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Portfolio of Architectural Projects 2011 - 2014 Bao Lijia

Bao Lijia graduated with a First Class Honours degree from XLArch Architecture Department at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in July 2014. She is form architectural propositions, and in the possibilities of drawing as a tool to create new relationships between space, form and function.



BEng Architecture ( / RIBA Part 1 Candidate Status) 2010 - 2014 Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Suzhou, China

Competition Participation Global Architecture Awards 2014


2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition (Collaboration with TheodorosDounas) SKIN, a digital fabrication competition by TEX-FAB/2013 (Collaboration with TheodorosDounas) Nominated by XJTLU for 2013 President’s Medals the Royal Institute of British Architects (Studio Project: FAN 1348)

Contact Email: Telephone: +86 13913633983

Internship Architecture at, Greece / chitecture 3 months / June 2013 – August 2013 Editor at Master Planning The Future magazine/ The First English Language Architectural Online Magazine in China 10 months / March 2013 – December 2013 Internship at Screen Media and Fashion Project/ A research project held by Armida De La Garza 3 months / January 2013 – March 2013 Internship Architecture at LogOn Architects, China (SNC: Food Tower Renovation Project) 2 months / July 2012 – August 2012

Interests Architecture Design Digital Art Fashion Design Film Making Graphic Design Urban Studies

Skills Adobe Creative Suite AutoCAD Blender SketchUp Rhino Keyshot

Studio Work

01 Final Year Project

43 Collison

55 FAN 1348

Common Fiction The Living Archive / an electronic market design /

an automatic youth hostel /

65 A.D 1929

Shanghai Picks /

79 Rethink Housing, Rethink Living

Other Works

Residential Design /

Common Fiction The Living Archive

Level 03 / Semester 01 & 02 Duration: 24 weeks Plot Area: 22,500 sqm Project Location: Pudong, Shanghai, China Project Type: Studio, Individual Work Tutor: Claudia Westermann

Common Fiction : The Living Archive

of the historically important river Huangpu, in a part of Shanghai that appears to have resisted becoming city but instead has mostly remained masterplan.

Students are asked to make inte-

gral to their research and design an engagement with the questions that relate to the processes of transition between reading and an examination of the art of writing as a writing, and between their analofruitful basis for a renewed thinking on gies, such as walking the city and the art of building - potentially initiat- making places. They may considing a re-orientation towards the inhabi- er forms of writing that exercise tants in all their dimensions, including memories and dreams. In the literary the powers that the typical Pudarts, important avantgarde movements ong building attempts to exercise. It is suggested that there might be for Roots) movement, have successfully forms of writing that create places shown that new ways of writing that are that give space, and thus with a nat-


rejecting Western approaches are possible, and successful both nationally and internationally. They also serve as an initiation to a new understanding of China in the West. Architecture in China still seems to lack such ways of writing.

openness leading the reader to a form of appropriation that is in fact re-creation. Such forms of writing would be considered initiation, and not articulation and ever repetitive

Common Fiction


PRE : Research

Case study on Hong Kong, in a particular time - A.D 1997

Time goes to AD 1997, the entire Hong Kong, restlessly and adrift, waited for the coming of ‘1st July’1, when the art and literary groups began to impatiently write muate the Hong Kong government. Female or homosexual identity and psychology were used greatly to imply the government. Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan2 the movie ‘ Hold You Tight’3, by obscuring biguous feelings; Kwan alluded to 1997s’ Hong Kong and Hong Kong government. tangled love polygon, unspeakable ‘identity’ and vague sexual orientation intertwined screen, gradually into the dark, leaving the the ambiguity everywhere. Its process goes very slowly and heavily, until the end of the

drive a car, hurtling at the Tsing Ma Bridge4 – Tsing Ma Bridge at that time immersed in the sky, the road in the dawn, glossy street lights, all transparent and clear. At this point, ‘undercurrents’ music blended into the scene, with Anthony Wong5 humming

‘Even the sky any deeper, still, Cracks will not be seen Even housed whole lights, still, Me will not be lighted Let the smoke rise, so, My body falls’

Common Fiction



sexual orientation, dual per-

identity, relates to the notion of Cyborg. The earliest concept of Cyborg came from two scientists of the America National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline. In 1960s, they took ism’, and constructed a new word: Cyborg. They believe that the use of drugs and surgical methods can ensure humans’ life in harsh environmental conditions. Cyborg later is deextended via mechanical expansions. Thus, a teeth or carrying a pacemaker could in this case be regarded as Cyborg. However, the notion of cyborg had always been vague, until Donna Haraway, who is renowned as the mother of cyborg, claimed ‘a cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social re-

The impact of cyborg penetrated into the with cyborg image, the fact that itself is a ley – ‘Frankenstein ’ is also about cyborg. Its protagonist – Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is a real Cyborg, a Chimera that made ies. It is neither a man nor an object, but a both living creature and corpse. Moreover, it is a strong ‘feminine’ exists, although the work set it as a ‘male’, but it largely exudes femininity. Meanwhile, it is a ghost with no belonging homeland or identity or idea when to go forward and where to go backward.

However, Haraway is much more radical in her ‘a Cyborg Manifesto’ , she claimed, ‘Un-

like the hopes of Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg does not expect its father to save it through a restoration of the garden; that is, through the fabrication of a heterosexual mate, of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the Oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust . . . Their fathers, after all, are inessential.’ In another way, human itself no longer remains purely a lump of clay created by the God – it is no longer a pure ‘nature’. For centuries, we have been continuously manufacturing a variety of machines to replace our hands, feet, ears, eyes, tongue, until the brain, and today, we have gone from making machines, and then evolved into a parasite on the machines – they have become an extension of any ordinary person – or instead turn into a component of the machine – or they are organs of Cyborg. Human made from the hand of nature has connected with machines come from the hand of human. Obviously, Haraway noticed the metaphor brought by Cyborg – it blurs the boundaries of all aspects even the opposed. It is a hybrid, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of world, Utopia or kingdom of God, instead, it fully adapts to a world full of monsters!









SHANGHAI’S FACE : Pudong District

The history of Pudong’s development.

The story of Pudong can be seen started from the opening of Huangpu River as the concession’s port. In 1840s, due to the Qing government’s defeat in the Opium War, the sion land in China. Three year later, Huangpu River was used as a trading port, along with France, Japan and other countries opening colonialist concessions in Shanghai, their land kept expanding. At that time, Pudong was not included in the concession, but due to its location, it was used as coastal terminals, warehouses, stacks and factories for the production of raw materials shipped in, processed and shipped out, and was manipulated by the colonists and the Qing government. Going through this period, description of Pudong remains on the transportation business along the Huangpu River, and the rest was not even mentioned.

This is the typical skyline one would

immediately come across when googling Shanghai. We have to admit the trend - that Pu dong turned into the ‘face’ of Shanghai to some extent. But the fact is, Shanghainese people (from west coast area) despise the idea of Pu dong ‘being’ the image of Shanghai because west coast is believed to be the fully representation of Shanghai local culture.

Meanwhile, in a late European Journal of Cultural Studies, an

article named ‘Pudong: The shanzhai (fake) global city’ written by de Kloet and Scheen (2013), Pudong was criticized for copying the Manhattan. The authors mentioned the skyline of Pudong (Lujiazui district) looks like a fake city – ‘a city that mimics the real’. They questioned, if they are looking at a ‘cardboard’ version of a skyline? And be ing fooled like Empress Catherine. According to an economist from MIT - Yasheng Huang (2008, p. 231), Shanghai is ‘the world’s most successful Potemkin metropolis’. Throughout that article, one idea kept repeating is that Shanghai is ‘fake’, together, Pudong is also fake with an ambition to become Manhattan. But Pudong would never become Shanghai, like Lujiazui will never be Pudong.

Common Fiction


Potemkin metropolis: Referring to the myth of the Russian prince Grigory Potemkin, who supposedly built fake villages of hollow façades, made of cardboard, to impress Empress Catherine the Great during her visit to the Crimea. de Kloet, J & Scheen, L. (2013) ‘Pudong: The shanzhai global city’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16: 692 [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 12th March 2014)







The broader land which has been neglected by both Shanghainese and Chinese people.

‘Prefer a bed in Puxi to a house in Pudong’ is

a phrase which each of Shanghainese people is familiar with. It outlines the historical features and impressions of Pudong. It is noticed that in the 30s’ Shanghai, in fact, there is no concept of division of Puxi and Pudong - when they say ‘Shanghai’, it refers to the Puxi area. At that age, ‘Shanghai’ has been listed as the Far East Metropolis. But just across the Huangpu River, except the riverside, the rest was consisted by numbers of Not until the founding of People’s Republic of China, large quantities of modern houses began to be constructed in Pudong. It is worth set apart from Jiangsu province into Shanghai. In the 90s, due to the development of industrial restructuring, urban layout and development of international shipping, Deng Xiaoping proposed the opening of Pudong.

Common Fiction











Financial & commercial Green land High-rise apartment Apartment Village



node/station Any attempts to save Pudong, to either go back to the primitive way or a super modern mega city would lead to a dead end. Because Pudong is what it is now – the cyborg, an in-between identity, it does not belong to any sides, but to itself. This proposal tends to illustrate and emphasize the identity of Pudong. It looks into how information nowadays succeeds and fails in society. It connects each fragment in the city, very likely to the idea of ‘group’ in creating a complex unity – the notion of collective and individual. On the other hand, the stations not only store or display information and narratives, but also exchange them. The intention is to look into how individual perceives and deals with information.

Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction


Common Fiction



An Electronic Market Design

Level 02 / Semester 02 Duration: 6 weeks Plot Area: 685 sqm Project Location: Suzhou, China Project Type: Studio, Individual Work Tutor: Theodoros Dounas

Bill Joy in Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us raises the concern that ‘our most powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an endangered species.’ But all parts of modern techonology are interlocked, and you cannot avoid the ‘bad’ while enjoying the ‘good’. The initial idea was to enable the architecture to demonstrate itself – collision. From the two dimensional piece of broken glass, to the three dimensional fractures, the attempts were to explore the terms of volume and how to present the collision, to show a contrast and unity at the same time.

Site Information : Suzhou, China

The city of Suzhou incorporates a big wide lanes and big urban blocks of SIP to the minute canals of Suzhou old city to the dense centre a visitor of the city can see a this variety, public buildings as a typological category play an important role in articulating everyday life, connecting functions

between blocks or even blurring the boundaries between inside and outside, between inside and outside, between the private and the public. The site is in the centre of Suzhou, China, in a commercial part of the city, with volumetric density, narrow streets and big volume of pedestrian view of the site - which is currently used as a parking lot, with 37m in length and 18.5m in width.





Ground Floor Plan 1 : 200

Second Fllor

First Floor

Third Floor




Roof Plan








FAN 1 3 48

An Automatic Youth Hostel

Level 02 / Semester 02 Duration: 6 weeks Plot Area: 1060 sqm Footprint Allowed: 530 sqm Project Location: Suzhou, China Project Type: Studio, Individual Work Tutor: Theodoros Dounas





1 3 48


The site is located in centre of Suzhou, in a commercial part of the city, with a variety of Buildings around it, from small one secluded compared to other parts of the Urban Fabric - there are retailing stores all around it, a luxury shopping centre right next to it, but this site, is totally kept off Just like a scar, it cannot be touched until a new skin is grown; this place, seems dead and unaccessible, will have easy access in the future, when the Underground cranes and scaffolds are seen not far from The painting above was drawn by me afon site - delightful colours are squared by the miserable unhappiness, everything turn to be controlled, yet, someday, a power would break through and bring lieve, will be sent from the underground -

FAN 13 48 56

Concept: Fantasy When I was on the site, the site looks so peaceful that the time seems to be stagnant. Somehow, the rumbustious construction area near my site attracted me, leading me to feel something powerful and magical was happening underneath this dusty area. Like a huge machine, carrying the whole city’s underground. Like a quart, someday, it will reveal itself and people will be astonished by this unseen world. Or like an unknown planet, on which the technology is secretly changing the other side – a living earth for us. That was when I decided this concept – Fantasy. What makes a fantasy great is the possibility that it might come true. And this is what the site gave me – a glimpse of a ‘wonderland’. Although nothing was happening on the site, I believe I saw a world, a world I envisioned, fantasized. FAN1348 itself is a fantasy created by me. It is a fancy I had on the site. A living building, a moving system, which introduced my dream to fantasized reality. For me, it is the process, which a fantasy turns into a living dream, then gets connected with the real world.

Instruction : The Unit System

The Tracking Grid (see right below) The Unit System (see right above)

tem, and the whole system can be further rethe Unit System, the other is the Tracking Grid. The Unit System: the housing typology is driven by the possibilities created by the four properties – public, neutral, private and ultimate private. In this case, as illustrated above, they are, representatively, the sitting room, the kitchen, the bedroom, and the toilet. Typically, they have a certain rule in organizing them – usually a gradient layout, from public to neutral to the ultimate private which only the owner can be accessed. However, in FAN 1348, the regulation between spaces was disolved, and the relation among those spaces becomes more intriguof cabins, as well as the property of cabin are chosen by the customer.

The total tracking grid area is 32.40m by 10.80m and each grid is divided into 1.80m by 1.80m. Here, one unit is for one cabin, which is 1.80m x 3.60m. cided so that the tracking system could be more adaptable. The grid is then divided into half of a unit in order to cabin unit, the total plot area is 32.4 by 10.8m, which is 54 times of the unit, so, the maximum number of cabins each







*TRACK GRID*54 UNITS*1.80 X3.60 / UNIT * 10.80 X 32.40 M *



HALF OF A UNIT 1 UNIT / 1.80 X 3.60

UNIT / 1.80 X 3.60



FAN 13 48 60 * FIRST FLOOR *



FAN 1348


FAN 1348


A. D 19 29

Shanghai Picks / Interventions in an Existing Urban Fabric

Level 03 / Semester 01 Duration: 14 weeks Plot Area: 8,000 sqm Surface to be torn down: 35-50% of existing plot Project Location: Puxi, Shanghai , China Project Type: Studio, Individual Work Tutor: Javier Fernรกndez Contreras

The complexities Shanghai is akin to that of a body. The entwined and interlocked r

each division, housing cells are densely packed, a pattern that extends across the bread shanghai. These channels are known as ‘alley’ or Longtang , and the housing cells are u ly called Long Tang House or Li Long House.

However, since the 90s when Shanghai started to seek for its international identity, t called ‘modernity’ has essentially taken away an aspect of Shanghainese culture and com

almost 9,000 such Longtang communities in Shanghai, an unthinkable number when pared to the limited we have today.


dth of usual-

the so mmu-

n com-

Site Information : Shanghai, China

Plot 08, is an area which is quite near to the centre of Shanghai, yet there, people’s way of living and working retained to be primitive. Extreme narrow lanes, with a huge mass of illegal buildings built on top of or attached to the existing houses, composited by wooden incidences happen a lot. The people, their attitude towards life, their belief, their living style, together with the ‘art’ they created on the site, endow the place with a unique quality.

Shanghai Picks


Nolli Plan Deviation In the nolli plan, instead of making it a clean fuse the two colours, hence that would be closer to what the site is really like – in most cases on site, there is no clear line between private and public, the users extend their living area to the street, and open their private range to the

Fire Simulation These two plans are based on the story I was the middle of the site, due to the narrow lanes, did not get burn out like this image shows, this is an artistic illustration, and reveals the latent danger, meanwhile, became the sparkle of my phase 01.

Shanghai Picks


East Elevation

Li Long Housing Study

North Elevation

Li Long Housing Study

Ground Floor Scenario: analogy

Ground Floor Scenario: analogy * simulation

Ground Floor Scenario: analogy * simulation

Ground Floor Scenario: outcome

Nolli Plan

Section 1 : 200

Shanghai Picks


The Root Seeking The approach takes tailoring culture as a metaphor of seed. The seed, which is the old tailoring custom, partly ‘raised’ the area. At the same time, this approach looks for a communication between the old and young. So, young designers who could new fresh energy, are plugged in - a mixed studio for old tailors and young designers. This design focuses on creating a mixed living area for the designers and artists, the design is based on the exploration of garment making and typical lilong housings, especially attempts to integrate the old and new, learn from the old and take advantages from the new struc

ture capability, new technique and skills. The underground collages show the impact this building brings to the site in an artistic way – green can be seen exploding from the underground studio, which leads to the spreading of the culture. In real sense, would mean the enlarge of the studio, it could be a display room, museum, sewing teaching studio, anything, everything inspired from the sewing culture and motivated by the two generations on the site. exchange of living style, life attitude, together with skills is happenning on the site. A series of self motivated recreations are being carried out inspired by the new and old structure combination project - A.D. 1929

Rethink Housing Rethink Living

Level 02 / Semester 01 Duration: 14 weeks Plot Area: 18,000 sqm Project Location: Suzhou, China Project Type: Studio, Individual Work Tutor: Claudia Westermann

This project is to design a mixed-used residential development with the aim to generate social qualities. It challenges the traditional and current gated housing communities in China by creating a new permeable urban space that promotes interactive relations and encourages encounters in the public spaces.

Social Sense of

LOCAL one flat in golden city

moved in two years ago

key words: house price rises lucky

key words: compulsory move


Rethink Housing, Rethink Living; 80

Identity Belonging

moved in two years ago doing small business

key words: business child

immigrants keep changing places

key words: nothing to do with the place

Site Information : Suzhou, China

. Image credit: team work

Rethink Housing, Rethink Living; 82

There are two fundamental criteria:

1. What the nature has put there? 2. What people have put there? It has to do with the way people adapt to their living environment; how they change it to suit their needs in the process of living; how they make it their own. By looking at the land use of my site; how people there separated the land to use by their own. As the pictured showed at the bottom, this is how the land is separated by farming. It is quite rigid and form.

land use and the future impact, then the idea of putting such a large number of columns derives from my initial impression and imagination of this venue. It is a place which is changing all the time, people see its past and present, but will never be able to predict its future, which makes it interesting and a feature that I want to keep – A capricious place. It stores memories, has things that you are familiar with, yet it actually a totally new place, and you can never predict the future.

Rethink Housing, Rethink Living; 84

Rethink Housing, Rethink Living; 86

Other Works :

Academic Writings Competitions Graphics

Urban Study

2012 - 2013

Bao Lijia(Freja)

A Study on the Souks of Beirut and Reflections on China’s Seeking of National ‘Identity’ Synopsis This paper explores the redevelopment of the souks of Beirut in Lebanon and questions its inheritance and pragmatism. The idea – identity is sickly over emphasized by the developer, while Lebanon’s identity and is a result of a misinterpretation of tradition. Despite the defects of the Souk’s urban strategy, there are achievements in its architecture design, especially the one designed by Rafael Moneo, who can be seen the one of few designers who succeeded in integrating the modernity and the old souks’ heritage. But the developer – Solidere should stop emphasizing its renovation urban project as a civic engagement promoter before the reality slaps its face. Same ethos is taking place in China, the problems are: 1. Misinterpretation of identity 2. Overemphasis on identity Main Body center, turned into an abandoned city after the 15-year Lebanese civil war (1975 - 1990) (Elsheshtawy, 2008). Its city center, where business and trades were prosperously carried out, became ‘blankness or instead, a haunted space: a place of memories, ghosts’ after the battles (Makdisi, da. By 1994, Solidere, a private share-holding company was commissioned to manage the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Beirut’s central district, which is the Beirut Souks. Since then, extensive discussions and critiques were initiated on this renovation project in terms of its inheritance and change of role. This private share-holding company, Solidere’s slogan is Beirut – An Ancient City for the Future. ‘Its development derives the name of its sections as well as its identity, urban plan and architectural character from the legacy of the old souks, drawing its inspiration from the urban relationships and historical layers of the site’ (Solidere, 2011). However, Makdisi (1997) strongly doubts ‘ how could one re-create something like a souk, which spontaneity and above all heterogeneity?’ To answer Makdisi’s doubt, Solidere proudly claims that they kept the original street grid that characterized the previous souks and the place’s histortion of ‘the legacy of the old souks’ is. Of course, it could be argued that keeping the original street grid would be a starting point as the previous grid might encourage the civil engagement or it has advantages in its own pattern formed by time and user. However, this did not show in Solidere’s

Ajami Square, which according to the Solidere, a lively covered plaza Image credit: Solidere Company

Moreover, the proposal tries to avoid showing the connection and interaction between the site and its neighboring urban texture. Meanwhile, of the demolished buildings resulting from this redevelopment was even more than those being If this could be called rebuilding Beirut’s identity deriving from the legacy of the old souks, then what cannot or what will be the identity? The Souk produced a decent urban precinct, however, failed in promoting public life and civic engagement. The Souk merges a center for consumption and civic life, and was described as the ‘urban nucleus of Beirut city center’ (Solidere: 2011). Actually, the Solidere Company the trick behind their words. Here, Solidere makes it clear yet vague at the same time by saying ‘the Souk merges a center for consumption’ – it states clearly that this project is to seek for a money opportunity. By adding ‘and civic life’, it starts to fuse the money making goal with a moral and noble veil. But the planner, Gavin Angus stands out,

claims that he rejects the modernist-inspired city which is accused of ‘undermining the acculturation of city street in favor of vacuous, zoned spaces’ by Sadler (2005; 69), instead, to create ‘a city of active public streets and public space’ (Gavin; 2004). Nevertheless, maybe Angus really convinced himself, because, obviously, the developer did not think so. If look at the photos of the souks and squares, one can easily realize the place does not, or even did not try to activate city life as the planner intended to. Strolling around – the new Souk is simplistically dismissed as a shopping center. The space is completely absent of attempts on promoting public activarena of consumption. Rowe (1997; 204) mentions the challenges of producing design that resist ‘the whims’ of the private developer, the ‘consumerist pabulum of market forces’, unfortunately, the Souks of Beirut failed, and lead to the result that the space is no longer keen on promoting civic engagement.

Internal pedestrian street of Souk EL Jamil / a series of continuous concave arches by Rafael Moneo / credit: Solidere

The re-designed Souk attempts to re-seek or some of the buildings in the Souk did succeeded in engaging with cultural continuity. The internal pedestrian street of Souk EL Jamil designed by Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo is a good example, which integrates with heritage. The continuous concave arches, which somehow embodied the Roman colony, instead of applying singular architectural vision or a nostalgic culturally calcifying treatment, the architect made a transform both in material and form. The usage of modern material and treatment alters the stereotype of a Roman arch, and endows the building a light and dramatic image. ‘I should add at once that the relationship between these spatial narratives and Lebanon’s national identity can never be reduced to a simple equivalence and that whatever vision ultimately to the questions surrounding this identity. Indeed, one cannot overemphasize the extent to which this identity, and even the very existence of an entity called Lebanon to which it supposedly corresponds, has been disputed’ Saree Makdisi, 1997 <Laying Claim to Beirut>

that China is undergoing. It is not an exaggeration to say that within China, where cranes and forwardly at its fastest speed. With an increasing number of monumental skyscrapers breaking into China’s skyline, the country strives to be more modernized with iconic landmarks. However, this country is nostalgic and timid at the same time. It is afraid that its proud long history fect. As a result, it can be often seen that within an urban area, half part is building the ‘highest’ mega frames and the other half is renovating or taking down the old houses to build another ‘historical’ site on top of it. So, it is this concern that China is trying to promote its identity to resist tively inviting it at the same time. The terms of identity China is seeking for, somehow, is unclear. Whether it is an urban identity,

which similar to the Beirut, derives its urban layout from the legacy of the existing plot and draws its inspiration from the urban relationships and historical layers of the area. Or is it an architectural character from the vernacular building elements? Or is it both? But in a recent case carried out in the city of Suzhou, it is a ‘neither nor’. The renovation project is named Xie Tang Old District, which is located in the industry park in Suzhou, covers 13 hectares, and aims to maintain the unique cultural tradition of Suzhou. The project started with demolishing the old residential area, bulldozing residents into moving into high-rise apartments. A formalistic ‘culture center’ is being built with nothing about innovation, but clumsy plagiarism. The problem is not how similar these archaized commercial buildings can be to the heritage; instead, to consider what is the ‘identity’, what is the identity for China’s vernacular architecture. It is afraid that there is no identity for Chinese architecture. Architecture is constant in its history; meanwhile, architecture is individual, with distinctive characteristics, corresponding to potentate’s objective and symptom of the time. Throughout the building history of China’s feudal time, building property, appearance, feature and structure change as the replacement of dynasties. For example, during Song dynasty, handicraft industry and commerce rapidly expanded, led to the major change on urban plan the same time, timber construction skills reached a new climax. A master builder, Li Jie, developed a well-controlled construction detail in terms of the modulus of timber, building proportion and material. However, soon after Song’s decline, another new dynasty - Qing, with its own hierarchy performing system and actual situations (shortage of wood), overthrown the modular system that belongs to the preceding empire. After that reform, building proportion had been changed

dramatically, the structure elements became pure ornament, and the entire architecture aesthetic had undergone tremendous transition and change. Those pure form based or structure based identity actually changes along the time. The only fundamental principle it follows is the craftsmanship and the situation (climatic, thermal, functional, economical etc.). As a result, any attempt to rebuild the ‘identity’ of Chinese architecture is both ambitious and frightening. The mainstream now in China still stays literally imitating the historical buildings rather than study plorations in materials. Besides, does a country’s architecture have an identity? Does this identity applied in all the historical buildings among the whole nation? From the examples, the answer would be negative. Courtyard house is not China’s patent, nor is timber construction. It is the usage of material and craftsmen’s prowess that distinguishes it from others. Conclusion

The developer, promotes the motto - to create an ancient city of the future, but the approach the developer applied to seek for Beirut’s identity providing neutral space to promote public life as well as a dynamic place to encourage civic engagement, the Solidere company turned the souks into a consumerist place where a group of private capitalist promotes their business. Their intention to rebuild the Beirut identity is wrecked by the market forces. Whereas, the success of the Souk EL Jamil in integrating inheritance and modernity should bring enlightenment to China and states the fact that a renovation project should not bounded by a singular architectural image or nostalgic appearance treatments, instead, it is a re-innovation which engages with technological and cultural continuity.

Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics


Bao Lijia(Freja)

Openness Synopsis To reveal the notion of openness in relation to art through looking into works of art, Umberto Eco’s The Open Work (Eco, 1989) gives a good example. In The Open Work, Eco (1989, p. 3) states, “Aesthetic theorists often have recourse to the notions of ‘completeness’ and ‘openness’ in connection with a given work of art.” Eco suggests that the openness of an artwork is composed by both the work itself and the audience’s interpretation (Eco, 1989, p. 4). In other words, openness does not solely come from the work itself. It also derives from the approach and aspiration of the author – through audiences’ interaction and interpretation. Meanwhile, one should be aware that there are diverse stages of openness. This essay focuses on the notion of openness, and uses two artworks – Book from the Sky and THX1138 (Xu, 1987 – 1991; Lucas, 1971) as examples to discuss the relations among the work to show that the author’s aspiration and approach can lead to openness. The open ending in the initial stage of openness. Following this, a higher state of openness – immersive change –

Author’s Aspiration as an Approach to Initiate Openness The completeness of a work is not the only incentive to openness. The author’s aspiration through his approach is another way that is possible to initiate openness. Book from the Sky is a set of ‘pseudo characters’, which are based on Chinese characters. Radicals from Chinese dictionaries and ancient books were randomly picked out and recombined by Xu Bing. The book is unreadable to both the audience and the author. In the encounter with the work, instead of reading the book, the audience can only conjecture. The author projects his intentions and strong personal interpretations into the fake characters. As a result, the work seems to refuse to give directions to any kind of imagination, and it is hard for audience to immerse into the work. However, the approach and intention behind the work leave the audience a rethink towards the order that everyone follow. Xu’s work challenges the observers’ understanding of the characters that they use on a daily basis. The purpose of Chinese character is to be readable. They serve as one of the carriers of social and cultural communication. However, Xu The characters become pure points and lines and return to an aesthetical

state rather than a particular usage. This approach is close to Kant’s perposiveness, as the feeling of freedom in the play of our cognitive powers, is the basis of the relationship between mind and nature which allows to bring nature under concepts” (Kant, 2000, p. 7). Mind and nature are interlocked, thus human is able to see the order of nature. Whereas, Kant is not suggesting that the laws of nature equal the laws of human’s understandings. Instead, he is suggesting the possibility of order (Cazeaux, 2000, pp. 5-6). By changing the rules of Chinese characters, Xu is also proposing a question towards the existing laws of nature. Book from the Sky presents a new possible order, but this is not the ultimate possibility. Through this approach, the audience can be inspired and encounter other possible orders. The openness in Xu’s work is suggesting a new possibility towards the nature, which holds the possibility of an endless diversity of empirical laws.

Immersive Change as an Advanced Stage of Openness There are diverse stages of openness, as stated above, interaction is considered the initial stage, and the more advanced stage of openness is – immersive change. Eco (1989, p. 11) avers“Having presented these tension points … which to be observed, employing the device of “de - familiarization’…” dividual, thus the citizens are not allowed to hold privacy – their daily performance is set by the computers and the only instruction they can do is to and its history. They are the ones in Sloterdijk’s description who are immersing in the one-dimensional context without any realization: “… Seen in this light, merely a naïve dipping into a one-dimensional context (while so-called critique can only be learnt through immersive changes, through bathing in alternating pools or contexts).” (Sloterdijk, 2011, p. 105)

However, from Sloterdijk’s text, it is unclear whether a multi-dimensional context will be achieved if one successfully escapes from the existing one-dimensional pool. But Sloterdijk makes it stand out that critique becomes the only way to get out of the one-dimensional context, and it can only be achieved by immersive changes. THX1138’s experience – transforming from a believer to betrayer, can be seen as an example of immersive change. Whether THX1138 entered into a multi-dimensional context remains to be a question, but immersive change can be explored with this example. THX1138 did not question the society he was living in until he broke its order. The moment he started to question was when the immersive change started. At this point, it could be considered that THX1138 has been in a shift of immersion – he had fall out of the laws which everyone else in the society believe, and exposed to a new system. The new system is not necessarily the ultimate order, but instead, it is one of the orders. Notably, the utopian world could be a projection of current social realman beings are immersing in a certain context and sharing the common information. It is “a diving facility, in which the immersive comportment of humans towards the world is attended to… What the designed space has in common with nature is that it takes on the role of total environment”. Sloterdijk claims that people are living in an immersion created by someone. Architecture is totalitarianism that the architect creates the immersion for people to dive to – they are the prisoner (Sloterdijk, 2011, pp. 106-107). To bring justice, it requires openness – the realization of the one-dimensional context, which is the immersive change.


audience’s interpretation and author’s approach. Xu Bing’s work is a suitable example to reveal how author’s approach or aspiration can lead to openness. By breaking the existing laws, Xu shows the thinking towards the common order, which everyone else are obeying. The work suggests a new possible order, which in that case, is the realization of purposiveness and shift of possibilities. This is achieved through the approach behind the work. Meanwhile, an open work can usually initiate interactions with the audience. THX1138’s open ending activates involvements with the audience. However, this is considered as an initial stage of openness. The advanced stage is immersive change, which is the critique towards the context one is immersing in and a shift of positions. It appears to be the only way to realize one’s immersion into a one-dimensional context and to escape and dive into a new one.

Reference Kant, I. (2000) ‘Extracts from ‘Analytic of Aesthetic Judgment’ and ‘Dialectic of Aesthetic Judgment’, Critique of Judgment’. In: Cazeaux, C. (ed.) The Continental Aesthetics Reader. London: Routledge, pp. 16-34. Sloterdijk, P. (2011) ‘Architecture as an Art of Immersion’, Journal of Architecture and Related Arts, Interstices 12, pp. 105-109. Eco, U. (1989) The Open Work. United States of America: Harvard University Press.

Drawing (as) In - Between


Bao Lijia(Freja)

Drawing (as) In-Between Abstract Drawing, as an approach comes forward, to state, to lead, and to reveal the motive force of architecture, and furthermore, to insinuate possibilities. Drawing (as) in-between, initiates a continuous interpretation and understanding, and becomes a powerful tool for architectural design. This essay explores by which means drawing can transform into or reach the in-between, which is not a still state, but a “non-placeable place” (Derrida, 1995). It suggests that beyond the intention from both itself and its author.

Drawing (as) In-Between Drawing, as a process that involves both creation and communication, is an important accomplice in architectural design. They are usually in a form of plan, section, and axonometry or so on to indicate a building’s dimensions. However, architectural drawing information is not solely about spatial dimensions, and drawing should not be limited to an architectural exercise. Instead, drawing, which serves as an architectural representation tool, should have the qualities to insinuate active conditions instead of static appearances, and expand possibilities go beyond the explicit intent. “Since that for which an image has come to be is not at all intrinsic to the image, which is invariably borne along the picture something else, it stands to reason that the image should therefore come to be in something else, somehow clinging to being, or else be nothing at all” (Plato, 1997, p. 1255). The phrase is suggesting the idea of in-between, which in Plato’s perspective is an always-changing concept – a non-placeable place. While in architectural drawing, images easily tend to be static in the two dimensional canvas. In order not to fall into a decrease in potentiality of a project, an augmentation in picturing the dynamics of the architecture becomes essential.

The Living Archive Image credit: Lijia Bao (2014)

The Living Archive suggests a possible way of drawing treatments to activate a project chive, including views, sketches, and schemes. The drawing proposes a concrete building proposal while at the same time notates movements from various times. Moments deriving from the past and movements of the present were layered and mixed. They are neither a story of past nor a vision of present, but in some way, they emerge as both narratives of the history and today. The image oscillates, “it oscillates between two types of oscillation: the double exclusion and the participation” (Derrida, 1995, p.91). Notably, the oscillation will not lead the drawing to one or the other; instead, the image itself tends not to fall into neither of the state – it clings to being.

Metaphor As a series of drawing, the Living Archive contains another three drawings as a research highly mechanized face is a look of the Lujiazui District – the most prosperous area in Pudong. It had already been a key developing area since 1840 (before the 1949’s) and has been pushed even faster after 1990, while the most area in Pudong turned into an invisible land for farming. The middle drawing endows this ‘invisible’ land a visible image through applying metaphors into it. The wrinkles on the face, the marks of the old houses, the cracks on the wall and the patterns in the farmland are all layered and projected in this face. The face could be a farmer from that area, or a person who witnessed it. It is not a face, but a view of the ‘invisible’. Or it is both a face and a view. This oscillation endows

the drawing an in-betweenness. It seems as from a dream, which “renders us incapable of waking up and stating the truth”; it is ungraspable. But at the same time, it is so true and can be seen the “support from the accurate, true account”. Plato avers “as long as the one is distinct from the other, neither of them ever comes to be in the other in such a way that they at the same time become one and the same, and also two” (Plato, 1997, p. 1255). Thus it is not an immutable model, instead, it implies an on-going exchange, being and is to be, but never is. It refuses to fall into a static state – it is that, but a coming to be, which opens possibilities and interactions. They are the metaphorical sense of the urban identity views, the frames, the hatches, and the notations interwoven. Serving as metaphorical representations, they are applied as a hope to generate a spatial, ideological and critical amalgamation. For instance, the text layered above the building proposal, is a metaphor existing conditions, not only the representation of a process of on-going events, but also frameworks and hatches indicate uncertainties happening around. The frame mode represents a decent speculation, and enables possibilities through this tactic. It becomes tered with the audience, it tends to invite interactions instead of limiting the perceptions. Moreover, the collage suggests a blurring of potential vivid moments deriving from the past and present, and forms a movement and narrative of time on the canvas rather than solely presenting a static concrete dimensional building appearance.

Metonymy The collage also includes mixed scales of fragments. For example, on the left grey mode area lays a comical image, it was taken from a poster deriving from the 40’s chaotic political situation in China. Even though it is only a small image, it generates enough space for recall the particular situation in that age, because by silhouetting and placing it with certain tactics, the canvas can become a camera. This is even more prominent in the tactic used on the right side of the collage. The text overlaying on top of the building were news from daily newsletters, they then have been cut, scaled, rotated and rearranged. The process is akin to position a camera, which was conceived by Walter Benjamin as a significant technology that initiates a transition in space. Thus he claims, “with the close-up” of a camera, “space expands” (Walter, 1999, p. 207). As with the enlargement, the cropped image insinuates its relation to the full size – a relationship between the part and the whole. By revealing the fragment (s), it is possible that a wider range of alliances can be revealed and come into being. In this case, as stated above – a hint of an individual within the range of a mass and their relation, whereas, the purpose of presenting the fragmented data is not simply to indicate the amount of information people encounter on a daily basis.

The 40’s political proclamation fragment, along with the newsletter pieces, is suggesting a projection of the continuous history, a projection of an individual within the collectiveness under the background of social development. Information is one of the carriers of the development of an empire. The tactic is to hope to insinuate a wider thinking through the reveal of a portion. It is to put the individual into the context of the continuous history background and invites ideological thoughts and critiques. The invitation tends to be open, as the whole drawing is to deliver an on-going process and uncertainties. The ships colours and hatches, those fragments composed the drawing, and indicate the on-going development of the building within its context. But it is not suggesting a particular state, instead, the fragmented pieces open a look and think towards what is hidden behind that they may relate to (the whole), and keep making suggestions.

Conclusion To conclude, drawing, as a strong and power representation tool of architecture, plays roles not only in revealing the spatial dimensions, but also an augmentation of dynamics. A drawing should not fall into a simple architectural exercise; it should carry the qualities in revealing latent potentialities. It is further suggested and illustrated that through mettial simulator. By metaphorical terms, a drawing oscillates between the truth and dream, between a solid state and a delusion. It becomes unnamable, ungraspable, and non-placeable. Both the drawing and the architecture project thus enter into a dynamic. Through the enlargement of portion by metonymy, it projects each individual into the background of collectiveness. It opens a continuous conversation to the audience, where generates a spatial, ideological and critical amalgamation. Through the two tactics, a drawing can realize an active pursuit and expand possibilities go beyond the explicit intent.

Reference Derrida, J. (1995) ‘Khora’. In: Derrida, J. On the Name, Stanford University Press, Stanford, pp. 89-127. Mertins, D. (1999) 'Walter Benjamin and the Tectonic Unconscious: Using Architecture as an Optical Instrument', Reprinted from Coles, A. (ed.) The Optic of Walter Benjamin, Volume 3, London: Black Dog Publishing, pp. 196-221. Available from: papers/9 (Accessed: April 30, 2014) Plato. (1997) 'Timaeus'. In: Cooper, J.M. (ed.) Plato: Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. pp. 1229-1259.

Academic Writings Competitions Graphics

2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition : Team Work

(Theodoros Dounas / Lijia Bao)

Academic Writings Competitions Graphics


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2011 - 2014 Bao Lijia Email: Telephone: +86 13913633983

Bao lijia architecture portfolio  

Portfolio of Architecture Projects by Bao Lijia

Bao lijia architecture portfolio  

Portfolio of Architecture Projects by Bao Lijia