From Preston to Hong Kong

8 December 2015

The People’s Canopy, the unique piece of mobile architecture specially designed for the city of Preston, is to take part in the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Hong Kong, opening on 11 December and running to 28 February 2016.

The People’s Canopy was the result of a year-long collaboration between In Certain Places (ICP) at the University of Central Lancashire and People’s Architecture Office (PAO), Beijing. Commissioned by ICP and designed by PAO on the theme of the city as a meeting place, the People’s Canopy took centre stage at the inaugural Lancashire Encounter festival, after appearing at UCLan, in September 2015.
Cycled into the city centre by over 50 volunteers from the university and accompanied by a procession of cyclists from all over Preston, it was host and home to commissioned artworks, community gatherings, performances, workshops, meetings, interventions and a wide spectrum of creative activity. For three days it provided a social space in which communities from both the university and the wider city could share ideas, culture and traditions.
Following the success of the People’s Canopy at Lancashire Encounter, the invitation was extended by the curatorial team at the Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture to present the Canopy in Hong Kong this December. The only Biennale of its kind in the world, the theme of UABBHK 2015/16 is ‘Visions 2050: Lifestyle and the Smart City’; the two-storey high expandable roof structure on bicycle wheels will be installed in the plaza at Kowloon Park, to play a central role at the opening and throughout the festival.
Canopy designer and architect James Shen said “We are proud to have the People’s Canopy featured in the 2015/16 Hong Kong Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture. The People’s Canopy project was conceived to bridge across locations and cultures and now it connects islands.

After its launch in Preston, Hong Kong is the second site to host the People’s Canopy; an apt location to highlight the historic and cultural ties between these two parts of the world.”

Professor Charles Quick of In Certain Places at UCLan says “The People’s Canopy project began during a visit to Beijing by In Certain Places in 2014, and developed through an on-the-ground engagement with the people and places of Preston by People’s Architecture Office.

The presentation of the Canopy at the 2015/16 Hong Kong Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, marks a new, important step in this cross-cultural collaboration, which celebrates the connections and specificities of two very different places.”

To view a 3 minute film; listen to the public talk on the commission or read more about the Canopy project visit

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