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Keynote speaker: Binke Lenhardt
Crossboundaries | Beijing, China

Binke Lenhardt is co-founder and partner of Crossboundaries, established in 2005 in Beijing. She graduated from architecture in Germany and the United States and worked in both countries, before moving to China in 2002. She is a registered architect in Germany and appointed member of the BDA (Association of German Architects) and AIA Associated Member. Binke Lenhardt has been practicing for about two decades working on diverse projects in Germany, Holland, the US, and mainly China.

Binke Lenhardt has taught as a guest professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and at Tsinghua University and frequently lectures at universities as well as at public forums and events. Binke Lenhardt has received several international awards and fellowships, i.e. the Fulbright Grant for Mutual Understanding, the Sidney Katz Award for talented graduate students of Architecture, the DAAD Graduate Scholarship for study and work in China, and funding from the Robert Bosch Foundation. She is a member of ski (stadtkultur international e.v.), a member of the S&P Alumni association and a member of the Advisory Board of XJTLU (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) in the Department of Architecture, and has been appointed as a juror of diverse architectural awards, i.e. the Architizer A+Award and IUPA (International Urban Project Award), just to name a few.

Her approach to projects of any given nature and scale is always driven by the curiosity to examine and expand the designated programs so that they reach their highest and most community-beneficial potentials. Binke follows the projects of the office all the way to realization, always with a keen attention to detail and readiness to learn and improve on available technical solutions. She engages actively in any stage of project development and welcomes the exchange and interaction with the client and user whenever possible.

About her lecture

With the rapid development of Chinese cities, urban renewal projects are increasingly emerging. Instead of the conventional approach of viewing the city as a tabula rasa, Crossboundaries sees the urban space as a living organism, constantly regenerating its cells. The revitalization of a deserted urban space emerges as an enduring strategy. This approach is driven not only by environmental concerns but, more crucially, by cultural ones. Through renewal, the reinvigorated urban space has the potential to unite a diverse group of locals, fostering a vibrant community. It sustains and reinvigorates the collective local memories of a place. The concept of resilient urban space development is applied to both projects presented in the lecture, the Songzhuang urban design and Shenzhen Skypark.

About the office

Organized as an international partnership, Crossboundaries has staff originating from and trained in different parts of the world. Its first office was founded in Beijing, China in 2005, by Binke Lenhardt and DONG Hao, later, in 2012, a partner office was established in Frankfurt, Germany by Binke Lenhardt and Antje Voigt.

From urban scale architecture all the way down to graphic design, to teaching, programming and event creation, Crossboundaries practices by name, crossing the boundaries into activities and dialogues in the broad field of design and the subject of architecture, continually thinking and doing, the studio is engaging, evolving and adapting. Crossboundaries has completed a wide range of small-scale interior designs and architectural projects of larger sizes. The project portfolio includes Aimer’s Lingerie Factory, several Beida High Schools, Family Box, Soyoo Joyful Growth Center, kindergartens in rural areas, showrooms and offices in collaboration with Siemens and BMW. The firm engages in theoretical research projects such as China House Vision, exhibited at the 15th International Architecture La Biennale di Venezia and also in Beijing in 2018, and is actively participating in the current discourse on architecture in China.

Crossboundaries’ work has been published across a range of leading industry magazines and is also frequently featured in the online design media. The practice has received multiple international accolades, most recently the 2023 Azure Award, 2022 The Plan Award, 2022 Landezine International Landscape Award, 2022 Architizer A+Award and the 2022 Design Educates Award (Honorable Mention), among many others in previous years.

Project impressions