A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.81 episode is about Le Xu who graduated from University of Pennsylvania and is now working for Andropogon Associates.
Why going abroad?
I love the uncertainty of life and wish to see a bigger world.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
During the very beginning of the study, I went through hard times in my life because of multiple reasons. There was a weekend when I mapped on site, I worked with tears by myself. An old gentle man with a dog passed by and he calmed me down. His very positive attitude towards life and very warm smile had been a great consolation to me.
What do you miss the most about China?
Family. Nanjing Roast Chicken. Lake Crab. Friends & Teachers.
Will you come back China? Why?
I wish I will have good opportunity to finally be back home. In term of the market, I think China has a bigger potential than US. I am always ambitious and excited to have my own satisfying work on the ground.
On the other hand, I am the only child of the family.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
I know very limited thing and keep the habit of reading news every day. Talking with my friends working in China, I wish we could have a better manner for our design industry, from both design offices and clients’ perspective. I wish we have more transparent and open data source. It will be a big push for the study of dynamic environment.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
Penn is very well known for its MLA program. We laugh at ourselves as “landscape technical school”. One of the reasons is the curriculum structure is very solid； on the other hand, this high pressure and condensed training process make every one of us very much prepared for the professional career. Our studios often lead by different professors every year. The first one which was lead by Anu and Dilip started with hand drawing to catch the experience on site. With everything by hand during that whole semester, I started to have a sense of what is the landscape and build up my own landscape sensibility since then. I am very lucky to meet with so many great professors at Penn, they not only helped me with my studio, but also my further professional development.
It is hard, but worth it.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
现在工作的 Andropogon Associates 是一所以生态设计著称的美国老牌景观事务所，公司规模较小，仅20人左右。在国内还没有特别大的知名度，今年拿下了每年唯一的2018 ASLA年度景观公司的奖项，感觉自己刚刚工作就经历了一个ASLA professional Award的项目,同时背靠了一个ASLA最佳公司，仿佛彩票中头奖。公司的学术背景非常浓厚，老板有土壤科学的背景，对于生态和环境研究非常认真和笃信。相对很多事务所出名后疯狂做商业项目而言，老板似乎不太会“赚钱”，反而愿意把时间投入在没有实际经济回报的场地设计前后生态研究上。因为人少所以每个人的职责也会比较多，刚刚工作满一年，老板就让我一人负责了和Ennead事务所合作的中华鲟保育中心二期工程国际设计竞赛（最近刚刚官宣我们赢得头筹！），这样的信任和机会对于一个新人来说还是非常珍贵的。
I worked in Andropogon Associates since graduate, it is a small firm mainly based in Philadelphia. Happily, we got ASLA 2018 the firm of year award. The academic background of the company is very strong. Many of my colleagues have experience working in the University of Pennsylvania. Because there are very few of us, everyone takes more responsibilities. I have been assigned to work as a design lead for a sturgeon preserve competition during my second year here. It is definitely trust behind it and great opportunity for a young designer.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
Raphael. When I was very young, I got the drawing book from my parents’ friends, in which his self-portrait was very delicate. Later, I grew up and saw more artists, I only fall in love with their artworks rather than the person. Without any reasons, I still think of Raphael right now.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
I love painting since young. Although I am impatient, I could still sit there drawing for a whole day. In term of the design graphic, I often combine the design with my hand sketch, which makes it unique.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
I know this website when I was in college. Although right now I got more opportunity to see projects from different resources. I keep the manner to spend time here every week.
W O R K
PA-DE ASLA Chapter 2017 Student Award, Merit award in the Analysis and Planning Category
场地环境 | Slate Belt Context
Slate Belt，位于美国宾州东部。从1903开启第一个矿坑以来，slate belt在1903年成为美国最大的生产slate石材的区域。1920年后，大量合成材料的出现使slate的生产逐渐减少，大量矿坑关闭。当今的slate belt以农业生产作为区域最主要的产业，低效低收入的产业让这片土地与美国成千上万的郊区一样，千篇一律，缺少对青年人的吸引力。Slate belt的规划部门研究得出在20年内，这里的人口将会增至150%，人口的压力造成了工作紧缺，农田空置的恶性循环，居民担心这片土地终将“死去”。如何让这个区域在未来的发展中找到自己的角色和识别度成为了设计的重点。
The Slate Belt is defined by the resource-laden geologies of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The first slate quarries opened here in the 1830s, and by 1903, the Slate Belt was the largest slate-producing region in the world. However, in the 1920s, emerging synthetic ma-terials like asphalt roof tiles began to cut into the market for slate (WITF 2011). Only a handful of the vast quarries remain active. Few of the old quarries have been reclaimed, agricultural profits are lean, and Slate Belt communities are looking to diversify their economic base and improve the quality of life. According to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the population of the Slate Belt is projected to increase as much as 150% in 20 years. The continued loss of manufacturing jobs and farmland threatens the identity of the Slate Belt as its population grows.
宾州作为美国能源产出的第二大州，经济大量依赖于能源的生产。在Slate Belt北部就是美国第二大的天然气井区域和煤炭采掘基地。然而宾州的能源生产却没有给当地人带来很多益处。不可持续的能源生产带来一系列污染。侵吞农田，廉价能源又直接导致人口上升等问题。从问题的产生者到解决者，我们即将见证这片场地的能源转型。一方面保留宾州在能源生产上独特的场地特征，一方面又通过可持续的环境友好的可再生能源重新打造slate belt的能源景观，塑造更加先锋的场地能源景观。
Present patterns of energy production and consumption have also contributed to challenges in the Slate Belt. From 2011 to 2012, Pennsylvania’s marketed natural gas production grew by 72%, moving it from the seventh-largest to the third-largest marketed gas-producing state in the U.S. (EIA 2015). As one of the most powerful coal extraction states, energy is a defining industry in Pennsyl-vania. However, the fossil fuel industry scars the landscape and gives Northern Pennsylvania a high pollution rate. Moreover, low-cost energy drives population growth. The abundance of natural gas gives little incentive to change behaviors: at the rate of U.S. dry natural gas consumption in 2012, natural gas could last about 87 years (EIA 2015).Renewable energy could be a bridge to a sustainable future in the Slate Belt. Future Generator proposes to leverage renewable energy production to reclaim the Slate Belt landscape. An evaluation of different renewable energy resources based on their stock, develop-ment patterns, and costs generates four major regional strategies.
根据调研得出区域性的四个策略。在Wind Gap 区域加入风能采集；强化gateway to north的特征；在空置农田引入低维护成本的生物质能生产，在带来能源收入的同时增加场地的美观价值，利用本地的植物降低维护强度，产生生态价值；场地中大量的废弃矿坑（11组）具有电能存储的潜力，可以逐渐开发为电能存储与教育参观相结合的基地；在North Gateway的高速路沿线进行多种形式的电能热能采集，强化北向门户道路的区域识别性。
With the study of renewable energy and each energy resource potential, I came up with four regional strategy: 1. Use quarry battery to regenerate slate belt heritage; 2. Reclaim the vacant farmland to be biomass farm to add ecological value to farmland. 3. Introduce the wind technology to reclaim the Appalachian Trail. 4.Harvest energy along the highway to reclaim the gateway to North.
矿坑电池 | QUARRY BATTERY_ Regenerate Slate Belt Heritage
Discarded cement and coal quarries are presently isolated. Yet they hold great potential to be trans-formed into energy batteries because of their varieties in altitude and volume. The pump storage method stores the gravitational potential energy of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation (Hadjipaschalis et al 2009). Eleven groups of quarries in the Slate Belt have this potential. The Quarry Battery also t akes advantage of the locations of these sites near urban areas, re-generating the abandoned sites into incredible places for people to learn about the history of the Slate Belt and have a new vision of energy production.
A glass deck takes visitors down into the last active quarry in slate belt. Up the hill, visitors can follow a historic route towards an outlook offering views of the waste-to-energy plant and the surrounding town.
The water level in the quarry battery is keeping changing. the floating deck let people experience the breathing of the site.
The community slate workshop stimulates demand for slate by engaging local craftsman and artists in the display of unique materials. A pocket park and experimental garden serves as a gathering place and festival space.
TRAVERSE THE SURPRISE
Tutor: Morabito Valerio
传统对于公园空间的认知里有三种形式的景观体验，包括以le duc de chartres为代表的Procession体验:强烈的目标感和清晰的行进体验，不易被主观的选择所影响的整体流线。以Villa d’Este为代表的Stroll:网格化或者是对称式的形式设计无不在强调场地内的终点区域和强化到达感；llewellyn Park为代表的Rambles:以好奇心为主导的随性的流线选择带游览穿越场地。将这些抽象的景观体验所对应的公园进行形态化的翻译，来理解他们所表达的空间故事。
The idea of this studio is to develop our own attitude towards beauty and form. In my point of view, the beauty of landscape is consisted of expected experience and unexpected surprise. Using the shape to represent the surprise moments in the city that let people stay. In this way, I started to develop my own map of the city. I develop the site organization out of the form of Italian beauty from our trip. The big idea of the site design is to create a secret garden in city to make up the surprise moments. On the other hand, transform the canal to be a recreational and nature waterfront, to better serve the local people.
▼将意大利场地调研中的空间用同样的手法进行翻译，understanding the beauty of Italy through the same space translation
The site creates a blurry moment by creating the fog entrance and the wood entrance together, using line of trees to give the hint of railway, reproposing the original station to a rail museum, revitalizing the railway park behind the plaza and connecting neighborhood to wildness. Transform the waterfront by reclaiming the static canal to be monumental river’s edge, creating numbers of way to interact with water as surprise moments and inserting arts related program as city connector. In this project, I tried to combine the handsketch and computer drawing together to explore new language to represent landscape, to show the process and imagination.
Tutor: Laurie Olin & Rebecca Popwsky, Frederick Steiner and Randy
当游客享受着Pienza这座列入联合国文化遗产古镇和周边意大利田园风光时，当地的市民和政府却在关注人口老龄化，产业单一，工作机会逐年减少的问题。这个项目研究了Pienza 及其周边的医疗资源，提出了将城外的一片旧工业厂区场地改造为养老设施的设计想法。一方面弥补Pienza及其周边极其匮乏的医疗资源以及为人口老龄化作准备，另一方面通过新型服务类产业的建立，提供高价值的工作机会，吸引年轻人就业，从根本上改变这个正在“衰亡” 的古城的未来。通过对于人12种感受，需求层次以及疗愈性景观的研究，将场地分为被动疗愈，主动疗愈和自然疗愈三个区域，根据不同的需求深度和行为能力程度为体验者创造出舒适的空间，为周边居民创造新的多功能聚集场地。
The real concern of Pienza right now includes single industry, aging population, few job opportunity and bad entering experience. The local people and mayor really cared about creating a new industry to support local economy. The idea of the project was to repopose the discarded factory on the way to historical town to be a rest house combining with the function of clinic and day care. It would reclaim the importance of Pienza in Tuscany area. It also help to create high-value jobs and become new economical engine.The site is a healing landscape. To provide diferent zones for people with diferent levels of mental power, the site is a combination of passive healing, active healing and wild heal-ing. This healing landscape not only serves people, but also heals the ecological systems. The use of native plants set up habitat for diferent animals. This also bring rich scents, sounds and other feelings to the site.
Renewable Waterfront, Build the Bridge To Future
Gold Prize of Mangdao River West Bank Young Designers’ Creative Competition
Facing with the limited resource, global warming and increasing water problems in this new era, the project focused on taking advantage of existing site condition, engaged with the future planning idea to build up a sustainable waterfront which combining habitat protection, storm water management, energy production and active programs together.
On one hand, the project started from preserve existing wetlands and habitats on site, tried to establish a linear green corridor to have great ecological value. Newly built wetland and storm water infrastructure like rain garden have the ability to resist flood in a more sustainable way.On the other hand, we aimed to build a renewable energy farm which integrated with various kinds of energy production: Biomass energy from wetland, Wind energy from contemporary wind infrastructure and algae farm. The renewable energy production not only provided the new city with green energy, but also support the renewable industry around. It helps to build up a strong connection between new development and public open space.
The water system and energy system supported each other and formed a very unique energy landscape for Yangzhou. Programs like kayak and artificial beach which powered by renewable energy made the waterfront a very exciting public space to explore.
The 2016 International Young Architects Design Competition of Major Cultural Facilities in Shanghai
If we compared every book to be a star with endless knowledge, then the library became the galaxy. Using cube as a single unit to construct space, they separated apart, gathered together to form a space with rich diversity and maintain a delicate balance. The sense of explosion under the big cube frame provides the inner space with flexibility and possibility to future development and multiple use.
多样的空间叙事 | VALUED DIVERSITY
The third generation library would be an open space to share with the public. In Galaxy library, the biggest challenge for us was to maintain a balance with the individual needs and the public space.Galaxy library created a diverse range of flexible spaces which fit for different needs, From the big open gallery and lecture hall on the bottom, the semi-open space in the middle to the closed individual reading room with highest privacy on the top, we created narrative that attract the public and also serve the city.The construction was based on a 300 mm modules which helps to duplicate with modules space under control.
融合的场地策略 | BUILDING STRATEGY
The elevated plaza helped to keep a balance with the same leveled plaza of Pudong Archive. It helped to establish a balanced relationship with context building. It also re-claimed the architecture and let the plaza become a active space with multiple kinds of civic programs. To respect for the context and preserve the woods on site, we designed the podium with the program of gallery and lecture hall using landscape architecture.
When: 2012, 2014 till now
Where: Essen, Germany; Philadelphia, United States
Who: Le Xu
From: Nanjing, Jiangsu
School: University of Pennsylvania
Firm: Andropogon Associates