A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.53 episode is about Zhang Yang, who graduated from Berlage Institute and currently working at KAAN Architecte.
Why go abroad?
The architecture education we have taken in China is under Western architectural system. The origin of the system is from Europe. With the spirit of tracing the origin, I decided to continue my education in Europe. Rotterdam as the experimental field for amount of avant-garde architecture attracts me to explore how these buildings are emerged.
Is there anything happened impressed you the most abroad?
I met some outstanding people who stay the state of thinking anytime, anywhere. Also, most of Dutch people follow their own pace of living and enjoy themselves, simple and happy.
What do you miss the most about China?
Family, friends and food comes first in my mind, and stores that stayed open late. I like the vibrant market atmosphere, although comparably impetuous. The power of civil society enables the concept quickly to be headed above water, which allows fast-growing and realizable practices.
Will you come back? Why?
Yes, but later. I have learned two key abilities abroad: one is the ability to think and research, the other is how to do a good architecture, to do things simple and clear. I still feel the need to learn and develop in a comparably mature environment in architecture industry. But all the issues I have been thinking for my past twenty years are about China. I do hope to get back to my home country to face the problems directly, research and practice.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
Yes, to a certain extent. The research I have done in other countries and the experience of living in the Netherlands allows me to see the differences and contrast in the different stages of different countries’ development, which will help me to rethink a lot of Chinese problems.
For instance, there are amount of discussions regarding the impact of the Chinese neoliberal economy on culture, which I think is relevant to the stage of economic development. In the Netherlands, the municipality allocates a comparably large amount of funds to support the development of arts. Thus the art creation is less market-driven. While the economic crisis comes, the municipality reduces the budget of funding art development, some artists think that it also causes the issues of market-driven art creation in the Netherlands.
What are the educational characteristics of your school?
I decided to continue my Master programme in Berlage Institute mainly because it was once most speculative discussion forum in Europe, and it is also a platform for global ideas with Dutch Architects. After a year and a half studying at Berlage, I gained a certain amount of capacity to conduct research and build arguments. Before my study in Berlage, my experience is limited and I did not position myself clearly. Berlage counsels me to find and to promote my own theoretical and practice direction.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of you firm?
现在选择在KAAN Architecte工作，这是一间非常认真、简洁、重视材料和细节完成度的公司。荷兰最高法院就是由KAAN建成，并获得了荷兰16年最佳建成建筑奖。老板Kees Kaan是TUD的教授，他对各种理论有自己的深刻理解，在落实到设计上的时候又清晰简洁。他会很认真的聆听意见，又对建筑控制到每个细节，我在他身上学到了许多如何为设计做减法的能力。
Before I came to the Netherlands, I was fascinates by Berlage’s taking architecture from the perspective of the political and economics of the city. After a year and a half study, I find that the power of leading political and economic urban development is not in the hand of architects. So now what I am learning in the daily work is how to actively stand in the city while the speaking power is relatively limited, moreover how to secure the completion of space while having the leading power in hand.
I choose to work in KAAN Architecten, which is a company that very serious, concise, pays attention to the materials and details. Dutch Supreme Court was built by KAAN, and it won the Dutch the best built architecture award in 2016. Kees Kaan, the founder of KAAN, is a professor at TUD. He has a deep understanding of various theories, and implements them into design with simple and concise language. He listens very carefully, and builds control to every detail. I learned how to do subtraction for the design from him.
In fact, I decided to come to the Netherlands for OMA, MVRDV these eye-catching companies. KAAN and the MVRDV are different, not in terms of the design style, but in essence the attitude of the building: KAAN tend to pay more attention to end users and urban environment. They regard the building with respect. It stands permanently beyond the existence of the designer. MVRDV pays more attention to the extension of the designer’s personality. Personally speaking, I intend to find a balance between these two.
I like the design environment in the Netherlands, from the clients till the construction companies they actively participate in the discussion about pros and cons for each question, and look for a perfect balance. For example, the Dutch design regulations usually are not written down in black and white, but an arguable system. As long as it is reasonable to meet the needs of users with proven effects, it is allowed.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
I am inspired and influenced by a lot of artists, according to each research direction. Recently, my favorite artists are like Éric Rohmer and William Somerset Maugham. In Rohmer’s film ” Boyfriends and Girlfriends ” and ” A Summer’s Tale “, there is a poetic and delicate sentimentality; and Maugham, in “The Razor’s Edge” used his astonishing power to make his own philosophies. It’s very touching to stay inside and try to stay neutral. Probably due to my recent attention to details and how to create a sensitive atmosphere in space, I have resonance with these two artists in different field regarding how to deal with the delicate atmosphere.
What amazing character do your works have?
The projects I shared here focus on the research and response to social issues. They reflect my nearly three years of personal development. I hope to exchange and attracts attention to related issues. Regarding the amazing character of my projects, I would like to leave it determined by different views.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
From the beginning of 2012, I enjoyed the simplicity of gooood’s interface, and informative content. I wish to find more research and discussion on specific topics in addition to continuing to share the excellent information of architecture projects.
W O R K
Included Exclusion_ Temporary Citizen in Argo_Culture
导师：Matthijs Bouw, Diederik de Koning
Research, Criticism and Strategy | Westland, Netherlands
Academic | The Berlage
Tutors: Matthijs Bouw, Diederik de Koning
Sep 2013 – Jan 2014
Sundial uses the changes of light implying the differences between time. Primitive hut, an architectural model, also presents a point behind the basic living need. From these two instruments, I began my notation of the different time-varying housing needs in this region, which lead my concern and the study points to the living conditions of seasonal workers.
There are about 1 0,000 temporary workers to work and live in the Westland. As an important part of the Westland workforce, what kind of environment are they living in? Westland has this vivid seasonal changes in the landscape, does it also have the temporary residence changed seasonally?
▼ 韦斯特兰区域概况，Westland area
▼ 九个方向的研究， research on 9 topics
After research, I found a labor hotel run by Polish agency, which is very representative since most of the seasonal labors in the Westland are from Poland. After the interview, I investigated to such a permanent – temporary lifestyle. They attached to the Polish agency. Their lives, basically staying between shuttle, hotels, and temporary housing.
Holding the desire to explore the possibility of temporary housing and the migration life, I studied the situations in the six regions.
▼ 韦斯特兰季节性地貌特征，Seasonal landscape of the Westland area
▼ 季节性空间节点：劳工旅馆，Seasonal living spot: labor hotel
With the transfer of temporary residence mode in Lijiang, I’m trying to recreate the temporality of the Westland’s seasonal workers. By use of both introversion and extraversion of the rooms in ground floor and the use of the garden in the courtyard, I try to transfer the labor workers’ passive monotonous temporary into a proactive alternative, flexible temporality.
▼ 劳工旅馆可优化方式设计，improvement design of the labor hotel
The next fourth step, I began the discussion of the influence of the development of Westland will leave on the temporary labors’ life. As the policies like the Government of the Netherlands has just made the restrictions of the lowest price of labor, we can speculate salaries of foreign workers will gradually stabilize. Plus my intervention is designed to stabilize the labor work and bring a diversity mode. So, I imagine a part of this 10,000 people will gradually settle in the Westland. In this way, I painted this theoretical picture.
On the other hand, in the background of the progressive development of the agricultural industry, greenhouse production efficiency, the greenhouse area will reduce, the Westland start generating abandoned greenhouses and vacant, there will be more and more people working in the tertiary industry instead of greenhouse labors.
▼ 区域发展变化图解，Regional developing process
We can imagine that, settled residents will generally appear from the labor system on the basis of agency’s management and transportation. Greater variety of housing will show up for the settled residents and the permanent- temporary system. Over time, with the change in economic conditions of labor, from camping housing, labor hotels, to Poland building blocks, until they can afford the Netherlands building with a courtyard. Several years later, the second generation of immigrant residents will be born. But at the same time, due to cultural differences, plus to some extent, they robbed the job from the Netherlands people, the cultural isolation of the two groups became more serious. For example, an area originally designated roads may become a border, gradually formed a virtually isolated this culture groups.
In such a discussion and interpretation of the future, I presented my projection. A linear park across cultural boundaries. I translate the abandoned greenhouses into new restaurants and museums since they are the both Polish and Dutch people’s workplace. The linear park will join these new places, maybe a Polish restaurant; join the church space; create an international primary school; reshape the Polish Agency Memorial Plaza and so on. Through this connection and shaping of public space, I to bring in a possibility to create a partial break this isolation. Meanwhile, enrich the living patterns of these migration island.
▼ 9人小组对区域的集体重构，Collective re-constructured design of the area
2.开关区域 – 全国性基建与区域性发展
SWITCHING ZONE -Local Flourishing within National Infrastructure
导师：Rients Dijkstra/ Martin Sobota/ Sanne van den
Research, Strategy and Infrastructure | Ghana
Academic | The Berlage
Tutors: Rients Dijkstra/ Martin Sobota/ Sanne van den
Feb 2014- Jun 2014
For the first 2 months, we discovered all kinds of information of the whole country as a group. We built up a national road system plan and take it as a starting point.
▼ 加纳现状，Existing situation
▼ 国家路网策略对比，Comparative strategy analysis
▼ 加纳国家道路系统20年规划，20 years national road system plan
▼ 道路系统空间节点可能性，Potential intervention of the road system
▼ 道路系统空间研究，Spatial analysis of the road system
In the Ghana highway plan, building a backbone from north to south is a crucial improvement to the inequality development in Ghana. However, the road which is planned following the national efficiency is not going to help local areas achieve their social agenda. Bottleneck lies in the northern area is that the people there couldn’t get appropriate income. For example, the last few kilometers of transport cost led to a huge problem. In the national plan, we couldn’t have enough budget for them to fix every feeder road. So the situation becomes: no reliable, proper feeder road and trunk road with low utilization rate. Hence, people just follow this trunk road, move to the southern Ghana. On the other hand, looking into the food industry system in Ghana, most of their manufactures are born from small and informal, always near the logistic space, and also, where there are people gathering together. In this extent, the national efficiency is not equal to the local flourishing.
▼ 加纳现有工业形态与补全工业形态的可行性，The existing situation and the future potential of the industrial pattern
I use the shape of circles to project several interventions when the road system hit the logistic space. By using circle as a symbolic form, I try to mark the territory and address the public attention to the local production chain. Provide a better accessibility, Enhance the local economy by attract more people in the first place.
▼ 加纳道路中系统性的空间重构前后对比，The before and after situation of the reconstructed road system
In particular, I designed the circle on village storage. I built a ring road with the radius of 100m, width of 3 meters direct crossing the national backbone and pass through the periphery of a food collection point of a rural village. By putting essential infrastructure, streetlights and market platform inside it, this ring road creates a zone to attract people. By rearrange the function of this ring road and giving incentives inside this zone, it will become a place gathering people, and stimulate the local food industry. It will become a switch to balance the national road efficiency and the local flourishing.
▼ 区域内部的储存圈，the circle on village storage
A Good Prison
Group work With Just Open Architecture
-WHAT IS A GOOD PRISON?
A good prison is narrative story about self-salvation, about the Utopian of Heterotopia. It is an autonomy leading evil to searching good. The good prison is instrument, presenting a moral puzzle in selective order. Through the ordered space, inmates themselves experience re-correction space. Each space has specific syntax. The processing of punishment represents processing of participating through the rules which are defined by the space reflection on re-correction scenario in four orders. In the meanwhile, observation, corporation and communication are main syntax.
“Discipline created a whole new form of individuality for bodies, which enabled them to perform their duty” —- Foucault
-It is introverted concave, filling with the archipelago of social morality.
门 – 监狱隐匿于沙漠之中，在封闭的墙上没有任何对外开启的门窗。外立面包裹着哑光反射金属板。只有监狱中心通过隧道，与远处的小门相连。
Gate – Base on the desert, good prison is hidden, without gates on the enclosed wall, it is cladding with metal reflection on the surrounding. The centre only connects with subterranean tunnel leading to a small door, de-touching from the wall.
-Forth order: Clusters
“Earth”- Forth order leads inmates respect the general social form. Division work and corporation are essential task. 6 equal clusters catalogued by the different imprison time at beginning. 84 inmates compose 12 groups. The smallest working network accommo-dates 7 inmates. They are living and working together, exchanging and sharing the results with others. The work includes growing the corn, wheat and beans, raising chicken and goat, working in the factory, workshop, and serving in the canteen. Occupation will be distributed according the interests in small groups.
-Third order: Discipline
竞技俱乐部 – 竞争和体力训练是此组织的核心。俱乐部内场地包括篮球场，跑道和拳击台，容纳了不同形式的竞争，同时，封闭空间内放置了各样健身器材。 体力训练和团队合作意识的训练是俱乐部的设定目标。每年，每个集群会选择运动员组成团队参加比赛。建筑的实体空间在平时作为健身房，比赛期间即演变为观众席位。
-Discipline is embedded in the activity scenario divided into three subjects- body, mental and nature.
Athletic Club – Organization of physical buildup and competition are the aim. Basket-ball field, running track and boxing stage represent different form of competition. Body buildup, cultivating the group work set as the target. Each clusters selects the talents as a team to participate in competition every year. The daily training, it will happen around the void, Solid space transformed into auditorium enclose the sporting field, during the competition.
治疗中心 – 治疗中心中的圆形场地空间被禅修空间和小组讨论室占据，小组讨论室平均半径为20米，而做自我忏悔室使用的禅修空间半径在5米到10米不等，内墙和自我，成为自我忏悔时所能够面对的对象。同时，监狱中的物理治疗和药物治疗也是不可或缺的，周围的封闭空间作为物理治疗的场所，包裹着圆形场地。
Treatment Centre – Self-repentance and group repentance occupied the void space as circle, group repentance radius is 20m, inmates confront with others repenting. The circle as small as 5m-10m radius is used as self-repentance, the wall become the repenting object. Medical treatment is essential scenes for physical therapy, It demands quite with fully enclosed and partition space, around the circle.
知识中心 – 知识中心是由一系列阶梯状的实体空间切分而成。部分书籍是由犯人编辑而成的。 知识中心提供了不同大小的教室，讨论，工作坊空间。囚犯可以自己组织参与其中，讨论，演习以及互相教学。他们交换各自所知所学，并共同探索未知领域。
Knowledge Centre – Knowledge shelves as step shape the space. Blocks are divided as subjects. Related to personal interests, skills, and background, Some books are edited by inmates, and read by inmates. Integrating with the solitary workshop, inmates create the theme group for participation, linking with teaching and learning. Inmates are the teachers and students, they exchange the merit. Each identity will be stressed.
-Second order: Baptism
天体浴场 – 天体浴场打破了小社会中人的身份特征，使得身体重回自然。更衣室和淋浴间集合成了浴场的墙壁，作为大型浴场的背景。 通过脱去服装，面向身体本身，犯人有机会脱去其携带的一切社会身份而回归自我，找寻自我。在阳光下说笑游闹，人们在这里体验着俗世乐土所没有的平等，然而摆脱束缚而成为更真实的自我。
Baptism space regards as the mental therapy. Three public space confront with three subjects – body, mental and nature, juxtaposing as a whole public.
Hortus – Nature is original of life. It provides the slice to treat madness. Calm down place with the diversity of Arizona desert plants aims to reduce the stress from violence with color, smell, scale from nature, impacting on health as well. Cactus, Saguaro, Rose-wood merge with secret activities potentially happen in it. Nature increases the emotional convey.
柱阵空间 – “网格是一种优于现实之上的心理建设”。网格赦免了层级，中心，和转折点的概念， 创造了一个无层级的空间背景。柱阵将其意指同时引入了三维空间。“信仰”被作为一种空间功能置入其中，然而跨越了种族，宗教的不同，柱阵提供了无差别的空间，帮助犯人重塑和强化自我的信仰。没有宗教束缚，大家组织在一起在此庆祝节日，信仰变得既同一又不同。
Celestial Bath – It broken the social indifferent. Push the body back to the nature. Locker rooms and showers compose the wall as the background. By facing the body, inmates drive back to an individual with pure identity and personality into the society. Talking, laughing, cheesing, enjoying the sun, drinking all present the real life without chain. It mutual equal but no one is the same.
植物园 – 自然是生活的根源，每个人在这里看到丰富，得到平静。从植物鸟类丰富的小型自然中，犯人汲取到自然的颜色，气息和形状，心中的暴力情绪逐渐得到平静。植物园也对于犯人的身体健康有极大的益处。
Gridscape – “The grid claims the superiority of mental construction over reality”. The absolution of the grid is without hierarchy, centre and inflection. In the other way, Un-hierarchy grid create a new background with the activities. Columns create vertical frame as the generic 3d base. The belief system has be re-written in the space. Without the any religious constrain, inmates mix together to celebrate festival. Unity space become festival carnival.
-First order: Republic
“月亮” – “月亮”矗立在监狱中心之上，无时无刻不在观察着各处的犯人。 “月亮”承载着监狱的权利中心：一种自发的共和体。在这里，监狱每年举行仪式，共同商议行事准则，来年计划，以及新的临时管理团队。犯人以一种雅典式的民主的形式，进行自发自组的投票，辩论。“月亮”像是圆形监狱母题下的另一种瞭望：月亮般的道德意识代替了人为权利成为了公共的中心。
“Moon” – “Moon” stands in the centre, is observed by every inmates in everywhere, at every time. “Moon” provides a new discipline of panopticon, which is public observation. Republic order become the new power centre, bringing it back to the humanity. “Moon” holds rite of election and re-election every year. Candidates are from the 6 clusters. The role of the senates are the representation for the clusters to script the law, reward and punishment. In the rite, every inmates could vote, debate, speak out. Power give back to inmates themselves.
-Movie（Please watch in Tecent Video if you are in China or Vimeo if you are aboard）
Story has be edited into a short movie. Link is here:
Group work With Anonymo-us
Refugee crisis needs for creative and secure accommodation solutions. Temporary shelters provide basics to refugees but lack of privacy and little interaction with locals. Resettlement centres do not have the means to efficiently connect the refugees with employment and resources, limiting their ability to contribute to their new community. It is essential to bridge the gap between refugees and locals to build trust and cultivate diverse communities.
The vacancy rates have increased dramatically due to the economic crisis. These vacant buildings deter investors, leading to a sharp decline in the neighborhood’s property value.
避难所应使难民感到独立，安全和尊严。这可以通过提供灵活的住宿单元来实现，其提供隐私和适当的工作环境。灵活的单位很容易将空置的空间转变为家庭，办公室和会议区域 – 为与熟练的难民沟通和融合当地人相同的专业知识时的尊重感。
What type of shelter can be beneficial to both refugees and local societies?
A shelter should make refugees feel independent, safe and dignified. This can be achieved through offering flexible accommodation units that provide privacy and appropriate working environments. The flexible units easily transform vacant space into homes, as well as offices and meeting areas – offering skilled refugees a sense of respectability when communicating and integrating with locals of the same expertise.
There are two types of units available: a bedroom/living room and a kitchen/bathroom. Each unit measures 2.6mx3.7mx2.6m. The units have two sides acting as stable walls, one as a door, and the last being removable. The doors can be locked, offering a sense of privacy and security. The extendable walls create a flexible frame that gives users the ability to change its function by simply adjusting its depth, moving the furniture and change its relationship with its neighborhood unit. Families can linearly connect multiple units to create a home that best suits their needs.
When: Since 2013 till now ( three and half years)
Where: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Who: Yang Zhang，张洋
School & Firm: Berlage Institute and Kaan Architecten