A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.96 episode is about Mark Yu who graduated from Harvard GSD and is now working for Sasaki
Why going abroad?
I would like to experience new perspectives and gain a greater understanding of the world.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
I met my beloved wife at design school.
What do you miss the most about China?
Memories, Family and friends.
Will you come back China? Why?
Yes, great design comes from instinct, and instinct is rooted in the hometown. Returning to my hometown is always part of my plan.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
As a designer, the country is a big notion for us. After all, China is a diverse, complex, gentle and profound place. I was exposed to different cultures and education abroad, which gave me more diverse experiences and view angles to think comprehensively about the design and culture of my motherland. Still have a long way ahead, but I will realize it eventually.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
In my humble opinion, GSD has two characteristics. One is that the school values creativity and respects the freedom of design. Studio typically does not have much limitation; rather, it focuses on inspiring the designer’s unique approach towards creativity. The second is that GSD values the practice of cross-disciplinary collaboration. This would give students exposure to different aspects within the design field, allowing them to discover their interests and help them to develop their unique paths. For me, I started as a landscape architect, and ended with a dual degree in landscape as well as urban design field. I also got the chance to learn about game design.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
Sasaki is a very interesting place to stay, learn, and grow. Working at Sasaki sometimes feels like traveling around the world. The company has a wide spectrum of projects that tackle global challenges. While deeply involved in design, the designers also need to constantly educate themselves to learn about different cultures. Besides working, Sasaki also holds many social events and learning opportunities, such as spring camping events, summer dinners in the backyard, and winter design meetings, etc… These activities allow designers to make friends among this great group of talented people, sharing inspiring thoughts and growing together.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
I always have a fascination over industrial design, and thus my favorite designer is the famous German industrial designer, Dieter Rams. The minimalist nature of his design work and his idea, “ Less, but better”, makes me understand the charm of design pragmatism. I think this concept could be applied to different design fields. As a diversified urban/landscape designer, I have not yet fully understood the essence of Rams’ design, but it will always be one of the design goals I would like to pursue.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
I think my portfolio presents great diversity in terms of projects. While I was in school, I started as a landscape student, and I got the chance to learn about landscape design, urban design, and game design. These different design approaches allow me to create a portfolio as something “in-between”. Personally, I like this “in-between” approach.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
When I was a college student. Gooood is a great platform in sharing design ideas and news in the field. I like Gooood for its professional approach, and its friendliness towards young designers like me. I think maybe Gooood could expand to cover more exciting stuff in design fields, such as product design, interactive design and user experience design.
W O R K
“If there is to be a ‘New Urbanism’, it will not be based on the twin fantasies of order and omnipotence; It will be the staging of Uncertainty” – Rem Koolhaas
The street grid is a defining element of Manhattan, established in 1811 to blanket the island and it became the city’s first great civic enterprise and a vision of brazen ambition. However, the system works so successfully that eliminate the peculiarity of New York City, it monopolizes the whole island’s streetscape and turn everything into identical city develop chain. The great grid gave this island the most striking feature yet takes away its personality.
▼场地北侧全景图（地铁站），overall view of the north of the site (subway station)
▼场地南侧全景图（林肯中心），overall view of the south of the site (the Lincoln Center)
Broadway is the only destroyer within the system. Along with its diagonal line, a little bit New York’s uniqueness character gradually revealed. The Flatiron Building and Madison Square park, New York Times Square, Columbus Circle, and of course, the most dramatic performance space – ‘Lincoln Center’…All of which just demonstrate that this city still has its uniqueness yet concealed by the grid. Therefore, what if I unwrap the grid and underlining the system that allows the unique point to stand out?
▼纽约城市格网地图集（百老汇与其他非传统格网），city grid of New York (the Broadway and other unconventional grid)
This is exactly what I propose to do. By deconstructing the great grid system, I filter out its influence on urban community and left behind only what is important to citizen’s mind. Their impression for the city. With only just simple geometric symbol yet bearing the deep meaning. Through shifting, transforming, distorting and contrasting to build a system, an infrastructure, a topography that can amplify the unique spatial character of Broadway. To show everyone everything that is UNGRID.
▼城市解构与城市意向，deconstruction of the city and the impression of the city
▼广场功能研究，study of the plaza function
▼广场铺装研究，study of the plaza paving
Consider Lincoln Center as a performance space, and it is an important joint on the Broadway, which makes it a perfect place to highlight the uniqueness out of Broadway. Unique means different from surrounding, means a catch feature in a certain location, and means have control over what is normal. To me, to pursue the monumentality of the space is a great way to see it. Therefore, to use the tension that generate by the site car and people flow, along with the unique geometric reflect by the site to intensify the monumentality feature of the site and the uncertainty in the end, is what my project is.
▼林肯中心南侧覆土剧院游廊，earthing corridor of the theater at the southern side of the Lincoln Center
▼林肯中心大尺度观景草坪，large-scaled lawn in the Lincoln Center
▼模型轴侧（南侧林肯广场），model of the southern side of the Lincoln Plaza
▼林肯广场细节平面图，detailed plan of the Lincoln Plaza
▼林肯广场的种植灌溉分析图，planting and irrigation analysis of the Lincoln Plaza
▼林肯中心地下铁与景观循环系统，subway and landscape circulation system of the Lincoln Plaza
This project aims to create new types of intimate waterfront community that derived from traditional Shanghai waterway urban society. Through dredging and restructuring urban mini blocks to turn city towards river and reinvent its waterfront public sphere.
▼上海浦江两岸滨水历史演进，the historical evolution of the banks of the Huangpu River
▼黄浦江的滨江码头研究，analysis of the wharfs along the Huangpu River
In regional scale, this project focus on offering variety of innovative housing and public programming to active waterfront public realm and redefine new urban density clusters along Shanghai waterway. Which will enable site design becomes a waterfront residential model that can be repeated along the River. This new type of housing innovation derived from traditional Shanghai waterway residential area, but to be developed and modified to fulfill modern residential needs. Therefore, the model will reflect different character in different cluster along the river, so to break the monopoly of mono linear landscape and revise Shanghai waterway.
▼黄浦江的滨水功能区与驳岸类型研究，riverside function and revetment type analysis of the Huangpu River
▼黄浦江后滩区滨水天际线，skyline of the back shore area of the Huangpu River
▼黄浦江水线规划，waterline plan of the Huangpu River
In site scale, the redesign of the 2010 Expo site is an investigation of the regional strategies to create new riverfront centralities. The skin of the design is generated from the reinvention of water canals. By exploring the diversity of riverfront façade and urban itinerary along the canals, the capacity of Shanghai living with water is examed in both the east and west bank of the Huangpu river. The east riverbank tries to transform the expo site into institutional public sphere, reshape the residential area in east into semi-open, mix-used international community. The west riverbank shares more private ambience and to generate local live and work community is the dominate character of west riverbank.
▼设计东西岸小鸟瞰，area views of the East and West Bank
▼西岸滨水社区，riverside community on the West Bank
▼东岸天际线，skyline of the East Bank
▼模型（世博园两岸），model of the Expo Park on the two banks
▼模型（东岸国际社区），model of the International community on the East Bank
▼设计鸟瞰图（世博园两岸），aerial view of the EXPO Park
▼设计总平面图（世博园两岸），master plan of the EXPO Park
▼滨水户型，riverside house typology
Edge is a very fascinating word, which represents a certain degree of uncertainty. For thousands of years, the cross-succession between human habitats and nature has also well explained the definition of the edge. This project site is located in Boston’s South Bay, where an Irish community is threatening by the rising sea levels. Huge real estate pressure has forced this middle-class community to expand its habitat to the edge of the sea and have to compete with the approaching sea level for the land that will eventually disappear. Therefore, our design intention is to maximize the use and promotion of land resources and values, improve the community’s culture and green infrastructure, and meet the urgent market demand for housing; at the same time provide a resilient, ecologically meaningful coastal community that responds to rising sea levels.
▼滨水户型研究，riverside house typology analysis
▼滨水防洪措施，flood control strategy along the river
In fact, the site is adjacent to a large shipyard dock, which gives us a lot of inspiration to our design. The dock has an interesting spatial organization form, that is, car and cargo diversion, and partial distribution. This mode will efficiently complete every link of logistics transportation, and define the size and boundary of storage, transportation, loading and unloading in space. We decide to bring this large and small space organization and social function aggregation methodology into our community design. Develop the residential-retail complex by the edge of south, and develop the commercial office TOD by the edge of north where suffer the uncertainty of sea level. Finally, public facilities such as culture and education are gathered between the two to form a buffered and interactive public open space. Thus forming two clearly distinguished yet interpenetrating urban edges. From a community scale, this kind of community construction method effectively solves the housing shortage requirement, so that real estate developers can quickly distribute the wholesale land. At the same time, this modular function aggregation provides several replaceable functions or ecological clusters, and when facing the rise of sea level, it can respond flexibly, randomly reorganize, and deal with natural disorder in an orderly manner.
▼中轴开放空间视角，view of the open space at the central axis
▼滨海社区视角，view of the community near the sea
▼模型（鸟瞰北侧视角），model, aerial view from the northern side
▼设计一层平面图，first floor plan