We believe that unbuilt projects have their own value! There are countless unbuilt projects behind a built project. Though these projects will never be completed, we might be able to see the purest architectural ideas in them. In Unbuilt Album, gooood introduce representative unbuilt projects of different architectural studios, helping to understand the ideas and possibilities behind these projects. Unbuilt no.2 introduces Atelier FCJZ . More about them: Atelier FCJZ on gooood
出品人：向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑：陈诺嘉，武晨曦，杨子遥，石安 / Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi, Yang Ziyao, Shi Ann
Among all the projects of Atelier FCJZ, what is the proportion of the projects that will never be completed? How many conceptual projects does the atelier have each year specifically for exhibitions or research?
For an architectural office, about two thirds of all projects can never be built for various reasons. The case of Atelier FCJZ seems more optimistic, since that approximately half of the projects have been actually built when looking back on our 28 years of practice.
Exhibition projects account for a small proportion of Atelier FCJZ’s work. In the past we would occasionally organize some exhibitions when there were not quite a few architectural projects to do, and full-size installations were often built up in those exhibitions. Afterwards the number of architectural projects has significantly increased, and therefore we didn’t have too much energy to work on an exhibition. Recently we have finished the spatial design for an exhibition at Pingshan Art Museum in Shenzhen, for which we used a construction system of wooden keel structure clad with panels. This is also our first project for an exhibition since 2016.
Selected built, unbuilt, exhibition and other works by Atelier FCJZ
Why did you choose the two projects, Zhengzhou Kindergarten and Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum, as the representative cases of your uncompleted projects?
There is a significant span of time between these two projects, and they also look quite different. Zhengzhou Kindergarten was a project we did 28 years ago, and the things involved in it, such as courtyards, are always been of interest to me. I think it would be gratifying if there were a chance to make it completed. Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum was a competition project we did two years ago, and for now I’m still attracted to both the quality of the spatial quality and structural form in this design.
In the design of Zhengzhou Kindergarten, a prototype of traditional Chinese garden was used to provide children with the joy of “wandering on a winding and serene path . The facade of the project was expressed through a scattered perspective, which to some extent made the technical drawings difficult to read. Why did you choose such a way of expression?
Perspective is one of the interests I have held for years, both from the angel of an architect and a lover of fine art. Since the invention of mathematical perspective in the 15th century, people gradually come to have a photographical way of thinking, but in fact there are numerous ways of perceiving a space. For example, it is impossible to experience both the inside and outside of a house simultaneously; nor can you experience its all four sides when standing at a point outside. Therefore, when designing Zhengzhou Kindergarten, we used a series of one-point perspectives that unfolded the different facades of the building, just like the view of a person who moved along the perimeter of it. It is not easy to understand the drawings, just like to understand a foreign language you are not familiar with, but there is a clear logic behind them, which only requires to learn about its language system. It might be a problem for the clients because they look and think in a photographical way. But the drawings are not developed only for the clients, they are first and foremost for the architects themselves to help inspire and promote the spatial imagination of the project.
drawings of Zhengzhou Kindergarten, using a series of one-point perspectives ©非常建筑
site plan of Zhengzhou Kindergarten and circulation analysis ©非常建筑
elevations of Zhengzhou Kindergarten ©非常建筑
The concept of translating traditional courtyards into modern architecture has been frequently reflected in Atelier FCJZ’s projects. How was the concept of courtyard incorporated in the design of Zhengzhou Kindergarten？How has this concept changed over the 30 years of practice?
The perception of courtyards has of course changed, which is reflected in the design of both the kindergarten and the museum. In these two projects there were a series of links between the spaces, but achieved by different structural systems. They resulted in a simple and clear form in one case and a relatively complicated one in the other. Zhengzhou Kindergarten was not the first project that demonstrated my interest in courtyards, since I conceived many houses with courtyards about 30 years ago, and three of them are being realized in Ningbo to be finished soon. Therefore, it is important for an architect to be patient.
hand drawings for Ningbo Dongqian Lake Studio ©非常建筑
(left) roof plan and out line of the courtyard walls, (right) plan and the inner side of the courtyard walls
Ningbo Dongqian Lake Studio （under construction) ©非常建筑
The proposal for Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum by Atelier FCJZ was selected as the finalist of the competition. Please share us the concept of the design. And how do you consider the relationship between large public facilities and nature?
I rarely use the word nature. Buildings for nowadays are more in a narrative of cities and connected to urban environments. Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum is located in a park, which may be a little closer to nature, but it is essentially a project embedded in an urban context, as the park itself is an artificial natural environment. The relationship between human and architecture can be divided into two types: one is residence-related and the other is courtyard-related. The former is about inhabiting, as a residence refers to living inside; while the latter is about moving, as a courtyard allows us to stroll around. Exhibition centers and art museums, including the Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum, are all involved with the act of touring and visiting. Along with such a relationship, there will be some questions for us to consider, like whether the layers of spaces should be separated observably or should alter between different levels in an imperceptible way? Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum is an example of the latter, where the floors and levels are not clearly separated, even if the building itself varies in elevations.
aerial rendering of Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum located in an urban park ©非常建筑
relationship between the building and its surroundings ©非常建筑
According to the comments by the Jury of the competition, Atelier FCJZ’s proposal for Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum was considered as very innovative, but might have difficulties in realizing. How far did the team go in dealing with the challenges in structures or materials that would be encountered in actual construction?
Atelier FCJZ always has great interest in material, construction and structure, and takes all these relative issues into consideration from the very early stages of each project. Usually we go further than required for a design competition, for example, we will progress to detailed drawings of structural systems, and will ask structural engineers to estimate the scale of the structural elements and cantilevers to make sure if the design is feasible. The entire project of Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum can be imagined as an undulating, multi-layered system of trusses that contains several points of junction. It was a structure with no columns but each junction can be perceived as a column that pinched the layers together at different locations. The more challenging parts of the structure were those open areas. There were a large quantity of semi-outdoor and semi-indoor spaces in the project, for which we had to repeatedly discuss with the structural engineers on how each space would open up and how much it was allowed to be cantilevered. The final results of the measurements were always achievable, since we would never allow ourselves to aimlessly think about what we are not going to do in the future. The architects we cooperated with are very experienced with steel structures, and in the meantime Atelier FCJZ has a good understanding of concrete technology. In the days to come, we will have a new large cantilevered building completed, with an overhang of more than ten metres, but it is not as complicated compared to Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum.
section of Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum, the structure was carefully considered ©非常建筑
Viewed from the sections, the proposal for Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum provides a permeable and highly connected place. It creates five levels of connections within the building by using a net consisting of multiple layers. How do you consider the impact of such continuous and interconnected spaces on the arrangement of exhibitions?
The exhibitions held in Shenzhen Science & Technology Museum are sci-tech themed, which involve various real issues of today such as technology, energy, climate change and so on. It is not like a typical historical museum that presents the visitors with scenes of another time and space within dark boxes. What you see in the Science & Technology Museum is what is happening today, and the spaces we made, including the artificial microclimates, are themselves part of the exhibition. Technology is not necessarily the most interesting part for architects. What architects do is to create spaces, to provide people with an experience, and to combine them with technical skills in order to achieve a clearer narrative. There is a Danish artist who uses light, mirrors, projections and other means to create particularly magical scenes, but these are actually the content to be present in exhibitions, rather than the task for architects. Virtual reality has now developed to the point where it can not only be visually perceived, but also be experienced physically with the body. However, it is still not able to replace architecture or the architectural spaces, because there comes a time when people take off the glasses and come back to the true reality. On the contrary, architecture engages with the real space in an authentic way. In addition to forms, there are all sorts of sensory experiences including weight, smell, touch, temperature, etc., all of which are the elements that make up the real space. It is the work of architects to figure out how could these elements be mobilized.
climate interactive landscape ©非常建筑
▼对不同展览情景的设想 – 剧场模式展厅
Imagination for different exhibition scenes – exhibition hall like a theater ©非常建筑
▼对不同展览情景的设想 – 展板模式展厅
Imagination for different exhibition scenes – exhibition hall with display boards ©非常建筑
Create space with different experiences ©非常建筑
(upper left) solar energy crystal ball + exploration base for future energy, (upper right) cool environment: bladeless fan + technology market
(lower left) high temperature environment: high sound level environment: intelligent music pavilion, (lower right) low sound level environment: acoustic ball + hacker challenge
Carbon neutrality has become a major trend of development for the future, and bicycles are a good means of transportation to achieve the zero-carbon goals. You have designed a bicycle house that envisages a lifestyle where people and bicycles coexist. How do you see this project and the lifestyle behind it in the current environment?
I have been trying to find an owner for the bicycle house for a long time, without success yet. Now we have designed a commercial centre in Xiamen where people can cycling around. The client asked us to design a seaside shopping mall with venues for extreme sports. On the basis of the brief I suggested to add an extra programme that dedicated to cycling, which would allow people to pass through the shopping mall on their bicycles. They thought this was a good idea and went ahead with it, but finally the plan stopped midway. People nowadays are gradually realizing the importance of keeping healthy. Health and comfort are both what people want, in spite of they may not be thought of in the same way. What we have done is different from just achieving carbon neutral. Carbon is generated and emitted during the production and use of construction materials, which is a relatively large systemic problem that cannot be solved by simply one or two houses. Here, the passive design becomes a rather important content in our architectural projects. With better lighting, better ventilation and more reasonable layout, a house can save a mass of energy. This is a point that can be perpetually dug in the aspect of architectural design without increasing any technical complexity. What we treat as complex technologies, such as clean energy and in-situ waste recycling, are actually accessional solutions.
aerial rendering of the commercial center in Xiamen where people can cycling around ©非常建筑
architectural space integrated with bicycle lanes ©非常建筑
The so-called future may be different from the present, but can be exactly the same as the past. We can’t simply assume that people used to live in an environment that was poor in resources. Their frugal way of living provides us with a lot of scope for development today. The awareness of environment and health has made people today willing to re-adopt the lifestyle of the past, including choosing bicycle for commuting. It is not only for the purpose of keeping healthy, but also for that we feel cycling makes life more convenient and interesting. For myself, there is a sphere of activities with a diameter of about forty minutes walking, and I walk almost every weekend, or ride a bike for further destinations. Once you have accepted such way of living, it will then become a habit. The density of the city now is in some way insufficient, and it’s on the scale of cars, not that of people. In conventional cities there were no such problems as traffic jams — the lack of resources eliminate the risk of making mistakes. Now that these mistakes have been made, and repeated countless times over the last few decades. People are supposed to start to realize the necessity of change.
axonometric drawing of the bicycle house ©非常建筑
model of the bicycle house ©非常建筑
2018年的China House Vision探索家展览中您设计了砼器概念住宅，对于未来人的生活方式您有哪些新的想法？
For the China House Vision exhibition in 2018, you designed the Concrete Vessel, a conceptual prototype of dwelling. Do you have any new ideas for the way people will live in the future?
We are now planing to build a house like that in Yixing as our private residence. It is nothing more than an introverted structure, like a traditional house with a courtyard in the middle. Large-sized apartments on the market now have more rooms than the users actually need. A big residence means more rooms, but the purchaser who can afford it doesn’t have to be a family of more members. Guests now barely choose to stay overnight, which leaves a bunch of rooms unused. Considering that we are designing a home for two people, occasionally with a guest, we don’t have to begin with a large-sized plan. When there are just only two of us, the space of the house can be completely open; In other cases it is convenient to use movable partitions to create a temporary bedroom for our guest. We have showed some people the drawings of the project, and found that many of them are willing to live in a house like that. I believe there will be more people who like it when they see the result.
Studio and House in Yixing designed by Yung Ho Chang ©非常建筑
Studio in Yixing, the partitions could be completely open ©非常建筑
axonometric of the Studio in Yixing ©非常建筑
“Looking for Malevich”and “Looking for Palladio”were two sets of exhibition devices that had relevance with each other, which used distinct Vew-Finders to capture views, sort of like“framing”in architecture. How much effort do you usually put into these purely conceptual projects? How have they helped and inspired your thinking about architecture and cities? What other experiments and explorations would you like to do in the future?
As I just mentioned about perspective, what behind it is actually my interest in fine art. I always love painting, and the frame in Western painting can be also perceived as a view-finder, and the perspective refers to the relationship between people and space. Both“Looking for Malevich”and “Looking for Palladio” discussed the issues of perspective and framing. In August this year, we will gather these five installations that relate to perspective and space together to form an exhibition at Pingshan Art Museum. The frames appeared in the installations can be imagined as buildings, helping visitors to establish a unique relationship with the scenery on the opposite side, which is not so abstruse as surmised.
▼寻找马列维奇 – 取形器
Looking for Malevich – installation to capture the forms ©非常建筑
The framing in a painting is much more simple than in architecture. Compared to describing what is interesting about architecture, it is much easier to do the same thing visually. How do people understand the length of time and the scale of space? They think it is a quite clear way of understanding, but in fact they have no idea how long or how big it is without looking at the clock or physically measuring the space. Additionally, people’s experience will be affected by a series of complicated factors, for example, when departing for an unfamiliar place, you may feel it took much more time to get there but a shorter time to get back, even though the distance is obviously the same. In the design of the Wuzhen Art Museum, we also took advantage of this relationship between perspective and experience, exaggerating the perspective of a statice space on the one hand and narrowing it as far as possible on the other. As the visitors moving between the two ends of the venue, they were provided with two reversed experiences: an extended space with a long span of time; and a compressed space with a shot span of time. Ultimately the design was meant to fuzz up the visitors’ perception on the scale of both space and time to enable them to better enjoy the space-time itself.
aerial view of the Wuzhen Yada Art Museum (under construction) ©非常建筑
Wuzhen Yada Art Museum, aerial view of the courtyards and the corridors ©非常建筑
apply perspective principle in the design of the space ©非常建筑
construction site, concrete columns ©非常建筑
You were involved as the spatial designer for the exhibition Nine-Tiered Pagoda: Spatial and Visual Magic at Pingshan Art Museum. Could you please tell us about the space you designed and the process of your collaboration with the other designers and artists? We have also heard about that you will have a solo exhibition in Shenzhen recently, would you mind sharing us something about that?
different walls in the exhibition space ©非常建筑
Nine-Tiered Pagoda is an exhibition that calls us old guys together, including several veteran graphic designers. The four artists are Chen Wenji, Ding Yi, Liang Quan and Tan Ping, who all specialize in abstract paintings, and the graphic designer is Han Jiaying. They know about my passion on fine arts and that is why they asked me to do the spatial part for the exhibition. The design can be described as a minimalist house where the materials, structure and space collectively form its experience. Whereas the so-called abstract painting focuses its quality on the painting itself, our design focuses on the building itself. We have built several partition walls to display the artists’ works, which include gaps inside where the visitors can walk in to see some small pieces of paintings; there are also some spaces from where you can look at both paintings and visitors outside. Aside from the richness of the spatial experience, it is in fact a very simple space whose objective is to draw visitors’ attention to the paintings. The architectural space doesn’t meant to provide another story. It just offers a route for visitors to experience the spaces that vary in size and brightness, including those seats and theatre-like areas. Abstract art has its modern and classical facets, and thus recognizing abstract art from a new perspective became a starting point for us to do engage with the design. It is a relatively personal issue whether or not one can appreciate the classical spirit from the pieces, but it is sure that the artists made it, so did the two curators Cui Cancan and Liu Xiaodu, and as simultaneously an architect and the director of the museum, Liu was conscious of the ritualistic and monumental quality in it.
rich spatial experience created by walls with gaps in them ©白羽
You have a wide range of interests that encompass painting, writing and theatre. For you, what else do you think is important to pursue as an architect apart from “making projects built”?
I do have a lot of interests, while some people are just passionate for one thing, maybe design, and they prefer doing that seven days a week. Siza is now near 90 years old and is still busy on architectural practice and teaching design at school. I’m a lover of various kinds of things, maybe it’s because of my art background. For example, I drew the pattern of the tapestry on the wall of my office, of which the grid seems to have something to do with architecture, but in reality it is just a graphic work. Recently I have been working on a book that contains my own photographic works taken with my cellphone, and mostly are portraits. Mr. Lu Zhichang takes charge of the book design.
tapestry design by Yung Ho Chang: Sixteen-pattern grid ©非常建筑
furniture design: Plywood furniture ©非常建筑
stage design: Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove ©非常建筑
Modern society, in my opinion, has placed too much emphasis on division of labor after years of capitalism. When talking about a person, it is almost inevitably to give a definition to his or her profession and presuppose that it will permanently last, like it is not important to understand his or her interests. I would try my hand at everything I feel interesting, and now I’ve got the opportunity to do so. Some people may think it’s not proper for an architect to be like that, but it is exactly the way I like. There is no need to be self-constrained.
Yung Ho Chang ©非常建筑