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2011 Beijing

Disappearing Cities and Emerging Early 21st Century “Ruralopolitan Space” in Beijing’s Urban and Rural Villages

Instructor: Mary-Ann Ray, Robert Mangurian, and Robert Adams
Location: Beijing, China
Dates Abroad: May 9- July 10, 2011

This laboratory course will focus on the municipal region of Beijing that includes these 500 urban villages as well as several thousand rural villages. Both the urban and rural villages are undergoing massive changes at this time in China due to new government land reform policies, human migrations, demolition and relocation processes, and major illegal constructions being undertaken by former farmers and villagers.

The students will live and work in the environments of these urban and rural villages, providing an immersive experience and a direct relationship to the architecture, urbanism, and inhabitants and their day-to-day lives. The students will be documenting through photography and texts, and they will produce analytical mappings, texts, and diagrams of the phenomena at play in this emerging “ruralapolitan” space.

Additionally, while at the BASE studios, students will have the opportunity to design, prototype and produce objects and furniture using the resources both at BASE and beyond through outsourcing to Garment Factories, Fabric Printing Shops, Machine Shops, Welders, and Digital Fabricators in the Beijing area.

There are also a limited number of spaces for enrollment in the parallel program at BASE that will operate as a field-based course in conjunction with the University of Michigan's Graham Institute if Environmental Sustainability. Working with the undergraduate Graham Institute scholars, this group will focus on the rural villages and issues related to sustainability (environmentally, economically, socially, and spatially) and will then produce proposals fior intervention based on the research.

 

See the Studio Proposal (PDF 106KB)

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