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gooood Under 35 NO.37 introduces Zhu Qipeng, co-founder of Wonder Architects. More: Wonder Architects on gooood
出品人：向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑团队：陈诺嘉，武晨曦，李诗蓉，徐馨羽 / Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi, Li Shirong, Xu Xinyu
“Different ways of thinking can often open the door to different worlds.”
Becoming an Architecture
I seemed to be interest in architecture when I was a kid. In junior high school, I would quietly draw some strange pictures in class. Now it looks similar to some urban scenes, but it doesn’t seem to be a certain city. It may be easy to touch me when a bunch of houses are put together.
▼在草稿纸背面画的近代城市，白色的部分是涂改液（1999），city drew at the back of scratch paper by Zhu Qipeng in 1999
When I was a sophomore, I took a course in the history of Western art, which was taken by a teacher from the School of Architecture. So when I was junior, I began to follow the classes of architecture design. When I graduated, I wrote my undergraduate graduation thesis while reviewing several second-hand architecture textbooks and postgraduate materials. When I was admitted to the School of Architecture of Tianjin University in 2008, my grades were pretty good. My mentor is a little surprised. I have heard of the cross-specialty , and I have never seen such a cross.
It is a pity that I have not experienced systematic undergraduate architecture education. Some time ago, I participated a final in experimental class of Tongji University, and I saw that the teachers of Tongji carefully crafted the basic skills of the students, and I was envious of them. But I am still very grateful for the education foundation of economics majors, giving me a lot of social science thinking. Different ways of thinking can often open the door to different worlds.
travel in Europe during the years in graduated school
“Wonder Architects is a workshop made by some people who like to think.”
Wang Chong and I are undergraduates. Wang is a real architecture student, a pretty good one. We have been doing research together in the urban village on the edge of the Hunan university since 2005. Later, Wang study abroad to Japan , and I get a job in the Design Institute. I didn’t decide to do something together until I met Wang Sidi in 2017. Studi studied art investment and management in the UK, and is more clear to the operation and development of the studio. The architectural works of the Wonder Architects seem to have been completed by Teacher Wang and I, but many of the behind-the-scenes efforts are due to Sidi’s credit.
▼神奇建筑研究室部分成员，part of the members of Wonder Architects
What kind of team is the Wonder Architects , we have not deliberately positioned. If you have to say it, it is probably a workshop: a workshop made by some people who like to think. Workshop is not a standard enterprise. To evaluate the quality of a workshop, basically you can only see what kind of works and ideas it has come up with. Of course, we still envy high-efficiency production, but if efficiency requires sacrificing prudence and concentration, or suppressing curiosity about the world, we may not choose. Wang Shu’s studio is called “ amateur architecture studio ”, our idea is similar.
▼工作室旧照，previous office of Wonder Architects
Wonder Architects also has a meaning of space, it does not specifically refer to a person or a group of people. A research room with open doors and interesting people and ideas are welcome. Our colleagues are “magic”. Can you imagine a diligent architect who is also an illustrator or novelist? Interesting people get together for interesting things. We are working hard to achieve this ideal way of working.
▼《建筑问题》展：神奇大楼增1门108号（2017），exhibition of Architectural Question in Shenqi Mansion ©泰康空间
“We do not expect massive changes, but we believe that we can make the world a little better through hard work.”
About “Wonder”, “Radical” and “Conservative”
” Wonder Architects ” is a very popular word formation in the past few years, such as magical animals and wonder women. The so-called wonder is similar to an admiration. “Wow, it turned out like this!” Wonder architecture are those houses that can make you admire. It may be designed very smartly, or it may be very touching, or it is very chic and delicate, or it has produced some unexpected gains. Different people may have different definitions of wonder, but that praise is the goal of our efforts.
▼神奇建筑研究室部分作品，selected projects of Wonder Architects
Architects need to constantly create new things, so they naturally have some radical factors. Conservative is a reminder of ourselves. In Chinese, conservative seems to be a bad word. In fact, conservatives are a group of very pragmatic people. They like to push the society forward little by little, and pay attention to the complicated relationship between things. We do not expect massive changes, but we believe that we can make the world a little better through hard work. Conservatism is the background, radicalism is the motivation that motivates us to reexamine ourselves, and the two can coexist.
Innovative project: Tower of White Ant (Wang Chong, Sun Mingwei, Wang Zhen) ©神奇建筑研究室
“Architecture design is to solve problems and there are many dimensions to try to find solutions. ”
We have no particular restrictions on the type of project. I even want to challenge a residential houses or funeral parlor or something. The choice of the core of the project is still in harmony with Party A. Sufficient trust, full understanding and continuous cooperation are the foundation of a good project. Few of them can achieve these three points.
▼不同类型的项目 – 湖南古丈X-trail运动营地（2019年）
Projects in different types – Hunan Guzhang X-trail Camp ©神奇建筑研究室
▼不同类型的项目 – 岳阳南湖综合体鸟瞰及滨水区（2017年完成方案及扩初设计）
Projects in different types – Yueyang Nanhu Complex (2017, strategy and design development) ©神奇建筑研究室
About style, I have heard a saying: “You are called [Wonder Architecture], but I don’t think your house is also [Wonder].” Actually, it depends on how to understand ” Wonder “, I think wonder is unlikely to be a style label, if that is the case, it might be more appropriate to call a “strange research room” or something. Architecture design is to solve problems, and the solution to the problem is definitely not the only one. There are many dimensions to try. Moreover, for an architect in his 30s, it is doubtful to talk about his own style.
▼不同风格的项目 – 青海西宁银路大厦首层餐饮空间设计（2020年初）
Projects in different styles – ground floor restaurant in Yinlu Mansion, Qinghai (2020) ©神奇建筑研究室
▼不同风格的项目 – 北京“一席大院儿”（2019年）
Project in different styles – Beijing Compound (2019) ©朱雨蒙
“The existence and transmission of history will allow us to have more dimensional experience of space.”
Houheilong Temple Village is a typical Beijing suburban village. It has a long history and justifiable scenery, but in the disorderly renewal and sports infrastructure construction, it gradually dilutes the relationship with land and history. In the foreseeable future, the post-Heilong Temple Village will soon become an ordinary modern village that is difficult to identify. Four offices (including Wonder Architects) participated in the design of the five courtyards in the village. Each architect provides a possibility for the development of the village from his own perspective.
▼村落中的荏苒堂，Rěnrǎn Táng located in the village ©朱雨蒙
▼荏苒堂街景，street view of Rěnrǎn Táng ©朱雨蒙
In the case of RěnrǎnTáng, actually we tried to explore the relationship between architecture and time. The preserved ruins are not just a historical relic , it also contains a lot of information belonging to this land. There are people here, there are spacial, and there are geographical . And natural. We deliberately did not interfere with the preservation status of the remains. I imagine these ruins will continue to change over time, and one day they will completely collapse into a pile of rubble and be completely wrapped into green hills by various plants. The person using this house is likely to meet these landscapes at different stages of life, and the evolution of the landscape also marks his unique interactive memory with this space.
▼荏苒堂主起居厅，原有的老宅废墟成为庭院景观，living room of Rěnrǎn Táng, the ruin of the original building became a landscape in the courtyard ©朱雨蒙
▼新的生活方式在老院遗址间重新展开，new life unfolded in the historic heritage ©朱雨蒙
The existence and transmission of history will allow us to have more dimensional experience of space. This kind of experience is what the fast-changing Chinese village lacks.
“Although it is a courtyard, you can also think of a house in the mountain.”
Fabricated Scenery Houhai
When I was in my junior year, I went to Suzhou to see the garden, and I visited the Humble Administrator’s Garden that day was surprisingly sultry. I was sitting in a yard called Haitang Chunwu , and I happened to encounter an old gentleman wearing a painter’s hat who was teaching the garden to the students. The old man asked, what should we say about the word “Wu(dock)” in Haitang Chunwu? The student was dumb, the old man explained, “Wu”, surrounded by high and low in the middle, similar to the valley. But you see, the courtyard is shaped in square , with houses on all sides. Why is it called Haitang Chunwu? The student didn’t know yet. The old gentleman approached me and patted the stone I was sitting , saying, look, this stone stands in the corner of the yard, half of it is not in the wall. The old saying is “broken corner”. In addition, as you can imagine, there are hills and dense forests. Although it is a courtyard, you can also think of a house in the mountain. That was the first garden lesson in my life, and I deeply remembered the spatial imagination behind those mountains and rocks.
Haitang Chunwu in the Humble Administrator’s Garden
▼嵯峨馆轴测图，axonometric of the Fabricated Scenery Houhai ©神奇建筑研究室
Tsuo, Beijing was a very occluded box before the reconstruction, and in front of the house was a courtyard that was too narrow. All the movements of the design are related to the extended experience interface. We have reconstructed the path of cognitive architecture in a limited space. These rocks are actually a reminder of nature. They meet you in the space, so you can imagine the scene of continuing to extend naturally beyond your sight. “Although it is a courtyard, you can also think of a house in the mountain.”
▼邻居看到这幕场景时，也许会怀疑他过往的旧城生活经验，the neighbours might have doubts about their past living experience in the old city when they see this ©孙海霆
▼山石“侵入”了当代生活的场景，隐喻着自然的伸展，rocks “invading” into the contemporary living space as a subtle extension of the nature ©孙海霆
▼有限的山石带来对更大自然物的想象，using rocks to bring more sense of nature ©孙海霆
“Our attempt is bigger but many changes are indeed difficult to predict.”
Renovation projects in Beijing
In the summer of 2017, we made a small project in the north of Houhai. It was a room in an old house near Tsuo, Beijing. The plane was only 3m*5m. We transformed it into a single apartment. The vertical space of the building is used to arrange porch, living, sleeping and working spaces, and a storage room, a stove and a bathroom with bathtub are also plugged. The north facade of this project is a window. If you want, you can show part of your life to the Hutong. It may encourage the new and old residents of the Hutong to learn more about each other. The owner is very satisfied with this design, mainly because he has almost solved all his requirements for this house, but our attempt is obviously bigger.
The House of Show Window in the eye of Hutong residents ©朱起鹏
▼“橱窗之家”剖面图，section of the House of Show Window ©神奇建筑研究室
Unfortunately, before this experimental house was actually put into operation, Beijing’s “wall-closing hole” began. With the closure of a large number of stores and door openings, this “window” can only become a perennial shelter. In fact, the changes in Beijing’s urban management and control in recent years have had a profound impact on Beijing. We cannot evaluate these phenomena from a single perspective, but many changes are indeed difficult to predict. For example, in the Wudaokou store of Suren Leather that we renovated, there used to be a meticulously planted plant wall on the balcony on the second floor of the store. It was an early work of Wang Yuheng, the “Shui Ge” who was on the TV show “Most Powerful Brain”. We carefully organized it into the new landscape, and even wanted to set up a special explanatory sign to mark this very recent history. But I didn’t expect that this piece of indoor wall would eventually become the object of urban planning.
The design logic of personification of the product type of SUREN ©神奇建筑研究室
▼街道的情境和行为被引入建筑内部，The scenario and behavior of streets are introduced into the building ©朱雨蒙
▼可书写的黑板墙，让建筑空间变成互动的媒介，The writing blackboard wall makes the architectural space become an interactive medium ©朱雨蒙
▼五道口素人皮具店二层植物墙原貌（2019年被拆除），the original view of the plant wall on the second floor (dismantled in 2019) ©朱雨蒙
Research and Design
“Research is not a very deliberate behavior for us, but a daily routine.”
Research Work and Studio Operation
This preference does have some influence, so you will find that many of our works are related to historical heritage. But our colleagues’ interests are actually very diverse. For example, Mr. Wang Chong is a technical enthusiast, who has studied green technology and translated ancient Japanese architectural monographs. Architect Jin Tailin have very good carpentry skill and a little fame in writing. When such a group of people get together, there is a situation of excessive brain power. So the research part is not a very deliberate behavior for us, but a daily routine. Everyone seems to have to find something interesting from time to time.
Zhu Qipeng: (left) visualization of the change of the Forbidden City from Yongzheng Dynasty (2015), (right) study and restoration of the canopy used in Changyin Ge in the Forbidden City
Wang Chong: (left) Circle Park (integration of structure and form), right) The Art of Japanese Architecture (translation)
Jin Tailin: （left) Light Container Home, (right) lecture of How to build Noah’s Ark ©金泰霖
Of course, this habit manifests itself at the beginning of design, and we will also strive for a suitable cycle for this work method. For any team, the lack of time schedule for cost calculation is dangerous, but for the Wonder Architects, maintaining its unique working method is also a way to maintain its value.
part of the publications of Wonder Architects
Research and Design
Beijing is very rich of history, and there are many related urban problems. Studying Beijing is a shortcut to understanding the current status of Chinese cities. We often use some city events in Beijing to connect our practice. But the logic behind each house is very complicated. Most of our practices are very small houses. Attempts to explain and discuss are often relatively large issues, such as the growth of the old city and the spatial shape formed by the collusion of different classes, so there are always small things to do and do nothing.
▼北京旧城宏恩观研究，study of Hongen Guan, a historical area of the city ©朱起鹏
It is the wishful thinking of architects to express urban logic in concrete buildings. But this exploration process is very interesting. If one percent of the buildings in our city can think about these issues, even if there is no appropriate response, the city will be completely different.
▼五道口街区的素人皮具店，Beijing Wudaokou store of SUREN leather goods ©朱雨蒙
store of SUREN leather goods located in a complicated city environment ©神奇建筑研究室
Ongoing Projects and Future Expectation
“Rebuild a sense of mystery in this messy field that has been dismantled by rural life.”
On going project of Beijing Aoshi Mountain House
It was a hotel in the mountains on the outskirts of Beijing. It was similar to the Houheilong Temple. It was also a familiar owner. Several of our friends made a piece of land. My area is in the center of the village. It is a high hill. It was dug out and built the village committee at that time. Our base is the location of the old village committee. The owner’s expectation of us is to rebuild the iconic place here, and hope to set up the Village History Museum in this house.
▼“奥室山房”鸟瞰图，aerial view of Aoshi Mountain House ©神奇建筑研究室
When looking up ancient scrips, we found that the ancients described this mountain area as the “youyanaoshi”, it was the deep inner room in the Yanshan Mountains. This intention is very interesting, and has an architectural space imagination for the mountain. We hope that the building will become a part of the mountain, but still maintain some of the attributes of man-made objects. More than a dozen suites and public spaces are connected to form a relic that absorbs the mountain landscape. Rebuild a sense of mystery in this messy field that has been dismantled by rural life. Just like those great projects that the ancients once completed in the Yanshan Mountains.
heritage of cliff residence to the north of Beijing
▼山峦间的“奥室山房” ，Aoshi Mountain House located among the mountains ©神奇建筑研究室
▼“奥室山房”多功能厅，multifunctional hall in Aoshi Mountain House ©神奇建筑研究室
“Push those weird ideas in our minds, combining some interesting architectural experiences.”
About the Present and the Future
We are very lucky that we always meet like-minded people who are interested in our research. We will continue to push those weird ideas in our minds. Some recent practices are still related to transformation, and some of them also involve assembly construction. Although this is not a new field, we hope to combine some interesting architectural experiences. We used to have a long research project in Beijing. We have completed a small part of it before, and we are now stepping up to it. Because of the support of more institutions and people, we have become more and more confident in this project.
▼八达岭某私宅改造，renovation of a private house in Badaling ©神奇建筑研究室
▼喀纳斯X-trail运动营地，X-trail Sports Camp in Kanas ©神奇建筑研究室
It is difficult for the Wonder Architects to become a representative of the typical construction industry. We may be just a small group that is more willful and persistent, but has always maintained a curiosity. I can’t even summarize which direction it is heading. If you have to say one thing, it is probably the same as the self-introduction on our website:
“We believe in universal connections and geographic determinism, are passionate about natural history and archaeology, cherish nature and are curious about art. We are radical conservatives who interested in architecture design.”