Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

Pietro Peyron



Pietro Peyron, Architect

He studied Architecture at the Kungliga Tekniska Hgskolan (Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm), and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (Iuav), where he graduated in 2001. Grown up professionally in Barcelona, with b720 Arquitectos he collaborated to projects in partnership with David Chipperfield (City of Justice), Jean Nouvel (Agbar Tower), Toyo Ito (Torres Fira).

In 2006 he moved to China. In Beijing he joined Steven Holl Architects (Vanke Center, Chengdu Raffles City) and in 2009 worked for SOHO China as Chief Architect. Since 2010 he coordinates, as Associate Architect Manager, the architecture department of Kokasitudios, in Shanghai.




Conservation, renovation, innovation: ten years in Shanghai

A selection of projects illustrates different areas of Shanghai and together different stages of the extraordinary transformation the city underwent in the recent years, as experienced as a professional active in China for over ten years, involved in the design of newly built architecture as well as in conservation and renovation of heritage buildings.

In Shanghai, like in many other cities in China, the phenomenal growth of the last three decades has collided with the necessity of preservation of its heritage and historical background. In a very short time, under the huge pressure of an extraordinary economical expansion, the city, through the interplay of its different public and private actors, had to decide what was worth preserving and what could be sacrificed of hundreds, often thousands, years of history.

The general perception of the importance of 'preserving the past' went growing as a fundamental component in the general process of construction of a sense of identity both at national and at local scale, if not for reasons of pure economical pragmatism. At the same time the very notion of what was worth preserving went broadening, from monuments only to portions of residential urban fabric, Shanghai's characteristic 'Lilongs' or 'Sikumen', and more recently to buildings testimony of the colonial industrial heritage.

Methodologies and techniques went evolving too, unfortunately not in a linear way: the very notion of conservation remains nowadays controversial and very much depending of the specificities of each situation rather than on a clear political agenda or legislative framework. Based on the fortuitous case to case interaction between developer, national and local authorities and designers, the process could equally lead to the careful preservation of a relic in its original material essence, as well as its demolition and reconstruction (more typical of the eastern tradition due to the intrinsically ephemeral nature of its architecture often made out of wood) if not complete arbitrary reinvention.

Besides the instances of conservation of the historical heritage, specifically colonial in the case of Shanghai, urban regeneration has gained relevance and momentum in the recent years, due to the transition to a significantly slower paced economical growth: decades of reckless 'explosive growth' pushed major cities to reach critical extremes in their internal equilibrium and in the relation with the natural environment necessary to their sustainment. The public awareness and unease toward the flip side of progress has risen dramatically and so has the economical possibility to start facing it and study solutions. If issues like air and water pollution, traffic congestion, poor food quality and social unrest have infamously gained the world’s attention, lesser known or considered instead is the fact that the entire built environment of the last three decades in Asia is already obsolete and extremely underperforming in terms of technological and energetic behavior, with evolved esthetical expectations and new program requirements complicating the problem: renovation and adaptive reuse are increasingly proving more viable interventions than demolition and reconstruction.





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