A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.104 episode is about Sun Shujian who graduated from Technische Universität Darmstadt and is now working as an independent architect. Official website: 15 Studio.
Why going abroad?
I wanted to experience the European approach to education, and I also wanted to visit those architectural sites that I had studied.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
The overseas experience is an integrated, fresh experience, not only in terms of studies but also in all aspects of life. No matter from which background or culture my peers came, I often felt some sort of unity by coincidence in such an experience. This subtle feeling of unity was very interesting to me.
What do you miss the most about China?
I miss my family and friends, as well as the feeling of nostalgia itself.
Will you come back China? Why?
Yes. I will certainly get closer to my family if I go back to China and I really want to spend more time with my family.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
I don’t really think so, living abroad seems to make me stay in a parallel context to the Chinese one, and this sense of distance and detachment offered me another angle to look at China and also myself. I guess I have never really got detached from the Chinese context, so I cannot say that it is more distinct for me to view China, but I indeed have some different understanding from before, which is quite in-spiring.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
Our school values handmade models a lot, and all the design ideas are supposed to be accompanied by modeling, from the initial concept to the final presentation. Some faculty members even have a reluctant attitude towards 3D modeling or rendering, which is something I have not experienced in China. The urban design process went from a 1:500 model to a 1:200 model which includes the surrounding environment, and the interior design process went from a 1:50 model emphasizing light and shadow to a 1:20 model emphasizing color and materials, and there was even a workshop for photographing the models with furniture and functional atmosphere.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
I am currently working at bogevischs buero in Munich, where I focus on residential projects, exploring the possibilities of residential projects in the current society from the perspectives of the richness of urban space, the relationship between public and residential spaces, and the diversity of users. WagnisART is a typical case that embodies the characteristics of the firm well. In the past few years, I have been working on several projects including large and small ones, and I have also been through different stages of one project. Even if it is the same kind of project, there are still many new things that I can dig deeper.
While gathering practical experience with such projects, I was also preparing to found my own studio with a friend. We participated in competitions to try out new design approaches, and we were more interested in exploring inspiring and scalable design ideas than the results of the competitions. If the design idea can be re-used in actual works later, we will be more passionate.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
可能我没办法说出一个“最喜欢”的艺术家。最近让我⽐较印象深刻的是勒内·马格⾥特 (René Magritte) ，他具有哲学性的画作给我很多启发。画作里内与外，虚幻与真实，眼前的事物与不在场的事物等等，这些对立物之间模糊的共存关系，让我对建筑中空间的边界、渗透或融合有一些思考。
I probably cannot name a “favorite” artist. The most recent one that impressed me a lot is René Ma-gritte. Many of his paintings cover some philosophical thoughts, and they have inspired me deeply. The coexistence between the interior space and the external space, illusion and reality, the presence and the absence, and so on, has made me ruminate about the boundaries, penetration, or integration of spaces in architecture.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
All the projects in this portfolio are based on a design exercise with an assigned theme. And the theme is actually not closely related to architecture. This is an approach I accidentally learned from a design class. I was quite fascinated by this approach and continued to apply it to my other works. If you saw my portfolio and also feel something, that is probably the fascinating part of my portfolio.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
Before the graduation of my bachelor’s study, I have seen many inspiring posts and I really like gooood!
W O R K
Deutsche Botschaft beim Heiligen Stuhl in Rom
German Embassy to the Holy See in Rome Diploma Project
Critic: Prof. Dipl.-Ing. M. Arch. Felix Waechter
The embassy project is located in Rome, Italy, adjacent to the city park in the south and the Goethe-Institut in the east, in an area with mainly residential functions. As an embassy that combines residential and office functions, how to connect the extant buildings with the natural environment in the urban space, how to resonate with the Goethe-Institut, and how to deal with the relationship between the private and the public concerns of the embassy were the main issues I focused on in the design process.
The wedge-shaped architectural block connects the architectural space to the city park by tapering smoothly from wide to narrow. The two main functional spaces-the residential space and the working space-are interlocked in two “L” – shaped areas, forming the en-trance hall and the exterior terrace space in the meantime. Office workers and visitors are led to two functional directions respectively through the entrance hall. From the residential space, the ambassadors can enter the working area through the terrace. The façade facing the Goethe-Institut with its large windows echoes the Goethe-Institut and shares the middle square with it. The other side of the building faces the adjacent residences and guaranteed privacy with a large enclosed façade, meanwhile, the homogeneous grid and arched form ensure a consistent design style of the façade. The narrower end of the building is the living area for important guests and the ambassadors, with windows facing the city park to introduce nature to the inner space.
The clerestory windows in the entrance hall allow natural light to slip through, creating an atmosphere similar to that of the Holy See. A ramp to the right leads to the embassy’s meeting hall, with arched windows linking the interior to the exterior, providing both in-door and outdoor possibilities for embassy activities. The exterior walls are consist of stained concrete in a deep red color, giving the embassy a sculptural feel while harmo-nizing with the warm color tone of the surrounding buildings.
Critic: Prof. Dr. Elli Mosayebi
Teammate: Xue Peng
It was a very interesting design experience. Starting with small themed design practice, we tried to complete a whole building, and then place the building in a chosen context in reverse order.
Professor Mosayebi’s design class is meant to explore new types of living spaces. For a situation where there is no base, no project scale, no constraints, this preliminary design exercise (German: Vorübung) is to select behaviors from two different living spaces such as reading, sleeping, doing yoga, watching movies, and then combine them together to reinterpret and design a functional space that fits the given theme, using common interior components such as doors, balconies, curtains, tables as design elements. We chose the handrail as our design element to construct a space where cooking and showering are the main activities.
A line is flanked by two separate spaces, yet the curve is a metaphor for the presence of an absent space. The horizontal curve of the handrail is oriented so that people can be led from the shower space to the cooking space. The overlapping of the handrails in the vertical space satisfies the needs of different people with different heights of handrails, and does not interrupt the integrity of the space. The handrails also provide convenience for users, as household items or shower curtains can be hung or tied, which adds com-fort, fun, and privacy. The pipes that form the handrails can provide hot water for cooking, showering, or heating and drying.
I defined the natural environment for this space with quite some flexibility, just like a pub-lic space in a mountain camp.
From this small design exercise, a logic of connecting and separating different spaces with a continuous curve is derived. Continuing the previous form of the shower space, a circle is used as a bathroom, and the load-bearing structure connected to it bends back to form another room. This load-bearing wall divides the two units. The four units on each floor are arranged on the floor plan in the form of a windmill-like structure. Unlike common high-rise residential spaces, the elevator and walking spaces are no longer located in a concentrated form at the center of the plane, but as elements of a windmill arrangement that spreads out in all directions, with the center being left blank to form an inner courtyard space. The change in the profile of the inner courtyard shows that the entire high-rise is mainly residential space, with commercial office space on the bottom three floors.
The overall living space carries on the open and consistent style of the preliminary de-sign exercise (Vorübung). The bathroom in-between the two bedrooms are also connected to the bedrooms in an open or semi-open form. The balcony is separated from the living space by a glass window that can be swung or slid open, so that the outdoor and indoor spaces can be fully or partially integrated in summer. The building courtyard is not clearly separated from the external urban environment, the transition from the building to the outside blurs the indoor-outdoor boundary. In the end, we chose to place the building on the border between a high-rise neighborhood and a park in the heart of Frankfurt old town.
Critic: Prof. Dipl. Arch ETH Anna Jessen
The project site is located next to a train station, and a sense of speed and rhythm along the railway tracks was the first impression that I got from the site. In the initial design prac-tice, we were asked to express the compositional elements of the building in a 30x30cm black color block. I used white lines and blocks of color to show continuity and pause, as well as to reproduce the speed and rhythm of the site. The area with more black color blocks demonstrates a stronger public trait while the area with more white parts has a more private connotation.
Lines and white space are extended into the architecture as design elements. The flow starts from the underground space connected to the train station and enters the building through the open sunken courtyard. The rooms on both sides of the first floor serve as open spaces, and in this linear direction are arranged lecture halls, open exhibition spaces, cafés, and sunken stair spaces. On the first floor, the whole working space is completely open, so that students of all grades can communicate here. The relatively iso-lated spaces on the second and third floors belong to different teaching and functional areas. The three wedge-shaped skylights in the section bring daylight into the whole building, meeting the need for illumination. The library on the top floor is built around a central roof garden, allowing natural light inside.
Monte d’Oiro Wine Tasting Room
In the initial design practice of this project, we both chose a shape related to red wine as the subject to reconstruct and get inspired on a two-dimensional basis. Circles and wedges were the selected design elements, Then we each tried our design ideas based on them without discussion. Functions and user behaviors were simplified to the mini-mum required and kept in a flexible state to achieve purity of the space.
Placed in the project base, the wedge part is defined as the functional space while the circle is considered as a recurring element. The circle becomes the structural hint leading to diverse semantic connotations, as in the case of the circular window facing the main road, the wall of the circular entrance, the circular skylight at the entrance area, and the waterfall from the rounded roof. The tasting room is, rather, a complete wedge-shaped space, open to the vineyards, offering the sense of summer breeze and the smell of grapes. The low roof, on the other hand, tricked the perspective of the visitors. As the visi-tors’ perspective changes, they will see different scenes. Slanted columns connect the roof and waterfall, adding variety to the gray space under the curved roof. Moreover, the wedge-shaped gray space at the end of the architectural messing creates possibilities for outdoor activities.