gooood Interview NO.26 – Rahul Mehrotra

Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design in GSD, founder of RMA Architects: The way you define the problem is the values you bring to those issues and the people affected by those questions.

Project Specs

Location:

gooood团队采访世界各地的有趣创意人,欢迎您的推荐和建议。第26期为您奉上的是哈佛大学设计学院城市规划系主任,RMA Architects创始人,印度建筑师Rahul Mehrotra。更多请至:RMA Architects on gooood

gooood team interviews creative from all over the world. Your recommendations and suggestions are welcomed! gooood Interview NO.26 introduces India architect Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design in GSD (Graduate School of Design at Harvard University) and founder of RMA Architects. More: RMA Architects on gooood

出品人:向玲 Producer: Xiang Ling
特邀编辑 | 采访、撰稿:程宁馨 Interview/Text: Cheng Ningxin,编辑:李东颖 Editor: Sara Li
网站排版编辑:陈诺嘉 Website layout and editor: Chen Nuojia

 

 

大数据时代狂奔而来,然而建筑行业迟迟没有被渗透。因此有人为建筑的未来而焦虑;有人问,建筑是否已经是最后的人文主义学科?以人类为本位不是劣势,它恰巧是属于建筑的能动性的切入口。让我们和建筑大师们聊聊天,从设计背后鲜为人知的故事展开,去认识一个地方、了解一群人、⻅识一种生活。透过建筑师的经历和⻅解,剖析我们行业的社会价值和能动性。

The Big Data revolution is updating one industry after another, but architecture is hard to be related to data. Architecture is fundamentally rooted in humans and humans’ life. Then, how does our discipline claim its relevance in today’s age? This anxiety about the architectural career and the discipline comes from an incomplete understanding of the role of architects and the power of architecture. Responding to the confusion of the agency of architecture and architects, conversations with the unconventional architects will tell stories of the architects’ role and the life of people involved in the projects.

 

 

Interview
gooood x Rahul Mehrotra

Rahul Mehrotra是一位建筑从业者,城市设计师和教育家。他的工作室位于孟买和波士顿,在哈佛大学设计学院教学并担任城市规划设计系主任。他的工作室RMA Architects成立于1990年,迄今在印度、欧洲建成不少项目,涵盖办公楼、图书馆、保护建筑、实验楼、大学楼,以及一系列的社会倡议项目,包括社区厕所、大象村低收入住宅及象舍。RMA Architects在专注于倡议活动,在孟买自发性地提出了数个项目。Mehrotra撰写、共同撰写数册关于孟买的城市史、历史建筑、公共空间和规划过程的书籍

Rahul Mehrotra is a practicing architect, urban designer and educator. He works in Mumbai and Boston, and teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where he is the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design. His practice,  RMA Architects, founded in 1990, has executed a range of projects, mainly in India, and more recently in Europe: corporate office buildings, a library, conservation, a lab building, university buildings, and a series of social advocacy initiatives including community toilets and a low-income housing project for elephants and their keepers, commonly referred to as mahouts. RMA Architects has also initiated several unsolicited projects driven by the firm’s commitment to advocacy in the city of Mumbai. Mehrotra has written, co-authored and edited a vast repertoire of books on Mumbai, its urban history, historic buildings, public spaces and planning processes.

▼Rahul Mehrotra ©RMA Architects

 

________________
关于RMA建筑事务所
About RMA Architects

我们的事务所起初叫Rahul Mehrotra Associates (Rahul Mehrotra事务所),在1990年创立。事务所建立10年左右的时候,我很强烈地感觉到建筑需要合作努力。因此我不希望单单用我自己的名字给事务所命名,于是在2000年左右更名为RMA。

我们事务所至今已经创立了30年了。我们有自己的特色:即使在世界范围内的类似规模的事务所里,也很少有像我们这样,不仅做建筑设计,也有相当规模的历史建筑保护及修缮项目。我们同时还在孟买做着城市分析和研究、倡议。我们致力于发展建筑师能力所及的方方面面,这也许可以被称为“拓展版建筑师”。

Our practice started as Rahul Mehrotra Associates in 1990. After about 10 years of practice, I felt strongly that architecture has to be a collaborative endeavor. Therefore, I didn’t want the studio to go by just my name, and we formed RMA Architects in roughly 2000.

We have now been in existence for 30 years. The unique aspect of our practice, even in the global context, is that we are one of the few practices, of our size, that do architectural work, and also historic preservation and conservation at a pretty substantial level. We also do research, activism and advocacy work in the city of Mumbai. It’s a practice that tries to combine these different aspects of what an architect’s role might be. Perhaps you could call it “the expanded role of the architect”.

▼RMA建筑事务所,RMA Architects Studio ©RMA Architects

我们事务所起初有25人左右。有意思的是,一半的成员并不是有资历的建筑师,而是模型师或绘图员等等。事务所里有年轻的建筑师来来去去——有的去进修深造,或是创立他们自己的事务所,反而会让我们的事务所保持在一个很稳定的状态。有时候,感觉我们事务所就像个驿站!

RMA基于孟买,刚开始,事务所是从接一些小活开始——我称之为“洗手间路线”:从一个改造洗手间的活做起,接着可能设计一个亲戚的厨房,然后再是别人的公寓的室内设计,之后慢慢开始接到更大一点的活。这是很典型的小工作室在寸土寸金的大都市里的发展轨迹。大城市可能没有新建建筑,即便有也很贵。我们的事务所就这样一步一步,慢慢开拓出了自己的道路,渐渐地有大大小小不同尺度的项目。

We are a studio that’s about 25 people. Interestingly, half the employees are not qualified architects but model makers, drafting technicians, etc. This actually keeps the studio very stable, as young architects come and go to study and move on into their own practices. Sometimes the Studio feels like a clearing house!

We are based in Mumbai, and the practice started with small jobs – I call it “the bathroom route”. You get a bathroom to renovate, then your aunt’s kitchen to do, and then you get someone’s house interior – from there you move on to larger jobs – this is a typical pattern in most mega cities where the space to actually build does not exist or is too expensive. Then, we slowly in the first decade found our way, working at different scales.

▼Rahul Mehrotra参加由Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote和Kaiwan Mehta举办的国家住宅展,孟买,2018
Rahul Mehrotra at State of Housing Exhibition, curated by Rahul Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote, and Kaiwan Mehta, Mumbai, 2018 ©RMA Architects

 

 

_______________
Hathi Goan大象村
Hathi Goan project

 

1.
Hathi Goan大象村项目是怎么开始的?

How did Hathi Goan project start?

当时我在斯里兰卡和家人一起度假。我们离开之前最后一个活动,是到一个大象疗养院游玩。在那边,我们和孩子们度过了非常美好的几个小时。在我回到孟买的时候,在信箱里看到了一封信。是一个大象村的设计竞赛的邀请函。当时我觉得很神奇!就感觉有的事情是你命中注定要去做的一样。

I was in Sri Lanka at that time for a family vacation. The last thing we did was we stopped at an elephant sanctuary. We spent a beautiful few hours at the sanctuary looking at the elephants with our kids. When we came home to Mumbai, there was a letter in the post which said that we were invited to a competition to design an elephant village! So it was an amazing experience that I almost felt I was destined to do something about.

▼大象村,自2006年开始建设
Hathi Goan, Jaipur, ongoing since 2006 ©RMA Architects

这个竞赛的背后也有个很有意思的故事。它是拉贾斯坦邦的首席部长、斋普尔的市长Vasundhara Raje提出的。她的祖先是当地古代藩王。当然现今民主社会背景下,她是通过选举成为首席部长的。但是她和王室有不少联系。在斋普尔,大象载着游客游览琥珀堡的宫殿。大象的工作和生活的环境都很让人同情,所以有不少动物保护家和非政府组织,为了大象们的生活在拉贾斯坦邦游说,呼吁为大象和驯象师(印度语叫mahout)建造更好的生活住所。

有个国际著名的游说家,为大象谋福利的,叫Mark Shand,他是大象方面的权威人士。Mark Shand的介入让这些呼吁有了好的转机。Shand是查尔斯王子的妻子Camilla Parker Bowles的弟弟。我猜想他是通过王室的关系联系到了首席部长,并且说服了她在斋普尔给大象建造一个疗养区。于是首席部长建立了一个参谋小组,小组建议她开展一个大象村的建筑竞赛。我们事务所接到了邀请,并且赢得了竞赛。

It was a competition which also has a very interesting background story. The competition was initiated by Vasundhara Raje, the Chief Minister of the state of Rajasthan, and the city of Jaipur. Her ancestors were the kings in that region. Now, of course in the democratic age, she was elected as the chief minister, but she had a lot of royal connections. The elephants in Jaipur were serving tourists at the ramparts of the Amber Fort. Their working and living conditions were pathetic, so for the sake of their well-being, the animal activists and many NGOs in Rajasthan had been lobbying the government to create a habitat for the elephants and housing for their keepers, called mahouts.

One of the biggest lobbyists for elephants globally was a person named Mark Shand – he was an authority on elephants. Mark Shand’s intervention was the tipping point and gave traction to these requests. Shand was the brother of Camilla Parker Bowles (married to Prince Charles). I suppose through the many royal connections he managed to reach the Chief Minister and convinced her to have a sanctuary for elephants in Jaipur. Then she got some advisors who suggested to her the idea of an architecture competition. We were invited and won the competition, and that’s how we arrived at the project.

▼大象村,自2006年开始建设,Hathi Goan, Jaipur, ongoing since 2006 ©RMA Architects

 

2.
您还记得最初竞赛的任务书是什么吗?都涵盖了哪些设计?
Do you remember the initial brief of the competition? What was the scope of the project? 

其实项目的任务书说的不是很具体。它就说,有一片50英亩的地,我们需要为100头大象和驯象师的家庭设计住所。这些驯象师很穷。他们每个月的收入大概有150美金吧,所以政府把给他们设计的住房归为低收入住房。换句话说,就是低成本住房。而且他们还指出住宅的面积不能超过300平方英尺(约30平方米)。

The brief of the competition was actually not very specific. It just said that this was a site with 50 acres of land, and that we have to create housing for 100 elephants and the families of the Mahouts. The Mahouts are poor – they earn about $150 a month. So, the government classified this as housing for low-income communities, or put another way it was to be low-cost housing. And thus, they specified that the house should not be more than 300 sq. ft.

 

3. 
这个命题要求还挺开放的。您是如何切入这个命题的?
The brief was quite open. What was your approach to this open brief?

命题确实很开放。我知道的别的受邀的设计团队大都在关注王室宫殿里的象棚,分析这些先例,从中提取一些元素,设计出当代版本的类似的住宅。他们都从类型学入手,或者说至少是很建筑的角度。

It was very open. I know that a number of the other people who participated in the competition mainly looked at the elephant stables in old Royal Palaces and studied these as historic precedents to evolve what might be a contemporary form for this type of housing. They were all thinking about it in terms of typology, or rather, very architecturally.

“但是我们站出来说,这不应该是个建筑问题。” 

“What we did was to say that this is not an architecture problem.”

但是我们站出来说,这不应该是个建筑问题。拉贾斯坦是在一片沙漠中,因此,要是没有水,就没有办法创造出大象的栖息地。我们自己重写任务书,把项目变成一个以园林为主、建筑为辅的项目。项目着重用水资源来激发植物生长,让其自发养成一个自然的栖息地。

在建筑的尺度上,我们用庭院的原型来打破300平方英尺的住宅面积限制。不用花一分钱,就把一个30平米的房子,变成了50平米。之后,我们把三个房子摆在一起,围出一个更大的庭院。这样几个房子在一起成为一个大庄园。我们在驯象师的邻里关系上赌了一把:要是一个庄园里的几户人家关系好的话,那他们一起,就能享受一个大宫殿一样的家。要是关系不好,他们至少关起门来还有自己的小庭院——即使这样,也比一般的低收入住宅要大不少。

What we did was to say that this is not an architecture problem. Rajasthan is in the desert. So unless you have water, you cannot create a habitat for elephants. We re-wrote the brief for ourselves to make a landscape project that would then generate an architectural solution as a secondary move, not the primary one. The project focused on water as a resource to regenerate the landscape. It propels and fosters a natural habitat.

At the architectural scale we employed the courtyard typology to subvert the limitation of the 300 sq. ft house. That was at no cost, but it makes a 300 sq. ft house become a 500 sq. ft house. Then we took three houses and we put them around a bigger courtyard, so the houses together with their shared spaces become a big mansion. The gamble we took was that if those three families get along very well, then they have a fantastic palace; if they don’t get along well together, they at least have their own units which are bigger than without the courtyard, which would be the usual low-income housing configuration.

▼大象村平面,plan of Hathi Goan ©RMA Architects

这些家庭也会经常利用到天台,因为在沙漠气候的环境里白天很热,但是到了晚上就很凉快。晚上你都能在天台上睡觉,所以天台就是一个露天卧室。而且因为抬离了地平面,天台上的私密性也不错。

The families could also use the terraces because in the desert climate, the days are very hot but it becomes very cool at night. At night you can go and sleep on the terrace – so it actually serves as an open-to-sky bedroom with its own privacy since it is elevated.

▼大象村的共享庭院,The Shared Courtyard in Hathi Goan, Jaipur, ongoing since 2006 ©RMA Architects

 

4.
您是在什么时候决定打破建筑项目的要求的?您是怎么做到拓展项目的?
At what moment did you decide to expand the project? How did you manage to do it?

斋普尔和拉贾斯坦都是沙漠气候。我前面也提到,我在做这个竞赛前,刚去了一次斯里兰卡。所以我意识到了大象骨子里是热带生物。它们需要植物、需要水。大象会出现在这样的沙漠气候是一个历史偶然事件。它们是跟着Maharajas来的。当时的藩王想在庆典的时候用到大象。所以,对于这个项目,我们首先就想营造出一个尽可能接近大象原本的热带气候和环境。第二个原因,是在和驯象师的对话中我们了解到,水,是大象的生存和生活中不可或缺的元素。

我们很隐晦地把项目拓展到了园林设计。我们没有生硬地跟政府说,要把这个项目做成一个景观项目。因为项目要求里根本就没有这些字眼。然而,我们不断把景观设计作为构想提出。而且我们把景观融入到设计中,成为其不可分割的一部分。

Jaipur and Rajasthan have a desert climate. As I mentioned, I just had been to Sri Lanka before the competition for this project and I realized that elephants are really tropical beings. They need the green; they need the water. The fact that they are in a desert climate is an accident of history. They came with the Maharajas, with the kings who wanted to use them for ceremony. Realizing this we felt the first thing we should do is to create the tropical climate and environment which simulates as closely as possible their natural habitat. The second reason was, through talking to the mahouts, we understood how important water was for the elephants’ life and wellbeing.

We expanded the project into a landscape one in a subverted and strategic way. We did not expand it by telling the government we are going to make it a landscape project, because the specification of the project did not even have these terms. However, we kept bringing the landscape in as ideas. We built it into the site plan in a way that it couldn’t be avoided.

▼大象村总平面图,景观设计融入到整个项目中,Site plan of Hathi Goan, landscape brought in as ideas ©RMA Architects

 

5.
你们和驯象师是怎么互动的?能否具体讲些有趣的故事?交流的过程对设计有什么样的影响?
How about your interaction with the mahouts? Could you share some stories? What’s its impact on the design?

我们赢得竞赛后,第一件事就是回到项目基地研究。我们与驯象师沟通,询问他们有什么需要,看他们怎么定义自己的居住需求。在这个过程中,我们意识到大象和驯象师有着复杂的关系。因为大象是个大型动物,难以驯服,与此同时,驯象师和大象的关系又十分稳固、十分亲密。所以我们必须维持驯象师和大象的住所离得很近。因此,我们在驯象师的家里设计了可以直接通向大象的路径。驯象师坐在院中可以和大象互相看见。象舍都有大窗户,这样大象就能看到院中玩耍的驯象师的孩子们,在确保孩子安全的情况下,说不定还可以增进大象和孩子之间的感情。

Once we won the competition, the first thing we did was we went to spend more time on the site. We talked to the mahouts to understand how they perceive the problem and what they would like in terms of the requirements. In this process we realized the relationship between the mahouts and the elephant is a very complex one. Because the elephant is a big beast and not very easy to control, the mahout is actually very close to the elephant and they have a very strong bond. The proximity of their living conditions has to be respected. Therefore, we created access to the elephant from the house of the mahout. The elephant and the mahout sitting in the courtyard can see each other. The housing clusters, we designed them such that there would be big windows in the elephants’ rooms – so they can see the children when they are playing in the courtyard within – thus potentially also creating a connection between the children and the elephants while ensuring the children’s safety.

▼儿童在共享庭院中玩耍,children play in the sharing courtyard ©RMA Architects

在这些探讨的过程中,有件事情是我们很后来才发现的:驯象师和大象之间最强的感情纽带竟然是通过一起在河里洗澡建立的!对大象来说,洗澡自然是一件无比惬意的事情,尤其在热带气候。驯象师会给大象搓澡、清洁、抚摸他们。这让我们明白了水源的重要性不仅在于滋养植被、降低环境温度,更在于为了给这种特别的洗澡过程创造条件。

我们在和政府打交道的跌跌撞撞中慢慢领会到,这个项目还有一部分问题是社会层面的。建景观水体的施工方是政府公共事业部。有一次,我们发现明细表里缺了用来储蓄积水的防渗层。他们说防渗层太贵了,所以就不用了。那个时候我觉得很郁闷,因为这意味着我们的水塘蓄不住水——整个设计的前提就无法成立,项目就毁了。后来我和驯象师喝茶的时候,年纪大的驯象师跟我说,“别担心,我们这个地区的黏土很特别。只要下一场雨,水塘能有积水,这黏土就会变成一层薄膜,水不会渗到地下的。” 我们在和驯象师的相处中学到了很多像这样的当地知识,包括应该种什么树、树要种在哪里、哪里可以避免树被大象破坏,等等。

In these discussions, one of things we discovered much later, was that the strongest ways for the mahouts and elephant to bond is to bathe together! For the elephants, of course, bathing is incredibly soothing in the hot climate. The mahouts rub them, clean them and caress them. We realized that we needed the water not only for vegetation – for the trees to grow and the place to cool down – but also for the bathing process to be facilitated.

There’s also a sociological dimension in the project and we stumbled upon this learning through procedures we had to employ in dealing with the government. When we did the water bodies, we discovered that the Public Works Department, which was the contractor, did not have a specification for lining the water body with rubber sheets so that the water could hold. They said the rubber is too expensive and did not include it. At that point, I felt very depressed because it meant that we could not hold the water, which meant the entire premise of the project would fail. When I was having tea and talking to the older mahouts, they said, “Don’t worry, the clay in the area is a very special kind. If you make the water body with one rain, the clay will become like a film. The water will not go into the ground.” This was local knowledge. We learned a lot from the mahouts in our interactions, including what trees we should plant, where we should plant the trees, where the elephants won’t damage the trees, etc.

▼人与大象的互动,interaction between people and elephants ©RMA Architects

 

6.
我注意到您在这个项目里特地做了一些留白,比如所有的墙都是没有什么处理。这背后您有什么样的考虑?
I see from your design that you intentionally left some building elements undesigned. For example, you left some walls blank. How did you come to this decision?

“在当地社会形态妨碍到你所信奉的原则时,当然要与其抗争,但是必须要想好合理的战术。”

“You have to resist those norms if they undermine what you think is correct, but you have to be strategic about this.”

这其中有好几个原因。坦诚地说,有一部分原因是,对于这样复杂性、政治性如此高的项目我们需要投入大量的精力,所以我们没有充裕的时间设计每一个细节。另一部分原因是,我们不想把设计灌输得过多。这并不容易。设计住宅的时候,我们设计了很多细节,出了很多图、做了实体模型、比对了材料样品。我一直记得设计中有个我们钟爱的滴水兽:考虑到设计中对水的歌颂,我们特意设计了砂岩滴水兽把天台上的水引下来,并将其收集。有次我去现场勘查的时候,发现公共事业部的工程师们正在安装塑料管子,不是我们设计的滴水兽。后来我在跟他们开完会一起喝茶的时候问他们:“你们为什么要这样做?这太糟糕了!你看,我们都做了实体模型,加工图也画好了。我们付出了这么多……” 他们看着我,一副顺理成章的样子说,“我们自家的房子都没有这样精细的设计。现在你竟然要给这群穷家伙他们配不上的东西?”

我很本能地被这个回答惊到了。之后我意识到,这反映了的是社会阶层的问题。我要去改变这个状况么?不。我要与其斗争么?也许吧。但是如果我反抗过度,可能会使局面更加恶化,我估计这群人(公共事业部)可能连电都不给驯象师提供了。我需要在充分理解这里面的层层牵连的社会关系的基础上做决定。有很多原因导致了项目中的留白,其中之一是,我们的设计不能和社会阶层划分或者社会形态不对应。在当地社会形态妨碍到你所信奉的原则时,当然要与其抗争,但是必须要想好合理的战术。

I think there were several reasons for that. Just to be honest, one was that the project was very complicated and political, and we had a lot of energy we put into it, so we didn’t even have the luxury of time or effort to design every detail. Part of the reason was also that we did not want to be prescriptive. This was very hard. When we designed the houses, we did many drawings; we did mock-ups; we did samples for details. I’ll never forget one of the details we were very keen on was doing a gargoyle for the water. Because we wanted to celebrate the water, we had designed gargoyles in sandstone to get the water from the terrace to come down and be collected. When I went to the site, I noticed the Public Works Department engineers had just put in a plastic pipe instead. Afterward, I asked them when we went to have tea together – “Why did you do this? This is horrible! Look, we did the mock-up; we did the working drawings; we did so much…” They looked at me and in a matter-of-fact way said, “Even in our own houses, we don’t have such details. Now, you are trying to give these poor creatures more than they deserve?”

I was naturally startled at the response and then I realized that there was also a problematic social hierarchy. Am I going to change that? No. Am I going to fight for that? Maybe. But I’ll make it worse if I fight too much. I thought, then these guys (the Public Works Department) might not even give them electricity. I had to make these choices by understanding social dynamics. There were many reasons that we left the design open-ended. We could not over design something which is out-of-sync with the social hierarchies and perhaps cultural norms in a society. You have to resist those norms if they undermine what you think is correct, but you have to be strategic about this.

“住宅永远无法维持在建筑师脑海中的崭新的、完美无缺的状态…对于低收入群体,居住环境的提升原本就是循序渐进的。”

“Housing can never be sustained in the pristine conditions we as architects imagine.  for low-income communities, housing is incremental.”

另外还有一个原因就是,生活和社会会改变房屋。你一定明白,住宅永远无法维持在建筑师脑海中的崭新的、完美无缺的状态。大家都承认住宅的内部会被改变,因为住户会按照自己的喜好摆弄空间。但是在这个大象村所处的状况,就连房屋的外部也会被改动。我认为,对于低收入群体,居住环境的提升原本就是循序渐进的。人们会随着收入的增加慢慢加建。这是很好的一件事。

Also, life and society corrode housing. You know housing can never be sustained in the pristine conditions we as architects imagine. The interiors of housing, we accept, will corrode, because people will personalize in different ways. But in this kind of condition, even the exterior of the housing corrodes. I think in housing for low-income communities, housing is, by default, incremental. As people’s incomes grow, they add things to it. This is very good.

 

7.
这个项目经历了不少坎坷,也是由于您的不懈努力才使得项目持续了十年。是否可以分享一下这个过程?这些坎坷教会了我们什么?
The project overcame many obstacles. It was because of your persistent effort that the project kept going on for more than a decade. Would you mind sharing some stories of this process? What’s the learning?

这十年中拉贾斯坦邦经历了一系列的政治变革。每次执政党的变动,都会导致大象村项目暂时停滞,因为他们都想和前一个执政党的项目划清界限。因为我们和驯象师、大象的感情,让我们想努力让项目继续进行下去。我们通过在项目中可能会让不同执政党感兴趣的元素,来激发他们的热情去推进项目,于是这个项目持续进行了十年之久。第十年末,最初指派我们做这个项目的政党重新当权,而且首席部长希望在下一次选举前的一年内尽可能多地落实这个项目,所以她也为此投入了空前的资金和支持。我们也完成了设计的主体部分,现在还差一个水体和部分住宅。几个月后,另一个政党又即将开始执政,希望他们也可以推进项目,将其完成。我们已经开始盘算要如何说服他们了。

The 10 years of the project involved different political parties. At every stage, the project would stop when a new political party took power because they wanted to disassociate themselves from the projects of the previous party. Our role in the relationship we developed with the mahouts and elephants was to keep the project alive, to excite the different groups and the political parties with different components of the project that might be attractive to them. As a result, we managed to keep the project going over the last 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the original party that had appointed us came back to power and the Chief Minister was motivated to finish as much of the project in the one year as possible before the next election. So she invested a lot of money and extended unprecedented patronage. We got most components of the project finished. Now, what’s left for the project is one more water body and more housing. Hopefully, the political party that has now come to power again in a few months might come around to finish the project. We have to start trying to convince them soon.

“我们都不太懂得与时间的相处之道。” 

“We don’t have enough training on how to deal with time.”

这件事教会了我们什么?有两个方面。一个是时间的重要性,我们建筑师常常会忘记这一点。我们喜欢给项目计划好时间节点,希望能够一一达到指定好的目标,然而,我们都不太懂得与时间的相处之道。我们会沮丧,会忘记初心,等等。我觉得处理好时间的唯一途径就是充分理解项目的复杂性。在大象村这个例子中,由于其中牵扯到的诸多政治因素,我们清楚地看到了项目的复杂性。这一点明显影响着项目的时间线,比如项目相关的决定的起承转折,哪一部分半路夭折、哪一部分得以继续。景观园林的变化也反映了时间的作用。因为景观不会一天长成。随着景观初见雏形,项目中的各方的态度和行为也各有转变。驯象师觉得绿植给他们自己和大象都带来了喜悦,政府觉得是这个项目会改善生态,是个树立形象的契机。但是这些理解,都需要时间的渗透。

So, what is the learning from this? The learning is twofold. One is the importance of the temporal scale. We often forget that as architects. Because we like to have a timeline and we have a project budget and we want to meet those targets. We don’t have enough training on how to deal with time. We get frustrated; we lose track of what we are doing, etc. I think the only way you can deal with time is if you understand the complexity of the project. In this case, we understood the complexity of the project because of the politics involved. And that clearly had time implications in terms of how transitions are made in decision making and what stops and what goes on. The implications of the temporal scale are also on the landscape because the landscape doesn’t happen overnight. As the landscape was transforming, we see how the different constituencies in the project were engaging with the project in different ways. The mahouts felt the trees would make the elephants and themselves happier. The government felt this could be a branding opportunity and thus it was a great project. But all this took time to realize.

▼大象村景观得变化(上:建设前,下:建设后),improvement of landscape in Hathi Goan (up: before construction, below: after construction) ©RMA Architects

“在这种长线作战的项目中,建筑师的定位会有所转变,因为建筑师是唯一贯穿整个项目的角色。”

“Over a long temporal scale, the role of the architect becomes different because you become the only consistent agent in the project.”

另一个经验是,在这种长线作战的项目中,建筑师的定位会有所转变,因为建筑师是唯一贯穿整个项目的角色。首席部长的角色随着选举的结果而改变,导致整个执政班子的重组。执行方的政府人员中,有人升迁、有人离职、有人退休等方方面面的重组。只有建筑师和使用者是项目中自始至终都没变的。因此建筑师和使用者建立融洽的关系十分重要。

The second learning was, often in a project like this that gets stretched over a long temporal scale, the role of the architect becomes different because you become the only consistent agent in the project. The Chief Minister role changes because of the election and as a result the entire bureaucracy in the government is re-configured. The officers in the implementing agency: some get promoted and some get fired, some retire. All sorts of reformulations occur. The users and the architect are the only consistent agencies in the project. Therefore, for us to build rapport with the users was very important.

 

8.
在像这样的项目里,谁是您的客户?
In a project like this, who do you think as the client?

这其中客户的定义比我们通常意义上的复杂的多。我们往往把“客户”当成一个整体、一个实体。但是在大象村这样的项目上,还有很多类似于大学校园规划的项目中,客户从来都不是一个简单的个体。有资助方——这个例子里是首席部长,有执行方——旅游局、公共事业部等政府层面落实项目的人,还有用户——驯象师和大象。

有意思的是,建筑师是这几个群体之间唯一个联系。首席部长从不会和驯象师交谈,首席部长跟执行机构有少许交流。执行机构对首席部长既尊敬又畏惧,不敢对其有任何质疑,但同时对驯象师和大象视如草芥。对他们来说,给贫困低微的人们以及动物建造住房是个麻烦事,还得操心如何摆平低预算。他们和用户是对抗性的关系。因此,实际上“客户”的各个组成部分之间完全没有信息流通。

The meaning of the client is more complex than we accept or are taught. We always see “the client” as a thing, an entity. But in a project like this, and in many other projects like university campuses, or planning projects, etc., the client is never one thing or one entity. What you have then is the patron – in this case the Chief Minister, the operational client – the tourism department, the Public Works Department, the people who implement the project from the side of the government, the users as the client – in this case, the elephants and the mahouts.

The interesting thing is that, as an architect, you are the only connection between them all. The Chief Minister never talks to the mahouts. The Chief Minister talks a little bit to the implementing agency. The operational client, or the implementing agency, is respectful but afraid of questioning the Chief Minister, but they treat the elephants and the mahouts like subordinates. For them, it’s a hassle that they are making housing for poor people and animals and have to deal with low budgets. They have an antagonistic relationship with the users. Therefore, actually there’s no flow of information or communication between the different constituent groups that collectively form the rubric of the ‘client’.

“在像大象村这样的项目中,建筑师的角色变得丰富,因为建筑师是连接沟通业主各方的桥梁和纽带!”

“In a project like Hathi Goan, the role of the architect becomes more complex as then you become the agent to connect and facilitate the flows of information through these constituent groups that form the client!”

在像大象村这样的项目中,建筑师的角色变得丰富,因为建筑师是连接沟通业主各方的桥梁和纽带!这样的话,这件事就变成了倡导(advocacy)的过程——你在为各方着想。首席部长希望做成一件街头巷尾喜闻乐道的好事来宣扬其政党。驯象师和大象想有个可以好好过日子的住所。执行机构在操心预算和工期。理解了各方心中所想,建筑师就能运筹帷幄,协商各方权益,借着各方所求,把项目推进下去。

这种情况下你的价值观就是你的指路明灯。不然的话,你会不停地听到各方的诉求,而这些诉求又互相冲突。你的价值观就是过滤这些诉求的滤镜,来筛选出哪些诉求是合情合理的,哪些利益是各方一致的。这是最重要的事情。

In a project like Hathi Goan, the role of the architect becomes more complex as then you become the agent to connect and facilitate the flows of information through these constituent groups that form the client! It becomes about advocacy – because you are advocating for each one’s interest. The Chief Minister wants to make it a project that everyone will talk about and merit her government. The mahouts and elephants just want a place where they can live adequately. The implementation agency worries about budgets and time frames. Understanding each of their aspirations allows you as an architect to negotiate through the differences strategically and leveraging the individual aspirations in the interest of moving the project along.

In this situation the only thing that becomes your guiding force are those values. Otherwise, you will keep hearing very conflicting aspirations. Your values become the lens through which you can filter some of these aspirations to see what’s legitimate and what’s in the larger common interest. That’s the most important thing.

 

9.
您对价值的定义是什么?
What is your definition of “value”?

我觉得对价值的理解要因项目而异。对大象村而言,我们设定的价值是如何创造人微言不轻的环境,从而让贫民们的需求收到足够的关注;如何在位高权重的首席部长和身份卑微的驯象师们直接建立平等的沟通和协商。

项目中我们提出的另一个价值体系,是如何建立社群意识,如何创造一个健康的环境,给人们和动物生活、让孩子们健康地成长。

I think the understanding of the values and what “value” might mean is different in different projects. In the case of the Hathi Goan project, for us, our value was the equity of representation and to create the negotiations between very powerful forces, in this case, the chief minister, and the under-represented groups.

The second set of values we brought to it was, how could you create a sense of community, how could you create a healthy environment for the children to grow up and for the animals and human beings to live in.

▼大象村从沙漠变成了绿洲(上:建设前,下:建设后),Hathi Goan transformed from desert to oasis (up: before construction, below: after construction) ©RMA Architects

“繁茂的树木吸引了鸟儿过来安家,这是设计带来的意料之外的收获。”

“Because of the trees and water, the birds are now making this place their habitat, which is an unanticipated consequence of design.”

第三个价值体系是,从生态的角度,如何能通过项目来创造一个滋养植被生长、吸引鸟兽归来、万物生长的环境。差不多两年前的时候,项目大体完工,所以我去勘查项目。有件事情让我很惊讶。我们种了非常多的树,积水也逐渐填满了池塘。当年的沙漠脱胎换骨。因为拉贾斯坦当地人给自家的墙画的壁画是出了名的好看,所以我们把房屋的墙面都留了白。我去勘查的时候,期待着在墙上看到各种各样的大象的壁画,结果让我惊讶的是,我看到的一面面墙上,画的都是鸟儿。我从来没在拉贾斯坦的壁画中看到过鸟的影子。然后我就去问驯象师,“你们怎么画起了鸟儿?怎么没画大象?“他们回答我,“我们在这里见到了从未见过的鸟儿。”原来是因为这里的树木繁茂,吸引了鸟儿过来安家。这是一个我们的设计带来的意料之外的事情。它让我们觉得这个设计所创造出来的栖息地,能够引来我们自己都想不到的生灵。

Then the third set of values we brought to it was, how, in the longer term, in the ecological sense, could one create an environment where there are more trees, more birds, more life that could come and inhabit the project.  It was a surprise to me when I visited maybe two years ago when most of the project was completed – we had planted thousands of trees and the water was being collected in the large ponds. The place was now transforming into a fantastic habitat. We left the houses very raw because people paint their buildings beautifully in Rajasthan. When I went there, I thought I would find all of the houses painted with elephants, but what I was surprised to see was that the walls of the houses had paintings with birds – I had never seen this in Rajasthan before! Then I talked to the mahouts and asked them, “Why are you painting birds? Not elephants?” They said, “The birds we are seeing here are what we’ve never seen before.” Because of the trees and the water, the birds are now making this their habitat. That is an unanticipated consequence of design decisions we had made. We felt we’ve made a habitat that attracts other kinds of life beyond what we had expected.

▼大象村建筑墙面上的鸟类壁画,painting of birds on the walls of the buildings in Hathi Goan

还有一件事情出乎我们的意料。我们从驯象师口中得知大象不能独处太久,他们必须每天有几个小时的社交时间。不然,要是让他们自己在象舍呆久了,脾气就会很暴躁。所以我们用竹子给他们搭了一个简单的亭子,足够让八头大象一起玩耍——就是那种开放的亭子,驯象师告诉我们这样做的,我们就依照他们说的建了出来。结果出人意料:因为八只大象一起出现对游客来说非常有吸引力,驯象师的孩子们中的一些青少年从中看到了商机。于是,他们在网上开了个叫“Elephantastic”的公司,读起来就好像“fantastic”(“太棒了”),但是写成“eleph-antastic”(大象棒极了,与“fantastic”谐音)。你可以在网上预约参观,他们问你收100块卢比,并提供草给你喂大象吃。如果你想体验和大象一起洗澡,他们问你收取500块卢比。现在他们通过这个亭子建立了一整条经济链。这是我们万万没有想到的,但确实是因为有了我们构建的这个大框架,才可能发生的事情。

There’s another interesting unintended consequence: we learned from the mahouts that elephants cannot be isolated for a long time. For a few hours every day, they have to be put together with their friends to socialize. Otherwise, if you keep them in a room alone, they get feisty. So, we created very simple pavilions just in bamboo, where eight elephants could be tied together so that they could interact. These were open pavilions. That’s what we were advised by the mahouts and we did precisely this. The consequence was unexpected. The teenage kids of the mahouts saw it as an economic opportunity to get the tourists to come as there’ll be eight elephants together. So, they started an online company called “Elephantastic” – like “fantastic”, but “eleph-antastic”. You can book a time to visit, and they give you grass to feed the elephants for 100 Rupees. If you want to have a bath with the elephants, they charge you 500 Rupees. Now they have a whole economy that comes out of this (design of the pavilion). We did not plan, but unintentionally we created the framework.

“价值观会帮助你作出决定,设计出一个可以激发更多事情发生的构架。”

“Your values allow you to make decisions to design frameworks that allow other things to happen.”

这个项目带来了很多我们意想不到的结果。有一件事情我们做对了:我们着重于构建一个可以支撑大家的生活、滋养蓬勃的生机的实体构架。我觉得是因为这个构架足够有力、足够包容,才促成了那一系列的出乎意料的事情。一个人的价值观可以很抽象、很笼统,但这样的价值观会在项目的整体设计以及建筑尺度的设计的时候帮助你做出决定。这样,就会设计出来一个可以激发更多事情发生的构架。这样,设计就能包容更多的可能性,而不是扼杀他们。你不能过于客观,这其中会带有一些直觉、一些主观。但无论如何,它们都是由你的价值观引导着。

There are many unintended consequences in this project. What we did right is we placed value on creating an armature, a physical armature, in which life could sustain and thrive. Then, all these unintended consequences occur because, I suppose, the armature is robust and generous. Your values sometimes are quite abstract and broad, but they allow you to make decisions when you are designing at the level of the site plans, or the level of a building. Then, that creates frameworks that allow other things to happen. It includes possibilities and not excludes them. You cannot be too objective about it; some of it is intuitive and some of it is subjective. But, I think, informed by your values.

 

 

_____________
建筑师的社会角色
The social role of architects

在不同历史发展阶段,面临和解决的主要问题不尽相同。我认为,我们这个时代兴起的主要问题有两个。其一,是全球化带来的人与人之间的密切关联性,这在过去的十几二十年里表露得非常清晰了。同时,地球的生态危机也让我们开始认识到我们之间的息息相关。

其二,是有史以来第一次,我们的未来非常明确,但是过去却有些含糊。联合国宣布十年内平均气温会上升两度,这个危机实实在在地摆在我们的面前。与此同时,历史变得含混不清,每个当权者都会按照他们的利益来重新书写历史。我们作为一个社会整体在挑战对历史的解读,而这左右着我们的政治。原住民的地位在被动摇;说不清谁才是国家的主人、谁是哪个国家的子民,诸如此类的问题种种。这些问题都十分关键,却又扑朔迷离。

At any given time in history, of course, the issues change completely. I think what characterizes the time we are in now are two emerging themes. One is our interconnectedness because of globalization, which has manifested clearly in the last decade or two. Also, because of the ecological crisis of our planet, we have all begun to realize our interconnectedness.

The second theme is that, for the first time in history, the future has become very firm, and the past has become very fluid. When the UN declared that we have 10 more years before the climate changes by 2 degrees, the crisis is firmly defined for us. Meanwhile, the past has become very fluid. Every leader is re-interpreting the past according to what he or she wants. We are, as a society, challenging the reading of history and our politics is being informed by this. We are challenging what is the position of indigenous people; who really is the nation, who belongs to a nation and so on. Very important and relevant but fluid and shifting ground.

“对于建筑师来说,把建筑作为一个孤立的实践是个完全和社会脱节的想法。”

“For the architects, he idea of being isolated within a professional sphere becomes totally irrelevant.”

假设你认同即将到来的危机非常明确、我们人与人之间的关联性是这个时代的事实,那我们所在的这个领域的意义是什么?我们要如何做到跨学科合作?合作的真谛是什么?怎样去理解跨学科这个概念?这一切,都是挑战。因此,对于建筑师来说,把建筑作为一个孤立的实践是个完全和社会脱节的想法。如果建筑不和别的职业构成一个更大的圈子,我们这个职业就没有任何能动性(agency)、没有影响力可言。

现在问题来了,我们要怎么去做到这一点?我认为,要从我们如何定义问题入手。我们常常把问题定义得太狭隘,那样我们就可以缩在建筑师的舒适区里。回到大象村的项目,这个项目牵扯的问题过于复杂,以至于我不会觉得我是个建筑师、城市设计师、规划师,或者景观设计师。我同时扮演着这所有的角色,或者说我至少一一有所参与。

If you accept that the future crisis has become very clear, and the fact that our interconnected existence is the reality of the time, then what do the disciplines mean? How do we create interrelationships between the disciplines? What is the meaning of collaboration? What is the understanding of interdisciplinarity? All that becomes a challenge. Therefore, for the architects, the idea of being isolated within a professional sphere becomes totally irrelevant. Unless the architect can become part of a much broader ecology of professionals as teams that solve problems together, we have no agency as a profession.

Now, how does that happen? I think that happens by how we define the questions. We often end up defining the questions very narrowly; and therefore, we become very comfortable in our space as architects. Just to go back to Hathi Goan for a moment, the questions were so complex that I don’t think I was an architect or an urban designer, or a planner, or a landscape designer. I had been, or at least engaged with, all those practitioners simultaneously.

“我们必须具备在不同尺度之间转换思维的能力,城市设计的教育很自然地培养了我们切换尺度的能力。”

“We need to have the ability to move across scales and urban design education naturally prepares us for that movement.”

还有另外一个问题,在我们思考我们之间的关联性和生态问题的时候,浮现了出来。这就是尺度的问题。有些问题在小尺度上就可以解决,有的问题却必须要从更大的尺度来入手。所以我们必须具备在不同尺度之间转换思维的能力。这就是为什么我认为城市设计的教育很自然地培养了我们切换尺度的能力。对于教育领域来说,在未来重新思考我们这个行业的教学大纲时,必须要着重强调培养学生和青年建筑师跨越不同尺度设计的能力。这种能力是保持建筑行业的能动性的要素。否则,我们的存在就会变得多余,因为只有很少一部分问题是可以在小尺度上解决。

设计尺度、设计思维和建筑教育,都和迭代思维有关。(比如说设计的时候)你会先从平面的角度思考,然后想一下立面图,接着你退回去看建筑体块在街道上的状态,之后再放大去看窗户的划分是否和建筑与街道间的关系相呼应、站在室内从这个窗户望出去所看到的景象是如何的,等等。然后,你重新退回去看窗户的划分对整个建筑体块的形式的影响,如此往复。这是一种迭代思维,对不对?假如你作为一个城市规划家,设想这种迭代设计过程应用到思考城市景观和城市边界,这个反馈的回路就会更充实。你就会从建筑的语境中吸收更多的信息,融入你对建筑的想象。假如你成为一个城市规划家,你也会领悟到,比如说,在某个地区的住宅设计两居室的房型是荒谬的,因为那片区域的需求主要是单人公寓(Studio)。这有助于你反馈业主或客户的建筑需求,决定方案功能构成。

The other question that becomes evident when we think of this interconnectedness and this ecological dimension, is the question of scales. There are some problems that can be solved on a small scale. Some problems have to be addressed at the medium scales or on a large scale. So, we also need to have the ability to move across scales. That’s why I think urban design education naturally prepares us for that movement through different scales. In the future, in terms of pedagogy, the re-invention of professional pedagogy will have to be about equipping students and young architects to be able to move across scales, and also across these disciplines. That robust traversing of the professional landscape is what keeps our agency as architects in the future. Otherwise, we will become redundant and we will be limited to small scale problems, and there is only a very small range of problems that you can address at small scales.

If you look at the questions of scales, design thinking, and architectural training, they are about how to think in iterative ways. You think of a plan, then you get to an elevation, and then you zoom out to see how the mass sits in the street, and then you zoom in to the windows and how you subdivide the window in resonance with the scale of the building as well as the street, and how it may be perceived from the interior looking out through the aperture, and so on. Then you zoom back and see the way you subdivide the windows changes the way you might mass it, etc. It’s an iterative process, right? If you imagine that iterative process or loop being applied, as an urbanist, to imagining the broader landscape and the city, then the feedback loops get richer. You would pick up more information from the context which feeds into imagining the building. If you become an urbanist, then you might also realize that, for example, doing the two-bedroom apartments in this building is ridiculous because the demand is for studio apartments. And it might help you even inform the requirements of the building for the owner or client and its inherent programmatic composition.

“迭代过程设计的面越广、建筑物的反馈回路越多,设计可能就越有力。”

“The more feedback loops you created for that object of the architecture, potentially you could make the design more robust.”

对建筑师、城市规划师以及景观设计师来说,迭代过程涉及的面越广、建筑物的反馈回路越多,设计可能就越有力。如果你把建筑设计看成一个孤立的过程,这个设计就很受限。因为它的反馈回路非常有限,甚至可以说被抑制了。从教育的角度来说,我觉得像哈佛设计学院这样的学校占据有利地位,因为它所有的学科同处一个空间。要如何创造跨学科的反馈回路?你需要能接触到不同学科——不是说建筑师要变成景观园林的专家,而是说,能理解他们的文化、听得懂他们的语言,足够可以从他们的视角去看设计、从不同学科的反馈中领会出自己的设计下一步要怎么走。反之亦然。这才是未来的一个重要问题。

The wider the iterations go, both as an architect, as an urbanist and a landscape designer, the more feedback loops you create for that object of the architecture, potentially making the design more robust. If you look at the design process in very isolated terms, then it is very limited because the feedback loops get very limited or compressed. In pedagogy, I think places like the GSD (Harvard Graduate School of Design) are very well-positioned for this because they have all the disciplines in the same room. How do you create these feedback loops across the disciplines? Just through exposure – it’s not to make architects experts in the landscape, or vice versa, but to be able to understand, speak the language, understand the culture enough so that the feedback from those disciplinary lenses also informs what you are doing. That really is the critical question for the future.

 

 

__________
关于建筑行业
About Architecture Industry

“社会期待我们这些建筑师、城市设计师、规划师,还有其他从事与拓展社会空间相关的行业的人去主动地探寻、发现空间的可能性。”

“Society expects us– architects, urban designers, planners, professions that engage with imagining spatial possibilities for society – to also identify what those spatial possibilities could be.” 

 

1. 
您在项目进程中,和不同领域的人成立过许多研究组。这些研究组在建筑中有什么作用?您对行业间的合作有什么见解?

I was researching on your experience and saw you founded some research groups in the process of doing projects. What’s the role of research groups in architectural practice? How do you interpret collaboration?

我个人坚信如果我们不拓宽业务的广度,我们这个行当就会失去职业价值和影响力。建筑师坐在办公室里等着客户找上门的时代已经过去。社会期待我们这些建筑师、城市设计师、规划师,还有其他从事与拓展社会空间相关的行业的人去主动地探寻、发现空间的可能性。关于人类如何能更合理地、更可持续地来组织更有意义的生活,我们肩负着推动让更多人关注到这个话题的责任。这就是研究和倡议对于任何项目实践都很关键的原因。我相信这是自我提升之路。更重要的是,这也把控时代脉搏之途。

I personally believe strongly that if we don’t engage with this spectrum of issues, we don’t have agency as professionals. I think the era where the architect sat in the office and waited for the clients to knock on their door for projects is over. Society expects us– architects, urban designers, planners, professions that engage with imagining spatial possibilities for society– to also identify what those spatial possibilities could be. I think it’s contingent on us to push the conversation to examine the ways that we, as humanity, can have more appropriate and sustainable arrangements for life to exist meaningfully.  That’s why research and advocacy are also very critical, I believe, for any practice– it’s the way you nourish yourself, and more importantly, the way to have a pulse on societal challenges as well as aspirations.

▼各行业合作完成的泰姬陵游客中心,cooperation between different disciplines, Taj Mahal Visitor Center. Agra, India, 2012 ©RMA Architects

我们在做协作项目的过程中学会了有策略地根据项目和外界建立伙伴关系。就拿泰姬陵修缮的项目举例子吧。当时我们被指定做一个修缮管理计划的时候,我心里对于单独接手这样一个项目有些不安——这毕竟是一个世界遗产。所以我们为这个项目单独成立了一个公司,取名“泰姬陵修缮协会”。这个协会吸纳了社会各界人才,包括材料科学、历史学、档案管理学、建筑保护、景观设计等各个领域的专家。没有任何一个人的名字比别人的更显眼,就更能形成大家共同协作的状态。这个协会和项目一起存续了十年。在项目结束的的时候,它也就自然地解散了。类似的还有“Goa 2100”研究小组,是我们做Panjim(印度城市)的一个可持续性都市设计竞赛的时候成立的。

One of the things we learned in the process of trying to do collaborative work is that we have to make strategic partnerships depending on the projects. The example I would give you is the Taj Mahal. When we were appointed to prepare a conservation management plan for the Taj Mahal, I was anxious to approach this as an individual – this was, after all, the world’s heritage. So we created a separate collaborative group which we registered as a separate company called the “Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative”. It brought in experts from material sciences, historians, archivists, conservation architects, landscape designers, etc. Nobody’s name was privileged, but it became a collaborative. This lasted for ten years over the duration of the project. Once the project was over, it dissolved as an entity. Similarly, we formed a “Goa 2100” group for the sustainability competition for the city of Panjim.

▼GOA 2100竞赛种植平面图
GOA 2100 Competition – Landcover Plan ©RMA Architects

“城市设计的教育让我有能力把不同的问题和解决途径整合在一起,使得我们的事务所具有真正意义上的合作精神。”

“Training as an urban designer has equipped me to bring very disparate issues and strategies together, which makes the studio truly have a collaborative spirit.”

这个策略也是一种运营模式:事务所可以根据项目的变化与外界组织建立合作,随项目结束终止。我们的事务所里的核心成员很少,会随着项目特点这样有策略地扩张。

回过头来想,我觉得我们很有胆量去拥抱建筑之外的世界——我们做了倡议、研究、历史建筑修缮——虽然严格来说我学的专业并非其中任何一个。但是,我觉得我受的城市设计的教育,让我有能力把各种不同的问题和解决途径整合在一起。我们事务所有真正意义上的合作精神。

This is strategic also as a model of practice: the practice has different groups that are connected to it, which form and dissolve when that project is over. We have a very small core group of people in the Studio, but the Studio expands strategically depending on the nature of the projects.

In retrospect, I think the fact that we were audacious enough to embrace things beyond architecture – we do advocacy, research, and historical preservations – even though my training is, strictly speaking, not in any of areas. However, I think my training as an urban designer has equipped me to bring very disparate questions, issues and strategies together. I think the Studio truly has a collaborative spirit.

 

2.
您并不是在为我们的行业索取利益,而是从一个更高的角度,指出我们能给社会提供什么。这样的思维是怎么产生的?
You are not asking for the benefit of our discipline; you are looking at a broader scale and seeing what we can bring. What makes you think in this scale?

“你如何去定义问题,就是你的价值观的体现。”

“The way you define the problem is the values you bring to those issues and the people affected by those questions.”

这又回到了价值观上。你如何去定义问题,就是你的价值观的体现,而人们会被这些问题所影响。这是价值取向的判断,而且需要小心地校准。项目仅仅是解决问题的工具。如果我们太看重项目本身,就会执迷于作品的署名。那么要如何才能不破坏建筑的纯粹性?我觉得这在未来是一大挑战。我们的行业文化必须要有所改变。除非我们摒弃了行业文化中对一枝独秀、对作品署名的追求,否则合作和跨学科是不会发生的。艺术的强大在于它为我们提供了一个不同的看时间的视角。建筑也抱着类似的目的,但却为落地所限。因此,从某些角度来说,建筑师所承载的责任更大。我们必须提醒自己这一代,并且教育下一代建筑师更重视去扛起这些责任。否则,建筑和规划专业的社会相关性和能动性,在未来都会消失。

That’s what’s related to values. The way you define the problem is the values you bring to those issues and the people affected by those questions. It’s a value judgment and also needs to be calibrated carefully. The projects are merely instruments that address some of these issues. If we privilege the project too much, we get completely obsessed about authorship. So how do you not do that without compromising the integrity of the artifact of the building? I think that’s really is a big challenge for the future. A shift has to happen in the culture of the professions. Collaboration and interdisciplinarity will not happen unless we change this cultural obsession of singularity and authorship. Art is powerful because it presents a different lens through which you see the world. Architecture also serves a similar purpose but comes with the burden of its implications hitting the ground. And, so in some ways it’s a much bigger responsibility to be an architect. We have to remind ourselves about this and act to educate another generation that takes this responsibility more seriously; otherwise architecture and planning will have diminished relevance and agency in the future.

 

3.
您是如何规划您的建筑之路?对年轻人有什么建议?

How did you vision your architectural career? What’s your suggestion to the young architects?

“你不能预测人生和未来会如何展开,但是你能紧紧抓住你所认为价值所在,不停提醒自己。” 

“You have to keep reminding yourself about the values and aspirations you believe in, whether it’s for yourself, for society, or to merely deal with daily life.”

朋友们常说,你的建筑事业的路怎么走得那么明确。但是我一点都不觉得。如果你20年前问我对未来的计划,我的预测估计一点都不准。俗话说,“生活,总是你一边计划着,一边自顾自发生着”。生活往往和你的计划不同。

回过头来看,我对年轻人的建议是:你不能把计划做得太精确,因为生活有别的东西在未来等着你。但是,不管是为了你自己、社会、或者仅仅是日常生活,你必须不停提醒自己所追求的、有价值的是什么。这个价值体系会一直引导你的人生。因为你无法预测你会接到什么样的项目,无法预测一个地方的经济,也无法预测政治局面。你不能预测人生和未来会如何展开,但是你能紧紧抓住你所认为价值所在,不停提醒自己。我觉得,在建筑实践、空间创造和城市设计的求索中,这是比任何东西都更强大。

I’m often told by friends that it’s fantastic how I thought so clearly about my trajectory as an architect.  I think actually that’s not true at all. If you asked me 20 years ago what my trajectory would be I would have probably predicted it completely incorrectly. They say that “life is what happens while you’re making plans.” What happens in life and what happens in your projections of life can often be very different things.

In retrospect, my advice to young people would be: you can’t make plans very accurately because life has other things waiting for you. But you have to keep reminding yourself about the values and aspirations you believe in, whether it’s for yourself, for society, or to merely deal with daily life. Those values are your consistent guides through life. Because you can’t predict what projects you’ll get; you can’t predict how the economy of a place will be; you can’t predict political situations. You can’t predict how life and time will unfold. What you can hold on to and remind yourself of are your own values. I think that’s what guides you through the practice of architecture and space-making and urban design in a much more powerful way than anything else.

 

 

__________
关于建筑评论
About architecture criticism

“建筑师需要学会如何在实践的同时做研究、协作、生产等,给整个社会带来知识。”

“[To create a public discourse of architecture,] we teach architects to make research, writing, and the production of things, which add knowledge to society, as part of the practice.”

 

1.
印度是否有相对成熟的建筑评论体系?
Does India have a mature system for architecture criticism?

其实,印度一点也没有建筑辩论的文化。在印度,我们通常有一小群朋友,十到十二个建筑师,互相敬仰、互相提供反馈。公众层面的更具规模的建筑讨论完全缺失。这个缺失有几个原因:一是这样的媒体不存在,也就是说我们没多少杂志或者网上平台。第二,我认为这是个更严重的问题,是建筑师通常只在回应我们星球上十分之一的人群的需求。对印度来说,就是我们国家中生活在最顶尖的群体。世界上很多地方都是这样。我称这些建筑为“骄纵的建筑”,比如博物馆、比如酒店和度假村、别墅、周末别墅。在世界各处,翻开一本杂志,大部分被赞扬的项目都属于这一类。我不是说博物馆不好,这些文化机构是需要的。但是,为什么我们不把同等的精力花在设计医院或者学校上呢?因为这些问题更复杂,建筑师觉得在这一类项目里很少有空间来发挥创造力。像博物馆一类比较柔和的功能,就可以设计得很出彩。我认为这一部分问题是出在我们行业中,缺乏严肃探讨的平台。一部分是在于学术界,因为建筑院校没有提供足够的平台来进行这些探讨。你也可以部分去责怪媒体,因为媒体需要挣钱,而大部分广告费是来自于这些骄纵的建筑。

在印度,我们的建筑讨论的状况处于危机之中。我认为这一点也反映在我们的建成环境上,以及我们行业在国家、在更广泛意义上的本国建筑及其个性的塑造上,丧失了影响力。

Actually, India does not have a culture of architecture discussion at all. In India, we often have a very small peer group of a few friends, 10 or 12 architects, who might admire each other’s work and form feedback loops for each other. The larger discussion with the public is completely absent. It’s absent for a couple of reasons. One is that the media does not exist, which means there are not so many magazines or digital platforms. The second reason, which I think is even more problematic, is that architects generally are responding to 10% of the population of the planet and by extension in India to the Nation. This is true for many parts of the world. I call it “the architecture of indulgence”. It’s the architecture of museums, the architecture of hotels and resorts, private single-family homes, and weekend homes. If you look at the media around the world, most of the projects that get celebrated fall in that spectrum. I’m not saying that museums are bad. You need them as cultural institutions. But why aren’t we spending the same amount of energy designing hospitals or schools? Because these are more complex problems, architects feel that we have very little creativity left to expend in these sorts of projects. Things like museums have a softer program and you can make a spectacle out of it. I think it’s partly a problem of the profession that we haven’t created enough serious forums for more discussion. It’s partly the problem or the mistakes of the academy, as the academy hasn’t created platforms to do it as schools of architecture. You can partly blame the media. Because the media follow profit, where it gets advertising and so has catered the coverage largely of the architecture of indulgence.

In India, we are in crisis as far as the discussion of architecture goes, I think this reflects in the built environment and in the way the profession has lost its agency in the country and the broader debate about nation building and the construction of its identity.

 

2.
我们要如何改善这一状况?要如何鼓励公众更广泛地参与到建筑的探讨中?
What can we do to improve the situation? How to promote an extensive discussion among the public about architecture?

有一个改善的办法,就是教会建筑师如何在实践的同时做研究、协作、生产等,给整个社会带来知识,我们工作室也在力所能及地去做了。我们必须把这想成实践的一部分,而不是顺带做的,或只是个业余爱好,抑或是只在学术环境下才做。我们工作室在实践的过程中出了不少书,而我把这些书解释为提出倡议(advocate)的工具。我的理论是,并不是每个人都有做倡导者的品性。建筑师也不可能一直倡议社会改变,因为你我都还要挣钱养家。但是建筑师可以不费力地给倡导创造工具。工作室出的书可能会给孟买的非政府组织提供帮助,他们可以拿着书里的信息去游说,推动社会的改善。有时候,这些倡议者是非建筑师,是普通公民。但是如果他们没有这些工具,很难走得远。因此,我们有这个责任,在为我们自己的实践生产、学习知识的同时,找到一个方式来把这些知识记录并传播出去,不管是通过数字平台,还是纸质媒体。这就是创造公众间建筑探讨的方式。不能很简单的说,有了建筑的媒体、数字平台,公民就会积极参与到讨论中。公民愿意参与的,是围绕着问题展开的事件。因此,假如你定义好问题,然后提供一些工具,来引导公众想象出这些问题可以如何被解决,就会有更广泛的人群参与到讨论之中。

因此,通过接受媒体访谈讲述设计的复杂性的事情,你会激励大家,“啊,原来我们也可以解决这些问题。”不然,要是我们一味夸赞某一些作品,人们会觉得“我怎么能够建出这样的作品,或者解决这样复杂的问题?”长话短说,我们迫切地需要揭开筑师的神秘面纱,看清建筑师并不是掌握一切答案的天才。

One way to correct this, and our practice has been doing this to the extent possible, is to teach architects to make research, writing, and the production of things, which add knowledge to society, as part of the practice. We have to imagine this as part of the practice, and not as something that is a marginalized, or a hobby, or you only do it if you are in the academy. We’ve done a lot of books in the practice, and I explain these books as instruments of advocacy. My argument is that not everyone has the temperament to be an advocate. Architects can’t always be advocating for change because you have to earn your living, but what architects can do easily is to make instruments for advocacy. The books from the studio might help NGOs in Mumbai because they use these ideas to lobby for change. Sometimes the advocates can be non-architects and ordinary citizens. But if they don’t have the instruments for advocacy, they can’t go very far. And I think architects are very equipped to make these instruments for advocacy. Therefore, it becomes a bit of responsibility on us that, as we learn, as we produce knowledge for ourselves or for our practice, we should find mechanisms to capture that knowledge, whether it’s through social media, through digital media, or through hard media. And that’s how you create a public discourse of architecture. It can’t be a very simple binary if you have magazines, digital media on architecture and citizens would engage with it. Citizens engage with things around problems. So, if you define those problems, and then provide the instruments which can help people imagine how they can correct those problems, you’ll have a much broader constituency engaging with the discussion.

Therefore, by doing something like interview which are about the complicated problems, it then inspires other people to say “oh, we could deal with problems.” Otherwise, we take things and celebrate them out of proportion, and then people say, “How am I ever going to build something like that or engage with a complex problem?”.  So in short, we need to urgently demystify the architect as the genius who has all the solutions!

▼Rahul Mehrotra出版的书籍Ephemeral Urbanism
Ephemeral Urbanism, Book, 2018 ©RMA Architects

More: RMA ArchitectsRMA Architects on gooood

 

版权️©谷德设计网gooood.cn,禁止以gooood编辑版本进行任何形式转载Copyright©gooood
Click to contact with the designer/author

Post a Comment