A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.13 episode is Ren Tian, studying at Harvard University.
To me taking photo is something between recording everyday life and artistic expression. While traveling, it is easy to be fascinated by all the new things that bombarding in front of you, you always feel that you need to press the shutter and record everything, but what’s hard is actually find special moments in everyday life. Photography to me is a way of quick recording of thoughts and observations, as thoughts and moments pass by quickly, I’m happy with what I get, will not wait for the past.
▼因为知道山顶的景色绝好，所以也享受上山的艰辛，Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire,
▼低沉的阴云，湖面没有一丝波纹，仿佛酝酿着什么，Lake, Burkina Faso,
▼部落长大的孩子们大方地和我们踢球，可他们连鞋也没有，笑得照样灿烂，Kids, Burkina Faso,
Location：National University Singapore
Project Team：Undergrad Year 2 first semester Studio Group mates
Advisor: Victor Lee
这大约可以算是我第一个设计并建成的项目，那是大二的时候在新加坡。是一个半学期的项目，要求用十块1.2 m x 2.4m的三合板做一个空间。
The tower was my first design-build project, back in 2007, it was a half semester project designed for students to learn wood construction. The criteria is to create a structure with 10 pieces of 1.2m x 2.4m plywood panels. The project started with a competition within studio, my proposal got lucky. I was inspired by Zumthor’s tower church, the narrow yet high space seems to focus people’s attention and create a meditative atmosphere. The purity of the tower form has inherent quality of monumentality, which was suitable to the site.
For constructibility, I thought modular construction is the easiest to manage. Because there was no computer controlled milling machine in school at that time, every piece need to be hand fabricated in the wood shop. Modular construction allows many people to work together on the same time, and minimize mistakes. The modular pieces are interlocked together, joineries are designed to increase lateral stability, no glue or nail were used in the entire construction. Dimension of each piece is carefully collaborated to minimize material waste and maximize the size of the tower.
Location：Cambridge, Gund hall backyard
Project Team：Ren Tian, Gu Lik Hang (HongKong)，Patchara Wongboonsin(Thailand)
Sukkot is a Jewish festival, the festival is for commemorating exodus while living on temporary sheds in the desert. Every jewish family will build a sukkah at home during Sukkot, during this period, they will eat sometimes even sleep inside. In the fall of 2011, our school organized a Sukkah design-build competition, with a budget of 1200 USD.
The concept of the design is to emphasis the idea of journey, the circulation is organized in a way that people enter from a very narrow and low corridor, then make a U turn to enter the main space. As people enters the sukkah, one need humble himself as the low and narrow corridor force people to bow down with respect.
For constructibility, pine wood is used to keep the cost down. The connection pieces are threaded rod. The entire project is 7 meter long, it is divided into six parts, build one by one and combined together. This method allows the construction of different parts to happen simultaneously, saves time.
The most challenging part is after winning the competition, we actually only have around 10 days from develop the details, to buying material and finish the construction. Due to limited budget and time, we need to find the cheapest material and compromise to what’s available. Despite all the difficulties, It was nonetheless a very enriching experience.
Thai Restaurant in Austin
项目团队：任天，顾力恒(Hong Kong)，Patchara Wongboonsin(Thailand)
Project Team：Ren Tian, Gu Lik Hang (Hong Kong)，Patchara Wongboonsin(Thailand)
这项目是一个在美国得克萨斯州奥斯丁的泰国餐馆装修，我和两位好友一起做了设计，其中的两面墙更是我们去那边亲手完成。形式上菱形的排布受了泰国一些布料上花纹的启发，如同建筑是第二层衣服，这个也如同布一样把酒吧空间包裹了起来，同时功能上也可用作葡萄酒酒架用。结构上与Sukkah类似(这个设计在那之后，算是同一种语言的延伸），也使用了木材与螺纹钢条。但在这个项目上用的木材要讲究，螺纹钢条也采用黑色的，看上去比较高档。施工没有像Sukkah一样每根木料都需要量出不同尺寸定制，而是规定了几种长度和尺寸，现场建造时再去即兴发挥。 建造时两边的主墙先建主要结构，二三层再随性添上，最后建顶（可惜顶部在建成后由于消防说不符合拆了）。 建造过程工作量最后还是很大，我们需要将木材按照模数锯成不同的长度，打上孔，上了油漆之后再进行组装，原计划十天的施工时间延迟到了三周。真实的项目需要更多和甲方的交流，和与当地承包方的协调，从中学到了很多东西。
This is an interior design project in Austin Taxes, for a friend’s Thai restaurant, we build the two partition walls by ourselves. It is inspired by Thai fabric patterns, like fabric wraps the body, the partition wraps around the bar area like curtain, It also functions as partition wall as well as a wine rack. The construction method is similar to the Sukkah project (this project happened after Sukkah, as a continues exploration of similar construction technique), but this time with a more fool proof method, by prefabricate all the members in modular sizes and dimension, we compose the actual layout as we build it. The work load was still heavy: we have to chop the wood into modular dimensions, drill holes and apply vanish. The installation took much longer than expected, we end up need to hire some extra workers for help. This project involved a lot communication with the client and general contractor, something you never learn in school.
关于该项目的详细信息请点击这里 HERE MORE
设计师： 任天，陈忱(天津), 徐柯（北京）
Project Team：Chen Chen (Tianjing), Xu Ke(Beijing)
Advisor: George Legendre
这个比赛是南法小城Montpellier的一个建筑艺术展，Festival des architectures vives，每年这个建筑展都会邀请世界各地的建筑师和艺术家参家，今年他们邀请了哈佛大学设计学院。二三月的时候，哈佛设计学院的老师George Legendre组织了一个比赛，比赛是为了选出一个作品作为最会去法国的建成作品。
建造过程中遇到的最大的困难是 地理上的距离与语言的不同使得在施工图阶段的沟通不是非常顺畅，使得最后在现场施工时耽误了一些时间。 但工厂对零件加工的精细程度很高，装置最终的完成度和品质都令人满意。
Festival des Architectures Vives is an architecture festival organized in the city Montpellier, France. This year, they invited Harvard Graduate School of Design to participate in it. In early 2013, there was a competition organized to select a winning entry to be built in June.
We knew that the theme of the festival is “memory”; the site is going to be in a 17th century old building’s courtyard; and the material is aluminum, as a local factory
specializes in aluminum construction is the sponsor. We immediately thought about “wishing trees” in some buddhist temple, where people tie red fabric to the trees; as well as miniature landscapes. We wish to create art installation that can interact with the visitors.
The form is inspired by the miniature landscape in traditional oriental garden, but taking the shape of lavender field of south france. Visitors can pick up the “trees” that etched with seven human emotions according to Chinese philosophy, write down their memories or wishes, then plant them on the “landscape”. The “landscape” is also subtly indexed with year and age, to allow visitors to place the trees according to date and age. We hope that visitors can become part of the installation through interaction.
The geographical distance and language barrier during the construction documentation phase caused some communication inconvenience between us and the manufacturer, which slowed down the process. But the factory’s high quality control and precision allowed the final installation to be quite satisfactory.
The construction document was prepared in a short time, which didn’t allow us to build a scaled model of the final design to study the connection points. There were some small mistakes made, fortunately they didn’t affect the final installation. Through this experience we learned that to achieve hundred percent precision, scale model and mock up are always necessary, and should be done very seriously.
Louis Kahn的一句话，一直被我视为座右铭：“A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed, and in the end must be unmeasured.” 对于建筑学生来说，学校项目大多纸上谈兵，实际有机会实施的机会少之又少，所以凡是有实际建造的比赛（design-build)，我都会尽量参与。近些年来也有幸赢得了几个实际建造得机会，虽然项目不大，设计也有很多提高的空间，但是实际操作起来的艰辛，只有冷暖自知，当然完成时的喜悦，也非旁人可以体会。
Louis Kahn once said, A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed, and in the end must be unmeasured. For an architecture student, we are always working on producing drawings, but rarely we have the chance to build anything, so I always try to push myself whenever there is a design-build competition. Fortunately I won a few small project in recent years, there is a lot room for improvement design wise, but the realization process is always very enriching, and it is only through the sufferings one can enjoy the end result.
Design-build competitions do not only require the designers to be innovative in concept and form making, the proposal’s buildability is also a crucial judging criteria. Buildability can be considered from four aspects: time, budget, technology, and labour availability. It needs the designer to have a holistic vision from the very beginning. If the form is too complex, it will not be able to realize with the time and budget, or gets simplified too much in the process of building. Thus concept, functionality, form and buildability are factors that influencing each other, have a balanced and clear vision at beginning is very important.
If the proposal is chosen, the following process of detailing is the most challenging part. In this phase I usually try for making scaled model to find out the structure, if time and budget allows, build a partial mock up to test the joint and material. It is very important as some problems can only be discovered through models.
In the process of building, one often have to switch from designer to a general contractor. There are many things need to make decision upon, and keep them in order: from buying material, planning the work flow, controlling budget, ask for helper, recording process etc, one just have to make everything under control to make it happen smoothly. Design-build project is definitely not a solo work, good collaborators and team is crucial. For these projects, my collaborators are also my best friends, we share the hardship and joy together.
It is easy to design something that looks fancy then think that you can throw them to the contractor and it will appear as you draw it, the truth is it will never happen that way. While learning architecture, we tends to get carried away by fancy renders, sexy forms or pretentious thoughts, but forget fundamentally architecture is more about construction and how people experiencing space.
Time Abroad: 13 years
Where: Singapore, Switzerland, Spain, USA
Who: Tian Ren 任天
How: Harvard University, ETH Zurich, National University Singapore