26 January: Opening Exhibition ‘Olympic Cities’

1.26 HKU|SSC - Olympic Cities
Today, the Olympic Games are the biggest mega-event in the world. To analyse the phenomenon of mega-event urbanism, Dutch architecture office XML did a comparative study on Olympic candidatures. The results of their work will now be on show at the gallery of the HKU/Shanghai Study Centre. The exhibition opens 26 January, 4.30pm.

The Olympic Games are probably the biggest of a number of mega-events – such as the World Expo, the World Cup Football or Asia Games – that over the last twenty years have had a growing impact on the development of cities, especially in emerging economies. To understand this impact of mega-events as the driver of large-scale urban developments, the Dutch architecture office XML did a comparative analysis of future Olympic bids. The research compares six cities with an Olympic ambition – Tokyo (2020), Doha (2020), Istanbul (2020), Madrid (2020), Durban (2024) and Capetown (2024) – and investigates how these cities use the Games for the long-term development of their city. Therefore, the research not only presents an overview of Olympic plans but also reveals respective attempts to create a future vision on urban societies. The exhibition shows how these societies try to deal with current, and future trends by using their Olympic aspirations as a particular way of looking at the cultural, economic, spatial and political developments in the analysed cities.

‘The research gives an extraordinary insight into the urban and social impact of the mega-event,’ says HKU/SSC-curator Daan Roggeveen. ‘This exhibition is on show only six months before the IOC will elect the 2020 host city.’ A series of maps outline the planned (Olympic) developments of six ‘Olympic Cities’. Diagrams and short introductions reveil the motivations and main principles of the Olympic projects of each city.

As part of the project, XML invited local ‘correspondents’ in each city to participate. These architects contributed to the project through short videos, documenting personal stories about their city and its Olympic aspirations. These video messages are part of the exhibition.

In their research, XML shows that the Olympics are not a neutral autonomous, immutable event. Olympic history points to cycles of twenty years, in which the Games are closely linked to political, economic and social developments. Each period has a specific paradigm that defines the meaning of the Games and their significance for the times. Based on long-term developments such as transformations in media technology, geopolitical shifts and the rise of urban regions, it is highly probable that the 2028 Games will coincide with the start of a new cycle. As part of the exhibition XML proposes, fuelled by these long-term developments, three scenarios that speculate on the future Games by reconnecting the Games to their intrinsic transformative potential.

XML takes a particular forward-looking approach in how their own projects address current trends and long-term developments. As an ‘epilogue’ to the exhibition, XML shows some of its recent work under the overarching title ‘Speculative Realities’,

The exhibition will open on Saturday 26 January, 4.30pm.
Prior to the opening, a seminar titled ‘Mega-event Urbanism’ will introduce the subject of the mega-event and its spatial and social consequences. Speakers include XML’s principles, Shanghai-based architect Liu Yuyang (ALYA) and others. The seminar will start at 3pm.

Venue : Gallery HKU/Shanghai Study Centre
Address : 298 Bei Suzhou Lu, Hongkou, Shanghai
Seminar : 26 January 2013, 3pm
Opening : 26 January 2013, 4.30pm

This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment




香港大学上海学习中心策展人Daan Roggeveen 提到:“这项研究展示了盛会效应对于城市与社会发展的独特观点”。“再过6个月国际奥委会将公布2020年奥运会的举办城市”。“展览将展出6大城市的申奥规划蓝图”。更多图文信息对其申奥动机和申奥主题进行详细解析。





展览及讲座地点 : 香港大学上海学习中心
地址 : 虹口区北苏州路298号,近四川北路
讲座 : 1月26日下午三点
开幕 : 1月26日下午四点半