OBRA at work in China | publication

RED+CROSSING | NAMOC | OBRA Architects (2009)
RED+CROSSING | NAMOC | OBRA Architects (2009)

Perspective magazine (Hong Kong) features in its February 2009 edition ‘OBRA at work in China’ – a text by Bert de Muynck | MovingCities. OBRA Architects, founded by Jennifer Lee and Pablo Castro in 2000, operates from New York. Throughout 2008 both Castro and Lee visited China four times, twice in the context of ORDOS100, once to present their ‘Beijing Tripod, Blank 2008’ installation in the Median Art Gallery and now with ‘RED+CROSSING’ in the context of the Crossing Now: Dialogues for Emergency Architecture-project, an exhibition organized by the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) and Beijing‘s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA).

Villa of Captured Distance | ORDOS100 | OBRA Architects (2008)
Villa of Captured Distance | ORDOS100 | OBRA Architects (2008)

‘OBRA at work in China’ zooms in on the involvement of OBRA Architects in China, while also highlighting projects like BEATFUSE! (PS1, NY, 2006) and their Freedom Park -proposal (UIA, South-Africa, 2003).

BEATFUSE! | PS1 | OBRA Architects (2006)
BEATFUSE! | PS1 | OBRA Architects (2006)

While working in China has its advantages and disadvantages, it is clear that OBRA is interested in a long-term relation while being cautious about exploiting this context. As Pablo Castro explains:

“There is a context here where, without being presumptuous, we, architects in general, can help to form many of the unfulfilled modernist projects in Europe and the US. With insight and experience these can perhaps be applicable to China. This deals with the notion that design can improve everybody‘s life, leading to an architecture based on a consideration that doesn‘t separate form and function or solely depends on the use of latest technology. This might propel architecture into a different position within the construction of a society. Everything seems to happen at the same time in China, all those opportunities, and that is part of the reason why we are interested.”

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‘OBRA at work in China’ by Bert de Muynck | MovingCities
Published in Perspective Magazine, February, 2009

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