MAD no doubt is one of the most recognized architectural practices in China and worldwide. Every year,MAD receives countless job and internship applications. To be able to work at MAD will definitely enrich your career as even though the people working here might have been lucky, but are undeniably outstanding. What could possibly be on the minds of the MAD interns?
Name: Qin Sizhi
Educational Institution: Tsinghua University
Nationality: P. R. China
Who is your favourite architect? Why?
I love several religious architecture that I have been to: the Temple of Heaven, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Dada Hari Stepwell and the Kenninji Temple. I think the emotion they convey are universal, awakening people’s yearning for “perfect world” which is embedded in their minds.
And among the architects, Louis Kahn, F. L. Wright and Ryue Nishizawa did great job. They believe in their building. Although it is extremely hard to construct every side of a whole world all by one architect, the attempt to build the “portals” to the “perfect world” itself moves me.
What is the major characteristic of your current school’s education?
“Macro-perspective”. The school emphasizes on training students about value judgment, which enable us to tell “big stories” from “big perspective”; but lacks enough discussion on how to express such humanistic ideals on form and tectonics level.
“Over-all abilities”. Under the system of Tsinghua’s education, collectivism, competition, inter-discipline vision and teamwork awareness are all demanded, which offer students more possibilities in future career, but at the same time, cooling down the passion and atmosphere on design.
What have you gained during the MAD internship?
Systematic methods to refine the form strategies. I participated in several “Shan shui city” researches. Such methods allows for maximum refinement of form before a real chance to build it comes. However, it further stimulates the office to respond to any design challenge with the same iconic way.
What are your thoughts and feelings upon Chinese Architecture and the environment? Any suggestion?
Quality and Speed will eventually give way to the seeking on spiritual level. Recent years in China, the quality of buildings are improving and the way real estate develops are growing mature. But the production of cities lacks cultural confidence and awareness. However, I believe no ideal city life could be realized through only one round of urbanization, just like the way we refine our designs. This turn of urbanization has beeninevitably based on capital game to insure employment rate, painting farms into concrete jungle. I believed the next 30 years would be our “second round of urbanization”, a new generation of designers shall frame our work on how to repair the gaps that are left blank from a humanistic perspective. Maybe Tokyo is a better reference than New York in this turn.
What is your dream?
Oh, please leave that to Personal Statement and autobiography.“Vanity drives one forward”
What would you do if you were not an architect?
Never thought about it. Well, my other abilities than drawing are far behind the people I knew.
What is your dream project?
A project that allows people to position their own meaning in this world. These days I have been researching on re-enchanting the landscapes with architecture methods. I would love to see people again share the “emotional consensus” that we once had, no matter on which system it was based on.
What is your favourite project in your portfolio? Why?
I think the portfolio itself is. Because I have been trying very hard to take all these works as explorations into different directions under the same system. The portfolio you see could be seen as an early stage of a very long process. I hope as my experiences accumulates, single ideas will be discussed in detail. And my ideal picture is that when I reached the age of 80, all these works will constitute my whole set of convincing interpretation of the world.
The theme of this portfolio is “re-enchanting landscape – place making of spiritual meaning”, basically consisted of my work in 2013. In short, it is about my discussion on how elements such as sky, water, mountain, lantern fire, forest and city light could be given meaning, making space and image of architecture connecting to people emotionally.
This work was done during a joint-thesis-studio of eight Chinese architecture schools. Collaborator: Zhang Zhimin, Liu Longji. We moved our site from the so called Tianqiao traditional performance area (actually only residential towers are left) to the narrow space between the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Mountain and Valley. We proposed a theoretical discussion regardless of economic limits.
Through the course of study on rural architecture, provided by Prof. Luo Deyin, we learnt that in the ancient patriarchal societies, stage usually stays together with temple (for God or ancestors) in the same courtyard. And the character and plot of the performance usually have something to do with the God that people believe in. The activities to watch the drama, to some extent, played the role to pass on the core value of the community to its members, while entertaining them. If this is true, the social role of the Temple of Heaven is incomplete now. Besides being seen as an antique and woods, it doesn’t work so well to help tourists to understand the moral meanings, the way our ancestors thought about sky.
“The mother earth gives birth to and nurtures all creatures while the heaven sends them warnings of disasters if they offend it. Thus, the former is always affectionate towards man and animals, whereas the latter is often august. ” My team proposed a performance complex on the southern part of Beijing central axis, opening up the boundary of the temples and connecting them. My part is about the sky. The visitors can walk on the roof terrace, placing themselves between the empty sky upon the woods of temple of heaven and the mirrored image of the sky, feeling about the greatness of the sky and reflecting on his/her own meaning. The roof edge is limited to 18m, to preserve the views from the Yuanqiu and Qinian Hall. The layout of the most important theatres are arranged according to the hierarchies of the neighboring temples.
Circles are used to control the roof surface geometry. The central axis allows no access, because it is traditionally preserved for God.
My interior space design for theatres is based on the idea to combine the building with instruments, which allows interaction with the people.
The central star hall hosts huge ceremonies like weddings, and connecting with the terrace above in sound. The space form originate from the combination of a Gothic Church’s section, and an Islamic square’s plan, both forms have been devoted to the worship of sky.
This is done in the parametric studio directed by Prof. Xu Weiguo and Prof. Lin Qiuda. Collaborators: Huang Haiyang, Hao Tian. We were asked to begin from observing an experiment, concluding it into scripting, generating form and selecting one, and finally design an art gallery inside the 798 factories. We selected the “compressed glue” as the starting point.
We got collapsed tree branch-like shape and studied several possibilities: the merging of two to three group, and with a bubble inside first. It worked in similar ways like Cellular Automaton. We began from 2-D square matrix. We calculated the relocation of the glue amount at each point and repeated them and got similar results like the physical experiment. After that we decided to conduct 3-D simulations which is hardly possible in real world. We got satisfactory result and made it into a small exhibition installation. The repetitive pattern of the East German style factories are easily associated with collectivism which was once popular in China. Our experiment is about the re-organization process of a highly disciplined order. We applied our result in between two similar factories, taking the tree on the site as the bubble to get a courtyard.
Here is the metaphor and contrast: a symbol of a past time of collectivism is now used by artists for the most liberalism purpose.
This is a small research done by myself. The idea began on Prof. Zhang Li’s museum design studio. It is a cemetery design. The basic idea is to make death meaningful, making use of the geometry of the building and the scenery of the mountains.
In the time of instrumental rationality, any attempt to see life as a process with great purpose and fruitful ending will be in vain. But, firstly, I realized that circle can bring people with a sense of fullness, especially when people are inside it. Secondly, “death deserves no mention, my body goes with the mountain” mountain itself embodies certain cultural meaning about life and death. My building climbs the mountain cliff, vertically arranged, doubling the radius of circular walls on each floor higher. From the small circle of courtyard at the foot of the mountain, the group at the funeral will place themselves in bigger and bigger circles when moving to higher floors. The implied circle will take in more and more mountains into it, suggesting that life is returning into an infinite process of the world.
This project is a new community center located in an abandoned industrial site. A competition work that didn’t win. Collaborator: Liu Changyue.We think Harbin is too cold. So we want the city to have more “warmth” “home feeling” and “stories”. And we came up with architectural strategies accordingly:The two layered skin is derived from Japanese lantern. The outer skin is made of rusted steel, in response to the memory of the industrial site. And the inner skin is made of sand blasted glass, illuminated by the interior light. Between them are grey spaces for outdoor activities.Slope roof. The roof edge stay in line with the height of the existing factories, keeping most building volumes beneath it.The projection of human figures on the glass shows the building is full of stories.Besides all, in plan layout, the space between the volumes stay perpendicular to the banks of the river, allowing more penetration into the park behind the building.
A community center in Dalian’s west forest park. Honorable Mention in a competition. Collaborators: Nan Tian, Qiu Peiran, Liu Changyue.
Ecological. Inspired by the movement to encourage people to experience the forest in 1970s Japan, we designed this building as a forest learning center. We doubt the chance of success to promote so called “green technology” while it is not so economic and had not been acknowledged by the society. Are people more willing to protect the forest for the cold digits and green and blue ecological diagrams, or more willing to protect it because Do-Do-Ro lives in it?
So the basic strategy is to provide an exterior step for climbing, going spirally to the top terrace. The interior programs are twisted with the exterior steps. They vary in slope angle, allowing people to experience the forest vertically in the way they prefer. The platform next to the surface of the lake twists 30 degrees, ending up with steps and stage for performance.
The refinement of the façade takes references such as the Todaiji Temple in Nara, and clothing design genre of “Mori Girl”. And the idea of learning about the forest comes from the fact that I had been bitten by one of the cute deer on the streets of Nara.
An Interactive Projection Installation. Advised and sponsored by Prof. Yu Lei. It has been exhibited at two events: the Interactive Shanghai, and the Beijing DADA at 798. Collaborators: Qin Chengzuo, Liu Changyue, Li Qiyu, Chang Yushi, Sun Yingbo, Qi Yiyi.
We hope the projection of light could create a feeling of moving inside the city. We place plates with various patterns but of the same sized on the base. A very powerful LED light would move on X and Y axes, so the image of city on the screen would moving left and right, zooming in and out. The people moving inside this city would be watched by 14 ultra wave sensors radially arranged. His/her position will be …… processed to drive the LED light to move to the position accordingly. Then the person can feel the city moves in response to his/her movement.
It takes some luck for the installation to operate in the way I described.
Name: Qin Sizhi 覃斯之
Educational Institution: Tsinghua University
Nationality: P. R. China