Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.
Zhang Ke founded ZAO/standardarchitecture in Beijing in 2001. He believes that working in a micro scale can impact larger urban masterplans and developments common to China’s recent urbanization. Many of Zhang Ke’s projects focus on the transformation and preservation of Beijing’s historic hutongs—residences organized in cellular courtyard arrangements connected by narrow alleys.
Recent works by ZAO/standardarchitecture include the 2013 Micro Hutong Hostel, an attempt to create small scale social housing within the constraints of traditional Beijing hutongs; the 2016 Novartis Campus Building, an office with outdoor courtyards, passages, and gardens in Shanghai; and visitor centers embedded in the mountainous landscape of rural Tibet. In 2014, the firm designed the Aga Khan Award-winning Cha’er Children’s Library and Art Center, which incorporates and redesigns small buildings and structures that former residents had added to the hutong courtyard over the past 50 years.
He is the recipient of the 2017 Alvar Aalto Medal presented by the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Prior awards include the 2013 China Museum Architecture Award; the 2011 International Award for Architecture in Stone; and the WA Chinese Architecture Award in 2006 and 2011. The firm was included in Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard of 2011. Zhang Ke exhibited at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale and has been the focus of exhibitions at the MAK Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, and the V&A Museum in London, among others.
Zhang Ke received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and both Master and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Zhang Ke has lectured at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Universidad Católica de Chile, and the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona. Since 2016, he has taught architecture studios at Harvard GSD.
Billie Tsien, a principal of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, will introduce the lecture and moderate a discussion after Ke’s speech. She currently serves as President of the board of directors of The Architectural League of New York.
This lecture is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. It is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.