Philip F. Yuan + Philippe Block / Achim Menges / Philip Ursprung
Collaborative Laboratory

Galery Talk: August 23rd, 2018, 7 pm Architektur Galerie Berlin

Philip F. Yuan, Archi-Union Architects, Founder
in conversation with
Philippe Block, ETH Zurich, Professor of Architecture and Structures
Achim Menges, University of Stuttgart, Professor, Institute for Computational Design and Construction
Philip Ursprung, ETH Zurich, Dean and Professor for the History of Art and Architecture


“Collaborative Laboratory” is not only the name of this exhibition and the title of Archi-Union Architects’ retrospective publication looking back on its 15 year history. It also describes the collaborative and experimental approach to research, design, fabrication, and implementation that these architects have consistently pursued in their work. Founded in 2003 by Philip F. Yuan, Archi-Union Architects is a pioneering, award-winning architectural firm based in Shanghai. The practice explores how geometry, digital technology, and material are integral to a provocative understanding of the design process and realization. Germinated under this influence, in 2015 Yuan launched the spin-off company Fab-Union to focus on digital design, fabrication, and construction technology, such as brick robotics, timber robotics, and largescale 3D printing robotics. As a platform for research and development, Fab-Union is driving the emergence of digital fabrication in the country. This basis has enabled Archi-Union to take its design process and workflow in new directions. The two teams have collaborated on several innovative projects to date in China, including the West Bund Fab-Union Space (2015), Pond Society (2016), In Bamboo (2017), Cloud Bridge (2017), and Cloud Pavilion (2017). For the Chinese pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale this year (2018), Archi-Union created an outdoor “Cloud Village” using robotic printing developed by Yuan and his team. According to the architects, “The recycled plastic material of the pavilion indicates the environmental crisis of the contemporary Chinese countryside and establishes a critical rethinking on the sustainable way of spatial production for the future.”


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Photo credits: Archi-Union Architects: Silk Wall, Shanghai, 2010 (Photo Zhonghai Shen)