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Architecture and Urbanism 09:08

Conversation: The Cloud in the Clock – A Fabricated Dialogue on Beijing

主持人 范凌(范):设计评论人、教师和设计顾问。 乔纳森·所罗门(所罗门):建筑师,香港大学建筑系助理教授和代理系主任, 《306090》丛书 编辑。

对谈 :钟中之云—— 一场关于北京城市肌理的虚构对话 Presiders Ling Fan (LF): Design critic. Educator. Design consultant. Jonathan D Solomon (JDS): Architect. Assistant Professor and Acting Head of the Department of Architecture, University of Hong Kong. Editor of 306090 Books.


这是一个虚构的对话——关于北京这个正在失去尺度肌理的城市。 我们并不试图建立原创性的批判,因为众多政治、经济和社会原因造 成的城市现实,任何的否定和批评都显得过于消极。我们希望激发城 市各个侧面的不同声音,向城市发展的不同方向进行拖拽,这些方向 包括城市学、建筑学、房地产、城市文化、政策、经济和环境等。在 这个对话中,城市问题不是被攻击的目标,而是一个起点,向外发散 思考,反思过去十年北京城市发展的建筑和政治谱系。从一系列不同 角色的城市活动参与者的言论出发,我们试图形成一个被虚构的对话 平台。 这个对话既没有开始,也没有结束,任何人——以社会的某一个 角色都可以切入参加。这个对话始于美国《306090》丛书的《维度》 专辑。这一次,我们除了用文字语言进行对话,摄影师臧峰还用一组 后奥运摄影作品,直观形象地加入到对话中,他的图像语言一方面展 示了后奥运时代北京的传统维度感缺失,另一方面又展示了另一种新 肌理的出现,虽然这种肌理本身也许基于一种虚构的秩序。 所罗门 :桢文彦在他 1987 年的论文“城市,图像,物质性”中比较 了钟的等级秩序状态与云的匀质蒸汽状态。通过观察战后东京城市肌 理的演变,他提出当代的城市发展状态更接近于后者。在这种情况下, 桢文彦将建筑的操作想象成为钟状的构件用云状的方式组装起来,从 而形成一种片段化的分裂城市美学。 桢文彦认为城市是有效和分散的组件组成的片段,而这一方程式 是否还适合当代的城市?尤其像北京这样的城市呢?如果说钟、云的 类比依然能用于解读城市,那么也必定要从新的角度出发。举例来说, 2008 年北京的发展轨迹便与桢文彦的理论截然相反,整个城市云状的 各部分构件却在钟状的层序下有条不紊地铺排开来。正如 20 世纪 80 年代的东京,北京正经历着前所未有的巨变。这些变化所处的环境、 所带来的结果都为我们指明了一个新方向。告诉我们,北京因何为钟、 因何为云。 约翰逊 :纵横历史,我惊奇地发现,无论从政治上、维度上,还是文 化上,北京在不断演变的同时,依然保持着标志的恒稳性。用你的话 来说,她变换如云,持恒如钟。尽管也曾与其他城市共享殊荣,北京以 优秀的姿态几百年来都占据着首都的地位(民国时期除外)。即便此时 此刻经历着规模空前的转型,北京依然保持着她持恒与流动的双重性。 史 :我是以一个文化上的精神分裂者的状态看待这个城市的,一方面 哀戚她的历史的衰亡,一方面亢奋于她的剧变 ;一方面记录正在逝去 的旧城,一方面欣赏那些崛起的空间(我就住在 CBD 边上,每天在

This page, above: Distant view of the new landmark building in Qinghe, north-west Beijing. This page, below: Aerial view of a narrow strip of landscape earth in the middle of a street and roadside parking area in west Beijing.

本页,上:清河新地标,北京 西北部;下:狭长的路间绿化 带和路边停车场,北京西部。

Conversation: The Cloud in the Clock – A Fabricated Dialogue on Beijing

Shi: I look at Beijing as a cultural schizophrene: On one hand, I mourn the disappearance of its history, on the other hand, I am stimulated by its rapid transformation; On one hand, I feel the need to record the old city as it fades out, on the other hand, I can appreciate newly erected urban spaces. I am living in the center of Beijing and I am a witness to how the city grows every day; I relentlessly criticize the chronic illness caused by rapid urban expansion, yet I personally enjoy the reality of these new spatial dimensions. Can I describe these paradoxes as conforming to “cloudlike” or “clocklike” dimensions? I do not know if it is necessary. Here in Beijing, there is an elasticity between appearances and hidden rules, desperate struggle and robust survival coexist, the suicide of new urban space games up with creative strategies for urban regeneration…All these overlaps and contradictions in the present are more interesting to me than the question of an urban future. The evolution of Chinese architecture and urbanism just does not follow an existing pattern. These fields now seek their own rules, an action which constitutes a critical act of discovery, research, and action. Beijing is discovering its own critical dialog. LF: The clock is a literally and phenomenally transparent artifact. Its workings are nested in a hierarchy in which each component is knowable as a unit and as a piece of whole. A new understanding of the role and scale of hierarchy in the city fits an era of crowd sourcing by mobile phone and internet chatrooms, of instant monuments and unprecedented growth. Where the clock is transparent, the cloud is translucent, both in the literal sense of the blur, and in the phenomena of chaos. Transparency is a western proclivity, it is the cornerstone of government (liberal democracy) and economy (free market). In China, by contrast, there is a saying “clear water kills the fish.” This suggests that translucency, or the quality of being a cloud, creates a more vibrant environment for development in the east. In China being a clock, hierarchical and rigid, is camouflage for being a cloud. All the descriptions of a clock (precise, delicate) guarantee a politically correct façade for what the cloud assembles. To be a cloud in a clock is to be in a more advantageous position than to be a clock in a cloud. Eventually, all political rules, regulations, and hierarchies follow development, more precisely, economical development. Let’s start from the one who benefits most from such development. TK: Despite the ideals and theories often espoused by architects, they are bit players in the urban planning of the Chinese city, where large sums of money from international hedge and retirement fund managers increasingly control urban development. The explosive growth and opportunity that has landed in China has more to do with the forces of finance that have drawn it here, then the forward thinking of planners or architects. The

Feature 1: Architecture in Beijing

This is a fabricated dialogue about a city missing its dimensional fabric. Instead of establishing an original critique, we sets out this provocation as a scratch line to stretch between different points on the same trajectory (urbanism, architecture, real estate, urban culture, policy, economy, and environment) heading as far as possible in either direction to map an architectural and political genealogy of urban China in the past decade. From the comments of a group of participants with diverse roles in the transformation of Beijing over the past decade – architects, developers, researchers, journalists, and policymakers – we presents this constructed conversation. Of course it neither begins nor ends, you can cut in at any moment. This fabricated dialogue project originated from Dimension, the 12th volume of 306090 Books. To supplement this publication of the conversation, we chose the post-Olympics work of Beijing photographer Zang Feng. His visual essay on the one hand shows the lack of traditional urban dimension in this postOlympic city, and on the other the appearance of a new fabric that probably also builds upon a fabricated order. JDS: In his 1987 text “City, Image, Materiality” Fumihiko Maki contrasts the hierarchical order of the clock with the homogenous vapor of the cloud. Observing the changing fabric of postwar Tokyo, he proposes that the state of the contemporary city approached the latter. Maki’s understanding of an architectural operation in this context, which became a foundational tenant of the aesthetic of fragmentation, was to imagine buildings of clocklike parts in cloudlike assemblies. While Maki’s formulation, the city as a fragmentation of functional but disassociated pieces, belongs to another era, the clock and the cloud remain relevant measures of the city, if in new ways. Beijing in 2008, for instance, is much like an inversion of this condition, a city of cloudlike, vaporous parts afloat still in a clocklike hierarchy. Like Tokyo in the 1980s, Beijing is a city that has undergone an extraordinary recent transformation. The context and the consequences of these changes must point us in a new direction. Tell us about Beijing. How does it look like a clock; how does it see like a cloud? JJ: What I find amazing about Beijing is that it has throughout its history experienced perpetual transformation – politically, dimensionally, culturally – yet throughout this time it has been able to maintain symbolic stability. To use the terms of your introduction it has moved with the fluidity of the cloud but has kept the functionality of the clock. Beijing is a capital city par excellence, holding that position consistently, albeit sometimes shared, for nearly 1000 years (aside from a brief period during the Republican Era). Even in its contemporary condition, where transformation is occurring at an unprecedented pace, Beijing still maintains this duality of stability and flux.

嘉宾 张永和(张):非常建筑创始人,麻省理工学院建筑系系主任、教授,北京大学建筑学研究 中心创始人、教授。 姜珺(姜):设计师、编辑、评论家, 《城市中国》主编。 杰弗里·约翰逊(约翰逊):建筑师,SLAB建筑事务所合伙人,哥伦比亚大学建筑、城市 规划和保护学院中国实验室主任。 泰德·科恩(科恩):模弗西斯事务所项目建筑师,摄影师及作家。 齐川英里(齐川):普林斯顿大学伍德罗·威尔逊公共及国际事务学院博士研究生。 史建(史):评论家、策展人,一石文化策划总监。 臧峰:建筑师、摄影师,工作于非常建筑。


Guests Yung Ho Chang (YHC): Principal Architect, Atelier FCJZ. Professor and Head of Architecture Department at MIT. Professor and Founding Head of Graduate Center of Architecture, Peking University. Jun Jiang (Jiang): Designer and Critic. Chief editor of Urban China.

Jeffrey Johnson (JJ): Architect, Co-founding principal, SLAB architecture, Director of China Lab, an experimental research unit at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. Ted Kane (TK): Architect, Morphosis. Photographer and Writer focused on the urban condition. Eri Saikawa (ES): Doctoral candidate at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jian Shi (Shi): Critic. Curator. Planning director of Beijing Isreading Culture Ltd. Feng Zang: Architect, Atelier FCJZ. Photographer.


flow of money from investment funds know no borders in its pursuit of the largest return on investment, having landed where the combination of new markets, a top down government that can speed up infrastructure building, a cheap labor, and loose environmental laws have all combined to create a vacuum which international investors can exploit. The economic growth of China has created its own feedback loop where high investment returns pursues even faster growth, drawing increasing numbers of investors. This wave of capital is flowing into Beijing and other cities such as Shenzhen, Shanghai and Tianjin, creating explosive growth. In these Chinese markets, investors have opened up the best locations for development in historic cores and river front blocks where Government/Private agreements allow for speedy demolition and quick infrastructure connections. This is combined with strategies of creating signature Bilbao-type buildings to increase prominence and values of surrounding property, and increase prestige for the growing cities. These large and prominent urban sites are rare in the west, and are the ideal playground for international architects looking to apply their signature works. JJ: If there is to be a new urban dimension understood from Beijing, it must take into account time as much as space. Change in Beijing can be measured in speeds and amplitudes. Beijing, and most of urban China, has been recently experiencing change at an unprecedented pace. With the arrival of the Olympics, Beijing has had additional motivation to accelerate the rate of this change. The marriage of speed and change has held a privileged position in China since Mao’s reign, though not always to the benefit of its citizens. Contemporary Beijing’s stable center, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, is a fixed measure by which to gauge change. The ring roads encircling the center and the nodal developments strung along them imply infinite expansion of the city at a seemingly unrestricted rate. This concentric expansion model will forever be tied to its center, with growth always measured in distance from it. These are both spatial and temporal measures. TK: Given all of the opportunities available in China it is ironic that the architect is in its weakest position here, often subservient to developers whose connections to government officials control the zoning, site constraints, and program long before the architect is hired. Further limiting control is an approval system that places construction documents in the hands of quasi-governmental Institutes (LDI’s), which separates the design architects from the realities of construction, or codes, which relegate them into a role as image makers operating as glorified rendering companies for their client’s interests. Western architects follow the waves of finance to where it leads them, and into an unknown culture to which they are not connected. A newly cleared block in a prime urban location is an opportunity for creative expression unfettered by awareness of the forceful removal of the former inhabitants and demolition of their houses which went into its creating. The naive and enthusiastic western architect goes into this market at the behest of its developer client, operating within a bubble of willing ignorance that allows them to work unencumbered by the prejudices of politics, culture, human rights, or environmental consequence that might impede their work opportunities or creativity. Here they have conveniently separated the role of architect from both the money that creates it, the politics that encourage it, or its impacts on the workers or culture surrounding it. Jiang: The old city of Beijing is the symbolic core that gives dimension to the transformations around it, but it is being nibbled at continuously by the forces of economic and cultural growth. Ten years ago, Beijing was still a socialist capital with a fabric of courtyard housing. After the residential reform of 1998, 56

the real estate market in Beijing has stimulated a new living configuration, conceptual commercial housing units by star developers. About eight years ago, Olympic construction began to heat up the building process, which had been centered on real estate development. A series of international star architecture pieces were begun: The Bird’s Nest and CCTV, and key zones such as the CBD and Zhong Guan Cun were upgraded. The closure of Capital Steel Company symbolizes Beijing’s post-industrial transformation. Changes to Beijing in the past decade reflect the Chinese modernization process which has tracked from economic reform to political reform. In the end urban China is the measure of this political modernization process. JJ: If Beijing is a city of stability in perpetual transformation, one recommendation for intervening is to facilitate change not through continual outward growth but through rapid and precise microagitations. This could be done not only through new structures, but through adaptive reuse, limiting demolition and population relocation. Cities are by their nature aggregations of interventions, authored by many, continually possessed, discarded, repossessed and altered by even more. Beijing is growing more as a collection of fixed and permanent structures, each one competing with the next to be the most unique. These broad-stroke planning strategies, a carry-over from the monumental Soviet influenced era, promote large-scale development at the cost of vibrant neighborhoods. Planning should become more strategic and exact to provide for maximum change with minimal disruption and waste. LF: While Beijing’s urban development occurs at a scale of global influence, the dilemmas of transformation are born by locals. For example, in order to prepare for the Olympics, it is the people of Beijing who have sacrificed their convenience and their environment. Moreover, the traditional city has transformed into an unfamiliarly intensive environment for locals. Can these two scales be reconciled? YHC: In general, people like talking about the physical and cultural preservation of Beijing. There is nothing wrong with this. As an old Beijing citizen, however, what is more valuable for me are the patterns of life sustained by such a physical environment, for instance, how people actually live in the Hutong we wish to preserve. When we speak about how a city functions versus how it is composed, this is what we speak of. When seen in this way, there are two problems with preservation: First, the fundamental problem of changing life styles. Shopping in a Hutong is very specific. The seller carries goods to the door of every residence. The buyers come out to buy things. When there were very few stores in Beijing, such a way of selling things provided a fundamental convenience for daily life. You might go to Wang Fu Jing sometimes, but just for fun, not for buying daily commodities. In the case of physical cultural preservation, this pattern of inhabitation is not included. Seeking to preserve the culture but not the foundations of life of a place is highly problematic. Second, if Beijing retained a very convenient living pattern, then it would be no problem for it not to have culture. However, the current condition of the city is neither convenient nor is it sustaining of culture. The convenience of life and the cultural environment are both withering. My memory of childhood life in Beijing is that the street was always noisy but when one entered the courtyard, he or she felt quiet. The distance between courtyard and street is not far but the feeling and atmosphere were totally different. This is the whole spatial structure of the courtyard: sky on top, earth on the bottom, some trees, birds flying, you were so close to nature. This is the real old Beijing. Most of it has gone. JDS: We see new infrastructure everywhere in Beijing to accommodate these new scales, new patterns, new flows. These

26 层上目睹这一带都市空间的生长);一方面无情地批评都市疾速蔓





约翰逊 :如果从北京的发展中我们得到一个对城市发展解读的新维度



旺盛的生存智慧的并现,新都市空间的自戕与修补策略的游戏 ……这










范 :钟的结构表现一种物理的透明性也表现为现象的透明性。钟的运





科恩 :讽刺的是,纵使中国机遇良多,建筑师在这里依然无用武之地。







则(自由民主和自由市场)。相反的,中国自古有云: “水至清则无鱼。”














科恩 :如今的中国,城市规划正日益为大量的国际投资、换置基金所









姜 :十年前,北京还是一个“大院包围胡同”的社会主义古都。1998 年










构升级为中心的重点区域 ;随之展开的总规修编将部分主城区功能分








发展态势明显,首钢搬迁标志着北京向后工业城市转型⋯⋯更为内在 的变化反映在每年在北京召开的党代会、人代会和政协会,这里记录着 中国现代化从经济改革走向政治改革的轨迹。 《城市中国》是中国现代 化这一内在进程的记录者和推动者。 约翰逊 :如果说北京在持续的演变中依然保持着稳定性,那么我建议 通过迅速而精准的微调来参与城市的变化发展,而不是通过外显张扬 的持续增长。不仅可以通过新的建筑,通过循环利用、减少拆除以及 重置人口分布等手段同样可以参与到城市建设。本质上来说,城市的 发展本身便有各方的参与与介入,在占据与遗弃的轮回中,多种力量 充当玩家,甚至有更多的力量参与改变这个城市。北京正发展成为一 个恒久固定建筑的收藏馆,楼宇之间竞相高下,极尽能事地标新立异。 这些大手笔的规划战略,都是大苏联影响下时代的遗风。完成这些“宏 篇巨制”的代价则是原先生机勃勃的四合院文化的消失殆尽。城市规 57

P. 57: An old house about to demolition in north-west Beijing. This page : Aerial view of a residence community in north Beijing. All photos on pp. 55–58 by Feng Zang.


57页:北京西北部某待拆迁的旧式民居。 本页:北京北部某高层住宅区鸟瞰。

range from the new Airport and highways; to social policies to smooth international travel such as the ban on spitting or teaching cab drivers English; to cultural shifts to accommodate floating populations. But is this new city with its new dimensions any less real? ES: As Beijing has developed over the past decade, the rapid increase in the number of automobiles in the city has also created some serious air pollution problems. Such levels of pollution not only cause adverse environmental impacts such as acid rain, but also affect human health. A World Bank study jointly conducted with the Chinese government has calculated the total number of premature mortalities due to respiratory disease related to air pollution in China is as high as 750,000 per year. In 2006, the total number of vehicles in Beijing was 1.26 million, compared to 0.82 million in 2000, this indicates a more than 150% increase in just 6 years. The increase over the last 15 years is most visible in the number of private buses and cars in Beijing and in the state-wide vehicle volume. Due to such rapid increases, traffic jams have been a major problem in Beijing, especially in rush hours. Public transport is well developed, but more effort is needed to encourage people not to drive their own cars and use subways and buses instead. Although there has been much media coverage on Beijing’s air pollution and other environmental problems, I see a positive change overall in the city. The train station is now equipped with energy efficient systems, for instance. It is a shame to see so many old historical districts being torn down, but it is also exciting to see environmentally-friendly public transportation appearing more and more in Beijing – it’s a city that’s extremely active with infinite possibilities for the future. LF: These changes reflect a clear shift in government policy from pursuing economic growth to looking inwards at quality of life. Chairman Hu Jintao promotes “Harmonious Society”, “Ecological Culture” and “Humanity Concern” versus earlier goals: “Development Is A Solid Principle” or “Centralized with Economic Development.” Economic power now goes beyond merely a political showcase to a motivator for “Better City, Better Life,” the theme of 2010 Shanghai World Expo. I can not say this shift has been affected conspicuously in people’s daily life. However, is there a trend has appeared already in a higher social level? YHC: Two problems, 1. What should be preserved from the old city of Beijing? What can be preserved? We must consider a new living pattern, which is not subordinate to economic development. It must have qualities of its own. Most living patterns right now in Beijing are negative. People have a chance to start their career at the expense of their living quality. Considered actively, quality of life is a cultural issue. Beijing is a cultural city with long tradition, but the manner of its urbanization and economic development is almost the same as other Chinese cities, rendering it increasingly generic. I think that development could be less conflict with culture. Beijing could be a super-tourist city by taking advantage of its culture and tradition. In so doing, the city could make much more money than others. 2. To look backwards, I think it is better to preserve the Hutongs instead of the courtyards. The singular preserved courtyard is an anachronism without urban meaning. To look forward, I think the city should keep developing instead of standing still at a certain period. In fact, I do not agree with the direction of development the city is taking, a neither high nor low density, tall building short building approach. I think the city should have a better vision. Developers seek generally to understanding and appropriating the culture, but not to define the culture. These represent two very different ways of operating. Beijing and other cities are too abstract in their vision and too specific in their material pursuit.


张 :两个问题 :1. 老北京城应该保留什么?能够保留什么?我们必须



范 :虽然北京的城市发展发生在全球化影响的背景下,但其演变中所








张 :总的来说,现在很多人都谈物质的文化保护,当然也不错。对于



2. 向后看,留胡同不留四合院,可能京味更浓一些,孤零零的留下四

在胡同里怎么生活。从现在来说,两个层次上的不够 :

合院毫无意义 ;向前看,城市是发展的,并不让它停在某一时期。

1. 基本生活方式上的不够,胡同中的购物方式是特定的,小摊贩








这是有问题的。 2. 同时,新的北京如果有一个新的非常方便的生活方式,如果没


文化就没文化,但也没做到。两个都没做到,这是最大的问题。现在 方便程度、舒适程度、环境健康程度都在下降。小时候我没有什么思想, 特别深刻的印象是街上也是乱哄哄的,进了院子安静下来了,虽然离 大街很近,但是感觉很远。整个空间结构就是这样,在院子里,上面天, 下面地,有几棵树、鸟和自然的关系紧密,这是真正北京特色,现在 都没了。 所罗门 :我们在北京随处可见旨在与新尺度、新肌理、新流向相配套 的新的基础建设。从新机场、新高架,到禁止随地吐痰或是教出租车 司机英语等新社会政策,再到用以安顿流动人口的新文化转向。然而, 这个新维度中的城市是否真实呢? 齐川 : 在过去的十年中,随着北京的发展,城市中的机动车数目也迅 速增长,这导致了严重的空气污染。 这种程度的污染不仅带来了诸如 酸雨等不利的环境影响,还严重危害人们的健康。一项世界银行与中 国政府合作的调查显示,与空气污染有关的呼吸道疾病每年导致高达 750,000 名中国人过早死亡。 2006 年北京机动车总数为 126 万,与 2000 年 82 万的数量相比, 仅六年时间就增长为 2000 年的 1.5 倍。在过去的 15 年内,北京私家 车与全国机动车的增长量是显而易见的。这样快速的增长下,随之而 来的是北京严峻的交通堵塞问题,尤其在上下班高峰时段。公共交通 虽然发展得不错,但是在鼓励人们减少使用私家车,多使用地下交通、 公共交通方面,仍需更多努力。 尽管仍有许多媒体报道指责北京严重的空气污染以及其他环境问 题,但我还是看到了这个城市正积极主动地改变。比如,如今的火车 站已配备有节能系统。尽管古城的分崩离析、七零八落令人遗憾,然 而北京新城中出现越来越多绿色的公共交通却也令人兴奋,这使得北 京这座充满活力的城市在未来的持续发展中有着无限的潜能。 范 :这些改变清晰地反映出政府政策从一味追求经济的增长转而内观 城市的生活质量。胡锦涛主席倡导“和谐社会”、 “生态文化”以及“人 文关怀”,这些与早期的口号诸如“发展是硬道理”、 “以经济发展为中心” 已截然不同了。经济实力不再是政府用来证明“城市,让生活更美好” (2010 年上海世博会主题)的唯一手段了。我不能说这种转变已在人 们的日常生活中显露出来。然而,在社会的更高层面,这是否已经成 为一种趋势了? 59

对谈:钟中之云——一场关于北京城市肌理的虚构对话 | Conversation: The Cloud in the Clock –A Fabricated Dialogue on Beijing  

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