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School of Architecture ‘Challenge and Opportunity’ Exhibition Opens in Shanghai
“Challenge and Opportunity,” an exhibition showcasing Syracuse University’s innovation in architecture education during the COVID-19 pandemic, opened Oct. 23 at the Bamboo Art Center in Shanghai.
Organized by the School of Architecture in cooperation with Tontsen Architecture Design in Shanghai, the grand opening of the exhibition celebrated all of those who made it possible for Syracuse Architecture to provide a unique hybrid pedagogical model for more than 150 undergraduate students who were unable to travel to Syracuse.
“Over the last 18 months, our school organized in-person studios in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen; curated exhibitions; ran workshops and traveling programs for incoming freshmen; held in person portfolio reviews; and conducted high school visits,” says Michael Speaks, dean of the School of Architecture.
“All of this was overseen by Fei Wang, School of Architecture assistant teaching professor and director of China programs,” says Speaks. “Wang’s extraordinary efforts, along with those of our faculty here in Syracuse, provided our students in China with the opportunity to continue their studies without interruption and gave them and their parents confidence in our school and university.”
The School of Architecture was among the very few architecture schools in the nation that was able to continue teaching in person and recruiting in China during the pandemic.
Dr. Qi Fang, founder of Tontsen, and Professor Fei Wang welcomed more than 100 in-person guests—as well as 5,000 virtual attendees participating via a livestream broadcast—to the opening of the exhibition that included presentations by some of China’s leading young architect-designers who taught Syracuse Architecture students amid the pandemic.
Curated by Tontsen founding partner, Dr. Wang Xia and Professor Fei Wang, “Challenge and Opportunity: Syracuse Architecture Education Innovation in the Pandemic” is divided into three sections and showcases design drawings and models made by the students in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
The first section focuses on work done in four distinct Beijing and Shanghai-based visiting critic studios taught by Li Han and Hu Yan (Drawing Architecture Studio, Beijing), Yuanrong Ma (GEIJOENG®, Shanghai), Yanfei Shui (Natural Build, Shanghai), and Zigeng Wang (Pills, Beijing).
The second section features student projects from Professor Fei Wang’s integrated design studio course in Shanghai, as well as from “branding for architecture,” an elective course taught by graphic designer, Nan (Ian) Wang.
The third section of the exhibit displays highlights from “Introduction to Architecture and Architecture Practice,” a unique course offered in fall 2020 for incoming freshmen living in China who deferred admission to January 2021. Led by Professor Fei Wang, students enrolled in the course traveled to three of China’s major cities where they visited 47 of the top architecture offices, met firm principals, toured important architecture projects and learned the fundamental principles of architecture.
“Thank you to all our students and faculty in China and Syracuse whose hard work and dedication transformed challenge into opportunity,” says Speaks. “The work produced was truly exceptional and we look forward to future collaborations in China.”
“Challenge and Opportunity” is on display in Shanghai through Nov. 15. Visit here to view additional photos of the exhibition.