Shenzhen Biennale. Europe: on Borders, Value and Quality

“Europe: on Borders, Value and Quality. The Identification of Quality in Architecture”, represents the Quality and Excellence in architecture based on a selection of projects from the biggest archive of contemporary architecture of the last quarter of a century in Europe (2,500 projects and 230 models) and therefore a big part of European cultural heritage.

The Archive is a mirror of the social and economic timeline of European history and it allows a critical historic perspective. It is also a basis from where to reflect on the diversity of qualities, policies and programs regarding architecture.

For this is the grand value of Europe: “Made in Europe” is not the same as “European Architecture”.

The Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona has been organizing the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van de Rohe Award since 1988.

The celebration of the 25 Years of the Prize presented the opportunity to discuss some of the issues of the Shenzhen Biennale using the Archive as the departure point.

The Fundació Mies van der Rohe presented the exhibition “Europe: on Borders, Value and Quality: The Identification of Quality in Architecture” and organized a debate that delved into the influence and status of cultural heritage and its exchange in Europe and internationally.

The exhibition offered a selection of projects from the archive of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe related to “Urban border”, examples of urban development with a historic critical perspective as well as a European social and economic timeline evolution.

The archive offers a variety of examples from East to West Europe that reflect urban regenerations that have had positive effects on city development and their economy.

The debate was based on these same topics with the evidence of specific projects as examples of “urban borders, value and quality”. Some of the examples that were presented by the Director of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Giovanna Carnevali, included the Zollverein area in Essen and the Borneo Sporenburg neighborhood, both selected in the European Prize.

Yuxing Zhang, Chief of the Urban design department, Shenzhen
Weiwen Huang, Chief Executive Director of Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture Organizing Committee
Giovanna Carnevali, Director Fundació Mies van der Rohe
Ole Bouman, Curator and Creative Director of the Biennale
Xiangning Li, Assistant Dean, Tongji University College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Curator of the Biennale
Claire Taylor, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China
Willy Muller, General Director Barcelona Regional



November 12th, 2013 - March 14th, 2014


Shenzhen, China


Fundació Mies van der Rohe
Curator and Coordinator
Ivan Blasi

Anna Giró
Mercedes Soler-Lluró – Gemma Pascual / ICE
Pau Guardiola

Graphic Design
David Lorente (spread)
Claudia Parra


Installation and Mouting
Joan Dedéu, Barcelona Regional
Raymond Yuen