Any self-respecting young person of the 18th century – and who had the means to – returned from his Grand Tour loaded with objects to display at home as mementos of his travels, a rite of passage so vital to his education and aesthetic sensibility. Some accumulated cork reproductions of ancient monuments, of the kind sold everywhere as souvenirs, and these were the seed of the earliest architectural model collections. A similar spirit fills the first space that China devotes exclusively to models crafted by the country’s leading practices, attesting to the steady headway that its new generations of architects are making within the discipline.
A myriad steel tubes mark the partitions of the different exhibition areas, and welded to them perpendicularly are thin surfaces that serve as shelves for the models. Hall after hall, the palette of materials is reduced to an intense white hue, giving coherence to and putting the focus on the motley contents, bringing to mind one of the cities of Italo Calvino where built, unrealized, and utopian projects overlap marvelously...[+]