A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.89 episode is about Zhonghui Zhu, who graduated from Tsinghua University and Princeton University and is now traveling while working.
Why going abroad?
Mostly out of anxiety and following the trend. Some of the best senior students and classmates have gone or are going abroad. I only decided to go abroad at senior years, when I felt my design and vision has reached a plateau. I needed a new environment and a new direction.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
My classmates and fellow students I met along the way are incredibly smart and talented. I have learnt so much from each one of them. Also became a little bit clearer on myself and what I want, and eliminated a few options from some failed attempts.
What do you miss the most about China?
Family and friends, and a sense of belonging.
Will you come back China? Why?
Yes. Compared to the meticulous professional division in development market and system, I prefer the sense of chaos in China, where opportunities and challenges lie side by side.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
Not clearer, at most getting to know more facets of the fact and reality.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
Architecture is not something to design with, but a medium and tangent point for a broader area of research.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
Right now, I’m travelling / researching in Tel Aviv, and collaborate with a local firm on a competition in Shenzhen. Israel is a fascinating place, where ancient religious traditions and modern civilization coexist strangely in this occupied desert.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
狂欢的后现代网民们，笔耕不辍的创造着一轮又一轮的亚文化浪潮，抵抗权威，解构经典，消解意义，娱乐至死。最近非常喜欢Virgil Abloh（虽然都买不起），尤其是在他在芝加哥的“Figure of Speech”展览之后。继LV，他又用后现代精神、球鞋和街头文化征服了美术馆。
Postmodern Netizens, creating waves after waves of subculture, to resist the established, destabilize the classic, dissolve all meaning, and amused to death. Recently I’m obsessed with Virgil Abloh, especially after his show “Figure of Speech” in Chicago art museum. After LV, he has conquered art museum with POMO, sneaker culture and street wear.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
Not really qualified as portfolio, merely a look back on two years in Princeton. And not remotely fascinating, but more or less “confusing”. I always feel the urge and need to push myself out of comfort zones. And luckily thanks to my not-so-bad learning skills, managed to make something out of this collage.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
Around 2013, and have witnessed Gooood become more and more influential. Hope Gooood can become even better in future.
W O R K
RoboVision: A Computer-Vision Enabled Human Machine Collaboration
ARC596 Embodied Computation Seminar, Spring 2018
Instructor: Prof. Stefana Parascho
Collaborator: Kenny Chao, Jerry Jiawei He
这个项目（更准确的说是一次尝试）希望探索一种区别于传统的、线性的数字设计和建造流程，尝试在人（设计者）与机器（建造者）之间建立即时反馈和互动合作的可能性。如Mario Carpo所指出， “将数字化设计文件(Digital Script)转化为实物(Physical Object)的过程，已经在时间和空间上与这个文件的制作和制作者隔绝”。他指出了数字化设计和建造流程变的愈发线性，设计和建造、数字和实体、人与机器之间愈发隔阂。设计者深耕于电脑模型之中，通过软件将数字模型转化为可执行的数据和指令，发送给机器；而机器（激光雕刻，CNC、机械臂等）的任务就是尽可能精确地执行这些指令，一旦有任何问题或需要做任何设计上的修改，只能从头再来。
This project, or attempt to be more precise, seeks an alternative to conventional linear design-to-fabrication process by incorporating the human and the machine in a collaborative design loop. With the development of both robotic machines and digital design software, designers and architects were equipped with increasingly powerful tools, both in digital form making and physical fabrication. However, as Mario Carpo pointed out, “the process of instantiation (the conversion of the digital script into a physical object) has been severed in space and time from the making and the makers of the original file” (Carpo 2011). The increasing division between digital and physical, design and construction, man and machine has resulted into a linear process, where predetermined design intentions are modeled in digital workspaces, translated into sequences of scripts and numbers, and sent to machines for fabrication.
As a consequence, design and fabrication have been separated into two different processes requiring different expertise. As architects and designers are working more and more in the digital realm, fabrication has become a one-directional workflow in pursuit of maximal precision in translating a predefined digital objective into a physical object. Throughout this process, intuitive interaction with fabrication tools is severely limited by the lack of communication between the operator and the tool. This project incorporates both analog and digital agencies in a closed feedback loop on site. Working directly on the physical material, both the human and the machine become agents of design and fabrication. The machine not only performs as a mechanic tool for precise control and fabrication, but also recognizes and optimizes the designer’s input through computer-vision and digital control algorithm, and its operation can inform the designer’s next move. Therefore, the digital workspace becomes latent in the process, while both parties collaborate and engage with the physical object directly.
▼设计流程：从线性到闭环，Design Process: A Closed Feedback Loop between the Human and the Machine
▼人与机器协作模式图解，Human-robot Collaboration Diagram
Drawing has been the primary technique of design and construction throughout architectural history. In addition, in many current digital fabrication practices, such as laser cutters and CNC mills, color and lineweight of each geometry in the digital file are used as a visual code to determine machine operations. In this project, we seek to use drawing as a means of on-site human-machine communication, transmitting design intentions between human and machine proxies in real-time. Designers can intuitively use markers with different colors to draw on the material as suggestions for robotic operations, while the machine reads the geometries and performs accordingly.
▼机械臂末端执行器，包括摄像头和泡沫切割刀，End effector, Consisting of ABB 4600 Robot, Camera and Hot Knife
We developed a series of visual codes to designate machine operations, including geometry, color, lineweight, and relative position on the material, etc. Red: Through-Cut. Green: Etch-Cut. Blue: Miter-Cut. Black: No Cut.
▼操作手册：几何图形与对应的机械操作，Drawing Code and Machine Operation
▼通过OpenCV识别的几何图案，依次是（A）摄像头画面、（B）黑色形状、（C）绿色形状、（D）红色形状、（E）蓝色形状和（F）材料边界 ，Recognized Geometries on Foam Block through OpenCV, (A). Camera Frame, (B). Black Geometry, (C). Green Geometry, (D). Red Geometry, (E). Blue Geometry, (F). Foam Block Boundary.
▼机械臂视角视频，A View from Robots
In this attempt, the perspective of the robot is very interesting. These video records the recognition and processing of different shapes by the robot, and allows a glimpse towards the robotic “autonomy.
▼机器自主性，Robotic Autonomy: Machine Updated Geometry and Cut Surface
In this project, the design agency of translating a 2D geometry drawn on the material into a 3D volume and a spatial operation of cutting, which traditionally falls into the expertise of designers, is shared with the machine. First, in reading the geometries drawn by designers on the material, the machine is able to optimize them to avoid any abrupt turns. More importantly, it translates the optimized geometry into a three-dimensional cut, and determines the depth of the cut based on the line weight properties.
▼切割前后对比，Before and After the Cut
▼切割后的顶视图和前视图，Top and Front View of the Dissected Block
▼细节照片，Detail of the Cut and the Form
▼切割清单，Cut Objects Catalogue
Floor as Organism: Embodied Computation
ARC505B Studio, Fall 2017
Instructor: Prof. Axel Killian, Dr. Kaicong Wu
This project tries to rethink floor as more than a circulation ground in architecture, but as a designable interface.
Current architecture normally depends on visual feedback, either through excessive signals or sheer scale of space, to give people a sense of direction. Even architecture whose form claims to be shaped by circulation tends to be more monolithic than dynamic. These examples could easily breakdown with a larger crowd and lack the dynamic decision-making potential.
▼作为生物体的地板，Floor as Organism
We normally depend on our eyes and visual to navigate inside architecture, while our feet are constantly in direct contact with the building. Our feet have more delicate sensors, and the floor can be a powerful communicating medium between people and architecture.
▼作为界面的地板，Floor as Interface
As experimented in prototypes, a slight tilt or a bump on the floor would significantly alert people through feet and influence their behavior and movement. By pushing under the feet or in front of the person, the floor can guide the people to different behavior. You are feeling your way forward by feet, instead of guided by the visuals.
▼界面和行为，Surface and Behavior
When navigating through space, architecture is used as guidance, where space itself could give you direction. Through studying pedestrians’ navigation behavior in space, we could extract some basic principle of people’s movement as a combination of multiple forces. And through this, we could start to predict people’s movement in space.
The first full-scale prototype, examining the shifting surface and its impact on human behavior.
▼原型一视频，Prototype 1 video
▼原型二视频，Prototype 2 video
The second full-scale prototype: the spring gives the floor strength, the pressure sensor can sense the position of the person in real time, and the motor can change its surface accordingly. The prototype is not a physical representation of a computer simulation. It gives feelings and feedback through interaction that are not available in computer simulations. In both prototypes, people can walk on it and experience the feeling of changes in the surface and its impact on behavior, which is why this studio has always pushed us to make full-scale models, albeit painfully.
By gaining individual’s destination, the floor could process the information and direct people in different paths. In this way, instead of going directly to the destination, there could emerge ad hoc space for activity and passing. The building constantly reshapes based on its collective understanding and gets rebuilt.
In this way, the floor is constantly reshaping itself based on the collective understanding of individual behavior and formulating spaces of different speed spontaneously. Dynamic boundary would emerge and disappear again to shape crowd dynamic. And through time, the floor, as the fifth façade of architecture, could communicate and co-exist with people.
▼随时的空间，Ad Hoc Spaces
▼两个瞬间，Two Brief Moments
Offshore Urbanism: A Cautionary Tale of Libertarianism
ARC506B Studio, Spring 2017
Instructor: Prof. Andrés Jaque, Bart-Jan Polman
2050年，世界上第一个自由至上主义国家——利伯兰自由共和国——宣告失败。利伯兰自由共和国于2015年4月13日成立于塞尔维亚和克罗地亚交界、多瑙河上的一片无主之地(No man’s land)。截止2050年，6000万人拥挤在这片8平方公里的小岛之上。
In the year 2050, the first libertarian country, the Free Republic of Liberland, with 60 million people crammed within 8 square kilometers in a previously no man land in the middle of Europe, has finally failed.
利伯兰自由共和国的成立本身就非常有趣：试想欧洲大陆上怎么会有一片主权的真空？为了缩短沿多瑙河的航运距离，前南斯拉夫时期的多次河道工程显著改变了河流的轨迹，塞尔维亚和克罗地亚的边界争端也因此而起。南联盟解体后两国以多瑙河为界，然而双方都以对己方有利的河流轨迹划定边界，河流中央的一座小岛也就无人问津。2015年4月13日，Vit Jedlička——前捷克公民，首任和末任利伯兰总统——和其余7名志愿者登岛，挂起利伯兰国旗并就此宣誓主权，建立了全球第三小的“微国家” (Micronation) 。
To look into Liberland’s story and how this small piece of no man’s land could be found in the middle of Europe in the first place is quite surprising. It was due to a long-disputed border issue between Serbia and Croatia and the channelization of Danube River during Yugoslavia period. On 2015 April 13, a former Czech citizen Vit Jedlička, along with seven volunteers, planted a national flag and claimed this piece of no man land as a new country, the Free Republic of Liberland, who later became the president of the third smallest Micronation in the world.
▼利伯兰2015：证据墙，Liberland 2015: Evidence Board
The country was fundamentally based on the libertarian principles, which share skepticism of authority and state power, maximize individual freedom and autonomy, emphasize freedom of choice and lifestyle, and aim for the minimal government interference. A week later, there were already 150,000 applications for citizenship, including billionaires, libertarian people all over the world and refugees. In the year 2020, Vit, with some his first followers started to settle at the bank of Danube River.
▼利伯兰2020：离岛避税天堂，Liberland 2020: a Tax Haven
不久之后，首批建造的房屋纷纷开始倒塌。 在自由至上主义国家中，任何建筑规范和集中基础设施都被视为与意识形态不符。难民“志愿者们”以个人熟悉的方式建造，使用不同的材料即兴发挥。利伯兰就像这些建筑一样，不同技术、风格、立场和生活方式在这片岛屿上野蛮侵蚀和无序拼贴。尽管每利伯兰公民向往的自由都大相径庭，但谁又能拒绝一杯Liberbeer呢？ 这是这片自由至上天堂中唯一强制缴纳税款的项目，每天清晨都会准时投递在您家门口。
However, it wasn’t long before some of these first buildings started collapsing. Since this was an offshore jurisdiction with no centralized government, a building code was deemed ideologically fraud. With no mandatory building standard, each volunteer worker was constructing in personal familiar style and improvising with different materials. These buildings were a hybrid of different building techniques and styles, just like the country itself.
Despite the vast difference of people’s lifestyle and values, everyone still enjoys a good Liberbeer, which is the only item in this libertarian paradise with mandatory tax, and delivered every day in front of your door, with a taste of freedom.
▼利伯兰2050：几个切片，Liberland 2050: A Few Episodes
CLIP-ONTM Urbanism: A Maker’s Survival Guide to Shenzhen
Thesis Studio, Spring 2018
Instructor: Prof. Mario Gandelsonas
▼可打开的行李箱，Interactive Exhibition GIF
As my thesis in Princeton, the project started with the format of exhibition and performance in mind. In this design, I mostly focused on the possibility of new industries and new technologies in the spatial regeneration of urban villages. Therefore, the object of design is no longer a building or urban space, but a “product” or a business model. In the final review, I performed as a “travelling salesman”, pitching the product to the judges and audience.
This project is not presented through technical drawings or diagrams, but rather patents, manuals, user examples and catalogues. All the drawings and materials are packed inside a quickly foldable suitcase.
CLIP-ONTM Urbanism制造、破解、组装和回收现成技术设备，将城市表皮转化为不断适应和更新的界面，以此探索自下而上的城市升级的可能性。随着新技术以及创客文化的不断壮大，生产场所从城市郊区再次被引入市中心。不论是低技工人还是高科技码农，深圳庞大的创客人去和技术从业者都催生了独特的居住和工作空间形式，并为传统建筑和规划领域难以解决的当代城市问题提供了潜在线索。为此，我们申请了建筑专利：一种依附于道路、立面和屋顶等城市表皮的基础设施。这种基础设施允许将模块化的设备插入并连接到现有的城市和建筑之中，通过一系列 “即插即用”的社区营造活动来提升改善建成环境，提升社区归属感。区别于通常带来拆迁和破坏的自上至下的城市更新，我们的产品始于设备的尺度。当地居民将现有产品进行回收和拆卸，并根据自己的需求重新组装。这种方式不仅是对低技工人的能力培训，也是对城中村社区活力的建设，并在更大尺度上提供城市升级和持续发展的战略。
CLIP-ONTM Urbanism examines manufacturing, hacking, assembling and recycling readily available devices as an alternative way for urban upgrade and tries to depict a near future urban scenario which reimagines the urban envelope as an adaptive and generative interface. With the emergence of new urban technologies as well as maker and hacker culture, the site of production has once again been introduced into the city. The emerging urban Homo Faber in Shenzhen, whether low-tech or high-tech, produces distinctive forms of inhabiting and occupying urban space, hinting at a potential solution to current urban problems outside the reach of traditional architecture and urban planning. By developing a patented infrastructure which allows reassembled modular devices to be clipped on, plugged in and attached to existing urban fabrics, the built-up environment is remediated by a series of community “plug and play” events in an urbanism of parts. Rather than a top-down approach of urban renewal which often involves arbitrary destruction and relocation, this thesis begins at the scale of technical devices, produced, hacked and installed by local residences. In this way, making becomes a means of technical empowerment, an event of community building, and a strategy for urban upgrade and continuous evolvement.
▼开始上手：工具包，Starter Pack: Toolkit
▼开始上手：操作指南，Starter Pack：IKEA Manual