IMPORTANT Website terms of use and cookie statement

Building Contemporary China Exhibition

From a city museum to a rural teahouse, Building Contemporary China will showcase a diverse array of projects across China’s regions and varied landscapes.

20 September 2023

The Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) has today announced details of its upcoming exhibition that will celebrate the inspiring work of eleven leading Chinese architects.  

From a city museum to a rural teahouse, Building Contemporary China will showcase a diverse array of projects across China’s regions and varied landscapes. 

Through models, images, films and drawings, the exhibition will illustrate the creative and varied ways in which Chinese architects are responding to today’s most pressing challenges – both unique to China and shared globally.  

Exploring themes such as urban renewal, rural revival and environmental renovation, the exhibition will provide insight into how Chinese architects are adapting to the country’s continuing and rapid transformation.  

Building Contemporary China aims to enrich visitors’ understanding of the techniques and approaches that characterise contemporary Chinese architecture and how these relate to the country’s wider culture and society. 

The exhibition will be held at RIBA’s headquarters at 66 Portland Place in London, from the 29 September to 29 October. And, to coincide with the exhibition, RIBA will be hosting the delegation of visiting Chinese architects with the aim of sharing knowledge and fostering connections between architects in China and the UK. 

Teahouse in Tangshan Quarry Park, Nanjing by Wang Jianguo ©Xu Haohao

The exhibition and UK mission is the next phase of the RIBA China Architect 100 campaign, launched in 2020 to showcase Chinese architectural talent and bolster connections between architects in the China and the UK.  

Dr Li Hua, Professor at Southeast University, China and guest curator of Building Contemporary China, said: 

“The last thirty years have borne witness to the unprecedented transformation of building practice in China. Supported by continuous exchanges with their international counterparts, Chinese architects have sought to respond to a multitude of contemporary architectural challenges in the context of China’s rapidly evolving social and economic conditions. This has resulted in a panorama of projects, shaped by both China’s architectural lineage and its contemporary context. 

Traversing diverse topographies - from open plains to sharp valleys, crossing through sizeable cities to remote villages, the 29 projects here respond to vital issues, including environmental impact, urban and rural transformation, and redevelopment following natural disasters. The exuberant work we are presenting in this exhibition demonstrates the breadth and creativity of contemporary Chinese architecture.” 

Umi Lyu, RIBA’s Head of Development for RIBA China, said: 

“RIBA is honoured to showcase these outstanding examples of contemporary Chinese architecture. The exhibition represents a rare and valuable opportunity for a UK audience to engage with the talent and ingenuity that has emerged in the unique context of today’s China.  

At a time when we face such urgent and shared global challenges, it is more important than ever that we are sharing knowledge and fostering connections across borders. We hope that the exhibition will contribute to enriching the international practice of architecture and maintaining this vital exchange between architects in the UK and China.”    

The eleven exhibitors are: 

  • Bo Hongtao, Chief Architect, Director of CCTN, Architect-in-charge of Urban Regeneration Centre (URC) CCTN 
  • Cui Kai, Honorary President & Chief Architect of China Architecture Design & Research Group (CADG) 
  • Dong Gong, Founder / Design Principal of Vector Architects 
  • Li Li, Principal Architect of Rurban Studio  
  • Li Xiangbei, Founder of XBA Design Institution, Director of Shenzhen Huazhu Architecture and Engineering Design Co.,Ltd 
  • Liu Jiakun, Principal Architect of Jiakun Architects in Chengdu Sichuan, China 
  • Meng Fanhao, Co-Founder & Chief Architect of line+ studio 
  • Meng Jianmin, Chief Architect of Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design Research 
  • Ren Lizhi, Vice President and Chief Architect of Tongji Architectural Design  
  • Wang Jianguo, Professor,Director of the Urban Design Research Centre of Southeast University 
  • Zhou Kai, Chief Architect Tianjin Huahui Architectural Design & Engineering 

Also to coincide with the exhibition, RIBA will hold a launch ceremony and networking event at 66 Portland Place, London at 4pm to 6pm on Friday September 29.

The event will showcase a panel discussion hosted by Helen Castle, Director of Publishing & Learning Content at RIBA. Our distinguished speakers include:

  • Li Hua, Professor at Southeast University and guest curator of the building contemporary China exhibition.
  • Sevra Davis, Director of Architecture Design and Fashion at the British Council.
  • Benjamin Derbyshire, Former President of RIBA (2017-2019) and Chair of HTA Design LLP.
  • Tim Yip, Oscar-winning Art Director & Visual Artist.
  • Oliver Urquhart Irvine, Executive Director of Programmes and Exhibitions at RIBA.


Notes to editors:  

  1. Media contact: 
  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates 
  3. About RIBA China: Over the past few years, RIBA has expanded its global reach by opening two international offices, one of which is in Shanghai, China. Our aim is to showcase China's exceptional architecture internationally and to foster exchanges between RIBA China architects and other countries. Based on the values of inclusivity, ethics, environmental responsibility and collaboration, RIBA China offers a diversified perspective on Chinese architecture and an international platform for its interpretation, providing a foundation for cooperation between RIBA architects in China and the UK. 

Latest updates

keyboard_arrow_up To top