A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.86 episode is about Xueying Zhang, who graduated from University of Toronto and is now working for MJMA
Why going abroad?
I don’t like staying at one place for a long time. I left my city for university, and also tried to continue my master in a different environment. I’m always curious about the places I haven’t been to and want to see what’s out there.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
Many of the students here are married or have been worked for a couple of years. They have a better understanding of what they want and where lie their interest.
What do you miss the most about China?
Family, friends, food and Taobao.
Will you come back China? Why?
Perhaps in the future. Clearly, in the past few years, there are more and more outstanding designs and architecture studios emerging in China. That’s very attractive. However, the good thing about here is that the pace either in design or life is slower and leave you some time to think carefully.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
I do see more, but not sure if it is clearer. It’s a complicated and controversial country and I wish her the best.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
The teaching system in University of Toronto is quite similar to Harvard GSD. Since the two schools are quite close, many professors are graduated from GSD and bring their style to here. In general, I think the environment here is more open minded, prof usually give students adequate freedom to do things they are interested in. Model making is strongly recommended here， and students are being very creative about the materials they use.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
My current office is a multidisciplinary design firm focused on projects that advance personal and civic wellness and include a diverse array of programming and scales. They started with designing swimming pools and have their own theory about accessibility and all gender changeroom. They emphasize a lot on transparency and safety that come along. They also design signage / wayfinding and furniture in the building so that everything is consistent.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
Stanley Kubrick. He has OCD for sure, just like most of the architects. The composition of each shot, the color, the mood, and the way of storytelling inspired me a lot.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
I prefer to use concise form to express something powerful.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
From perhaps first year or second year in my undergrad. It’s more like a platform rather than a media now. Keep going!
W O R K
跨界建筑学与心理学 – 当疯狂成为新的正常
NEW NORMAL – Personality Disorder Vessel
Instructor: Brian Boigon
The project is about the potential relationship between psychology and architecture, using psychological matrix to generate architectural forms, using architecture as an instrument, an investigate tool to express things. In particular, areas in personality traits and personality disorders and the relationship between them. My stating point is the movie Fight Club, which talks about a man has two personalities: a hostile one and an even-tempered one.
为了用建筑形式来表现这两种人格，我做了对应这两种人格的小房子。一个在沙漠上，有粗犷的金属表皮；一个在山上，是一个对称宁静的构筑物。剖面上看，一个里面是混乱的几何体堆成的空间，没有固定的功能房间。在我的想象中，暴躁的人有用不完的精力，所以在刁钻的地方钻来爬去 ；一个里面是对称的冥想空间，屋顶可以收集雨水滋养里面的莲花，四周没有围墙，只在下雨的时候有雨帘。楼梯很有仪式感地旋转而下到地下的茶室， 浴室和卧室，没有电器，他日出而起，日落而息。
I made two houses correspond to the two personalities. The hostile one situates in the desert with brutal façade, while the even-tempered one sits in a quiet, serene hill with symmetrical composition. From the section, the hostile one has various random geometries inside, no fixed room or furniture. The stairs are so steep because they have endless energy. The interior surfaces are padded so he can punch everything. The even-tempered one, on the other hand, is a temple-like place for contemplation. The roof collects rain to water the lotuses inside. There are no walls except the raindrop curtain. No air conditioner, no electricity in the house. He sleeps when the sun sets.
做了两个之后我决定做一个系列，于是研究了一下关于人格的分类。根据心理学界目前最公认的人格分类方式, 大五模型（FFM），将人格分为五个方面：外向性，情绪不稳定性，尽责性，亲和性，经验开放性。每个方面都有高分和低分两种人格, 比如说开放性，高分是外向，低分是冷漠。2×5=10，所以一共就是十种人格。
Then, I develop a serious architecture forms for personalities. Built on the theory of the Five Factor Model (FFM), there are five dimensions for personality traits: Extraversion, NeuroticismConscientiousness, Agreeableness, Openness. Each dimension has a high score and low score which makes the total ten. For instance, the high score for extraversion is outgoing and low score is aloof.
Base on the theory, I built a book call The Architecture Personality Handbook, which consists mostly of the description for each of the ten personalities and the architecture forms generated out of them. It’s an introduction and analysis on personality traits and how architecture form can interact with them.
“She organizes a party every week, for a birthday or for nothing.
Talkative, she is always the centre of attention.
She told her friend that she took a French course simply because French men are attractive.
Besides being a party animal, she is also a workaholic.
She loves travelling and hiking.
Lower-case letters are simply insufficient to describe her response to her hiking experiences: “I LOVE to take deep breathe for the fresh air!”
“Her sculptural, vertical house seeks attention.
Each room has a huge opening. She embraces sunshine from every angle.
There is no fixed furniture in her house.
She is so energetic that she barely needs a bed.
A climbing wall and steep ladders form her circulation system.”
“He is not excited when gets a job and not sad when loses it.
He has a stable work, not so well-paid, but not so exhausted as well.
He is deeply short-sighted because he reads too much.
Sometimes he watches his goldfishes swimming for hours.
Gardening is his routine on weekend.”
“He lives by himself in a unit with an extra-narrow entrance.
He cooks in order to stay at home all day.
His bookshelves are his walls.
The skylight is good for his eyes.
He can read on his cozy sofa, in bed, in his bathtub, or on his toilet.
The exterior is clad in mirror so that people won’t notice the building.”
“She weeps at every sad movie.
She visits her doctors more than others and rates her health as worse.
She is quick to detect an angry face.
She can’t eat and sleep and loses weight rapidly for the littlest thing.
She blames herself a lot and thinks no one loves her.
She takes a series of different antidepressants.
She has suicidal thoughts every now and then.
Sometimes she mishears “die” for “dye”, or “pain” for “pane”.
“She lives underground.
There are long stairs that take her down to her room.
Her entrance has its own stair, separate from a public one.
She always cooks for herself in case anyone poisons her.
Yet she never uses fire to cook.
She takes showers instead of baths to avoid drowning.”
“He listens more than he talks.
When bad things happen, he takes it easy and looks at the bright side.
He doesn’t expect too much and thus is not easily surprised.
He sleeps soundly even under great pressure.
He knows that he is imperfect, and he embraces it.”
“He has a temple-like place for contemplation.
The roof collects rain to water the lotuses inside.
There are no walls except the raindrop curtain.
No air conditioner, no electricity.
He prefers natural light and a breeze.
He sleeps when the sun sets.”
“She always goes to sleep unvaryingly at 10:37 p.m.
She reads thirty pages before bed every day.
She is punctual for every event.
She always crosses the road with the light.
She is unable to throw anything away.
If she takes time to do nothing, she feels wasteful and lazy.
She is highly valued at work because of her attention to detail.
She is, however, also the least productive worker in the office. ”
“Her house is rigidly symmetrical.
Each room has exactly the same space.
Her neighbours have the identical layout.
A central spiral staircase takes them up.
The furniture is made of either concrete or marble.
It is unmovable.
No windows at all.
She prefers a clock rather than sunshine to wake her up.
“He starts things right before the deadline.
But eventually, he gets through whatever academic and professional challenges he meets.
He says to himself：” this is my last cigarette“ ten times a day.
He has several expired gym cards.
He never makes plans for travel.”
“Randomly stacked geometries form his house.
He sleeps in a futuristic egg supported by oblique columns.
The directions of the columns follow no rules.
He owns an outdoor swimming pool.
And he builds himself a diving platform.
Sometimes he gets fish in his pool.
But they never last more than one week.”
“She gives blood,donates to charity.
She returns lost wallets, gives directions to strangers in the street.
She is slow to anger and quick to forgive.
She adopts two stray dogs, three stray cats and leaves food on the balcony for birds.”
“Her house looks soft and secure with no sharp angles.
She shares her kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom with another.
They have a hammock on the roof.
Sunlight filters through the house.”
“He feels that he is more important than everyone else.
He does not care to help people.
He has no desire to improve interpersonal relationships.
He is not good at decoding the mental states underlying the words.
He finds human company rather boring most of the time and prefers to be on his own so that he has the freedom to let his thoughts go the way he wants them to.”
“His house has no fixed room or furniture.
Ladders thrust vertically and horizontally.
The house contains various bizarre geometries.
The interior surfaces are padded so he can punch everything.”
“He loves participating in artistic and cultural activities of all kinds-reading, galleries, theatre and music.
He has tried out many different jobs, philosophies, and lifestyles.
He challenges social norms.
He is on a continual quest for self-expression.
He intends to associate many remote domains, potentially leading to bizarre, improbable beliefs of no practical use.”
睡觉是在斜着的 “屋顶” 上
“His house seems upside down.
He sleeps on the pitched “roof”.
He likes to picnic on the flat roof on top.
He exposes his bathroom with a huge, round window.”
“She takes the same coffee every day.
Her schedule is detailed to minute.
She enjoys working with numbers.
She never steps out her country.
She is resistant to the era of information explosion.”
“Her cabin is tiny but efficient.
She has an enclosed bathroom.
She has a nice kitchen with movable dining table.
Her living room and studio have huge windows.
All of these are meticulously arranged within thirty square metres.”
Built on the theory of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). There is a close relationship between the Five-Factor Model of personality and personality disorders. For example, extreme high score in consciousness leads to objective compulsive personality disorder, or extreme high neuroticism leads to avoidant personality.
Besides the ten personality disorders, two blades are created as a way to connect between them, creating a semi-enclosed space for the group of people. The location corresponds to the personality disorder trait as well, such as Paranoid PD and Avoidant PD are at the very edge, while the Histrionic PD and Narcissist PD are at the center of the building. To be clear, these houses are the representations of each personality disorder rather than the habitants for them.
Personality Disorder Rehabilitation
As the society developing, pressure from both life and work are greatly increasing. Personality disorders get more and more common. Currently, personality disorders are treated either with psychiatric counselling or medication. Some patients deny their mental disorder, and there are potential side effects and risks behind medication treatment. Therefore, I start to wonder if architecture can also be a part of the treatment method?
在上一个项目的研究基础上，我设计了一个人格障碍的康复中心。十种PD患者主要分为三个族群：A型 （奇怪型或异常型PD），包括妄想型PD，孤僻型PD和精神分裂型PD；B型 （戏剧型或情感型PD）, 包括反社会PD，边缘型PD，戏剧化PD，自恋型PD；C型 （焦虑型或恐惧型PD），包括畏惧型PD，依赖型PD，强迫型PD。
My last project used architecture as an instrument to develop forms from ten personality disorder traits. This project, I have designed a rehabilitation centre to house patients with personality disorders. Situated in a secluded area with a calm and serene context in nature, patients are divided into three clusters: cluster A， including Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Paranoid personality disorders; cluster B, including Borderline and Antisocial personality disorders or cluster C, including Avoidant, Dependent personality disorders*. (*Based on the DSM(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the American Psychiatric Association which offers a standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.)
Cluster A is odd or eccentric disorders. Generally, they don’t see themselves as mentally ill. They are treatment resisting but post no threat to others. The strategy for these patients is to respect their nature. Since they tend to believe in supernatural power, their living space is designed to give them a divine feeling.
Cluster B disorders are dramatic disorders. They have the potential to hurt themselves or others. Therefore, the section is designed to suppress their feelings of anger by introducing repetition elements. In this way, they can sense order and discipline in their living area.
Cluster C is anxious or fearful disorders. They are aware of their symptom and seeking treatment. Accordingly, the section is designed to encourage their social interaction with each other and have more exposure to nature. Spaces are meticulously designed with respect to each of the cluster’s characteristics, with an aim to facilitate rehabilitation through an architectural approach.
The two blade buildings serve as institution purpose and public activity area. The public spaces are unified by the colour red, including a fitness centre, a running track, an open theatre, and basketball playground. Besides physical exercise area, there are also mental exercises spaces, such as meditation area, library, public baths. Situated in a secluded area with a calm and serene context in nature, they form a comprehensive rehabilitation for patients to relax and enjoy their life.
容器 – 水博物馆
APPARATUS – Water Museum
Hiroshi Sugimoto, the famous Japanese photographer is addicted to capture waters. In his photography, every piece of sea seems similar, yet has different emotions. In fact, the seemingly still sea is changing all the time. Connected to the moon phase, the rise and recede in tide would occur twice a day, with different tidal range.
The water museum, as its name suggests, is a museum about water. The museum has no other artificial exhibits but water. It serves as an apparatus. In different situations, water fills into the museum to interact with people. Sometimes you find yourself beneath the sea and sometimes above it. The water sometimes is on your left and sometimes on your right. You can touch it, play with it or just stare at it, feeling the rise and recede in tide. It creates a place for people to meditate.
Where: Toronto, Canada
Who: Xueying Zhang
School: University of Toronto