Chien-hua Huang. Reform Standard

With his pop-up exhibition Reform Standard at the MAK, architect and designer Chienhua Huang presents a possible contribution artificial intelligence could have towards realizing the utopia of a circular waste economy. 
Based on drawings, actual models, and videos, he introduces an innovative search process driven by machine learning in the context of the third exhibition of the series CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE, a cooperation between the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna: Based on a materialinformed design cycle, waste could be transformed into potential resources.

Chien-hua focuses on standardization which occurs to a large extent in all industrial sectors. This has considerable advantages with regard to profitability and organizational efficiency. However, one-sided processes and homogenous input produce further waste and brownfield land. The designer states that “a certain degree of flexibility concerning standardization, a counter-process, ‘de-standardization’ by means of artificial intelligence would enable an alternative workflow to ultimately make a circular waste economy feasible.”

The title of the pop-up exhibition refers to a research project of the same title in the context of which Huang developed a search algorithm driven by machine-learning. By means of reinforcement learning and automatic image processing, the tool designs new structures. Irregular pieces of plastic are transformed into a new form. Rather than recycling this waste in an energy-intensive process, the search engine finds a new machine-oriented aesthetics in neglected pieces of waste.

Reform Standard not only refers to revitalized waste but views the life cycles of materials holistically. Thus, a circular CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE Page 2 design process develops which can revolutionize the definition of “zero waste” and “resources.”

Furthermore, the perception of waste is visualized in Reform Standard: A series of drawings shows how differently humans and machines perceive waste and which potential is consequently lost or also gained. It becomes evident that human vision, i.e. the conventional perception of waste, is limited to learned social or personal criteria which we apply to classify the objects before they have turned into waste. This is contrasted by vision formed in a data-oriented way (“machine vision”). Artificial intelligence analyses and classifies shapes and material compositions. What is seen is grouped without biases regarding the “value” of the waste. The search power of computers has the potential of “objectifying” human perception of waste.

A further section of the exhibition provides insights into the development of project Reform Standard by presenting architectural models. Thereby, construction, sorting process, and the algorithms’ alternative solution compared to human perception are made transparent. A seven-minute video installation shows the creation of a plastic shell as an example of successful recycling of plastic waste and a closed design cycle.

Chien-hua Huang completed his graduate degree in “Architecture: Architectural Design 2,” headed by Prof. Greg Lynn, at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 2020. The architectural designer and design researcher works in Taipei and Vienna.

With the exhibition cooperation CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE, the MAK and the University of Applied Arts Vienna are giving five graduates of the University of Applied Arts selected by a jury the opportunity of each exhibiting in the MAK GALLERY for three weeks. The series addresses the contribution of design, architecture, and art towards the development of a new mindset for active climate care and is simultaneously also the starting point for the MAK GALLERY to permanently perform as the CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE GALLERY in the future.

CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE started off with Florian Semlitsch and Sophie Gogl. Chienhua Huang will be followed by works by Martina Menegon and Antonia Rippel-Stefanska. 

Press photos are available for download at

MAK and the University of applied Arts Vienna launches new exhibition series: CREATIVE CLIMATE CARE

Öffnungszeiten: Tue 10:00–21:00, Wed–Sun 10:00–18:00 Uhr
Chien-Hua Huang, Reform Standard, 2020 © Chien-Hua Huang


08. September 2020 - 18:00
08. September 2020 - 04. October 2020
MAK, MAK Galerie, Stubenring 5, 1010 Wien