• Building Subjects
    Jeremiah Chiu, Renata Graw, Nancy P. Lin, and De Peter Yi
    Standpunkte, 2019
    De Peter Yi

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

In China today, vernacular fortresses harboring family clans, early modern row houses occupying entire city blocks, and socialist-era utopian communes share the built environment, preserving anachronistic ways of life within a growing landscape of nondescript high-rises. The many ways that residents have molded their lives within these structures reveal how housing acts as both a conduit for and shield from the cultural, political, and economic forces that have shaped China during its period of continued modernization. Over time, these buildings have cultivated unique scales of relationships between residents and the outside world, absorbing functions from different periods but also responding to the cities that have risen around them. By distilling the various parts that make up these historic structures and imbuing them with a renewed sense of agency, Building Subjects repositions the past at the precipice of the near future, offering a new set of fundamental subjects for housing design.

De Peter Yi grew up in China and the United States. His work distills and rearranges building parts across cultural, historical, and political boundaries to imagine new spaces where people come together. He received a master's in architecture from Rice University and a bachelor's of science in architecture from the University of Michigan. Most recently he was the 2018–19 Walter B. Sanders Fellow at the Taubman College of Architecture, where he developed a research and design project on adaptive reuse in Detroit. He has practiced with Studio Gang Architects in Chicago, 1100 Architect in New York City, and WW in Houston.

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.