Under 35 – Chen Xi

Create a small miracle, an unexpected/magical moment in the mediocrity of daily environment.

Project Specs

Design:
Location:

gooood团队采访世界各地 35岁以下的年轻创意人,他们有的是创业者,有的是业主,有的是普通职员。我们探访众生百相,记录这个时代年轻人的面貌和真实状态,欢迎您的推荐和建议。
第48期为您介绍的是 一树建筑工作室 创始人 陈曦。更多关于他,请至:ATELIER XI on gooood

gooood team interviews creative individuals under 35 years old from all over the world, some are pioneering founders, some are clients, some are ordinary practitioners. gooood is trying to record the authentic living and working states of this era. Your recommendations and suggestions are appreciated!
gooood Under 35 NO.48 introduces Chen Xi, founder of ATELIER XI
More: ATELIER XI on gooood

出品人:向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑:陈诺嘉,武晨曦,姜晓姗 / Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi, Jiang Xiaoshan

 

 

 

 

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回溯
Retrofit

 

“在清华的时候,老师强调设计的逻辑和理性推导过程;到了哈佛,对我影响最大的反而是几位西班牙老师,他们多了很多历史和情感的维度。”

“When I was in Tsinghua, the professor emphasized the logic of design and a concept-driven design methodology. When I arrived at Harvard, some Spanish professors had the greatest influence on me. They focused more on broader dimensions on urban history and individual’s sensation.”

 

我在南方长大,北方念书;本科读的清华,研究生读的哈佛;后来又去欧洲工作了一段时间。我挺习惯在不同的地域文化里生活,不会觉得自己一定属于哪里,而这些不同的经历会带给我不一样的认同感。同样的内容,我在国内上学的时候会学,在哈佛又会学,但是角度不太一样。国内可能会侧重讲宏大的历史、风格和制式;国外反而会更加关注决策机制、土地政策、市长与市长的性格区分和轶事等等。这样正着听一遍,反着听一遍,会让我多一些开放的思考。此外,在清华的时候,老师向我推荐的是一种比较美国的学术方向,强调设计的逻辑和理性推导过程。到了哈佛,我受到了更加多元的文化冲击,对我影响最大的反而是几位西班牙老师,如教城市设计的Joan Busquets、教建筑设计的Inaki Abalos以及Rafael Moneo的理论课,他们跟同校的美国老师相比显得不是那么理性,但是多了很多历史和情感的维度,促使我做出了去欧洲工作的决定。

I grew up in the South and studied in the North; I finished my undergraduate study at Tsinghua University, and pursued graduate-level study at Harvard. Later, I went to Europe to work for a while. I am quite used to living in different regions and with diverse cultures, since I don’t feel that I must belong to one place. These different experiences have brought me an all-embracing sense of identity. I learned the same urban history in both China and the U.S., but with different perspectives. The former education may tends to focus on historical discourses and styles, while the latter pays more attention to decision-making mechanisms, land policies, the distinction between mayors and mayors, anecdotes, and other details. Studying these subjects in different ways opened up my mind. In addition, when I was in Tsinghua, the professor introduced to me academic pedagogies related more to American schools, emphasizing the logic of design and a concept-driven design methodology. When I arrived at Harvard, I was impacted by an even more diverse design culture. It was the courses by Spanish professors that had the greatest influence on me, such as Joan Busquets’ urban design class, Inaki Abalos’ architecture studio, and Rafael Moneo’s theory course. All these professors were very different from other American professors at GSD in that they were less interested in rationality, but focused more on broader dimensions on urban history and individual’s sensation, which prompted me to make the decision to work in Europe.

▼陈曦在哈佛
Chen Xi in Harvard University

 

 

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国外工作与回国创业
Working aboard and Returning to China

 

“BIG和Steven Holl的事务所都与自己所处的环境格格不入,而正是这种格格不入的状态给了它们某种自由,可以在更高的层次上追求自己的理想。”

“Both BIG and Steven Holl’s offices are more or less incompatible with their own cultural conditions, and I believe this incompatibility has given them a certain degree of freedom so that they are able to pursue their own ideal designs at a higher intellectual level.”

 

我去的第一家公司是BIG,在哥本哈根。到了才发现BIG虽然地处欧洲,但是它的思考和设计方式非常美国,强调清晰的设计逻辑,作品看上去既简单、又巧妙,而且方便大众理解,特别容易传播。这是BIG的一项巨大的优势。回到美国在Steven Holl那里工作后,我发现它反而更像一家欧洲公司。Steven关注欧洲的传统哲学、文学以及艺术的传承,思考的永远是自己跟这些艺术思潮流派之间的关系,再加上他本身是一个非常有才华并且勤奋的艺术家,每天早上五六点起床画水彩,每个项目都亲力亲为地画水彩来指导设计概念和细节,使得事务所呈现出一种非常传统的、偏欧洲式的风格。BIG和Steven Holl的事务所都与自己所处的环境格格不入,而正是这种格格不入的状态给了它们某种自由,不太受所谓学术圈语境的影响,可以在更高的层次上追求自己的理想。

我在Steven Holl事务所工作了六年,相当于扮演了Steven的手这样一个角色,大概有一半的项目前期都是我帮他做形体和空间塑造,很大程度上影响了我的审美和对建筑学的认知。Steven就像我的老师,手把手教我,带我做汇报,所以当时我其实很犹豫是否要辞职。但是如果我一直待在工作室里,那么我和负责的项目就只是纸面上的关系,没法方便地去看工地或者和客户做一手沟通,因此最后还是决定回国了。

The first company I worked for was Bjake Ingles Group (BIG) in Copenhagen. I soon discovered that although BIG is located in Europe, its thinking and design methods are very Americanized, highlighting a series of clear design logic. Their works look simple and ingenious, thusare easily understoodby the public and spread among the public. This became a huge advantage of BIG. However, after returning to the United States to work with Steven Holl, I found that Steven Holl Architects(SHA) acted more like a European company, because Steven usually placed himself in the inheritance of traditional European philosophy, literature, and art. He always reflected on the relationship between his architecture and these artistic or philosophic theories. He was such a talented and diligent artist that he often woke up at five or six in the morning to paint watercolors which guided the design concepts and details of every projects. In my opinion, his way of thinking and working endowed the office a European approach to architectural design. Both BIG and Steven Holl’s offices are more or less incompatible with their own cultural conditions, and I believe this incompatibility has given them a certain degree of freedom so that they are not affected too much by the surrounding academic context. Therefore, they are able to pursue their own ideal designs at a higher intellectual level.

I worked at SHA for six years. During those year, I played a role more or less equivalent to his hands. About half of the new projects were handled by me in their early stages. I tested digital drawings and physical models that reflected the spaces he had imagined in his watercolors. These experiences largely shaped my aesthetic taste and understanding of architecture. Steven is like my teacher, advising me hand in hand on how to do drawings and presentations. It was hard for me to make the decision to resign at the time, but I believed that if I stayed in the New York studio for too long, my understanding of design projects would remain mostly on drawings rather than more comprehensive involvement in later stages, such as the construction phase that allows site visit and first-hand client communication. After deliberate consideration, I decided to return to China in the end.

▼陈曦在Steven Holl事务所工作
Chen Xi working in Steven Holl’s studio

 

“深圳是一个非常有建筑活力的城市,相对来说也没有太多历史负担,可以更自由地去创造新的城市和建筑形态。”

“Shenzhen is a internationally reputable city with great architectural vitality. Relatively there is not too much historical burden, and architects can experiment with new city typologies and architectural forms with great flexibility.”

 

在国外看来,深圳是一个非常有建筑活力的城市,每年都有一大批新的设计涌现,相对来说也没有太多历史负担,可以更自由地去创造新的城市和建筑形态;再加上我有很多好朋友回国都选择到深圳发展,所以我也来到了深圳。从Steven那里辞职后,我希望可以有一段时间让自己沉淀一下,仔细思考将来要做什么,于是到深大当了一年讲师。教书的过程很快乐,所以事务所成立后,我还是保留了深大的授课工作,担任外聘教师,教二年级的设计课和毕业设计。学校的任务书一般功能性比较强,我会在其基础上加一个新的题目,比如给十篇小说,每个同学拿一篇小说来做一个设计;或者大家分头去研究汉字,从汉字的空间结构和逻辑出发做十个房子。这样做也像是在给自己出题,学生和我都不知道会得到什么样的结果。我们可以一起探讨,最后往往会有一些意外的收获。

Shenzhen is a internationally reputable city with great architectural vitality. A large number of new designs emerge every year. Relatively there is not too much historical burden, and architects can experiment with new city typologies and architectural forms with great flexibility. Many of my good friends chose to develop their offices in Shenzhen when they returned to China. I joined them as well. After resigning from SHA, I hoped that I can calm down for a while and think carefully about what I wanted to do in the future, so I applied to teach at Shenzhen University as a full-time lecturer for one year, which turned out to be so enjoyable that after establishing my own office, I kept my teaching position as a guest instructor for the second-year design studio and undergrad design thesis. Design studio assignments in the school are generally very pragmatic, so I usually add a sub-topic on top of it. For example, I once gave students ten novels and asked each of them to do a design work derived from a novel; another year, I asked students to study Chinese characters according to which they created ten houses in the end. Teaching these studios is like commissioning myself with experimental design projects. Neither the student nor I know what the results will be. We explored together, and in the end there were often unexpected accomplishments.

▼陈曦在深大教书
Chen Xi teaching in Shenzhen University

 

“做设计并不完全是造物者创造世界;我们可能更多的是像种树一样种下一些空间,让生活和故事在里面生长。”

“I feel that the architect serves not as-creators but tree planters. We carefully “plant” spaces for life and stories to naturally grow in them.”

 

工作室之所以起名叫一树建筑,是因为我觉得做设计并不完全像部分现代主义者所相信的那样仿佛是造物者创造世界;我们可能更多的是像种树一样种下一些空间,让生活和故事在里面生长。我希望自己的工作室最后不会变成个人标签的复制黏贴,而是基于不同的场地和环境提取出一些独特的要素,形成属于那个地方的空间。这是我成立一树建筑的初衷,也是我保持至今的是态度。工作室的规模不大,员工不超过10个人,项目以中小型的公共和文化项目为主,也有一部分改造和室内设计,每年还会参加两三个投标或竞赛,超越一下实际项目中那种束手束脚的状态。设计流程上,我会提出一个比较明确的动机或概念主题。有的时候到了现场就立刻有了灵感,回来就可以直接画好草图;有的时候项目比较复杂,我会和同事们一起研究其中的可能性,找到最好的答案。

The reason why my office is named Yi Shu Jian Zhu in Chinese is because I feel that the architect serves not as-creators but tree planters. We carefully “plant” spaces for life and stories to naturally grow in them. I hope that my practice will not become a copy-and-paste of personal signature. Rather, we seek to createspaces that belong to their environmental contexts with unique elements/ideas extracted from surroundings. This is my original intention and it continues to guide my practice till today. My studio is not big, with no more than 10 employees. Our projects are mainly small and medium-sized public and cultural projects, as well as some renovation and interior projects. Every year, we also participate in a few competitions that would refresh restrained mindsets bounded in pragmatic designs. Speaking of the design process, I usually bring a relatively clear motivation or conceptual theme in the beginning. Sometimes I get inspiration immediately when I arrive at the site, and I would draw sketches directly when I goback to office; Sometimes the project is more complicated. In this case, I would study the schematic possibilities with my colleagues and find the best answer collaboratively.

▼一树建筑工作室,office of ATELIER XI

 

 

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城中村
Urban Villages

 

“城中村里充满了情感,保留了街巷的尺寸和邻里的关系,为那些在城市追逐梦想的人们提供了一个非常低成本的居住空间。”

“The urban villages are full of emotions, retaining the original size of the streets and the close relationship between the neighborhoods, providing a very low-cost living space for those who are chasing their dreams in the city.”

 

我对城中村产生兴趣是在哈佛上城市政策课的时候,当时我写了一篇论文,介绍城中村因为土地权属带来的独特空间形态,讨论政策和空间之间的关系以及人的使用。多年后,当我来到深圳开始建筑实践,这个问题又摆到了我的面前。提到深圳,大家都会想到一个有着全国最高房价的大都会形象,普利兹克奖得主在这里竞争十大建筑。实际上,深圳有一半的建筑面积都在城中村,超过一半的人口住在其中。这些看上去阴暗的握手楼,为那些在城市追逐梦想的人们提供了一个非常低成本的居住空间。如果只是一味地把这些城中村拆除,那么许多人就失去了在这座城市里生存、追逐梦想的机会。另一方面,城中村里充满了情感,保留了街巷的尺寸和邻里的关系,拥有自治的社区、自己的文艺队和自己的选举,这一点和新建的小区以及摩天楼社区十分不同。我们参与了大概六七个城中村改造项目,有些项目是和其他建筑师一起做的。在这个过程中,我观察到对于这些存量的城中村的改造和提升,有机会成为对抗传统城市发展和旧改模式的新空间形态。我们在城中村做的事情只是一个开始,未来还有很大的发展前景。

I became interested in urban villages when I was attending an urban policy class at Harvard. At that time, I wrote an essay introducing the spatial form of Shenzhen’s urban villages in relation to land ownership, discussing the relationship between policies and spaces. Years later, when I came to Shenzhen to start my practice, this topic came to me again. Speaking of Shenzhen, an image of a metropolis with the highest housing prices in the country pops out in our minds. Dozens of Pritzker Prize winners compete to design cultural buildings here. In fact, half of Shenzhen’s total building area is in the territories defined as urban villages, and more than half of the population lives in these highly densified communities. These seemingly gloomy handshake buildings provide a very low-cost living space for those who are chasing their dreams in the city. If one just simply demolish these urban villages, many will lose the opportunity to survive in Shenzhen and have to give up their dreams.

On the other hand, the urban villages are full of emotions, retaining the original size of the streets and the close relationship between the neighborhoods, having autonomous communities, performing their own elections. This is a very different pattern from that of the newly built residential districts. We have participated in about six or seven urban village renovation projects, some of which were done collaboratively with other architects as a group design study. During this process, I realized that the transformation and upgrading of these existing urban villages reflected the opportunity to generate a new pattern against traditional Modernist urban development and urban renewal models. What we are doing in the urban villages is just a beginning, and we envision greater potentials in the future.

▼陈曦参与设计的部分城中村项目,selected projects in urban village designed by Chen Xi

 

“作为建筑师所关心的工法的严谨和完美,对于社区来说可能并不是那么重要。更重要的还是设计和居民生活之间的关系,是否会与他们产生联系、形成反馈。”

“The perfection of construction that we architects care the most may not be so important to the community. A more essential point is the relationship between design and residents’ daily lives and whether they would connect themselves with the design.”

 

2018年城事设计节,我被委托做一个入口装置,造价约为四万元。低廉的成本只是困难的一部分,另一部分是跟当地居民的沟通。尽管场地没有什么人气,但是一旦要改造,就必须要征得所有邻里和社区的同意。社区沟通完后,还要去和各种各样的城市部门沟通。结果本来以为一个月就能完成的项目,走走停停耗费了一年时间。到场地的第一个瞬间,我们觉得这里是一处很好的从城中村到城市的过渡,希望在一线天里做出一片广阔的空间。于是我们计划在天花和地面里埋几千根光纤,两侧安装镜面金属板,营造出入口的形象。然而,城中村里每家每户都对空间有自己的归属感。你觉得破败的墙面,他们觉得这是属于他们的墙,你不能动。最后做出来的星空装置与两侧墙面脱开,让出了每户人家的管道;也给每个用户的水表、电表留了门,可以像柜子一样打开查看;地面上所有的井盖也都得到了保留。

In the 2018 Urban Festival, I was commissioned to create an entrance installation with a budget about 40,000 RMB. The limited budget was only a part of the challenge, since it was also difficult to coordinate with local residents. Although the site was barely used at that moment, we must get approval from all neighbors and communities to start renovation. In addition, we had to get approval from various municipal bureaus. As a result, it took almost a year for completing this project which was originally scheduled to be finished in one month. At the first moment when I arrived at the original site, I found it an amazing transitional space connecting the village to the city, thus I was inspired to create a vast space in such a narrow alleyway. So we proposed to install stainless steel mirrors on both sides of the hallway to enlarge the space in perception, and we planned to install thousands of optical fibers above the ceiling and under the ground to recreate a starry sky. However, neighbors in the urban village did not want their building to be touched. In the end, the installation was set back from the building walls on both sides, offsetting back from  the pipes of each household; it also set back from the doors for each user’s water and electric meters, which can be opened and viewed like a cabinet; all the manhole covers on the ground were also kept untouched.

▼城中村缝隙里的星空(点击这里查看更多),Fiber Optic Starry Alley in the Urban Village (click HERE to view more)

▼装置与原有墙面脱开,保留管道等设备,the installation is separated from the original walls, restoring the ducts and other facilities

这项工程需要小心翼翼地回应周边居民的每一样诉求。这些限制条件让设计本身变得更有意思,更接近它所属于的场所。在造价和时间的限制下,装置的细节和我最初的设想还是有挺大差距的。项目完工后,我曾躲在一旁看居民们怎么评价,发现大家来到这个空间后,尤其是小朋友们会特别兴奋。他们会在地上找光源,讨论是不是走进去以后就到了游戏的下一个关卡,还会有许多其他奇奇怪怪的描述。那个时候我突然意识到,作为建筑师所关心的工法的严谨和完美,对于社区来说可能并不是那么重要。更重要的还是设计和居民生活之间的关系,是否会与他们产生联系、形成反馈。

This project requires careful response to every request from surrounding residents. These constraints made the project more complex but also more relevant to the place it belongs to. Due to limited budget and time, the details of the installation come out quite different from my original expectation. However, after the completion of the project, I asked for residents’ feedbacks and found that most people were very excited when they walked into this space, especially the children. They would look for light sources on the ground and discuss how it was made. One boy made up a game and told others that they would reach the next level of the game after passing through this installation. At that time, I suddenly realized that the perfection of construction that we architects care the most may not be so important to the community. A more essential point is the relationship between design and residents’ daily lives and whether they would connect themselves with the design.

▼儿童在装置中玩耍,children playing in the installation

 

“做一件有魔力的事,让平庸的日常环境里出现一个小小的奇迹,一个意外而神奇的瞬间。”

“Create a small miracle, an unexpected/magical moment in the mediocrity of daily environment.”

 

在城中村做设计最开始是想提升空间的品质,但是后来发现不可能一夜之间让城中村变成纽约的东村,最后我们能做的只有采取一种最小化的策略,即形式最小、工艺最简单、施工投入最少。我们希望项目本身能呈现一种纯粹的概念上的有趣。因为不可能面面俱到地去提升整个空间,不如做一件有魔力的事,让平庸的日常环境里出现一个小小的奇迹,一个意外而神奇的瞬间。我们的目标是赋予日常生活空间富有想象力的可能性,这是我们在城中村改造项目里延续至今的想法。

When we started with the projects in urban villages, we wanted to improve everything related to the space, but later I found it impossible to immediately gentrify these villages into the West Village of New York overnight. In the end, all we could do was to adopt a minimalized strategy, using the simplest technique to create the purist form with the least necessary construction investment. Because we usually don’t have enough resources to improve everything in the entire space, we try to focus on certain aspects and present a simple but interesting idea. We hope that in this way, we are able to create a small miracle, an unexpected/magical moment in the mediocrity of daily environment. Our goal is to provide imaginative possibilities to the ordinary life, which became the working mindset we have continued to use in other urban village projects.

▼在城中村中创造一些不同 – 多米诺展馆(点击这里查看更多
Make something different in the urban village – Dom-Ino Pavilion (click HERE to view more)

▼在城中村中创造一些不同 – 平山村4号农民房改造
Make something different in the urban village – Renovation of the villager’s house on no. 4, Pingshan Village

我觉得城中村项目和其他城市项目没有很大的区别,或者说城中村只是一个缩影,这种高密度、低成本、少时间的项目状态,以及需要跟不同单位沟通的问题,也会出现在非城中村项目中。城中村是一个比较极端的让我接触到国内实践环境的机会。它在工艺、造价和时间上的限制,以及周边利益环境的复杂,可以说是国内建筑实践现状很极端的代表。回国后就在城中村做设计,如同进入大环境里上的第一课。我曾经是一个很理想化的纸面建筑师,不得不在每一个项目里去调整和适应,以让自己的设计得以呈现。经过这些磨炼,我和团队获得了更好的心理素质,可以去应对更艰巨的挑战。

I think the challenge we faced in the village project was just a microcosm of a larger issue. This kind of high-density, low-cost, short-time condition of the projects and the need to coordinate with different constituencies also apply to other projects in the city outside of urban villages. The projects in the villages were exact opportunities for me to get my hands on in the practical world. Its limitations in craftsmanship, regulations, budget and time, as well as the complexity of the surrounding neighborhood are very typical compared to the overall Chinese architectural projects. The experience of working with urban villages is like the first lesson I got after establishing my practice to China. I used to work as a very idealistic architect-on-paper, but now I have to negotiate with every project contingencies for our designs to survive. After these experiences, my team and I have become better prepared for more difficult challenges.

▼大梅沙村艺术公社改造前后对比,contrast before and after renovation of the Art Commune in Dameisha Village

 

 

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微建筑系列
Miniature Series

 

“不完全模仿当地的建筑,自成系统,仿佛降落在乡村的陨石,带有某种陌生但是有趣的新知识和新能量。”

“They were made as new structures apart from the local building styles, acting as pieces of meteorites landing in the countryside to bring interesting new knowledge and new energy from outer space.”

 

修武当地领导倡导用美学复兴乡村。一开始,他们邀请我做一个三百平米的文化建筑,向当地社区的孩子们推广美学教育。为了确定选址,我们一起山上山下跑了很多天,看了很多地方。后来我说:这么大面积,这么多乡镇,既然这里是竹林七贤的故乡,我们不如干脆把建筑分成七份,也许能更好地就近服务基层社区。当地领导很支持这个替代策略,这样的计划有助于他们分散项目投资,一步一步实现目标。于是我们跟县里的人一起选了七个分散在不同地方的基地,有的在果园里,有的在田间,有的在山上,有的是村里的戏台,还有的是废弃的老屋。甲方给每个基地都赋予了一个新的任务,希望除了美学教育以外,还可以带动当地农产品的销售,产生实际的经济效益。村庄旁边就是云台山景区,他们也希望可以通过建造这样一系列文化项目吸引游客前来,拉动消费。

Local leaders in Xiuwu advocated an aesthetic approach towards rejuvenating these communities. At the beginning, they invited me to build a 300-square-meter cultural building for facilitating the county’s culture and art education. To decide where to build, we visited many places across the county in a few days. With such a large area and so many villages to serve, I came up with an idea to divide one building into a series of miniature facilities in different locations so as to better serve local communities. Since this was also the hometown of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove in ancient time, we proposed to divide the buildinginto seven miniature parts scattered around the county. Local leaders were very supportive of this strategy, for such a plan could help them to finance the project in several phases and to achieve their goals step by step. So we together chose seven sites: one in the peach orchard, one in the farming field, one on top of the mountain, one in the village as a performance stage, and one occupying the abandoned adobe house. Once the sites were determined, the local people came up with additional requirements for each site. They hoped that in addition to aesthetic qualities, this project could also promote the sales of local agricultural products and generate actual economic benefits. Furthermore, because this county was located next to the Yuntai Mountain Scenic Area, they also hoped that such a series of cultural buildings could contribute in tourism and stimulate consumption.

▼微建筑系列的七个建筑,seven buildings in the Miniature Series

最开始设计者七个建筑的时候,我希望它们是具有相似性的一个系列,不完全模仿当地的建筑,自成系统,仿佛降落在乡村的陨石,带有某种陌生但是有趣的新知识和新能量。最初的草图里,我画了一些如同带触角的石头一般的造型,而当把每个建筑放到各自所属的场地上时,村镇的运营者和使用者会提出更具体的要求。根据他们的要求调整设计后,最终得到的就是这些彼此看上去既像又不像的房子。

When started to design these seven buildings, I hoped that they were made as new structures apart from the local building styles, acting as pieces of meteorites landing in the countryside to bring interesting new knowledge and new energy from outer space. In the initial conceptual design, I sketched out some shapes of sculptural stones with tentacles. When each building was placed on its own site, the local users asked for more specific requirements. After adjusting the design according to their requirements, the resulting forms of these vignettes became somehow alike but different.

▼模型,建筑如同带触角的石头,models, buildings are like stones with tentacles

我们希望项目在工艺上适合当地人自己去完成,而每个地方工艺和材料都有所不同,因此有的项目是用混凝土做的,有的则直接使用涂料,还有的是用木头制成。概念设计与来自本土的诉求不断碰撞,达到了一种我们所理解的“在地性”。这个“在地性”不是说一定要用村民所用的材料,或者乡村常见的工法,而是说我们可以利用设计的空间与乡村居民的生活和诉求产生关联。这种跟土地、跟环境、或是跟行为产生的关联,有时可能会得到冲突或矛盾性的结果,甚至呈现为一个反抗式的回应。以我们在废弃的土坯房里建造的书屋为例。村民以为我们会修复土坯墙,但是我们找遍了当地的工匠,发现已经没有人会做土坯墙了。这种情况下,不如就建一栋新房子,让一个新生命从残垣断壁里生长出来,和废墟产生某种强烈的冲突和对话。这也代表了我们对于项目和环境之间关系的看法。

We hoped that the project could engage local people to in construction phase, so that the craft techniques and materials would vary based on conditions of each distinct site: some projects were made of concrete; some were painted with stucco, and some were made of wood. Conceptual design and local requirements continue to collide, reaching a sort of “locality” as we understood it. This “locality” does not mean that we have to strictly use the materials or the common construction methods used in the village, but that we can relate the design to the lives and demands of the rural residents. This connection with the land, the environment, and the behavior may sometimes result in conflicts, and may even appear as a rebellious response. Take the Library in Ruins we built in an abandoned adobe house as an example. The villagers thought that we would renovate the rammed earth house, but we searched for local craftsmen and found that no one could make beautiful rammed earth walls anymore. Therefore, we decided to create a new building that grows out from the ruins to provoke a dialogue between the old and the new. This back-and-forth design process represents our approach on interpreting the relationship between the built projects and the local environment.

▼废墟书屋外观,老房子中生长出来的新建筑,external view of the Library in Ruins, new structure emerging from the ruins of an old house

▼混凝土结构与土墙交接,intersection of the concrete structure and the rammed earth walls

 

“桃屋最重要的品质是它的陌生感,邀请观众去探索一个来自远方的世界……我希望能够创造可能性,让乡村生活充满惊喜。”

“This architecture’s most important feature is precisely its condition of estrangement… the Peach Hut is an enigmatic and optimistic gizmo, and a respectful herald inviting its listeners to explore the distant worlds that he comes from…I am excited to contirbute to the rural living conditions and strive to make it full of minor surprises.”

 

桃屋最开始的设想是建造一栋纯粹服务于儿童的社区教育建筑,而当地还希望它能够兼具推广果园里的桃子等农产品的效果。我第一次来果园是在三月底,正好是桃花盛开的时候,满园都是粉红色,所以我们就想到用粉色混凝土造一个房子。这在当地是前所未有的,我们派设计师打了两个月混凝土小样,最后终于得到了一种颜色我们认可,强度符合当地质量检测要求的混凝土原料。当地的桃树有两个品种,一种是Y字形,一种是一边倒。我们希望自己的房子能够跟植物之间有一种隐秘的关联,让大家眼前一亮,打开当地村民和小朋友们的想象。建筑从大地上跃升而起,每个窗户形状都不一样:有方的,有圆的,有四分之一圆弧的,还有一个条形的天窗。阳光透过不同的窗户投下不同的影子,不同高度上看出去的风景也不尽相同。灯具和把手也是我们自己定制的。

The original idea of the Peach Hut was to erect a space purely for community education that serves kids, but the locals also hoped that it could help promoting their agricultural products, such as peaches and grapes in the orchard. I arrived at the orchard at the end of March when the peach trees blossomed in soft breeze. The whole garden was filled with color pink, so I decided to build it with pink cast-in-place concrete which was unprecedented in the local area. Our on-site architects had worked with construction team for two months on repeated field testing before we eventually reached to a formula that met the desired color and concrete strength. Since the trees on the site all leaned to one side, we envisioned that the building could be made as an reflective form derived from the trees, forming a unique shape that rises to the sky.

In the Peach Hut, all windows are of diverse shapes, responding to different views and light angles: the large floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the panoramic view of the farm; the round window frame on the south; and the entrance corner window made as a quarter circles. The shadow cast down from light well changes at every moment based on skylight nuances. In addition, we customized a special bronze wall sconce and black steel door handles that correspond to the contour of the building.

▼果园桃屋,位于果园之中(点击这里查看更多),Peach Hut located in the orchard (click HERE to view more)

▼由粉红色混凝土制成的建筑,building made of pink concrete

▼细部,details

有一篇文章这样形容这栋房子,大意为:桃屋最重要的品质是它的陌生感,邀请观众去探索一个来自远方的世界。对此我很感动,这可以说是我们设计的初衷。我们希望这个房子不要成为一座随处可见的实用性建筑,而是成为一个打开想象力的窗口,让当地人看到不一样的事物,产生好奇心和探索的动力。我们总是把乡镇和城市的建筑分开,觉得乡镇质朴,但是我并不这么认为。我觉得有趣的事物既属于城市,也属于乡村。每个人都希望得到一些有趣的、意外的结果。我本以为这些房子会以政府为主体去运营,实际上现在建成的两个项目都是社会化运营介入的。比如桃屋,一直是由果园的主人运营。他在抖音上举办了很多活动,像是赏花、拍照、音乐表演等;桃子或葡萄结果了,还会安排采摘。这个房子已经成为了农庄生活的一部分,永远呈现在当地人的生活之中,并且通过网络自媒体将他们与外界联系在一起。

在我心中,设计师在乡村项目中所扮演的,是一个激发想象力、带来某种经济行为的角色。在此之上,我还希望能够创造可能性,让乡村生活充满惊喜。太多乡村振兴的结果看上去千篇一律,我希望自己可以创造一些不同。

I recently read an article commenting on the Peach Hut: “this architecture’s most important feature is precisely its condition of estrangement… the Peach Hut is an enigmatic and optimistic gizmo, and a respectful herald inviting its listeners to explore the distant worlds that he comes from.” I am quite impressed by this commentator whose interpretation is very close to the original intention of our design. We rejected the idea of it being a traditional building that would be seen everywhere. Instead, it was expected to function as a window that help opens up spaces for imagination, allowing curiosity and motivation for exploration to proliferate among local audience. Nowadays, architects always discuss the buildings of big cities and buildings of the countryside as two distinct genres with the latter being more unadorned and rustic, but I think both the city and the countryside deserve pursuing interesting interventions rich in content.

I originally thought that these miniature buildings would be operated by the municipal government, but in fact the two projects that have been completed by now are managed mostly by private enterprises. The Peach Hut is mainly operated by the owner of the orchard. I followed their Tik Tok account and found that users of the building are demonstrating so many interesting moments happening around the hut, such as flower viewing, tourist photography, and music performances. When peaches or grapes are fruited, the orchard owner also organize fruit picking trips. To a certain degree, this building has become a part of farm life and its Instagramable quality helps to connect the locals to the outside world through social media.

In my mind, a designer plays a role that both stimulates imagination and brings economic effects tothe rural project. On top of it, I am excited to contirbute to the rural living conditions and strive to make it full of minor surprises. Too many rural revitalization results seem to be very similar, and I wish that we can make some differences.

▼桃屋室内,邀请人们探索来自远方的世界,interior of the Peach Hurt, inviting people to explore the distant worlds

 

 

___________
公共性与艺术性
Public and Art

我认为艺术应该是公共生活的一部分,而建筑和建筑师对此负有责任。在纽约生活的时候,很幸福的一件事就是艺术触手可及。博物馆有许多免费的活动,城市空间里设置了很多艺术品。回国后我发现艺术成为了一种奢侈品,一种区分人群的消费工具,这是非常可怕的一个现象。公共建筑的一大责任就是为社会大众创造艺术性的建筑空间和城市场所,让大家可以在日常生活的不经意间就接触到艺术性的、诗性的美感。无论是城市街道还是公共建筑,都是要为大众服务的。它们不只要有好看的形态,还需要让人们去经历、去体验、去享受其中。我在公共和艺术类项目的设计里有两个目标。第一,我希望做好前景,即在大环境中创造一个超越日常的独特雕塑,一个有意外性的、能够带来惊喜的空间;第二,我希望做好背景,建筑的内部空间可以成为艺术品和公共活动的容器,让周边环境渗透进来,城市里的普通人也可以参与其中。

I think art should be a part of public life, and architecture and architects are responsible for achieving this integration. When I was living in New York, one of the greatest things was that art was within reach. There were many free activities in the museums, and there were many public artworks on streets. After returning to China, I found that art becomes a luxury, a way of consumption that classifies the crowd, which looks scary to me. One of the major responsibilities of public buildings is to create artistic and public urban places, so that everyone can inadvertently come into contact with art and poetry in their daily life. Not only do architecture have good-looking forms, but they also need to be experienced and enjoyed by people. I always keep two goals when designing public and art projects. Firstly, I hope to make a good foreground, that is, to create a unique sculptural figure that transcends daily experience and brings surprises; secondly, I hope to make a good background so that the interior space of the building can become the container of artwork and public activities and allows the surrounding landscape to penetrate in. As a result, the general public can participate in it.

▼部分陈曦设计的公共艺术项目,selected public art projects designed by Chen Xi

深圳双年展的折叠时光线项目位于一栋废旧的厂房里,设计和施工时间非常紧迫。我们选择普通的灯膜为主要材料,非常便宜,可以一次性拉几十米长且没有接缝。它的轻盈通透在整个工业废墟中是一种反差性的存在,通过折叠划分出一系列供人体验的场所,把从自然到农业社会、工业社会,再到5G时代的不同展览内容囊括进来。远观或刚刚进入的时候,你会觉得它是一件艺术品,而这个艺术品本身为空间提供框架,容纳艺术事件参与其中。

The Folded Time-Light-Line project of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale is located in a abandoned factory building, and the design and construction time is very tight. We choose ordinary membrane as the main material, which is very cheap and is capable of spanning over 50-meters. Its lightness and translucency brings huge contrast with the existing industrial framework. By folding the light-filled membrane walls, the exhibition venue is organized as a series of galleries for exhibition contents introducing from agricultural to industrial and internet era. On one hand, this project jumps out from the ruins of factory and occupies the foreground of the space as an art piece. On the other hand, it acts as a spatial framework to accommodate artworks and events.

▼折叠时光线,本身就是一件艺术作品的公共展览空间(点击这里查看更多
Folded Time-Light-Line, a public exhibition space as an art piece (click HERE to view more)

 

 

___________
文字创作与设计
Writing and Design

 

“写东西和做设计都是用基本素材去虚构一个世界。当你把这些元素拼在一起,它会和你最开始的设想很不一样,独自发展成一个个体。这其实也是设计最令我兴奋的一点。”

“Writing and design use basic elements to create a world. When you put these elements together into articles or drawings, it will develop its own intelligence independent from you. This process excites me the most when we arrive at a design theme that we’ve never thought about after repeated deductions.”

 

我正在写一个新的系列,叫《展开的城市》,记录了一些我觉得有意思的空间,如一家在剖面中不断延伸、跨越建筑的电影院;一栋从道路中不断生长而成的房子;一个每个侧面的认知都不一样的邮局;以及一座由很多时间碎片拼接起来的修道院,等等。我很喜欢写一些片段,因为我觉得有趣的文字和有趣的设计师可以相互启发,甚至互为灵感生成的。有时我会用文学的方式去看待建筑设计中的一些决定。拿微建筑系列来说,如果像卡尔维诺的《寒冬夜行人》,那么我可以让一个小房子的结局是另一个小房子的开始,呈现出层层递进的谜一样的格式;或是像法国作家艾什诺兹的作品,人物和线索不断离散地出现,可能更接近我们在这个项目里的策略;或者更极端一点,像南美的科塔萨尔那样用二元叙事,两种逻辑混杂其中。在一些改造项目里,有时我们会希望它是两种纯粹的记忆缠绕在一起。文学的结构性,叙事的节奏,世界观的建立,包括它在细节里对于情绪和气氛的描写都和做设计很像。另外我觉得有趣的地方在于写东西和做设计都是用基本素材去虚构一个世界。当你把这些元素拼在一起,付诸笔下或者成为图纸的时候,它会和你最开始的设想很不一样,独自发展成一个个体。经过一次次推演,最终得到了一个你没有想过的主题,这其实也是设计最令我兴奋的一点。

I am writing a new series called “Unfolding Cities“, which records spaces that I find interesting, such as a movie theater that continuously extends in its section across different buildings; a bus station that gradually grows from a building into streams of roads; a post office with different spatial perceptions when entered from different entries; and a monastery made up of numberless fragments of time, and so on. I enjoying writing some snippets in my spare time, because I believe that interesting texts and designs can inspire one another. Sometimes I will look at design decisions in a literary way. Taking the miniature series as an example, if they are constructed like Calvino’s “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler”, then we can make the ending of each small structure as the beginning of another one, presenting a progressive sequence. Or, if we learn from the novels of Jean Echenoz, the characters and the details continue to disappear and reappear, which may be closer to current strategy of the project. Furthermore, we are designing a renovation project in a way similar to the dual narratives in Julio Cortázar’s story. Wehope that two different sets of memories could be entangled into one comprehensive whole. The structure of the storytelling, the rhythm of narration, the establishment of a world view, including its description of atmosphere in details are very similar to the essense of doing design.

Another thing I find interesting is that writing and design use basic elements to create a world. When you put these elements together into articles or drawings, it will develop its own intelligence independent from you, sometimes different from what you imagine in the beginning. This process excites me the most when we arrive at a design theme that we’ve never thought about after repeated deductions.

▼《展开的城市》内页,inner pages of “Unfolding Cities

 

 

______
未来展望
Towards Future

 

“将来我会愿意尝试一些普遍性的、生产性的项目,希望能在这些普通的事情上创造一些小小的奇迹。”

“In the future, I will be willing to explore some general and productive projects. We hope to create unique experiences on ordinary places.”

 

我们现在做的中小尺度公共文化类项目比较多,将来我会愿意尝试一些新的项目类型,特别是一些普遍性的、生产性的项目,比如最基本的居住办公或者城市空间。我们希望能在这些普通的事情上创造一些小小的奇迹,哪怕特别微小和短暂,都会很有意义。最近我们在设计一个工厂和它的研发中心,这是我们初次涉及工业项目领域。甲方是一个很大的饮用水品牌,项目选址在景区脚下。我们希望通过工厂的空间设计体现一些自然元素和生态理念,将公共性和艺术性渗透到工业建筑中,创造一个可以供人参观的工业空间。

We are currently doing many small and medium-scale public and cultural projects. In the future, I will be willing to explore new project types, especially some general and productive projects, such as the most basic residential, office or urban space. We hope to create unique experiences on ordinary places, even at very small scales. Recently we are designing a factory and its research center. This is the first time we have been dealing with the industrial project. The client is a water brand, and the project site is located at the foot of a scenic spot. We hope to embed natural elements and ecological concepts through the design of the factory. By infiltrating publicity and artistry into an industrial building, we envision the project to be an exemplary model that can be visited by tourists in the future.

▼正在建设的项目 – 明仁水厂及研发体验中心
Project in process – Mingren Water Factory and R&D Center

另外一个项目是武汉在建的售楼处兼幼儿园,更关乎我们在日常实践中的挑战。很多时候,我们面对的任务书是开放的。业主希望做一个售楼处,但是两年后他们需要的是一个幼儿园,所以我们需要用同样的空间构架回应不同的功能,让建筑灵活多变。我们采取的策略是搭建了一个雕塑式的空间结构,可以根据需要填充不同的楼板和功能。刚开始建筑面积很小,设置了很多挑空和交通、展览的空间。未来,只需把局部的玻璃拆掉加进楼板,就可以得到一所符合规范、充满阳光的幼儿园。用设计的方法节约社会资源,更加有效地回应不同需求。对我们来说,策略本身的意义甚至比房子美不美更加重要。

Another project under construction in Wuhan is also representing the challenges we are facing in design practice, which is the flexble program requirement. The design brief requests the building to be a sales office in the first two years, but it will turn into a kindergarten two years later. So we need to respond to different functions and regulations using the same structure and make the space flexible to accommodate different programs. The strategy we adopted was to build a sculptural shell that can be filled with different floors and functions as needed. When serving as a sales center, the building area can be small, and there will bea lot of double height exhibition spaces. In the future, just by adding a few floor slabs and removing a small portion of the glass curtain wall, we can get a kindergarten that meets the functional requirements and regulations and it will provide enough sunlight. Taking such a design approach can avoid wasting an extra building and respond to different uses more effectively. For us, the significance of the strategy itself is even more important than the aethestic aspect in this project.

▼正在建设的项目 – 武汉万科城市展厅兼幼儿园
Project in process – Wuhan Vanke Urban Exhibition Hall and Kindergarten

教学方面,我认为教学是对学生的要求,也是一个更高级的自我要求。我希望学生们能够突破形式和建筑学本体的局限,关注社会和人的发展。去年毕业设计的题目是关于2050年的深港边界,研究特定空间条件下不同人群的心理变化和社会变化,通过社会性的空间讨论,帮助学生们理解世界,然后从建筑学的角度做出某些解答。这些对学生的要求,也是我自己今后希望能够挑战的一些方面。

I think teaching is a requirement for students but also for myself. I hope that students can break through the limitations of form and architectural discourse, and pay attention to the development of society and people. The subject that I gave to undergrad thesis last year was about the boundary between Shenzhen and Hong Kong in 2050. The students would study the psychological and social changes of different groups of people under specific spatial conditions. Through researching such topic, I hope it could help them further understand the world and respond with architectural mindsets. This is also what I hope to explore in the future.

▼其他项目 – FA青年建筑师奖决赛作品平武熊猫民宿
Other projects – FA young architect award finalist project Pingwu Panda Guest House

More: 一树建筑工作室ATELIER XI on gooood

 

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