate future issues, in order to empower the people of Hong Kong to build a proud, liveable, sustainable, and inclusive society”.

    (From left to right) Mr. Alan Cheung, Co-curator of UABBHK2019, Mr. Roger Wu, Chief Curator of UABBHK2019, Mr. Edwin Chuang, Joint Managing Director of Chuang’s Consortium International Limited, Mr. Gary Ng, Senior Architect, Design of Nan Fung Development Ltd, Mr. Karr Yip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Designers Association, Mr. Felix Li, Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Ms. Jersey Yuen, Assistant Head of CreateHK of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr. Franklin Yu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation, Mr. Lawrence Chau, President of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, Ms. Tania TSANG, Director of The Mills Shopfloor, Ms. Jessie So, Curator of Art Promotion Office, and Ms. Sarah Mui, Co-curator of UABBHK2019.

    The Endless Possibilities of 2×2

    With more than 70 local and overseas exhibitors, UABBHK2019 will be a curated showcase of inspiring creative works, cross-disciplinary and interactive multimedia exhibits that will unlock endless new possibilities. This year, the exhibition will also feature contributions from young, up-and-coming professional architects, city planners, ecologists, designers, photographers, students, the commercial sector, academia, and the collective community.


    Prime Location – The Mills

    UABBHK2019 will be held mainly at The Mills, the vibrant new cultural hotspot in Tsuen Wan. A former industrial textile mill, The Mills was reimagined and opened to the public in 2018. It is the beautiful representation of the Old and New Hong Kong which resonates with the “IDENTITY” sub-theme of UABBHK2019. The Mills has retained many items from its former days, and introduced new elements to transform the place into its current rendition as a cultural hotspot.

    In addition to the main exhibition venue at The Mills, part of the exhibition will be held at the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and other potential satellite sites. Besides, some exhibits of UABBHK2019 will be exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen, as part of the Shenzhen portion of the bi-city biennale. Visitors traveling between Hong Kong and Shenzhen are encouraged to enjoy two of the most prominent exhibitions of the year in the region at the same time.


    Immersive and Interactive Exhibitions

    In addition to the three sub-themes, the biennale will offer a series of inspiring artworks and installations, spotlighting designs and architecture, and interactive exhibits to connect with the visitors who can also share interesting, fun facts about our city. It will also feature a first-of-its-kind exhibition for visually and hearing-impaired people.

    1. The Pulse of Hong Kong

    The main highlight will be an innovative ‘instagrammable’ installation that can detect one’s pulse through the handlebars to produce multimedia display including bubbles of different shapes and sizes. The curatorial team’s inspiration for this installation comes from the concept of “ImaginiCITY” – a device that symbolically measures your level of imagination through your pulse to general endless possibilities of thought bubbles.


    1. Highlighted Exhibits

    Some highlighted exhibits include the “ONEIROPHERENIA – The Future Kaleidoscope” by QUAD Studio, under the sub-theme of ‘IDENTITY’. In this exhibition, a suspended kaleidoscope represents the mind of an android with distinctive landscapes and visual elements derived from the Hong Kong landscape. By peering into the android’s mind “if only they could dream”, we can see an alternate, not too distant utopian future.

    Another unique exhibit is the “Urban Dualities” by aRE – Arquitectura en Estudio, Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá – Secretaría de Cultura, Secretaría de Planeación, Secretaría General, Findeter, under the category of ‘LIVEABILITY’. This installation shows the complexity generated by the overlapping of the existing urban settlement of Ciudad Bolívar and the recent Transmicable Integral intervention in Bogotaì, the capital of Columbia.

    The stories of the traditional neighbourhood are expressed through a video documentary and a series of stereoscopic image viewers that are randomly laid onto the outer brick shell. A series of projects have been developed within the existing city grain at the foot of a new cable car infrastructure that will be shown through a video wall to immerse the visitor in the experience of travelling by cable car and hovering comfortably over the existing city grid. 

    The other interactive exhibit is the “Hydro-Tower” by “Architecture Commons”, under the category of ‘SUSTAINABILITY’. The Hydro-Tower is a response to extreme conditions. The tower’s Infrastructure Sector is essentially a reverse tower that is sunk into the ocean. The tower forms a substantial open atrium in the middle to collect water, with recycling factories on the lower floor, and a hydroelectric power generator at the bottom of the tower to generate clean energy 24/7. Not only does the tower constantly clean the ocean; it can also recycle materials that are deposited into the tower. Other essential functions of a society such as the Living Sector, Farming Sector and Wilderness Sector are designed and carefully situated around each other to form a self-sustained community.

    (From left to right) Mr. Alan Cheung, Co-curator of UABBHK2019, Mr. Roger Wu, Chief Curator of UABBHK2019, Mr. Karr Yip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Designers Association, Mr. Felix Li, Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Ms. Jersey Yuen, Assistant Head of CreateHK of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr. Franklin Yu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation, Mr. Lawrence Chau, President of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, and Ms. Sarah Mui, Co-curator of UABBHK2019.


    An Exhibition for All of Us

    The UABBHK2019 will also feature inclusive first-of-their-kind exhibits for the visually and hearing impaired. The display from the Beyond Vision Projects allows the visually impaired to ‘see’ the exhibition by touching and hearing through the Tactile Audio Interaction System (TAIS), which translates visual and tactile information into audio.

    Another exhibitor is from Origami Labs who invented ORII, a voice-activated ring that uses bone conduction technology to channel smartphone sounds into a user’s ear. This enables people with hearing loss to control their smartphones using their voice to make calls, send messages, or post on social media. It also helps to block out background noise and produce clear audio.

    Other inclusive exhibitions include the “Seeing Through The Eyes Of Nutcrackers – Elders, Architects & Artists” created by Project Hap Sap – a cross-disciplinary research team promoting the influence of well-being and health brought out by the urban planning. The team gathered a group of the elderly, students, architects, and artists to form the “Nutcrackers team”. The exhibit will showcase the thoughts of the team towards city planning, in order to help improve the well-being of the elderly within sustainable development goals.


    Solutions from Future City Builders

    During the three months of UABBHK2019, a series of interactive community programmes will also take place at different venues. These will include, curatorial conversations, talks and symposiums, roundtables, education programmes, workshops, guided tours and other public activities in the hope of raising public interest in architectural and city planning as well as enhancing industry facilitation to call upon our future city builders to explore solutions to Hong Kong’s current problem of land shortage in a more appreciative and inclusive way.

    1. Workshops and Walks

    In collaboration with Hong Kong Public Space Initiative (PSI), a number of PSI Workshops and PSI Walks will be held to explore the use of public spaces.

    1. Architectural Walks

    In collaboration with Hong Kong Architecture Centre, three ‘Archi-Walks’ will be conducted by architects throughout the Tsuen Wan area to discover the unique architecture in the area.

    1. ‘ImaginiCITY’ Crossover with Institutions

    The ‘ImaginiCITY’ concept will present itself physically as series of crossover lectures, forums, talks and architectural programmes will also be held in different participating institutions to explore three big issues of urban planning with the public: “Old Town x New Face”, “Harbour x Coastline” and “Urban x Rural”. They will include “Urban Lectures”, cross-discipline “Urban Forums”, and public “Urban Reviews”.


    For more information about the UABBHK 2019, please access the Facebook page:





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