Building Subjects: Ideas on Housing from Chinese Vernacular Architecture

Thursday, November 19, 2020. Event starts at 7 pm CST.

Architect and educator De Peter Yi will lecture online on November 19 as part of MAS Context’s 2020 Fall Talks series.

Building Subjects: Ideas on Housing from Chinese Vernacular Architecture

In China today, residents in standardized housing blocks share the built environment with family clans inhabiting round earthen dwellings, migrants living in fortress-like compounds, and retirees acting out remnant Maoist utopian ideals in urban communes. What lessons may such seemingly anachronistic ways of living, upheld by an unspoken contract between residents and the structures they’ve adapted over time, provide in a future that seems ready to leave them behind? The recently published book, Building Subjects, attempts to answer this question through a surprising observation on architecture itself: that alternate forms of living are already embedded in our everyday structures, and designers can empower these ideas through a simultaneous reductive revealing and a framework for drawing new part-to-part relationships. This talk will unpack such ideas for housing, as well as how they are expressed through the book as a total project: from content development, to organization, design, and realization.

Building Subjects was supported by a Graham Foundation Grant and published by Standpunkte. It was designed in collaboration with Renata Graw (Normal), Jeremiah Chiu (Some All None), and Nancy P. Lin.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
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