• Building Subjects
    De Peter Yi, Nancy P. Lin, Renata Graw, and Jeremiah Chiu
    Standpunkte, 2017
    De Peter Yi

Tianluokeng Tulou, 2012, Fujian Province, China. Photo: De Peter Yi.

China's pursuit of a modern society that incorporates its rich history and culture has given rise to an array of anachronistic subjects that occupy its cities. This tension between a multifaceted history and an undetermined future plays out in the housing blocks that sustain these groups' unique ways of life. By studying these buildings, architecture is revealed as both a conduit for and a shield from the cultural, political, and economic forces of a society in transition. Through drawings, photographs, and interviews, Building Subjects highlights the tectonic and social influences of fortresses built for family clans, 1950's socialist communes, and supportive housing for college graduates. The resultant book is both inward and outward looking—providing insight into a category of buildings that has not been previously documented and theorized together, while offering new possibilities for the way people live together in contemporary society.

De Peter Yi grew up in China and the United States. His current work distills and rearranges building parts and wholes across cultural, historical, and political boundaries to imagine new spaces where people come together. He received an MArch from Rice University and a BS in architecture from the University of Michigan. Recently he has published in PLAT Journal, written for the forthcoming issue of Bracket, and taught a workshop on abstracting housing mass at the University of Kentucky. He has practiced with 1100 Architect in New York, WW in Houston, and Studio Gang Architects in Chicago.

Nancy P. Lin is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on the intersection of art, architecture, and urbanism. She was recently awarded the Art Institute of Chicago Schiff Foundation Writing Fellowship (2015) for her essay, "The Mall City: ‘Public’ Space in Hong Kong," which examined the spatio-temporal relationship between public space and the public sphere in contemporary Hong Kong.

Renata Graw is the founder of Normal, a design studio based in Chicago. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, she received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago while also participating in the Basel Summer Workshop at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland and the ISIA/Urbino Summer Workshop in Italy. For her, understanding the question is still the most exciting part of finding an answer.

Jeremiah Chiu is an art director, artist, and musician living in Los Angeles. From 2008 to 2016 Chiu cofounded the award-winning creative studio, Plural. Currently, Chiu runs Studio Chew, a multi-disciplinary practice where his collaborative and personal works intersect art, design, brand strategy, installation, and performance. Chiu's most recent “visual music” works have been exhibited at High Desert Test Sites in Utah, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Getty Center.