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Sida Zhang P o r t f o l i o 2007 2017

Beijing, Tianjin, New York, Ithaca, Copenhagen

1. Floating To w e r P r o t o t y p e 2. Carnival Th e a t e r 3. Soft Proces s 4. Dark Sublim e 5. Ceramic Nes t 6. Living & Ex h i b i t i n g 7. Gorge Pavil i o n

P1. Shenzhen E n e r g y M a n s i o n P2. LÍNEA P3. Monidian(摩 尼 殿 ) M a p p i n g Appendix. Aca d e m i c & S o c i a l P r a c t i c e x. zhangsida.c o m


01. F l oat i n g Towe r Pr o to t y pe Instructors: KunlĂŠ Adeyemi, Suzanne Lettieri


M a koko, La go s, N ige r ia

Solo Work

Lagos is experiencing high population and rapid growth rate. The relationship between city and water is being redefined in the context of modernization and globalization. The traditional slum site records the vernacular way of water habitation since it firstly emerged. It is now facing passive transformation - congestion and population overgrowth, water pollution from living and industrial waste, demolition and gentrification act proceeded by the government, etc. Makoko as the biggest and oldest blighted area in Lagos, The above mentioned issues act severely. The Floating Tower Prototype is proposed to reorganize the living space in order to: 1. House more people; 2. Improve living quality; 3. Legitimate the community; 4. Keep its cultural identification¡

Growth of Lagos Urban Area from 1860 to 2015


existing condition 2.2 m2/ person

Hong Kong standard 15 m2/ person

Japan standard 35 m2/ person

USA standard 77 m2/ person

Edge Condition The edge is pushed and pulled by socio-economic factors which change over years. The urban fabric grows spontaneously in a unique typology as a mass condition with certain density, porosity, connection and adaptability. slum boundary reclamation living area / sqm 17.4
















Existing Housing Typology

living foot print

Makoko has a series of existing housing typologies ranging from 20 sqm to 200 sqm. They house different family types from 1 people to more than 10 people.



Informal Activities Activities take place in an informal way which has tight connection with water.






80 m

Inherited Context - Water, Island and Building From the urban context aspect, the proposed floating platform serves as public islands which are populated throughout the community with formal and informal activities in the flowing water network. The proposed residential core frames private living space. The relationship between water, land and building envelop is inherited from the existing context. Tower typology is introduced as a vehicle to frame more space. Combining piling and floating technique, the tower could resist both vertical and lateral force so as to “float� firmly in the water.


The Continuity of Water Life A spectrum of openness is integrated with multiple intersecting paths from the waterway to different programs. 6F

waterway - resident mooring - platform - tower - living units; waterway - resident mooring - platform - tower - library/classroom/exhibition/saloon; waterway - public mooring - platform - market/store/cafe/ bar/public area; waterway - shopping from edge market directly; etc.


At the same time a series of floor layouts are generated to house different families. It corresponds with the existing family types which is shown in the chart below. Public facilities are for shared use on the first level.


3 - 5 16.5% 6 - 7 52.0% 3F

> 8 24.4%








< 3 7.1%

20 m


Local material and construction technique is being used

lumber structure frame

plank paneling

strapping cross brace

iron wood stilt

corrugated aluminum platform roof

PVC piping

Transformable The overall structure has certain customization capability based on individual use and living pattern evolvement. The facade is operable with the living space being expanded or shrink. The wall and floor panel could also be refurbished over time to adapt to new neighborhood relationships.






16 m

Tower and Platform The tower is supported by stilts which reach the hard rock layer under water. The floating platform braces the tower and slides vertically according to the water level changing. During raining season, the floating platform will rise to the same level as the first floor of the tower and form a continuous space. Diverse indoor activities could be taken. During dry season, the water level drops down by 1.5 - 2 meters. The first floor of the towers become plateaus that are separated from the floating platform and have formal and static programs. The platform will support water related temporary programs.

Mechanical Roller system is applied between the tower and the floating platform to facilitate the vertical moving.


Structural Basis To achieve 5-6 stories height using wood structure is challenging. The following strategy is applied1. The section is in a tapered outline to reduce the lateral wind load; 2. The piles of the tower reach the hard rock; 3. The platform reinforce the towers in the horizontal direction; 4. The tower features a two layers structural system. The inner layer embodies a column-beam frame, the outer layer is cross braced.


Prototype Utilization The urban renovation takes a sequential process with the first prototype emerging and replacing the existing structure. It revitalizes the site and the neighborhood by concentrating social and economic forces together and creating a symbolic image for the community. More prototypes with different variations will gradually take place until reaching the proposed density.

AppendixThe first phase of the studio is having a macro-scale research of the metropolitan area of Lagos in seven disciplines: demographic, economic, socio-political, infrastructural, morphological, environmental, and resources. The data is collected and reorganized as mapping sets. The design of the prototype is based on the existing urban factors.


x-ray overlay


02. C ar n i val Th e a te r Instructors: Val Warke


Br o o k l y n , N Y

Solo Work

“A modern curiosity of opera is that we spend vast amounts on theaters customized with all the comforts and amenities the art form needs, only to get excited by the prospect of performances in train sheds. It is the thrill of living rough.” --Michael White Located at Bushwick, Brooklyn, a formerly industrial area, this project examines the scenographic sensibility that reconsiders the spectacle-spectator relationship in a theatrical situation. The seemingly mismatch between what the existing industrial structures manifest and their newly transformed functions facilitates dual identities (the original and the adapted) of the site. At Bushwick, the rich social activities are promoted and largely characterized by the historical remains. Taking the consideration of “carnival is a necessary function of our occupation of cities“, this project tries to address how to capture the fleeting sense of carnivalesque by manipulating the physical substances, and how the theatrical space can be integrated in urban spaces.


view from inner courtyard

Set piece As the seed from which the whole theater grows, this designated set piece takes its form from “The Misanthrope” by Molière. 1. In the context of 17th century French salon in which people always “make nice”. The play vividly describes the “disguise” social vogue. 2. The set piece parasizes in the existing structural grid and creates a womb-like space which fosters lies, flattery, dishonesty. It has multiple openings for people to peek in or walk through. Some of them have lenses to distort the view of reality. 3. At the same time being a performance stage, the set piece is also a passage where certain groups of people enters the theater. On the way to the main auditorium, the grand staircase provides multiple views into the set piece.


a. 49 Bogart St


b. 260 Moore

c. Robertaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s


d. Fine & Raw



e. Big Tree Bottles




d a

f. Eastern District Gallery

g b






g. Heritage Radio






r ga








Dream sequence

h. Momo Sushi

The site is a specific urban block defined by White St, Seigel St, Bogart St and Moore St. The neighborhood is experiencing a transformation process from official status to popular status in the following mode: factory --> store, restaurants, living units; security walls --> graffiti display; rigid edges --> softened and pixelated; etc.

i. Bike Stock

The original structure is alienated and parasitized by the ever changing new programs. The new way of occupying space reorganizes the architectonic condition.


irregular thresholds, graffiti, signs, building parts are shown upon approaching Masquerade 49 Bogart St was built in 1931. The original front facade is kept when the building experienced transformation from a cork factory to currently a residential house. Walking down from the Grattan Street, the classically designed facade is appealing from far distance. The brick wall has obviously been punched and patched over time that the original grid is disturbed by a mix of alien elements. The action of decomposing the otherwise iconic building generates an altered identity which better communicates with the urban space. This theater proposes to employ the existing facade of 49 Bogart St as the front facade, which results in the abandonment of its own image and the intension of sharing identity from the host. This parasitism relationship is supposed to be functional in the way that the seemingly familiar image of the host attracts visitors before they are engulfed by the leviathan at behind.

Grattan Street





256 ft

Props The â&#x20AC;&#x153;carpetâ&#x20AC;? will spread over the existing structure on site in a tentacle form that allows it to connect the existing and new programs together and creates multiple shared spaces among them. Evolved from the set piece, the functional parasite and the structural juxtaposition is embodied hence to create unexpected space and connections. The existing structures, the carpet and the volume on top composes loose vertical transition between chaotic flatness and specificity. The new structure has an independent structure system and stays untouched with the existing structure.



Denouement The “carpet” is an iron box which houses the back stage, studios and the logistic rooms. Taking the notion of a “black box”, its inside is unknowable to the audience. However, the mass helps complete the building envelope that mingles into the urban contexts. It takes in people from the street and pass them to the foyer, the exhibition level, the auditoriums and the garden. The staff circulation is separated and hidden. The “carpet” presents as incomplete and inaccessible that prohibits people to view it as a whole. Raw iron is used for the shell and is rolled, bolted and welded in the manner of industrial assemblage. Steel tubes, corrugated metal sheets, fins, flanges, exposed I beams and other types of industrial components are as well used. More than to achieve efficiency and safety as what traditional industrial building aims at, these industrial components are embedded as symbols in order to let the participants travel back and forth between the past and the present, the fantasy and the reality. Therefore, the old and the new “ruins” converge to derive carnivalesque spaces where the hierarchy collapses, social norms vanishes. Based on theatrical phenomenon, carnival mixes both parties of the observers and the performers, whereas each participant being both a spectator and a spectacle at the same time. The dual-identity on each individual is the key when curating spaces in a public scope. In this project, it is achieved by the “carpet” as a “reflection” of the past. “In carnival exists the public possibility of every structure”. In this case, a space cannot be considered success if it fails to capture the ephemerality and dynamicity of human


a. grand auditorium

b. dance studio

c. exhibition level with city view

d. Foyer



senses. Opposed to the polished surfaces, straight edges, bright spaces, the deliberate raw and coarse materiality, sloppy structure and residue spaces breeds occasional theatrical spaces where spontaneous theatrical relationship is likely to happen.



The grand auditorium is contained in the capsule shaped concrete shell. Proposed for the important performances, this volume is elevated from the ground with fewer accesses. The outer layer is the public rim with a panorama view to the city; the inner layer is the two-story auditorium. The concrete massing has internalized programs. Differed from the â&#x20AC;&#x153;carpetâ&#x20AC;?, the grand auditorium provides highly specific functions and dedicated spaces. The overwhelming massing which contrasts the anonymous exterior surfaces gives an unnatural image to the urban space. A psychological destination is therefore indicated.






foyer level






128 ft

auditorium L2

auditorium L1

studio level

exhibition level


Debut The main entrance opens on the facade of the previous cork factory and faces Granton St. The segregation between the entrance and the massive concrete volume is created by the compositional interruption of existing building. However, the invisible continuity which penetrates through the opacity is established due to the juxtaposition of the aliens and the familiarities. The show begins as people are welcomed into the moon gate.

above: section A-A below: section B-B 0




128 ft

03. Sof t P r o ce ss -

T j ad en Ha l l , Co r ne l l Ca m p u s

CCA f u nd ed art in stallatio n exhibited in Septe mbe r, 2 016 Co l l a b o rator: Cath erin e J os eph S O F T PR OCES S is an exp erime nt with the s lip-ca s t cera mic pr ocess, wh i c h ex h i b i te d at Exp erim en tal Galler y, Tja den Ha ll in the fa ll of 2 016. Th e i n st a lla t i on i s th e r e sult of a p rod uction s e quence tha t de mons tra te s the ef fec t of ma teri a l p r o pe r t i es an d th e p roced ura l pa ra meters of the ca s ting proce ss, hy p ot h esi zed a s a so r t of gen etic co d in g. The ef fe ct of thes e properties ha s been a ccen t u a ted by ca st i ng th rough a sof t membra ne which s ignif ica ntly a mp li fi es a ny wea k n e sse s i n th e cast p iece and pe rmits a controlle d colla ps e . Thr ou g h t h e deg ree of i ts co llap se, each p iece de mons tra tes the s tre ngth of the cast i n g con di t i on s. A l th o u g h th e title of th is ins ta lla tion refers to the s of tening of a ri g i d a n d tec h n i ca l pr od uctio n p rocess in orde r to explore a n a s pe ct of the procedu ra l rest ri c ti o n s, th e ceram ic sp ecim e ns have a ls o ta ke n on the s of t textu re of t h e ela st i c m e m b ran e, givin g a d eceptive s of tnes s to the rigid pie ce s .



consequential symptoms


deformation method: deformation resulted from flipping the set

surface analysis



time 2


time 1




work flow Exhibits/ Exhibition Shaped by the mold, the Gene contains the entire set of hereditary information which determines the base form, dimension, location, accumulative method and so on. After the mold is closed, a series of environmental factors are inherently applied to the mold, a metaphorical Black Box through which the process cannot be seen. Each result is evaluated and compared with the anticipated result. In this way the next test is predicted and planned. In the end a collection of ceramic pieces shows a nonlinear relation between the morphs and the factors applied to the Black Box. However, darkness, collapses, slits, and unexpected hollowness are generated. Based on traditional slip casting design and crafting, Soft Process experiments on applying environmental factors on materials to control the form. A generic box is taken as the original embryos. The casting process is guided by a matrix of varied temperature and humidity that accumulatively affects the hardening process. In the mold, the liquid ceramic is held by a resilient fabric which is stretched into a bowl shape. As the set is flipped and gravity applies, the soft surface collapses and deforms into highly fluid forms. A subtle correlation is revealed between the controlling parameters and the ceramic pieces. The experimental results and the parameters are exhibited on an array of pedestals with the intension of relating the underlaying matrix to the consequential physical deformations. The visitors are invited to take a close look at the nuances of the texture in each piece with the body moving in subtly indicated sequences.


04. D ar k Su b l i me -

Þi n g vel l i r , Ice l a n d

I n str u c to rs: A licia I m p eriale , Jerr y We lls |

Solo Work

F o u ca u l t p oin ted out th at the mode rn s pa tia l pa ra digm is “a n i n i t i a l fe a r of En ligh ten m en t in t he fa ce of da rkened s pa ce s , of the p a ll of gl o o m w h ich p reven ts th e f ull vis ibility of things , me n a nd t ru t h s” . H oweve r, d arkn ess estab lishes a s pa ce of vis ua l a bs ence , which g en era te s p i c turesq ue d ep th an d a ris e s the s ens e of s ublime . The thick n ess, o pa q u e ness an d d ep th w ill be reexa mine d a ga ins t the thinnes s , t ra n sp a r e n c y an d f latn ess w h ich mode rnis m ide ology embra ce s in o rder to r eve a l th e n egative sp ectrum of huma n s ens ibility. S u bl i m e is th e over w h elming grea tnes s which is beyond ca lcu la t i on , m e a su r em en t, or im itatio n. Da rk nes s evokes s ublime by s us pe n di n g th e ra t i on al m in d by over whelming depth a nd unk now n va ca nc y. Th e i m m e a surab le d ep th in d ark nes s crea tes s ca le le s s a bs e nce . The fea r of th e u n kn owab le p ower b rings up the feeling of s ublime . I n ste a d of givin g illustrative texts a nd ima ge s which a rbitra rily i n st i ll to t h e a ud ien ces, I ’m tr yi ng to unfold the project with f irs t p erson p e r sp e c tive w h ich reveals the ins tinctive feeling a nd rea ction, u si n g r h e to r i c an d im agin atio n a s in nove ls . Architectura l profe s s ion a l voca b u l a r y is in ten tion ally avoided. The s tor y is na rra te d in a n emo t i on a l m a n n e r fro m an in sid er who repres e nts hims e lf a nd a certa in g rou p of pe o ple. Built o n th e hypothe s is tha t the de s ign were rea lized, t h i s n a r ra t i o n tries to sh if t am ong re a lity, cons cious a nd s ubcons ci ou s a s to g e t c lo ser to th e truth .

Anti-panopticon Schinkel’s Jagdschloss Antonin shows a reversed version of the Panopticon model, where a fireplace is located at the center in replace of the watch tower. The possibility of surveillance from the central tower is canceled. Instead it adds opaqueness in the space from blocking the view of seeing the entire hall.

path on approaching

On the way from the parking lot heading towards northeast, visitors became fewer and fewer. The land was covered by snow except for the track which had shif ted from a paved lane to a narrow boardwalk. It was early af ternoon, but the dusk was falling rapidly. The sun swept through the sky for only a short while in a December day like this. My eyes had got used to the darkness af ter several days’ staying in Reykjavik. Moreover, in the city, much of the darkness was killed by all kinds of the lights which were permanently lit. Days and nights seemed to be equalized. There were also dark places existing: the abandoned store, the paused construction site, the park, or the gap between buildings. There were even places that were neither bright nor dark, that was, the neighborhood allies which were shone by the bar f luorescent. It indeed helped people find their way home. I had a strange thought: ever yone enjoyed himself in the city of light and shadow. Was it that people placed lights at the key spots, or that random lights attracted people and made great places? I saw ebullient people under the lights, while the world seemingly stopped at the fading of the light. My situation at this time was ver y dif ferent, although Þingvellir was only half an hour’s drive from the city. There were no building around, neither was illumination. I was walking at the bottom of a rif t. The clif f on the lef t side stood straight up to fif ty feet. The right clif f was low and waving. There were several visitors sparsely dotted around, wondering whether they should continue or retreat. It was almost dark. I quickened my pace towards the upper side of the rif t. When I stepped on a small bridge, I saw a stream coming from the front, f lowing beneath the bridge. The bridge guided the path to the right side of the rif t just as a railway switch changed the train track. The view became much wider. On the right there was a vast plain which the stream f lew through and eventually imported to a lake. The lef t side was still blocked by the clif f . A black wall ahead suddenly came into sight.


Lรถgberg West cliff East cliff Rift bottom


east elevation of the rift

Looking from afar, the wall was giant and rough, as if the clif f branched away and protruded transversely. In the dark, there were sparkles f lickering on it. The boardwalk ended. It was replaced by a rugged stone path which apparently was made from scrap pieces. The sky was already in dark gray and started to merge with the black clif f . As I moved for ward, the snow on the ground gradually became thinner and more transparent. Finally the snow disappeared and the soil was revealed. Suddenly, I glimpsed a f lash of green light next to the path. I stared at it and saw several dots of ver y dim green light shimmering. A wisp of white smoke arose and f lew up towards me. I turned on the f lashlight hastily. Both the green light and the white smoke vanished at once. In the bright light, I saw several bricks half buried in the soil.



These bricks were of palm size and made of basalt. There were cracks, holes and dif ferent degree of damages show n on each of them. One of them was stuck in a rotten wood chunk which suf f used with green. At this time, a man’s silhouette emerged from the darkness. He bent over, a stone brick in hand. I was stunned. He turned around and looked at me for a while, then hurried away into the dark.

“stone brick” topological study

site model

It started to snow. Large snowf lakes descended slowly and vanished as they touched the ground. The black wall was approaching. However, it didn’t look as much like a wall as it did a moment ago. The top of it f lushed with the clif f . On the wall there were rectangular holes of varies sizes. There seemed to be more holes on the behind, where heavy layers of punctured walls intertwined together. Light emitted dimly from inside. Other than the regular yellow light, faint green sparkles attached to the rim of the holes.


north elevation

Unwittingly, I passed through the outer shell of this fort-like structure, only to find that the interior was a courtyard with three sides enclosed by basalt structures. The courtyard expanded to the lef t until it sank into the dark. I heard the thunder coming from the same direction. Driven by curiosity, I headed towards the origin of the sound. The ground was ascending, but not so steep. There were several sets of crooked, choppy steps which didn’t really help. Nevertheless, the snow melt without accumulating, which saved me lots of ef fort.

Something white and f ussy spread out from top to bottom, hanging in the middle of air. It was not ver y clear. As I proceeded, the white thing was stretched into a longer shape and was w riggling. The terrain kept ascend and the wind started blowing heavily. All at once, the land stopped sharply. Darkness filled immediately for ward. I soon realized that I was on the edge of the clif f . And the white strip was a waterfall pouring dow n from the opposite side clif f into the bottom of the rif t, thundering. Frost and icicles grew around the waterfall, which mottled the black stone wall with white. I’ve heard the stor y: In the middle of 16th centur y, reformation created harsh laws on morality. Þingvellir became a place of judgment and harsh punishment. The public execution included drow ning, hanging, beheading, burning and other severe corporal punishments. This should be the “drow ning pool” at Öxarárfoss. It was usually reser ved for women found guilty of “loose morals”. The criminal was forced into a sack and was threw dow n from the top of the waterfall. They died from either hitting on the stone or being drow ned in the water which had been running for centuries and witnessed ever ything that had happened.



Winter Blรณt

I walked dow nhill, facing a building whose silhouette was in a semi-ellipsoid shape and with its two wings extending from both sides. It was a cloister, I thought. In the front located the entrance. It was not so much an entrance as a stone bridge which crossed a trench and connected the stone path and the interior. Warm air blew to my face as soon as I stepped on the bridge. I saw a huge bonfire burning in the center of the round hall. The tip of the f lame reached more than 10 feet high and was covered by a giant chimney. The chimney was made in cast iron. It hung dow n from the roof and stopped at almost the height of the f lame. With no foot coming to the f loor, it looked as if f loating. Three goรฐi wearing white and red gow n were chanting with their backs to the fire. There were hundreds of people who sat in three rings following the chanting. The hall was almost fif ty feet in height and was embraced by five stories of colonnades which were also f ull of people. They faced to the fire, chanting or only staring in solemn looking. No one was aware of my existence. I moved quietly through the colonnade, stepped upstairs, kept moving and rising, until I landed on the 4th f loor. As I tiptoed in the colonnade on each level, the central fire was always projecting to my eyes, penetrating through layers of people. The chanting stopped. A duet sang by a soprano and a baritone began to fill the space and reverberated among the stone walls and the stone columns. As it got higher, the colonnade became narrower and more slanted. On the 4th level, I had to squeeze my way out through the gaps between the stone columns. On the outer layer located hundreds of stone chambers of various sizes. Ever y chamber extended its depth to the edge of the building. I realized that the interspaces between them were exactly the rectangular holes which I saw outside. And the previous f lickers were the bonfire f lame and its ref lections. It seemed that the chambers,


corridor, chamber

interior unfolded

columns, holes and staircases were randomly arranged. Ever ywhere looked similar, but there were no same places. The higher f loors had much deeper chambers for dif ferent uses. I went one more f loor up, finding myself standing in the open air with no surrounded walls or columns any more. I saw a great dome in front of me. Stone steps were built in the masonr y. The roof was actually climbable? I wondered. Black smoke came out from the center spot and was glowing in red. It must be where the chimney was. I climbed up on the steep steps. There were still several feet from the chimney. I felt that I hit on an invisible wall which was extremely hot and pungent and couldn’t move one more step for ward. I looked around. The hall was a half-egg which was w rapped by a thick but perforated stone wall. The wall was more of a stack of stone chambers. However, it looked like a sof t ribbon that moved around the hall and extended both ends like a pair of sleeves and submerged into the land. A deep slit was formed between the hall and the stone wall. Several f lying bridges stitched the two sides together. It was impossible to cross elsewhere.

dome, chimney, slit

The purpose of this journey was to watch the winter Blót of Ásatrúarfélagið. Ásatrúarfélagið is a pre-Christian Norse religion which was reestablished in 1970s in Reykjavik. Similar as other Norse religions, Ásatrú’s ritual activities are ver y specific to Icelandic traditions. It recovers old ritual traditions based on Icelandic poets, music and other art forms and reinvents it with “modern” tools. Blót is the “Norse pagan sacrifice to the Norse gods, the spirits of the land, and maybe even someone’s ancestors”. The ceremony provides a chance where people enters the sacred realm, of fer to the gods and plead for the gif t, then return to the mundane world. The Winter Blót was one of the biggest ceremony throughout the year. It took place on the winter solstice. In ancient times it was considered the day when the “Yule” reached its lowest point and the mark of rising again. Yule meant the “wheel” of the year. At the meantime, elves, trolls, and other magical beings ran wild


and the Wild Hunt rode freely. Human being must be ward of f from the fierce predators. Feasting, drinking and dancing started at the sunset of the day. People had vigil from dusk to daw n to celebrate the return of Baldur who was the God of Light. It was also the time when sacrifice was taken. Was that the secret of communicating with the nature? Was the black stone altar leading to the Gods? How did people find the resonance with the universe, which transcended the presence? This was a questionable journey, I thought. Maybe it was something which stayed closer to the eternal truth, something which let hundreds of people do the same thing and say the same word.

ambiguity, chaos

The music stopped and the feast began. Tables and chairs magically appeared on the steel f loor. I thought there might be mechanics that folded and unfolded f urniture. Meat and mead were ser ved from some of the stone chambers. Shout and laughter echoes. Meanwhile, the ribbon-like cloister was still quiet. It contained similar stone chambers. These were the rooms for the dead. The green sparkles accumulated and dispersed over and over. As a non-devout person and a stranger, I came dow n to the ground and about to take departure. At the entrance bridge, another set of steps appeared and led to the subterranean. There was a door at my right hand almost hidden in the shadow. I entered. This was not an exit. Without a pause, I found myself walking dow n on a ver y cramped staircase. I was soaked in darkness. My instinct told me to search for lights. There were lights on the ceiling, similar as a regular room with ceiling illumination. What made it special was that the lights were laid out in three concentric circles and that they were partly blocked by something constantly moving. Was that bats? I shrank back. But an array of candle hanging on the lef t side wall pointed out the direction I should go. It was a swirling path that ended at a ver y low point. On my right side was abysmal darkness. I push my body against the lef t side wall for fear of falling dow n although there stood a solid guardrail on the edge of the staircase.

chthonic darkness


roughness, dust, shadow

longitudinal section

Thanks to the cold and rough touching to the wall and the fragmented vision under ever y candlelight, I was better adapted to the darkness. And I f urther noticed that the lighting above actually came from the seams on the ceiling, or to say, the f loor of the round hall. The moving shadows were the people who were feasting and toasting. Were they aware of the great hollow right under the exuberant festival? Following a grinding sound, a person rushed out from the wall. I gasped. A group of more than ten people filed into the space, immediately following the first person. They lined up on the steps. The first person threw something far into the darkness. “Hail Odin”, “Hail Thor!”, “Hail to the ancestors!” Many voices shouted discordantly. Their sound and the echoes inter weaved together into a loud noise which lingered for a moment. A crisp crack sound was among them. “The Midgard Serpent turned into a cat. How possible? He was subverting his ow n image.” “Obviously he was against Thor. The giant king must be on Loki’s side. They had similar names. The son had to obey his father, didn’t he?” “Loki had saved Iðunn. Although it was him who had caused the trouble. I mean he had been friendly though. He assisted Thor for many times.” “I know his temper depends on what animal he became.” “Wasn’t it that ever yone had a situation which others had no right to judge?” “That’s the point. Only Loki was always swaying.” “Maybe he had severe schizophrenia?” “Loki is a sy mbol. Ever yone has a Loki in his body.” “No, quite the opposite. We are now in Loki’s stomach.” “Shoot let’s get out of here.”

armor, skin, viscera


They lef t, still gabbling. I stepped dow n, wanting to reach to the bottom of this space. Soon the path was interrupt while the candlelight array was still extending for ward. In front of me there was a sea of basalt bricks, which f loated the bottom. I recalled the similar bricks laying at the roadside on my way here. The dif ference was that these bricks had red mysterious script stamped on them. I’ve heard that in some Norse religion ceremonies, people w rote runic letters on wood and soaked the wood into mead. They drank the mead to pray for bliss. This brick throwing ceremony should be more or less the same thing. There was no way for ward any more and I door which the previous group of people bridge and arrived at a place I had never passing by it before. It seemed like some

had to return and exit through the had used. I walked across a short been, nor did I remember seeing it or sort of back garden place.

It was hard to say whether this was still a part of the building. I was standing on the natural ground of soil and stone, from which moss and grass grew. It was even similar as the courtyard besides the clif f . The crooked staircases also appeared here, but more continuous than the other ones. However, this garden at the same time had a sense of artificial manipulation. It was a subverted cone sank below grade, with smoothly tamped surface where several layers of benches were installed. The geometr y was caref ully calculated so it was not visible from the stone path above. The bottom half of the temple, the reversed semi-ellipsoid was revealed, which contained the endless darkness inside. The outer wall of it was surprisingly round and smooth. The seam between rocks were barely seen. Juxtaposed with the rough and punctured façade of the top part, the bottom resembled a sof t and nude body part, or viscera exposed due to disappeared skin, which was appealing and f limsy. It was impossible to get close since there was a deep moat departing the building from the land. Purple light glowed in the moat. The temple was actually f loating above land, protected and inaccessible. There were also steps which went around the building.

I tried to climb up following the crooked steps on the sloped surface, only to find that most of the steps were leading to dead ends, or blocked by rocks. Suddenly an image of an antlion pit came into my mind. It was a cone shaped sandpit. An antlion hided itself in the sand and waited at the bottom of the pit. When an ant was trapped into the pit, it was ambushed by the antlion and could escape no more. Soon af ter it was dragged into the sand and was eaten. So people called it “ants’ hell”.

subterranean space


My situation was much better. I was more intelligent than ants and there was no horrible predators. But an uneasy feeling still came to me. Where were the people? I thought. This place could be a nice stage or even used as an altar for summer worships. However, in the dark night of winter, the weird shape and surface of the building looked as if a grotesque giant that engulfed the surroundings and trapped them into the dark world. How about dwelling in darkness? It was as if in the chthonic under world where there was no contrast, no similarity, no dimension; where conscious was permeated, rationality crushed. Or you might fell homely there, because your memor y came out and became almost visible. Enclosed by obscurity, your ego was never stronger and kept expanding in thick darkness. You might build a world f ull of fantasies which was never possible in the light. You wanted to share your wonderland with others. So you invited them to the dark where ever y mind could move freely with no limit, and intersected with each other. What if the clear space and the dark space were overlaid together and became one? At once, there was no necessar y to return.

It had been a long while. The sky was still pitch dark. I walked up to the entrance and lef t.

subterranean space

the end







ground level


2L 3L


section A-A

section B-B






128 ft

05 . Ce ram i c s N e st I n str u c to r: J en ny S ab in


M i l s tei n Ha l l , I t h a ca

Colla bora tors : F ra ncis Yu en , Yi fei Ya n g

Th e g e n erative m eth od d erives f rom the obs er va tion on the te c ton i c b eh av i or of b i rd n est s. It h i g h li g h t s t h e stra te gi c com m in glin g b et we en cra f ts ma ns hip a nd digita l fa bri ca t i on Th e b i r d n est is co n so lid ated by the mutua l f riction betwe en t h e tou c h i n g b ra n c h es. Th e st a c k i n g a p p ea rs i n a n u n pl an n ed m an n er. H oweve r, a n ef fe ctive hidden s tructure i s c rea ted ( con sc i ou sly ? ) wh en t h e n est i s b ei n g b u i l t by b ird s. We tried to imita te the a ggre ga tion method whic h keep s t h e f u n da men t a l sh a p e of a b i rd n est .

digital simulation

Tectonics and Construction Inh eri ted from t h e a g g reg a t i on met h od of a b i rd nest , t h e cera mi c comp on en t s keep a n i n teri m st a ble con di t i on by i n tern a l fri c t i on a n d g rav i t y. It en a b les t h e wh ole system to h ave i n fi n i te g en era t i ve pa t tern s wh i c h h ave to b e b u i lt on a cert a i n code. Eac h comp on en t ser ves a s a p a rt of overa ll st ru c tu ra l skeleton . Th e p osi t i on a n d p ost u re of u p p er uni t s i s a f fec ted by t h e u n i t s u n dern ea t h . A Maya si mu la t i on i s ru n b a sed on severa l set s of pa ra meters to test t h e resu lt . Th e qu a li t y of ea c h co mp on en t , st a t i c fri c t i on a n d dy n a mi c fri c t i on mai n ly con t ri b u te to t h e fi n a l ou tcome. plywood/ plaster mold


06. L i v i n g an d E x h i b i ti n g I n str u c to rs: Lily Ch i, J am es K ha ms i


D ow n tow n I t h a ca

Solo Work

A bu i l d i ng sh o uld h ave importa nt mea nings to the city. It s he lters, b ri dg es, h i g h li g h t s, con cea ls, a t t ra c t s, p reve n ts, e tc. A h o u si ng & galler y p roject is propos e d in a ne ighborhood of It h a ca dow n tow n to recon st ru c t p eop leâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s li v i n g a n d m ovin g p attern . Four dif fe rent pa ths a re cre a ted on the comp lex la n dsca p e from wh i c h sp a ce b eg i n s to ge n e ra te aroun d . I t d o esn â&#x20AC;&#x2122; t a im to s olve exis ting proble ms . Bu t i t t ri es to foresee t h e ef fec t wh i c h i t wi ll t a ke fr o m ye ar 1 to year X . Th e building a s a n inte rfe rence will s urely ma ke t h e c i t y di f feren t .



Year 1 Scenario: the existing urban space is largely occupied by impenetrable â&#x20AC;&#x153;fogâ&#x20AC;?. The accessible space is filled with roads and parking lots.

residential commercial attraction


Urban Agenda: to reorganize the movement in and around the site. Use it as a catalyst to open up the city and to initiate an inner-block system.

connections between points

differentiations between in/out, fast/slow, open/close, etc.

intersect with each other

creates boundary and connections

Connections Responding to three types of movement - short cut, promenade path, and destination, four different connections are considered. Formal/ informal, fast/ slow, connect/ separate, solid/ transparent spatial quality is defined by the various threshold between connective space.






64 ft












24 ft

Section A-A

sight penetration

observe the building with different angles





24 ft

Section B-B

View Framing The building itself is a lens to frame the beautiful cityscape and landscape. The visual penetration through the building changes when people moves both horizontally and vertically. Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sight would stop at different moments: on the building, in the building or beyond the building.


07. G or g e P a v i l i o n -

F a l l C r eek , It h a ca

I n s t r u c tors : Carol i n e O’Donnell, La ila Se ewang


So l o Wo r k

W h a t make part i cul ar s patia l expe rie nce in a gorge a re the pa lis ad es . A s ver tical l and s cap e, they s hap e the s ite i n 3 d i men s i on s. Th e p at tern of the roc k, soil, wate r a nd vegeta tio n g ives the g o r g e a r ich textur e. Th e a ltern ate at ten t i on on the exterior wonde rland a nd the in ter io r m und ane events m akes p eo p l e’ s track a z i g za g pat tern . P eop l e’s move ment whic h has a certa in angle w ith the p al is ad es r ep eated l y cuts thr o ug h the to p o g ra ph i c l i n e. Th i s force ge ne ra te s the interior seque nce . Source: Department of Buildings and Properties Ithaca, New York 1967



0 12.5



100 (ft)


sampling, section, texture

Rock Surface

M as k A s a dev i ce to look a t t h e p a li sa des, t h e p av i li on b len ds i n to


la n dsca p e.

Th e

sh ell t ra n sla tes t h e n a t u ra l Zigzag Path & Visual Channel

tex t u re

i n to


reg u la ri zed

form, wh i c h b eh aves a s a n i n ter- su rfa ce

b et ween


ma n b ei n g a n d n a t u re. It i s a lso a ma sk t h a t i mi t a tes a n d b rea t h s.

Opposite Cliff

Roof Orientation



Gorge View











48 (ft)

32 (ft)

Th e wh ole p av i li on i s con st ru c ted wi t h U - sh a p e b ea ms i n di f feren t len g t h . B y b ei n g a rra n g ed i n va ri ou s p osi t i on s, t h e U b ea ms a c t a s b ot h st ru c t u ra l elemen t s a n d b u i ldi n g envelop es. In t eri or wa lls defi n e p ossi b le c i rc u la t i on s i n a su b t le wa y . Th ey work si mu lt a n eou sly wi t h t h e roof t o g i v e a sen se of di rec t i on . It p resen t s mu lt i p le wa y s of seei n g a n d t ou c h i n g .


P1 . Sh e nzhe n E n e r g y M a n si o n -

wo r k a t B I G

Te a m: JoĂŁo A lb uq uerq ue ( tea m le a de r) , Jos eph Ha berl, Ra pha e l C i ri a n i , S i da Z h a n g , C h ri st i a n L op ez Th i s i n te rior d esign p roject a ims a t cre a ting dif fe rent s pa tia l ch a ra c ters i n a n op en p la n by i n t rodu c i n g n a t u ra l l i gh t a n d usin g m aterials of va rious texture a nd tra ns pa re ncy. Th e desi g n f u lly a c h i eves t h e c li en t â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s requ i remen t a n d t h e b uild in g co d e. I wo r ke d on co n cep t, f loor pla n drawings f rom 2 9th-4 0th, rende ri n g a n d p hysi ca l model.


Typical Floor Top View

34th Floor Plan


P 2. LĂ?NE A wor k a t S te p h a n ie G OTO

Tea m: S tep h a n i e Goto, S i da Z h a n g L Ă?N EA i s a seri es of c h a i rs desi g n ed by S tep h a n i eG OTO i n colla b ora t i on wi t h ma n u fa c t u re comp a ny i S i Ma r. We took t h e c h osen ma teri a l a n d ma n u fa c t u re a s a t ri g g er to foc u s on h ow a si n g le steel rod cou ld fold a n d ex p a n d to form a con n ec t i on wi t h h u ma n b ody a n d t h e env i ron men t . Th e Ru g of S h a dow a ssu mes a n on - ex i st li g h t sou rce a n d ex ten t s t h e c h a i r i n to t h e a mb i en t . I worked on t h e con cep t , drawi n g , ren deri n g , model, a n d ma n u fa c t u re.




P3. Mon i d i a n ( 摩 尼 殿 ) M a p p i ng -

Z h e n gd in g, Ch in a

P r ofe sso r: Yao D in g | Team: Sida Zha ng, Sibo Peng M o n i d i a n was b uilt o n A.D. 105 2 , redis covered by Mr. Lia ng Siche n g i n 1 93 3 . O u r work wa s di v i ded i n to t wo p a rt s. I n t h e fi rst d ays, we ob ser ve d the a ncient s tructure comprehen si vely a n d sketc h ed i t dow n on p a p er. A f ter we go t fa miliar w ith th e structure, we us ed point cloud s ca nning system to record t h e p rec i se i n forma t i on . We wo r ke d on th e p resen t state ma p of Monidia n a ccording to the p a p er a n d t h e sca n n ed da t a .

The point cloud map of main elevation


The roof has been renovated for several times since it was built.

East Elevation (present state map)

North Elevation (present state map)


Ap p e n d i x. Aca d e mi c/ S o ci a l P ra c t ice

2010 3rd prize - National Competition of Urban Planning Among Undergraduates

2011 summer MAD Architects, Beijing

2016 summer Perkins+Will, New York


2009 summer surveying & preservation of Monidian, Longxing Temple

2011 academic paper published on Architecture & Culture Magazine

2014 summer Stephanie GOTO, New York

2016 CCA grant & exhibition

2015 BIG, Copenhagen


Sida Zhang

Sida Zhang Cornell portfolio  
Sida Zhang Cornell portfolio