Liu Jiakun

'People Mountain People Sea – A Celebration of Everyday Life'

People Mountain People Sea – A Celebration of Everyday Life is an exhibition by leading architect, artist and writer Liu Jiakun. The exhibition features a room-sized, immersive scale model of the West Village, an extensive multipurpose complex realized by Jiakun in Chengdu, China in 2015. This complex sought to transform a large city block into a revitalized space that integrated multiple functions of public life into a cohesive, sustainable and collaborative environment. From the production of composite building materials to the final design of monuments, public spaces and urban complexes, Jiakun's practice is devoted to placing architectural design in direct relation to local building traditions, social needs and ever-changing ecological environments.

Signature image for Liu Jiakun exhibition
Liu Jiakun, "West Village," detail, mixed media installation, variable dimensions, 2016. Courtesy of Jiakun Architects.

With a focus on social reality and a respect for local context and vernacular craftsmanship, Jiakun aims to solve contemporary architectural issues with a sense of realism, while remaining inspired by folk wisdom that speaks to Chinese traditions. Having faith in the compatibility of tradition and modernity, Jiakun devotes himself to translating traditional Chinese cultural ethos into contemporary architectural language. His exploration of suitable technical approaches to architecture is a purely logical continuation of his intent to serve people in need. Many of these projects throw light on the reciprocal relationship between Chinese people's public life and urban cultural spaces.

The exhibition features extensive film footage documenting the development of the West Village, alongside prototypes of the architect’s innovative building materials. The use of humble, local materials in the site is a significant component of the architect’s practice. Integral to the project is the use of Jiakun’s "Rebirth Bricks," applied in a variety of ways in the development, from flooring and building gables to courtyard walls. Jiakun developed "Rebirth Bricks" in 2008, one month after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China, using rubble and debris from the disaster site to create a new building material to aid reconstruction in the area, giving both a symbolic and social charge to the notion of rebuilding.

About the artist

Portrait of artist Liu Jiakun

Living and working in Chengdu, China Liu Jiakun's projects have been exhibited at many international exhibitions, such as the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, and the 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale  di  Venezia.  Jiakun  designed the first  international  Pavilion of  Serpentine  Galleries’  (London)  acclaimed  Pavilion   Commission  program  2018  in   Beijing. He has been longlisted for many domestic and international architectural awards, including the Honor Prize of the 7th ARCASIA; the Chinese Architecture & Art Prize; Far East Award in Architecture and Architectural Design from the Architectural Society of China; WAN Civic Award; Best in Asia / PAC and numerous others.

Install Views

Programs and events


People Mountain People Sea – A Celebration of Everyday Life is Jiakun’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. and is curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg, head curator of SCAD Exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for all museum members, and SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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