next stop: hutopolis - projects | AQSO

next stop: hutopolis

Exhibition installation for the Beijing Design Week



Located on a traditional Hutong, the exhibition space is conceived as a dark atmosphere where the public is attracted by a tridimensional graphic, several media installations and a two sqm touching screen for people to interact with an urban game.



Area: 100 sqm
Location: Beijing, China
Client: BJDW and Guangan holding co.


‘Next stop: Hutopolis’ at the 2011 Beijing Design Week was a retrospective on the urban condition of the Chinese capital and specifically the ancient Hutongs. The exhibition wanted to establish a relationship with the audience engaging a dialogue prior to the presentation of the research program organized by AQSO arquitectos office and curated by Giannantonio Bongiorno.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, tridimensional graphic, lightbox


The discourse started from a general picture of the old town, continued with a more specific analysis of the facts to be considered and concluded with a virtual re-composition of an ideal image of the city.
A series of boards raised questions about the values characterizing the old and the current urban planning model through four basic principles: green areas, social interaction, density and mobility.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, four principles, mobility


The main room, with the proportions of a cube, housed as a three-dimensional info-graphic where several facts from these two contrasted urban models were connected through the space by white wires. These lit straight lines become a ruled surface covering the ceiling of the room and connecting both walls.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, low density, graphic urban development, chart


The discourse was complemented by several movies offering a close approach to the hutongs atmosphere, the way of living and the most personal portrait of the urban and social conditions. The video installation was displayed in small plasma screens, in a way that visitors had to get closer -almost at an intimate level- to watch and listen to the opinions and thoughts of the interviewed people.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, huge touch screen, application, flash, drag and drop, canvas, overhead projection, infrared camera and sensors
AQSO hutopolis exhibition, visitors


The tour was completed by a touch screen application allowing the audience to interact with a hutong map and understand the morphology and functions through an urban game. By dragging on the screen the different building typologies on an empty canvas, visitors could create their own hutong map and understand how the mentioned principles –green areas, social interaction, density and mobility- work in the virtual model.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, touch screen application, Chinese kid, interactive urban game


By picturing, analyzing, and re-imagining a part of the city, the exhibition wanted not only to engage the balance between preservation and modernization but also to open a further dialogue about urban evolution.


AQSO hutopolis exhibition, city visions, rolling panels, flos lamps
AQSO hutopolis exhibition, city visions, handwriting  movie, Tsinghua university


One year later, when the research program was concluded, the exhibition was opened again under the title ‘city visions’, showcasing this time the work developed by the students involved. Eleven projects were featured, classified under four categories: proposals for increasing urban density, soft-urbanism interventions, new residential typologies and other strategies.


AQSO hutopolis, city visions, flos D'E-light, Philippe Starck, ipad
AQSO hutopolis, city visions, rotating light box, soft-urbanism


All the graphic material developed was arranged on long tables in which rotating panels, screens and booklets were integrated. It was intended to offer first a quick visual image of every project and the concept behind it to continue through a deep set of information in the publications.