A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.77 episode is about Ruogu Liu who graduated from WashU and SCI-Arc.
Why going abroad?
Anxiety and dissatisfaction. I never feel like I was truly graduated and ready. There are so many limitations on my knowledge and technique, and I was trying to make the break through. I was also not very happy with the environment and design around me and I wanted to change.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
That’s during our trip to Ecuador. In Quito, we saw a group of people walking on the street, carrying the statue of St. Mary. We followed them all the way to the church. They did a simple prayer, then there was a quartet performance and a women’s solo. I have no idea what they are talking about, because it’s all in Spanish. I was deeply touched and broke into tears. I’m not a Catholic.
What do you miss the most about China?
I miss the crowd and lively lives at home. Exuberance. I hated it before, but now I really miss it.
Will you come back China? Why?
Maybe. China has a lot of potentials and there are more of my family members and friends.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
There are lots of thoughts. First, in our industry, engineering, technology and standards is the key difference between developed country and developing country. These were done through long time collaboration among designers, engineers and users. Second, “internet famous” is trendy in China. It’s ok for the good stuff to become popular, but singular taste and fast food culture is problematic. There are not many good contents on internet especially the art related contents.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
我在美国读了两所学校，一个是在圣路易斯的华盛顿大学WashU（http://wustl.edu）另一个是在洛杉矶的SCI-Arc（http://sciarc.edu）。这两所学校很不同。Wash-U 是一所很扎实的学校，我学了很全面的有关建筑的东西。第一年比较偏艺术，非常苦，但是很值得。在那学了两年之后我就转学去SCI-Arc了，又学了两年半，然后在 SCI-Arc拿的硕士。SCI-Arc是一个非常疯狂的学校，也很苦（苦笑）。学的课还有老师都挺酷的。做的所有事都在挑战极限。
I studied at two schools in the US. One is Wash-U (http://wustl.edu) , the other is SCI-Arc (http://sciarc.edu). They are really different schools. Wash-U is well grounded and comprehensive. The first year is kind artistic and also very intense, but worth it. After two years in Wash-U, I transferred to SCI-Arc. Being there for another two years, eventually I graduated from there. SCI-Arc is a crazy school, and also very intense (cry with a smile). The courses and teachers are very cool. Everything people do is to challenge the limits.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
我工作的都是实践型公司，因此公司风格其实跟他们擅长的项目相关。 BORA Architects主要做教育和表演类的项目，所以公司整体风格也偏重研究主观体验和人的行为。建筑也多向内发展，外观简洁精致，内部丰富舒适。HOK 是个大公司，项目都非常大，例如医疗，科研，交通，办公园区等等。主要擅长规划空间，设计表皮，偏重建筑的系统，功能和机械性。
All the places that I worked are practical companies, therefore the style is defined by the type of their projects. BORA Architects did a lot of education and performing architecture, so the culture and style is more focused on sensational experience and human behavior. Their design is also focused on the inside more: the exterior is simple but elegant versus the interior experience is more rich and comfortable. HOK is a big company and they did a lot of big projects such as medical, research, transportation and office campus, etc. They are good at space planning, skin design, and focus on the system, function and mechanics.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
最早给我启发的其实是一些动态夸张的日本动漫… 例如FLCL, Kill la Kill那种。这些动画都抓住了主要的动态和节奏而忽略了一些细节渲染，干净利落。类似于这种动作和微妙形态的还有罗丹的雕塑和Martha Graham的舞蹈照片。 Louise Bourgeois的雕塑我也很喜欢。我还很喜欢看医疗解剖图。风景我喜欢Anselm Kiefer的画还有Stephen Shore的摄影，主要受我老婆影响。没有说最喜欢的，这些都在不同方面对我有影响吧。
Initially there were some motion-exaggerated Japanese anime that gave me a lot of inspirations, such as FLCL, Kill la Kill. These anime focus on the motion and pace instead of over rendering the details. Similar to this motion and subtle posture, I like Rodin’s sculpture and Martha Graham’s dancing photos. I also like Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture a lot. I love the medical anatomy drawings. In terms of Landscape, I like Anselm Kiefer’s painting and Stephen Shore’s photography, mostly influenced by my wife. I can’t say which one is my favorite, they all influenced me in different ways.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
Whether they are fascinating or not need to be judged by the readers. I’m a practical guy. While exploring the form and theory, I would add some real world systems, trying to make the work more complete. We usually like to judge architecture from a singular perspective, but architecture is so complex. It is this complexity that made architecture intriguing. I also like the technical drawings with a lot of information. Later I try to translate some technical information that into understandable diagram. Still exploring.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
Since 2010 I guess… Forgot. I wish gooood can upload more art content, such as sculpture, painting, graphic design, etc.
W O R K
Train Station Complex (graduate thesis)
▼《La Caricature》封面上的巴黎铁路（左）；《蝙蝠侠》插图（右）。Left: Albert Robida, La Caricature cover for Paris Metro, 1886；Right: Illustration from Batman – Death by Design, Chip Kidd & Dave Taylor
这个是我的毕业设计。当时特别想做一个车站综合体，主要是因为去日本实习时候还有去德国旅行的时候收到了启发。给我灵感最大的是柏林的Hauptbahnhof, 日本涩谷的Shibuya Hikarie。它们就像城市里的巨人一样，任由我们在它们的身体里游动。对于我来说，这些巨大的基础设施和建筑已经成为了新时代的图腾。
This is my graduate thesis. At that time, I really want to design a train station complex, because of the inspiration from my trip to Japan and Germany. The two most inspiring architecture for me are Hauptbahnhof in Berlin and Shibuya Hikarie in Tokyo. They are like the giant in modern city, consuming thousands of people everyday. These buildings are like the totem or cult symbol in this era.
▼罗丹的雕塑“蹲姿少女”，Crouching Woman by Rodin
On another hand, because this is an academic project, we need to develop a theory based on previous research. I decided to do a research on Figural and Posture, based on the stiff posture (Frankenstein Posture) from Jeff Kipnis and contortionist posture from Andrew Zago. The stiff posture is more figural versus the contortionist posture is less figural and more towards topology. Eventually I landed on the “crouching” posture, which is an ambiguous and intriguing status. It’s between figural and topological, and it stores motion energy that’s about to take off. Rodin’s Crouching Woman was my starting point. From there, there was a series morphological process. The process has taken function and circulation into consideration. The skin treatments are gradation of color and dash line pattern openings, which was intended to mimic the sketch shading technique. There are a lot of imaginations in it. I wish I can use this opportunity to mix what inspirational for me with reality.
▼蹲姿生物的选择，a study of stiff postures
Sectional perspectives are the core of this work. They proved that the imagination and theory can generate meaningful and special space. There is half illusion and half function. Just looking from the outside and the process of form generation, we may think this is doing sculpture. But after we cut it, we can see all the organs and they’ve all been naturally organized together.
▼表皮和阳台渲染，surface and balcony rendering
This is a housing project. My inspiration is The Smithsons’ Robin Hood Gardens. The units are designed as series of inter-locking piece which will allow bathroom stack and also leave big flexibility. The massing is composed by bars and hinges. Where the hinge happens, there’s opportunities. Compared to the work of The Smithsons, my exploration is more radical. I believe that half century later, the same design technique could generate more possibilities. The skin was designed taught and metallic, make the whole architecture full of tension.
Berlin Museum for 20th Century’s Art
A project that locates next to the national art gallery by Mies Van Der Rohe and James Sterling’s Social Science Research Center. Being influenced and inspired by these two buildings, I try to use the distinct objects such as Sterling’s work, and the opened urban relationship learned from Mies’s work. Combine these two techniques together, something new has been generated. A soft, dynamic, opened and rich courtyard experience has been created.
受到Konrad Wachsmann 1951年设计的飞机库的启发，这个机场建筑运用了空间网架来容纳各种动态的和不断变化的流线与功能。
Inspired by Konrad Wachsmann’s 1951 airport hangar, this airport was designed with space frame that accommodate the dynamic of ever-changing circulation and on-site programs.
▼剖面图和结构模型，section and structural modeling
This is a high-rise performance complex in Manhattan next to high-line park, which contains three theaters, rehearsal rooms, office space, restaurants and visitor center. The design intention is to clarify the service and served spaces. As a result, all the theaters are on one side of the building; all the related programs, vertical circulation and infrastructure are on the other side. Another idea is about subtraction: Subtract exterior spaces between theaters to form an entrance plaza and a huge terrace on south; Using primitives to subtract small private spaces from larger public spaces.
Central & Wolfe
Central & Wolfe是我在HOK时候做的项目。由于是公司项目，我不方便解释太多。在施工完成后，我画了这些图，希望能够把一些量化的东西用图形形式表达出来。完成照片和描述见施工方网站：https://www.level10gc.com/project/central-wolfe-corporate-center/。
06- this is a project that I worked on in HOK. Because it’s a company’s project, I can’t tell too much about it. After the construction, I did these drawing, hoping to express some quantified information through graphic. There are more information in the contractor’s website: https://www.level10gc.com/project/central-wolfe-corporate-center/
It’s a model exercise that using flexible polystyrene generates minimal surface objects named as trihedron. There are 6 edges but only 3 surfaces. This object is modular, beautiful and structurally strong. It can form multiple interesting 3D structures.
some drawings and GIFs
在这些作品里，我希望用传统的建筑线条手法去表达一些抽象的概念。这些概念的灵感来自于城市，科技和自然几何。 GIF和动态图是非常有趣的， 而且是网络上很好用的数字媒体。有三幅画是受哈勃天文望远镜的启发。还有另外三幅是受小时候家里布满管道的厨房的启发，当然还颇有现代立体城市的感觉。GIF是我在用grasshopper做公司和自己项目时对数字信息还有线条表现的探索，顺便就把它们做成好玩的GIF了。
I trying to use traditional architectural line techniques express some abstract concept that inspired by the city, technology and natural geometry. GIF and motion picture is interesting and it’s a perfect digital media on internet. The first 3 drawings are inspired by Hubble Space Telescope. The following 3 are inspired by the kitchen in my childhood home. There are a lot of pipes and ducts in the kitchen… and in a way it’s like the modern 3 dimensional city. GIFs are mostly the by-products of Grasshopper works that I created during company and personal projects.
工作单位：BORA Architects, HOK
联系方式：http://spikeliu.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland
Who: Spike (Ruogu) Liu
From: Zhengzhou, Henan
School: SCI-Arc, Wash-U
Firm: BORA Architects, HOK.
Contact:http://spikeliu.com / email@example.com