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.20 introduces Dai Pu, founder of Daipu Architects.
Becoming an architect to setting up a design studio
“Difficulties will never pass, but my mentality has changed; it is just like eating bitter gourd every day, you would then fall in love with eating it..After experiencing the difficulties you will mature and you will become yourself.”
There is nothing special about the way I grew up. From high school entrance examination, college entrance examination, to university life, and then working as an architect, each stage was a fierce competition. As I have always received exam-oriented education from childhood, I wished to learn something different in high school, something that is more related to humanities. I heard that architecture courses will involve some art and humanities, so I chose it as my major in the university. At that time I knew little about architecture, but soon I felt deeply interested in it.
From my early days in school to now running my own design studio, I do not think any day is any easier than the other. Recently one of my friends, Kang Heng, the apprentice of Takino Junming, gave me a book as a gift. I asked him to write something on the book, he then wrote “every day is a torment”. Difficulties will never pass, but my mentality has changed; just like eating bitter gourd every day, you then fall in love with eating it. Now I am more confident. The difficulties I went through in the past had taught me a lot. We received closed-ended exam-oriented education from an early age, and our understanding of China’s reality is limited. Since starting my own design career in my twenties, I obtained some experiences and encountered some setbacks, now I look back and realized all is within normalcy and banality. After experiencing the difficulties you will mature and you will become yourself.
▼戴璞工作室，office of Daipu Architects ©吴清山
短时间内我希望团队内有一种共享的氛围，大家可以分享自己的知识经验、职业经验。工作室定期会有一些活动，请设计师或者各个领域的朋友来做一些讲座或培训。近期我们请了一位在SOM 就职的高级建筑师过来介绍SOM 的工作流程，如他们如何控制完成度等等。
When I worked on Tree Art Museum, I worked only by myself, I was my own team. . I had not set up my studio yet at that time. Whether it be a one person operation or a complete team, the goal is to realize our ideas and turn our ideas into real works or architecture . The size of the team is only a by-product of the practice. In order to realize my ideas, I have to build a team, and make it complete step by step while it matures. I become increasingly more proficient and clear in the management of the company, and gradually know what kind of team andstructure works well.
The accuracy of my work schedule is specifically organized to every week, even every day. The first thing we do each day at the company is to clarify the goals of the day, to assign tasks to the project architects and interns. We are very clear about the progress of the entire project, to ensure that the work will be implemented step by step.
In the short term, I hope that there is a shared atmosphere within the team. Everyone can share their knowledge and experience. The studio holds activities at regularly. We invite designers or friends from various fields to give lectures or training. Recently we invited a senior architect who worked at SOM to introduce the workflow at SOM, such as how they control the degree of completion, etc.
▼戴璞事务所工作环境，working space of Daipu Architects ©吴清山
Insights from Design
“Body strength – so long as you have sufficient confidence and a strong urge to accomplish one thing, you will definitely be able to realize..Even if it can’t be realized in the end, the experience and wisdom you gain will dissolve in your blood and never disappear. ”
We do not try to find a universal design concept or design idea. Instead, we are taking two parallel practice trajectories. On the one hand, we provide solutions to practical problems to make sure the project will be completed, and the projects play an activation role for investors, the society and the public. In the course of our practice, various problems will occur; we will also obtain some feedback after the project is completed. Based on these questions and feedbacks, we will optimize the design process and workflow. This is another practical path which allows us to implement some similar projects quickly and efficiently.
▼戴璞部分设计项目，part of Dai Pu’s design projects
Tree Art Museum was built in 2012. At that time, the project was lucky to catch up with the end of the Chinese economic tide. The investors at that time were confident so the project can be completed. I was often asked about Tree Art Museum. In fact, there are too many regrets regarding the Tree Art Museum. For me, I think the most valuable thing from this project is that I realize if you have sufficient confidence and a strong urge to accomplish one thing, you will definitely be able to realize it. “Zhou Yi” tells the character of a person and mentions the concept of “body strength”: is your body bone strong enough to be able to bear stress? Can you get things done? If you are strong enough, sometimes talent is not that important; you can still achieve your ideas.
Strength is not the physical condition of the body, but the character. I used to work in several companies: NODE, Wang Hui Design, and MAD. To stay in these studios, the prerequisite for good design is responsibility and courage to cope with challenges. You will often be assigned with tasks that seem impossible to complete. But if you analyze them calmly, you will find that only you can overcome; and only by this way you can grow and fluorish. This is the meaning of “body strength” that I am talking about.
How much energy would we invest in each project? I will say that as long as we are determined that the project can be achieved in the end, we will continue to work to make it happen. We have no reservations on any project. We treat each design practice and each project process as a kind of self-training. Like a gymnast, every training and game is self-improvement. Even if it cannot be realized in the end, the experience and wisdom you gain will dissolve in your blood and never disappear.
Democratized space, diversified practice
“We try to create in every project as many free, equal, and open spaces as possible; a good architect must be supported by this value.”
We do not define ourselves in terms of form. Several projects we have implemented happen to have the form of curves. But if you look at our other projects that have not been realized or are in the process of implementation, there are many orthogonal lines. We never subscribe to any labels , although this is the fastest way to build a design brand, I think it oversimplifies our process into something superficial.
I have a playwright friend who said that he feels a democratized spatial experience in my buildings. In every project, we try to create as many free, equal, and open spaces as possible. This kind of public space is different from the cafes we visit during weekends, where consumerism comes before the natural right for everyone to enjoy the value of space. We hope that in this type of open spaces, people can have the freedom to date, gather or express opinions without having to spend. . Whether it is in China or abroad, the final appeal or dream of a good architect must be supported by this value. Although it is not discussed in the practice of design institutes and a large number of commercial companies, architects have always been nurtured by this idea in the course of education. As an independent firm, we have relatively more autonomy. In our practice, we will not forget the aspirations of mankind.
▼戴璞部分项目中的民主化空间，democratized space in part of Dai Pu’s projects
The word anti-domino is a bit humorous. We have been making renovations since 2013, because there are almost no new constructions in the cities. But a lot of our practices take place in the cities. We are extremely dissatisfied and disappointed with the existing spaces, hoping to do some damages and change their status. That is why I use this word.
Whether it is a private project, a bar or an art gallery, one of the problems we face is the standardized reinforced concrete frame. Design institutes directly work according to the an official guidebook, various owners find spaces constructed in the last decade unusable, and come to us for solutions. Why not do this work in the early stages? Why think of making a little improvement after the buildings have become existing reality? The Anti-Domino Series is our attempt to summarize things happened in the past years, as they demonstrate some similarities in terms of design strategies. For example, in a residential project, we used thediagonal relationships inspired from a chessboard , which is different from the fluidity of curves. Another example is Chongqing’s Wood Mountain – anti-Domino 02, which has connection with our Hangzhou reporter station; both used furniture and landscape systems to connect different layers and indoor and outdoor spaces and exchange energy.
▼通过木制家具系统连接不同高度的空间，connect spaces on different levels by wooden furniture system ©吴清山
In my opinion, architecture, landscape or interior design do not have a clear professional boundary. I tend to use the perspective of an architect to view each task, but sometimes I borrow professional language from different spheres, such as borrowing some language from the landscape, or some techniques of industrial design. But in the end, the foothold of our work is still in the field of architecture, that is, integrated design of the entire living environment. Once a building is completed, the users enter and get a completely different spatial experience. This experience is actually de-professionalized, integrating knowledge and experience of various professions. For example, in the Chongqing Bar project, we use a five-axis CNC to process the entire prefabricated system, which is very rare in the field of architecture. We will not limit ourselves to reinforced concrete.
▼通过CNC加工预制系统，prefabricated system processed by CNC cutting ©吴清山
Of course, we are not working solely to build theories. I believe that theory is parallel to practice and occasionally interlaced. We should enrich our theoretical framework through continuous practice and feedback. We also have some very interesting projects that cannot be concluded in this series.
Super Beijing Exhibition
超级北京展览的主题是乌托邦，但其实我们呈现的是一个反乌托邦的模型。这个展览作品的想法大概是在2008 年、2009 年的时候成型的，那时我还没有真正开始独立实践。当时我认识了一个朋友，他在美国和瑞士学哲学。我们在一个院子里聊天，他告诉我说，再过一个月这个院子就要被拆掉重建，给某部分很重要的人做养老用，而给迁走的居民赔偿很低。那个时候他预言：将来北京会越来越像一个棱锥水晶，排除任何杂质，远远看着非常漂亮，就像梦幻中的城市。你住在通州、燕郊，你可以进入这个城市，比如坐地铁去三里屯喝个咖啡。你好像在享用它，但其实这个城市的运作，真正的空间福祉跟你是没有关系的，你只是一个消费者。我对这次对话印象深刻，并把这个想法用在了这次反乌托邦展览里。展览中涉及到几个方面的模型，我们把军博的CCTV 老楼转化成一个新的模型；把胡同片区做成一个立体式的模型；CBD 则是一个奇迹景观式的形式，所有这些模型构成了一个底部分裂，上部隐秘联系的城市原型。在这个城市里，你会发现所有结构，各个领域，不管是商业、政治、经济还是历史都呈现出金字塔状的超稳定结构。基本上我们都在下面，各个领域之间看上去是离散的，不可能联系、团结起来；只有位于顶端的人之间才有我们几乎看不见的千丝万缕的联系
▼超级北京展览作品，model exhibited in Super Beijing Exhibition
The theme of the Super Beijing exhibition is utopia, but in fact we are presenting an anti-utopia model. The idea of this exhibition was formed in 2008 and 2009, when I had not started independent practice yet. At that time I met a friend who studied philosophy in the United States and Switzerland. We chatted in a courtyard, and he told me that in a month the courtyard would be torn down to make way for nursing homes built for important persons. The compensation for relocation of residents was very low. At that time he predicted that Beijing will become more and more like a prism crystal in the future, the crystal is completely free of any impurities, looking very beautiful from a distance, like a dream city. You would live in places like Tongzhou or Yanjiao, and you can enter the city as you wish, such as taking the subway for milesto Sanlitun for coffee. You would seem to enjoy it, but in fact the operation of this city, the well-being of the real space is not related to you; you are just a consumer. Impressed by the conversation, I used the idea in this anti-utopia exhibition. The exhibition involves several models; we put Junbo’s CCTV old building into a new model, the Hutong area into a three-dimensional model, central business district (CBD) into a miraculous landscape form. All these models constitute a city prototype that is split at the bottom level and secretly connected at the top level. In this city, you will find that all structures and fields, whether commercial, political, economic or historical, exhibit pyramidal, ultra-stable structures. Basically we are all down there, and each sphere seems dispersed, impossible to connect with or united; only those at the top are inextricably linked, which is almost invisible to us.
▼将北京的不同区域转化成新的模型，put different areas of Beijing city into different models
Current practice and vision for the future
“I think space should be a blessing to human society. We have been trying to find courageous investors to realize dreams together with us. ”
Every architect has a dream of doing large-scale projects, and we have also made some dreamlike conceptions. For example, after the Chongqing project, we superimposed 12 floors and its profile is a typical super high-rise. Super Beijing is not a typical high-level project, but a city concept. In current view, 90% of the high-rise buildings are boring.
The significance of super high-rise is to allow population density without sacrificing the space of the city, such as green space, natural air, sunlight, as well as accessibility in the public domain. Nowadays, the urban green space is limited, and the high-rise buildings are not open to outsiders. I do not think the super high-rise should all be demolished and restored into large green areas; on the contrary, the super high-rise itself can be part of the green space, and some areas of it should be freely accessed. Herzog & De Meuron designed a parking lot in Miami, which can host various public events, weddings, sports, yoga, even residential functions. I think this is a very good concept. Inside the high-rise buildings, we can also see people riding bicycles, jogging, walking the dog, etc, with pet shops, zoos all integrated inside…
▼高层设想，conception for future high-rise buildings
Our standard for accepting projects does not depend on the type of the architecture, but the investor of the particular project. Is the client full of expectations and imagination towards the project just like us? If a project demonstrates sufficient possibilities, the attempt to break through the existing status attracts us the most. In my eyes there is no architecture type, only status of space. There are typical types of relationship between space and people. For example, is the space closed or open to people? Is it a paid service or free of charge? I think space should be a blessing to human society. We have been trying to find courageous investors to realize dreams together with us.
Most clients approach us for interior renovations, we find ways to adopt some strategies and methods to make the completed projects display qualities at the architectural level. For example, the hotel renovation we are working onwill be architecturally transformative once completed. We are also doing hutong renovations, private house renovations, educational and cultural spaces, art museums, and projects that transform industrial areas into cultural and creative complexes. We have been waiting for opportunities. If no one is looking for us to do architecture design, we may go to the countryside to find opportunities and do small experiments. Recently we also participated in international competitions, as the team’s expansion training, we are trying to accumulate industry experience in the international perspective and enrich ourconcepts.
▼正在进行的项目 – 遵义美术馆改造，projects in processing – Gallery Delta
▼正在进行的项目 – 贵港酒店，projects in processing – The Volume House
▼正在进行的项目 – 胡同改造，projects in processing – Hutong renovation