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Interior Designer, published by China Architecture & Building Press since 2006, blends a focus on China with a global vision. Its perspectives and insights have won the magazine wide acclaim. In introducing readers to the works of designers and architects as well as the stories behind their projects, the magazine both witnesses and promotes the development of contemporary Chinese architecture and interior design.

Concept: Zhang Huizhen, Xu Fang, Alexander Felix Chinese Text Editors: Xu Mingyi, Li Wei Editors: Sun Shuyan, Zhang Huizhen, Xu Mingyi Translation from Chinese into English: Sherra Wong, Jade Hung, Liu Wanyun / China Translation Corporation Copy editing: Keonaona Peterson Project management: Sun Shuyan, Silke Martini, Alexander Felix Layout, cover design, typesetting, and production: Zhu Tao

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de. This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in other ways, and storage in databases. For any kind of use, permission of the copyright owner must be obtained. This publication is also available as an e-book (ISBN PDF 978-3-0356-0861-8; ISBN EPUB 978-3-0356-0850-2).

© 2016 Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel P.O. Box 44, 4009 Basel, Switzerland Part of Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printed on acid-free paper produced from chlorine-free pulp. TCF ∞

Printed in the People’s Republic of China ISBN 978-3-0356-0979-0

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 www.birkhauser.com


CONTENTS

6

Preface

1

14

Architecture Studio in the Wujigeng Building, Nanjing University

RENOVATION

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Exhibition Venue Conversion of The Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB)

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O-office

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Daxi Tea Factory

56

Folding Screens

2

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Long Museum West Bund

CULTURE

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Jixi Museum

88

Shuijingfang Museum

96

Impressionistic Jiangnan

104

Red Brick Art Museum

112

Nanjing Wanjingyuan Garden Chapel

120

Kindergarten in Shanghai International Automobile City

3

132

The Mountain Residence by the Waterside

HOTELS AND

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Placid Mogan Retreats

RESTAURANTS

154

Xiangxiangxiang Boutique Container Hotel

160

Mercato at Three on The Bund

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Pusu Restaurant

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Teppanyaki Xiang Restaurant

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Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse

4

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Vertical Glass House

RESIDENTIAL

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The Archi-Experiment in Chunxiao Town

BUILDINGS

204

Tapered House

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Half Garden Half House

5

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LTS Sales Office

COMMERCIAL

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Lin’an Taiyang Bamboo-Structure Pigsty

BUILDINGS

230

Wuyishan Bamboo Raft Factory


6


PREFACE

7

Hu Heng

In modern Chinese architectural history, the 2008 Beijing Olympics is a juncture. Within a mere ten years after we started the Olympics bid in 1998, numerous giant buildings rose one after another with an injection of inspiration from Western master architects, most notably the Bird’s Nest (Beijing National Stadium) and CCTV Headquarters Building. As a result, they have changed the urban landscape and updated people’s understanding about architecture; more important, they have afforded local architects opportunities to directly learn from Western modern architecture. In the post-Olympics era, after the masters exited and people’s enthusiasm for huge structures dissipated, local architects entered a new learning phase of reflection on modernism to seek original creation. The twenty-six projects included in this book embody such an evolution during this phase.    Prior to the Beijing Olympic Games, modernism to most contemporary Chinese architects was as the Mother-Thing to the subject in the fantasy framework set forth in Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytic theory. The subject (architect) is emotionally attached to the object (modernism), which is especially so for those who have received an education in modern architecture (probably most of the architects in this book have). This attachment is only present in fantasy, since modernism and Chinese reality are fundamentally separate from each other in their own worlds. However, they have inevitably come together due to the present situation: the fantasy is now the reality. This crisscrossing is neither a natural energy exchange driven by globalization nor a professional presentation extended from the architect’s training. The convergence occurs because in modern China, modernism has become a key word in the symbolic order of reality, the big Other; modernism echoes the desired model (centered on the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo) of the big Other. In other words, modernism is legitimated: it takes on the function of Kant’s transcendental schematism and provides a series of fantasy frameworks. The architecture developed from these frameworks are the maternal substitutes

that satisfy the desire of the big Other and bring pleasure to the subject (architects).    This thrill is derived from the fulfillment of the fantasized attachment. At the beginning, the Mother-Thing of the fantasy framework refers to the Idols, the iconic figures in the field of architecture, such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, and Carlo Scarpa. However, with the arrival of new generations of representatives (the continuous influx of global talents), the fantasy framework has been altered. The isolated Mother-Thing—including all the masters, new and old—has been strung together and woven into a big globe, a world of knowledge that houses the hundred-year history of modernism. Each practice of Chinese architects is no longer an homage to the great idols but rather is an expedition into the depth of this world of knowledge; because even these practices are only sporadic re-presentations of the symbolic language, visual elements, or local treatments of the world, they all touch upon the overall framework and its intrinsic logic, which have been repeatedly revisited in the process. Thus, the patterns gradually emerge, from Koolhaas to Mies, from Álvaro Siza to Le Corbusier; the original independent ideologies are now connected and have historical significance. Those maternal substitutes are not merely the architects’ sacrificial offerings to the idols; they embody the apprehension after learning why Corbusier and Mies are important and how Koolhaas and Siza came about.    After 2008 the fantasy framework disintegrated rapidly. The most important reason is the dramatic change of the big Other’s desire, of which the original core (Olympic Games, World Expo), now history, has been replaced with new content (style of the Han and Tang dynasties, rural construction). In this case, the legitimacy of modernism is no longer emphasized—it is even deliberately played down. As we have seen, its glamour has gone with the departure of the new representatives. For Chinese architects, modernism no longer has the effect of transcendental schematism, but is in the cradle of individual experimentation. However, although the fantasy framework

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1 / CCTV Rem Koolhaas, former partner Ole Scheeren (until 2010), partner David Gianotten, photographed by Iwan Baan


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ceased to exist, the learning continues and rises to a new level. As their enthusiastic exploration into the world of knowledge is embarrassed by the short stay of representatives, Chinese architects have begun to reexamine the world itself. As a result, the entire framework of modernism has a fresh look. On the one hand, it is connected to a larger system—the whole Western architectural tradition; on the other hand, the avant-garde, as an important breed of modernism, revitalizes the soil.    The former marks Chinese architects’ further understanding of modernism: the modernist spatial syntax is no longer regarded as a unique creation of the new age; instead, its origin can be traced back to ancient Rome. For example, the roof design of the Shanghai Long Museum (completed in 2014 and designed by Liu Yichun) indicates a successful departure from the constraint of images and the temptation of symbols, and lands in a key conception of Western architecture—roof as the primary element to determine the spatial order. This concept was originated in ancient Rome, manifested in the works of modernist architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies, and Kahn, and widely used by contemporary Japanese architects, but it is only recently upheld by young Chinese architects. The Shanghai Long Museum is a fairly rare building with a flavor of ancient Rome. It shows that the new goal of learning is to abandon the modernist vocabulary acquisition but to search for the vital and essential principles in the new world of knowledge.    The avant-garde has made several striking entries into the contemporary Chinese context by the name of experimental architecture, or pioneer building. However, it gradually faded from the landscape. Obviously, the term (regardless of the intention) conflicted with the desire of the big Other. The Vertical Glass House (completed in 2013 and designed by Yung Ho Chang in 1991) heralds the return of the avant-garde. Of course, the original intention of this architecture is quite different from the avant-garde spirit; it is designed to serve as a proven honor of the designer and is supported by a splendid large-scale art exhibition, but it still bears on avant-garde thinking: to build use-

less architecture, of which the physical form can be supported by virtue of the presence of a core concept that transcends pragmatic value. To what extent spiritual power can hold up the Vertical Glass House is still unknown. But this is a signal. It implies that the desire of the big Other does not exclude avant-garde experiments now, whether to explore the limits of architectural language or to convey (critically) the force of the void. In general, the avant-garde always appears in the fissure between the turning point of the times and reality. That the design of the Vertical Glass House was completed more than twenty years before it was materialized for the Shanghai West Bund Biennale is thought-provoking.    Both are tough lessons: to experience grandeur (of ancient Rome) and to appreciate the radicalism (of the avant-garde); and in fact, both features are contrary to the traditionally humble and conservative character of Chinese architects. Most of them possess the virtue of a fine traditional artisan and the strength to refine their skills and convey their aesthetics in compliance with the rules. Thus, what they have learned from modernism is ultimately the latest aesthetics of craftsmanship. This also explains the popularity of constructivism in China. However, precisely because of this, it is important to know what grandeur and radicalism are, which lead us to the core of modernism—to construct, to destruct, and to overhaul the rules; and this leads us to the world of architecture—to evidence cultural evolution and mankind’s self-transcendence rather than a sophisticated aesthetic technology.    During the Olympics, we experienced some kind of grandeur (such as the Bird’s Nest) and radicalism (such as the CCTV Building). In fact, they have little to do with architecture. Now Chinese architects start their hands-on experience with these two qualities. This should be the biggest achievement of a new round of learning—stepping into the creative world with self-negation.    Learning has switched its focus from filling the knowledge gap to challenging our own inherent limitations. Obviously, the former is a joy, the latter a pain. However, the latter is


1 RENOVATION

ARCHITECTURE STUDIO IN THE WUJIGENG BUILDING, NANJING UNIVERSITY EXHIBITION VENUE CONVERSION OF THE BI-CITY BIENNALE OF URBANISM \ ARCHITECTURE (UABB) O-OFFICE DAXI TEA FACTORY FOLDING SCREENS


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ARCHITECTURE STUDIO IN THE WUJIGENG BUILDING, NANJING UNIVERSITY The Wujigeng Building in Nanjing University’s Gulou campus was built in the 1930s, during the Republican era, as part of Jinling College. It is now a major historical and cultural site protected at the national level. The basic style of the Wujigeng Building is that of Northern Chinese governmental architecture, with cyclindrical tiles on a round ridge roof and plain outer walls made of green-gray bricks. The structure is made of reinforced concrete, an advancement from the West at the time, which joins with the remaining brick-and-wood structure. One of Nanjing University’s most important historical buildings, the Wujigeng Building is also a witness to the tumult of the last hundred years, a symbol of the university, and an enduring memory in the minds of generations of students.   During the Jinling College era, the Wujigeng Building served as a student dormitory, with rooms on both sides of the hallways. It was lightly renovated after the founding of the People’s Republic and used as the administrative building for the School of Foreign Languages. With these new administrative functions, the Wujigeng Building had to abandon its original spatial organization and adapt to the open-plan style of the modern office.    The original wooden interior walls did not bear weight because of the use of the advanced reinforced-concrete structure at the time of the building’s construction. In the conversion, some of the wooden walls were torn down to create open offices or research facilities. The drop ceiling of the storage loft was also removed, resulting in an open exhibition and conference space. The conversion improved efficiency in the use of the space, as well as the ventilation and lighting.    For a hundred years, every generation has renovated the Wujigeng Building and adapted it for its own particular purposes. The last renovation during the 1970s and 1980s left behind the unmistakable marks of the era: terrazzo floors, wooden bannisters, and wooden window casings. To preserve these footprints of time, the designers changed as little as possible in their design. In addition, they sought to display the structural aesthetic of the building itself, such as the textures of the plain brick walls and the wooden building frame, and emphasize them in the new space.    The appearances of the concrete columns, the terrazzo floors in the public spaces (the original hallways and staircas-

es), and the wooden window casings in the building were retained and have become the main elements of expression in the open spaces. Only a light coat of white paint was added to the plain brick walls, the concrete beams, and the open concrete floors, and their existing textures were retained as a part of the white overall ambience. Black double-hung windows inside the wooden casings make the building more energy-efficient, emphasize the original wooden window frames, and frame the outside views.    The terrazzo floors and wooden bannisters at the staircases were retained. Wooden panels taken down from the original structure were sanded, processed, and repurposed into side walls. The walls were given a light coat of white paint. Through the use of perspective, the horizontal lines in the textures that remain from the splicing guide the eye toward the original unfinished plain brick walls and wooden-cased windows.    The drop ceiling in the attic was removed, revealing the wooden frame behind it. After a simple cleaning and under clever lighting, the frame has a massive visual impact when viewed together with the surrounding wooden grille and the wood-textured floor.    The preserved architectural elements, marked by the passage of time, are intensified with design techniques and integrated into the new spaces and even become the focus of these new spaces. For example, the columns in the hallways and the terrazzo floors in the open offices (or research spaces) are emphasized with the tightly woven white grilles in the ceilings. The textures from the splicing of the white wooden panels focus attention on the plain brick walls and wooden windows at the staircases. And the raw-wood grilles on both sides highlight the bare wooden building frame in the open exhibition and conference space on the top floor.    Space is at the core of modern architecture. As part of a building in the classical style, the Wujigeng Building’s picture-perfect facade is the symbol of Nanjing University and one of Nanjing’s calling cards. The conversion emphasizes spatial design and incorporates the building’s historical features into the design so that the spaces and the classical facade can blend into modernity with all their contradictions as well as their single identity. Together, they approach the world with a new vigor and embody the ideas behind their presence.

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LOCATION / Nanjing, Jiangsu Province AREA / 2,000 m2 LEAD DESIGNER / Qi Wei DESIGN / ISO Workshop (Qi Wei, Pu Wei, Fang Yunping ) DESIGN CONSULTANT / Zhang Lei DESIGN COORDINATION / AZL Architects DATE OF DESIGN / 2013 COMPLETED / 2013 PHOTOGRAPHY / Yao Li


22


EXHIBITION VENUE CONVERSION OF THE BI-CITY BIENNALE OF URBANISM \ ARCHITECTURE (UABB)

23

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2

Machine hall

3

Silo building

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Warehouse

On December 6, 2013, the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\ Architecture (Shenzhen) opened in the Shekou Industrial Zone in Nanshan District, Shenzhen. Shenzhen launched its first biennale in 2005 and invited Hong Kong to participate starting in 2007. The cities have successfully held four exhibitions together. The fifth Bi-City Biennale (Shenzhen) marked the first time

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where two teams jointly curated the exhibition: Ole Bouman’s team and the Li Xiangning/Jeffrey Johnson team, who planned the exhibition around the theme of the Urban Border. Venue A for this biennale was the Value Factory (the former Guangdong Float Glass Factory), and Venue B was the Art Archive (originally a warehouse at the Shekou port).


2 CULTURE

LONG MUSEUM WEST BUND JIXI MUSEUM SHUIJINGFANG MUSEUM IMPRESSIONISTIC JIANGNAN RED BRICK ART MUSEUM NANJING WANJINGYUAN GARDEN CHAPEL KINDERGARTEN IN SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE CITY


64


LONG MUSEUM WEST BUND

In the industrial era of the twentieth century, the West Bund building of the Long Museum was located at the coal docks and piers, whose traffic depended on the Huangpu River, the mother river of Shanghai. The potential relationship between the building and the industrial past of the site also dominates the concept of the new design. At the museum, the long coal hopper corridor—measuring 110 meters in length, 10 meters in width, and 8 meters in height—remaining from that past captivates every visitor. This structure originally had a single function: moving coal from the dock to a freight train via a conveyor belt and hopper. Today, it has become an object of singular fascination. The designers decided to use concrete to create an almost purely supportive structure.    This approach resulted in the recentering of the West Bund building’s appeal around open space and natural, unaffected thinking. The unique umbrella arch structures, made with cast-in-place fair-faced concrete, characterize the new building. This feature not only exudes a sense of physical protection for visitors, but also echoes the coal hopper that has been preserved at the river pier. A primitive, savage allure pervades the building’s interior. At the same time, the enormous spaces and fine, smooth surfaces draw on a sense of futurity. This is the goal of the design, to weave together vertical and horizontal chronologies. The juxtaposition of the old and the new is one with different chronologies. The outcome is an attractive urban space infused with history and memory.    The umbrella arches at times merge side by side into actual arches, vertically into semiarches, and in windmill formations to resemble cross vaults. None of these is an arch in a true struc-

tural sense, but they all evoke the image of Rome, where concrete arches first appeared. This connection may also relate to the building’s dimensions. The clear height in the interior of the hall on the ground floor is only 12 meters and its greatest span, 16 meters. But an inherent public character emanates from the space for three reasons: the roof is an extension of the fair-faced concrete walls, the starting point of the arch is deliberately elevated relative to the semiarch, and freestanding walls buttress the interior. People experience a fantastic sense of physical freedom in this space, which transcends the typical image of an art museum. As indicated by the architect Liu Yichun, an art museum should not only be an urban space, but also a part of urban life.    The public character of the West Bund building is also manifest in its departure from the standard enclosed, inward-looking art museum. The building provides space for research and training on art and the sale of artworks and has a bookstore, library, small concert hall, restaurant, and café, all open public spaces that invite the public’s participation. The idea is to reduce the distance between art and the public and incorporate art into people’s daily life. The design also extends these ancillary functions to the external spaces. The coal hopper space runs from a city street to the walkway at the waterfront, and an overpass connects the second-floor courtyard with the museum restaurant, and with the Binjiang elevated walkway. Even when the museum is closed, people can still walk through the museum and stand above the coal hopper. They can eat, sit, linger, and see ships snake around each other in the distant river and the moonlight flood the waves.

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exhibition hall (–1919)

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control room

photography room 16

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2 1 3 1 / Main courtyard 2 / “Gable courtyard� 3 / Courtyard with old trees


3 HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS

THE MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE BY THE WATERSIDE PLACID MOGAN RETREATS XIANGXIANGXIANG BOUTIQUE CONTAINER HOTEL MERCATO AT THREE ON THE BUND PUSU RESTAURANT TEPPANYAKI XIANG RESTAURANT BAMBOO COURTYARD TEAHOUSE


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THE MOUNTAIN RESIDENCE BY THE WATERSIDE

At the foot of Xiangshan Mountain and down the Dujiapu Stream, the reception center at the Xiangshan Campus of the China Academy of Art is nestled among gurgling streams and lavish vegetation. The residence is located on the original site of a former popular restaurant. Because of a waterfront spacious courtyard, the restaurant was poetically named The Waterside; thanks to this, the current building inherits the key word waterside and is named The Mountain Residence by the Waterside.    Above the river is the view of an extensive 100-meter-long roof covered in gray tiles, a signature image of The Mountain Residence by the Waterside. In the design process, Wang Shu, the designer, used to call this building “Washan” (Tile Mountain), which indicated the importance of tile as an architectural element in this building. At the 2006 Venice Biennale, Wang Shu installed Tiled Garden to illustrate his thoughts on traditional architecture. At that time, he followed the tile works specified in the Treatise on Architectural Methods, creating a sloping roof that was structured in bamboo and covered with more than sixty thousand pieces of reclaimed tiles.1 On the roof he designed a walking path for people to have a close-up appreciation of the profound historical implication contained in these Chinese tiles. In a closer examination on the Tile Mountain, the roof form, the cascading layers of reused tiles in great quantity, and the walking path on the rooftop seamlessly and intimately link the Mountain Residence to the ancient tile garden, which epitomizes the designer’s incessant contemplation, exploration, and practice of traditional architecture in the contemporary context.    Wang Shu also pays close attention to rammed earth structure. As a result, rammed earth is another important element of the Mountain Residence by the Waterside. Unlike other building materials, rammed earth, largely used in rural construction, is reusable, a feature that coincides with the idea of the eternal in Taoist tradition: coming around and starting again, in endless succession. The rammed earth used in the Mountain Residence was taken from the foundation excavation. Even if someday in the future the building needs reconstruction or demolition, the rammed earth can be reutilized, which embodies the simple pursuit and an intuitive understanding of sustain-

ability embedded in Chinese traditional building techniques. Besides, rammed earth is in itself a natural building material with no added chemicals, such as lime. As taken from the earth, it is also returned to Mother Nature without troubling or polluting the environment. Thus, the choice of rammed earth also indicates that the designers are highly sensitive and responsible to environmental issues.    The designers set up a number of visual and movement passages for visitors to enjoy the residence. Following the visual passages, one can enjoy the waterfront or outdoor scenery; the verdant Xiangshan Mountain beyond the houses to the north; a corner of the Xiangshan campus to the south; and the interior arrangement of the residence, such as the rhythmic layers of partition walls in an east–west orientation. Or one can personally experience the setting through three movement passages: by walking through the entire property of the residence along the river; by taking the elevated path, with staircases leading up and down to the valleys or terraces; and by the most intriguing path—the long and winding corridor built on the rooftop, where one can have a panoramic view of the site.    The aged gray tiles, the heavy timber roof truss, the thick walls of rammed earth, the clean cement and some slender bamboo strips—all these materials in the designer’s skillful deployment are in the right place, serve the desired purpose, and demonstrate their respective natures. In addition, when incorporated with the standing spectators or passers-by, a harmony between the sky, Earth, and mankind is established. The Mountain Residence by the Waterside is a review, reexamining traditional materials and construction techniques. It is also a summary and a quest; through the process of design, construction, and implementation, it explores the possibilities of integrating architecture with nature as well as traditional aesthetics with contemporary building systems.

1 Treatise on Architectural Methods (Yingzao Fashi), compiled by Li Jie of the Song dynasty, is China’s first official writing that goes into great detail about architectural engineering. The book introduces standard building techniques and specifies the requirements upon the design, materials, structure, and component ratio for the building.

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LOCATION / 6th Floor, No. 3 on the Bund, Shanghai AREA / 1,000 m2 DESIGN / Neri & Hu COMPLETED / 2012 PHOTOGRAPHY / Pedro Pegenaute


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Pusu, a vegetarian restaurant, is located in a residential and commercial area in Chongqing’s Jiangbei District. As soon as the guest steps out of the elevator door, what meets the eye is the simple, slightly unfinished, and yet deliberate look of the entrance. The black-and-white logo on the gray wall is as plain as it is original. When sunlight scatters through the strips of bamboo that demarcate the entrance area, light and shadows couple and shift in a mysterious dance on the floor, the walls, and the roof with the passage of time. Passing through this bamboo tunnel immediately quiets the mind.    The main dining area opens sudden and wide, though both sunlight and shadows still claim a presence. The curved spaces that the designer created with bamboo fences bring a different spatial experience, allowing diners expansive views of the river at the windows as well as tête-à-têtes behind the curtains. The walking shadows behind the fabric are in themselves a moving

panorama. Through a layout that by turns relaxes and asserts itself, the designer manages the changes in the consumer’s psychological experience.    Only two main materials—bamboo and stone—are used in the design, but they have been sculpted into a wealth of visual effects through a variety of construction techniques. Fine bamboo strips from Jiangxi form the outer fence, separators, tunnel, and vaulted ceiling and also pave the floor. Gray granite from Fujian, whose rough-cut surfaces from when it was first mined have been preserved, is inlaid into the walls with no further embellishment. Their natural unevenness adds texture to the overall effect.    The combination of natural materials and light are the foundation of this space infused with the cultural atmosphere of the East. The designer hopes to describe a philosophy of simple living through this project.

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Decontamination room

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Locker room

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Cold dish room

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Bar counter

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Porch

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Storeroom

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Cleaning room

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Anteroom

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Toilet

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Cashier

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Private room 1

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Private room 2

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Private room 3

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Open dining zone

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Evacuation exit

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LOCATION / 6-5F Longhu Xingyuecui, Beibin Road, Jiangbei District, Chongqing FLOOR AREA / 500 m2 DESIGN / Chongqing Langtu Design Co., Ltd. DESIGNER / Yu Danhong COMPLETED / August 20, 2012 PHOTOGRAPHY / Xia Yang


4 RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

VERTICAL GLASS HOUSE THE ARCHI-EXPERIMENT IN CHUNXIAO TOWN TAPERED HOUSE HALF GARDEN HALF HOUSE


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TAPERED HOUSE

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Tapered House is located on a 9-meter-high cliff in the suburbs of Shunde, built on a 670-square-meter trapezoidal site extending from west to east. In addition to a summer house, this structure also functions as a gallery to display Bruce Lee memorabilia, including movie posters, stills, and other items related to this late martial arts star whose ancestral home is also Shunde. This structure thus contains two parts: the tapered and elongated gallery and a relatively spacious and dignified living space.    Windows and openings of the gallery are positioned in accordance with the lighting and visual effects. The 8-meter-tall window at the far end of the gallery guides the focal point from collections to the distant view and beyond, creating a visual extension from the inside out. The cement walls on both sides of the window are engraved with the famous quote by Bruce Lee: Having no limitation as limitation; using no way as way. From the perspective of the community, this spanning east–west gallery marks a distinctive boundary between the quiet new neighborhood on the cliff and the old village down below. It has also established a new focal point at the edge of this community.

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   The massive living quarters and the gallery are internally connected as an integrated space. The living quarters contain a living room, dining room, and an open kitchen, and there is direct access to the garden outdoors. The visual continuity from the second-floor master bedroom overlooking the first-floor living room also expresses spatial cohesion. The open garden and the elongated gallery create a spatial balance, as well as a right balance between openness and privacy.    The project site is in southern China, where the weather is hot and humid all year-round. A sloped roof (8 meters to 0.5 meter wide) and side walls (9 meters to 6.5 meters tall) constitute a conical internal volume, which along with the 8-meter-tall window at the end of the volume make an architectural design that significantly improves ventilation inside the building, and thus reduces the cooling load. Some of the gallery windows are carefully positioned to minimize damage to the exhibits by natural light. The walls built with the mixture of cast in situ concrete and masonry further strengthen the insulation.


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LOCATION / Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong Province SITE AREA / 670 m2 PROJECT AREA / 250 m2 LEAD DESIGNER / Li Liangcong DESIGN TEAM / Weng Shijun, Guo Shanxi, Zhao Qicong COMPLETED / April 2012 PHOTOGRAPHY / Hunga Chan, Hong Kong Cultural Imaging Workshop LTD


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LIN’AN TAIYANG BAMBOO-STRUCTURE PIGSTY As urban environments see more pollution, eco-villages not only provide clean food, but also invite the urban population back to the countryside to participate in farming. Natural materials, such as bamboo and thatch, are collected by farmers and then used in a series of constructions to create new villages through collaboration with urban professionals. At the same time, these constructions also rebuild the economy and reinvigorate the region’s traditional handicrafts. Natural construction creates a more sustainable, if not permanent, way of living and provides several architectural models for the social practice of new villages.    The first building of this construction project is a livestock shelter, a pigsty, in a secluded ranch located in a small valley; the plan is to raise 100 free-range pigs, to protect the breeding environment by rotational grazing, and to build a temporary pen to accommodate 100 pigs at a reduced cost without occupying the cropland.    Supply of building materials was the designer’s first concern. Industrial materials require long-distance transport to reach the mountains far away from industrial areas, while natural materials are plentiful in the countryside. Thick piles of cobblestones, buried in streams throughout the valley for centuries, are often transported to the city for landscaping purposes. Their price started out low, but has seen rapid hikes in recent years. However, they are everywhere in the rural areas. A material of the same abundance is Moso bamboo, which thrives behind the mountain dwellings across this region and in the neighboring county of Anji. Depending on soil quality, the species and quality of bamboo vary greatly. Bitter bamboo, seen in the nearby Yuhang Tonling region, where the soil is rich in copper, is known for its special acoustic character and makes the region the home of bamboo flutes. The Moso bamboo grown in this county also has its character: winter-harvested Moso bamboo has sturdy fiber as well as bug-repellant properties. Most of the peasants are also bamboo artisans who traditionally work on bamboo buildings or products during the slack period between agricultural seasons.    The designer Chen Haoru remarks, “My special interest in bamboo led me into the study of bamboo architecture. The bamboo architecture artisans thus become my partners.” Luo Shuqing is a third-generation bamboo artisan of Shuangmiao Village. Luo’s father and two brothers were also bamboo craftsmen but had to turn to other business in recent years, because

the penetration of industrial materials had caused a decline of the bamboo practice, a profession now with very few successors. This pilot project thus became a turning point to rejuvenate the craft of bamboo architecture.    The tall grasses grown in the dense bamboo forest on the hillside around the site provide the major building material for the pigsty. The winter Moso bamboo has great tensile strength and insect resistance. According to bamboo artisans, any structure built with winter bamboo, after proper sun- and waterproofing treatment, is estimated to last for at least five years. The roof thatch, also from a nearby valley, is collected and handwoven by the villagers during the slack season. However, bamboo is not a material easy to preserve. It tends to darken or crack when left outdoors. Therefore, bamboo is usually used together with thatch and laid on a slanted surface, so that rainwater is channeled through the fine stalks of thatch into the natural-made bamboo pipe and drained onto the cropland.    Straw’s solid and strong core makes it a traditional water-repellent roofing material. Thatching is done by layering the straw in a way like roof tiles to shed water away as well as to retain conventional breathability. Breathability is an important principle in traditional architecture, which ensures good ventilation. In addition, the varying moisture and flexibility retained in natural materials makes the building sustainable.    An industrial waterproofing layer cannot be applied on the roof because it will lead to rapid decay of the underlying thatch and shorten the lifespan of the roof. The drainage feature of the thatched roof has waterproofing functions and maintains breathability, which facilitates the interior air to move up and through the roof, thus accelerating the drying process of the thatch after a rain. The thatch roof needs annual addition or replacement. Its depth depends on the owner’s wealth, that is, the thickness of the roof symbolizes one’s financial status. However, the annual replacement of the thatch roof is a local practice in response to the gradual decomposition of natural materials, and a folk custom evolved from the integration of intentional building maintenance and the agricultural calendar.    The selected site is a small bamboo forest near the residence of a farmer, Mr. Luo; it is situated in a field near the mountains, and is clearly visible when one enters the valley. Since it is a grave taboo to change the landscape or fengshui, groundbreaking is a big event in Chinese custom: the date and location are chosen with extreme care. Therefore, the designer had careful

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planning for the construction. The thatched bamboo structure is built on the original ground and employs the existing drainage without further disturbing the land. The building has absolutely no foundation, sitting directly on ten 1-meter-wide, 1.2-meter-high pillars made of cobblestones. In traditional wooden architecture, the pillars were erected directly on the solid tamped ground while the connected roof framework absorbed any instability caused by land subsidence. This is an inspiration Chen Haoru obtained from his study of ancient Chinese architecture. When visiting the Ningbo Baoguo Temple, he saw the inward-inclined pillars from the Song dynasty still standing after thousands of years and realized that the timber structure was actually balanced from the top and thus could withstand the unstable ground. In a piece of untreated farmland, this bamboo architecture makes a giant self-stabilized structure, like a bird perching on a brick parapet made of pebbles. The pillars, like a bird’s claws, firmly grasp the land while the large, swayed thatched roof stands tall, like the broad and powerful wings of a bird ready to take off.    This building is composed of four 8-square-meter modules, each of which is a stable pyramid structure held up by four principal poles. Four sides of the structure then hold up a roof framework that extends in two directions, and a unit space is thus developed. Considering the necessary span, each module is about 4 meters tall. Furnished with about 1-meter walls, this building looks proportional against the adjacent hill.

   The original bamboo site is 37 meters long, just right for four units with space in the front and back for an entrance and exit, without any alteration of the existing field and irrigation system. The span of each bamboo structural unit is 8 meters; the four units total a length of 32 meters, with a 2-meter extension at each end. There are four openings on both sides of the building to facilitate natural airflow; each opening is a triangular bamboo framework, measuring 4 meters wide and 6 meters tall. The thick bamboo used for the main post has a diameter of at least 15 centimeters and holds up the 6-meter-tall bamboo structure at an angle greater than 45 degrees. The interior view of this bamboo structure is a clean, spacious, and airy space composed of ten inverted pyramids, which are connected to one another at the top, creating a visual effect of neatly interleaved layers of repeated geometric sequences with infinite extension.    Based on in-depth research on animal behavior and inspiration from the ranch owner, a schematic plan for rotational grazing and a stockbreeding farm was developed. Included in this design are drove quarters, feeding stations, a washroom, watering areas, rotational grazing area, a swimming pool and a designated walking path for drove breeders, which provides convenient feeding and minimizes the impact on the activities of the livestock. In hot summer day, the sight of pigs swimming in the pool excites all the visitors, which proves to be the best promotion of this agricultural pilot project at the Sun Commune and the future direction of new agriculture.


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Chinese Architecture Today  

China is not only a playground for international architectural practices, but has its own active architectural scene. Twenty-six projects co...

Chinese Architecture Today  

China is not only a playground for international architectural practices, but has its own active architectural scene. Twenty-six projects co...

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