Page 1

The Limits of Interpretation

Portfolio of An Tairan For the application to the professional M.Arch Program, Princeton University


Picture from John Wilkins, An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language (London: Printed for S.Gellibrand, 1668), P.311. Quoted by Umberto Eco in The Limits of Interpretation, (Indiana University Press, 1994), p.3


Studying urban planning gave me a perspective of understanding the relationship between urban form and building type through a critical reading of the city as text. I tend to believe in the notion that reading the city is like reading Umberto Eco’s novels: the text is open to all readers, but this doesn’t mean there is no limitation to how a reader may interpret.

Contents

Representing Form 01-10 The Limits of Interpretation 11-18 Aphasia 19-32 Amnesia 33-40 Chronology(2011-2014) 41-45 Photography & Art Work 46-50


01 Representing Form (2013-2014) Thesis Project in Progress thesis adviser: Prof. Wang Fang

This ongoing thesis project is developed from my work in the studio "Architecture planning and Site Design" in 2013. The goal of the studio was to design regional architecture in Inner Mongolia, China. The thesis project, however, probes into problems of the interpretational and representational processes of the design methodology of Critical Regionalism: how do we set limits for the interpretation of rooted culture that vernacular architecture carries? How could Critical Regionalism avoid the ambiguity and contradiction in itself to achieve selfconsistency?

Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs (1965) 1


“essence” “essence” traceable traceable

“essence” “essence”

interpretation interpretation

signified signified

signifier signifier

representation representation

form form

“essence” untraceable untraceable “essence”

critique critique of of “kitsch “kitsch historism” historism”

defamiliarization defamiliarization

context-form context-form relationship relationship

“image-making” “image-making”

Alan Alan Colquhoun Colquhoun

“communicative/ “communicative/ instrumental instrumental sign”; sign”; “scenographic” “scenographic”

test test AA

Liane Liane Lefaivre Lefaivre

Kenneth Kenneth Frampton Frampton

Alexander Alexander Tzonis Tzonis

Mogolian Mogolian Yurts Yurts study study

“envoking “envoking nostalgia” nostalgia”

test test BB

“populism” “populism”

critique critique of of tourist tourist camp camp “yurts” “yurts”

“essence” “essence” probing probing

Caroline Caroline Humphrey Humphrey

A1 A1

A2 A2

A1 A1

A2 A2

A3 A3

A1 A1

B1 B1

B2 B2

A.“The A.“The Invention Invention of of Tradition” Tradition”

Eric Eric Hobsbawm Hobsbawm

B.“Empire B.“Empire of of Signs” Signs”

...... ......

topography topography

CC climate climate

light light

C.eclecticism C.eclecticism

sense sense of of touch touch

culture culture tectonic tectonic form form

mythology mythology

Roland Roland Barthes Barthes

signified signified Critical Critical Regionalism Regionalism has has constructed constructed aa fully fully developed developed yet yet controversial controversial argument. argument. This This project project expands expands upon upon aa comprehensive comprehensive understanding understanding of of the the theory theory of of Critical Critical Regionalism Regionalism and and also also the the debates debates over over it. it. Test Test AA tries tries the the approach approach of of “defamiliarization” “defamiliarization” proposed proposed by by Alexander Alexander Tzonis Tzonis and and Liane Liane Lefaivre Lefaivre to to reveal reveal the the paradoxes paradoxes that that the the representational representational processes processes may may carry. carry. Test Test BB proposes proposes another another way way of of interpreting interpreting aa text text by by commemorating commemorating the the vanished vanished Mongolian Mongolian yurts yurts and and nomadic nomadic lifestyle lifestyle with with aa contemporary contemporary analogy, analogy, the the automobile. automobile. 2

translation translation

test test BB

signifier signifier test test AA

critique critique

defamiliarization defamiliarization


1400

牲

1410

温室

温室

The site is in an outer suburban tourist area in Hia Bagx New Area, Inner Mongolia. Hia Bagx New Area is made a world famous “Ghost town” by a 2010 article in Time magazine for having few residents but massive amounts of empty residential housing.

温室 温室

温室

P562 1416.85

Inner Mongolia, China

1390 1410

昆 塘 独

1410

141

0

1400

塘

1400

龙 沟 塘

1390

141

0

1400

1400

0 140

1410

1400

1410

1390

1430

1400

1390

1400

141

0

æ±

1440

139

0

1420

141

0

1430

140

0

1420

141

0

140

Ordos, Inner Mongolia

0

1390

1410

1420

1400 1400

141

0

1390

昆

140

0

141 0

1400

1390

独

1390

1390

é¾™

沟 140

0

1400

牲

昆 1390

独

龙 沟

0

1390

138

Hia Bagx New Area, Ordos

N

140

0

1380

139

0

0

139

Current Plan

1410

1400

1:4000

Another Sort of Kitsch?

昆 139

0

1380

独

é¾™

Tzonis and Lefaivre suggest the design strategy of “defamiliarization” as a mechanism to arrive at an idea of essence in design that was critically open to the import of worldwide elements.

沟

1380

139

0

0

139

1400

140

0

141

0

141

5

1380

1390

They argue that “defamiliarization is at the heart of what distinguishes critical regionalism from other forms of regionalism and its capability to create a renewed versus an atavistic, sense of place in our time…Critical regionalism is interested in specific elements from the region, those that have acted as agents of contact and community, the place-defining elements, and incorporates them ‘strangely’, rather than familiarly, it makes them appear strange, distant, difficult even disturbing..

0

139

1380

0

137

0

138

1370

温室

å±±

137

0

è„Š

139

0

0 138

1370

1380

1390

1400

1400

Critical Regionalism tries to protect a threatened regional essence. However, all that remains of regionalism in its interpretation of the vernacular are fragments, broken pieces, and individual parts which have been from the original context of an organic world of regional artifacts. In this way, we sees no difference here between a “critical regionalism” and a clichéd one and “any attempt to retrieve the original contents in all their original wholeness would result only in a sort of kitsch”, as Alan Colquhoun articulates.

1400

0

141

The following diagram is a trick to reveal that there is always someway to make some “sense” out of the “essence”. We can’t tell, however, how many iterations there have been of the sense we get.

shadow of shadow of shadow of the “essense” shadow of shadow of the “essense” shadow of the “essense” the “essense” 3


Test A

[House A & Anti-House A]

Test A critically examines how “strange” a critical regionalism design can arrive at. House A extracts three “essential” characteristics of Mongolian Yurts and obscurely applies them to the design of a new house: the centrality of its spatial structure, the hierarchy of its building plan and its temporality. Anti-House A is a foil, with opposite characteristics: outward-oriented, non-hierarchical and changeless.

square plot

square plot

House A

Anti-House A

15m

Anti-House A

phase a

House A

15m

division 2

centrality

outward-oriented

non-hierarchical space

disapearing & enclosing

changeless & good view

phase g

hierarchical space

phase f

outward column grids

phase e

inward column grids

phase d

division 2

phase c

division 1

phase b

division 1

4


Test A

courtyard

dinning room

kitchen

study

tearoom bedroom

courtyard

[House A] ground floor plan

1:250

bedroom

[House A] 2nd floor plan

room 0

1:250

[House A]

1:250

[Anti-House A]

room 4

room 2

room 1

room 3

[Anti-House A] ground floor plan

1:250

[Anti-House A] 2nd floor plan

Inquiry

Hence here we have two design proposals of houses with the “defamiliarization” strategy of Critical Regionalism. Obviously they are quite succ Mongolian Yurts, if he is not told so. What’s even more confusing, it’s even not so convincing to say that the two designs represented the “es

(1)House A selects 3 characteristics as the “essence” of Mongolian Yurts to represent. How about others? Can the best Critical Regionalist arc

(2)How can we prove that the “essence” that is underlined here is exactly the essence of the vernacular? Can any architect really know the ess

(3)Actually today there are scarcely any nomads living in an authentic yurt. Can an architect interpret this dissipated regionality arbitraril

5


structure system

[House A] axonometric

[House A] axonometric

structure system

[Anti-House A] axonometric

[Anti-House A] axonometric

cessfully “defamiliarized”----it’s not easy for any architecture critic to tell that they are actually interpreted and represented from ssence” of Mongolian Yurts if they are further questioned. For instance,

chitect represent the whole “essense”?

sence if he is not a dweller of Mongolian Yurts?

ly, if it is no longer part of modern life?

6


Toono(roof ring)

Bagana(prop)

Uni(roof poles)

Khaalga(door)

wheels of a tereg(cart)

Khana(walls)

plates of a tereg(cart)

Tuurga(wall cover)

hand slaps of a tereg(cart)

Khana(walls)

Test B

[The Motor Home for a Retired Herdsmen Couple]

For the dissipated and invisible nomadic culture, I see no possibility that we could ensure the “essence� we interpreted as worth preserving continues to be the essence itself, rather than its shadow. The Mongolian Yurts case, if regarded as a text, has disapeared and been no longer traceable, together with the vanishing of nomadism. Test B tries to commemorated the vanished Mongolian yurts and nomadic lifestyle with a contemporary analogy, the automobile.

7


top view 1:200

top view 1:200

front & back view 1:200

As Aldo Rossi confesses, “I came to regard architecture as the instrument which permits the unfolding of a thing. I must say that over the years this awareness has increased my interest in my craft, especially in my latest projects, where I have tried to propose buildings which, so to speak, are vehicles for events.� The design tries to indicate that when the text is no longer legible, all the architect can do is to reveal the fact of its disappearance.

8


axonometric

side view 1:200

axonometric

Test B doesn’t attempt to interpret or represent the vernacular or preserve a dissipated lifestyle. It is designed just out of a desire: to see what it will be like if a retired herdsmen couple happens to possess a motor home, whose form is constituted by wheels, chimneys, glass windows, machines, steel bars, aluminum sheets, vent-pipes and electric appliances.

9


axonometric

side view 1:200

axonometric

Driving and living in an automobile with all these elements together on their road trip, the retired herdsmen couple is like a theatrical troupe on a performance tour or a street parade. Nobody knows about their life story before their retirement except for the couple themselves.

10


02 The Limits of Interpretation (2012-2013) Top Score(1/160) Research project for the course Basis of Appreciation of Modern Architecture instructor: Prof. Dong Yugan

This research project draws a comparison between Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose and Tiananmen (literally "Gate of Heavenly Peace") of Beijing. What they have in common is that they both consist of unknowable concepts that are open to various interpretations. Eco's novel The Name of the Rose is about a series of murders incurred by one unobtainable book----Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics which is about laughter. Eco constructs concepts such as "book", "laughter", "architecture" and at the end of the novel a fire consumes everything. Monument as a national symbol, Tiananmen is comparable to the lost book of Aristotle since it might be the only existing architecture that cannot be surveyed because of the complicated and sensitive political and historical meanings it carries.

Background image: a collage of Umberto Eco and Joseph Stalin. The original artworks are attributed to: Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid, Origin of Socialist Realism, 1982-83, oil and tempera on canvas V.Savchenko, The Truth(правда), 1968 (Poster) Eco, Umberto. "The Name of the Rose", trans. William Weaver. London: Picador, 1984: 189

11


Every Chinese of my generation remembers this song from childhood: "I love Beijing's Tiananmen, The place where the sun rises. Our great leader Chairman Mao Guides us as we march forward!" Although Beijing's Tiananmen has become an emblem that is well known by all members of a group, class or culture, it is meanwhile an undisclosed construction. As Wu Hung narrates in Remaking Beijing, "In fact, for some years I actually believed that Mao lived in Tiananmen... No book told me anything about the place behind Tiananmen and the passageway that went through it." The meanings are too complex and diverse to express any particular idea and this metaphorically corresponds to one fact: more than an architectural structure, like Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics in Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose, Tiananmen is an object like a black box. It is the intersection point of the intertwined historical narrative threads. Nobody can access its inner structure.

A Collage of 8 photographs of events that took place on Tiananmen Square in the last 100 years, including: 12 Feb 1912, last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty's abdication; 4 May 1919, demonstration in protest against the Treaty of Versailles handing over Chinese lands to Japan; 15 Aug 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's portrait put on Tiananmen after the victory of Second Sino-Japanese War; 15 Aug 1945, Mao Zedong's portrait put on Tiananmen for the Founding Ceremony of China; 5 Mar 1953, Joseph Stalin's portrait put on Tiananmen after his death; 15 Oct 1966, Mao meeting Red Guards in Tiananmen Square; 5 Apr 1976, the mass memorial to the former prime minister Zhou Enlai; 4 Jun 1989, the student uprising.

12


Eco constructs the concepts “abbey”, “laughter” and “book” with dialogues and events.In the end, these concepts get mired in a scramble. Th The difference, however, is that here everything turns to ashes and fragments.

construction of the Edifice

construction

“Almost all its buildings, some more, some less, had been reached by the fire... Only the parts without buildings remained safe... Nothing more could be done to save the buildings...”[Page 287]

“He laughed, he, Jorge. heard him laugh... He l though his lips did not gaiety, and he seemed a [Page 281]

“deformed”

“ruins”[Page 289]

[arcana arouses foolish curiosity] [arcana breaks a celestial seal] [arcana hits the weakness of intellect]

[(01)-(05)- William unraveling codes to get to the library] [arcana foments pretentious pride] [arcana arouses foolish curiosity]

01

02

03

04

[(16)-(20)- the Edifice destroyed]

[ 11

12

13

14

15 [laughter replaces images of redemption]

[(16)-(20)- Jorge eating the Book,

[laughter is the object of perfidious theolog

16

17

18

19

13

20

[laughter replaces rhetoric of conviction wit


his brings to mind what Victor Hugo prophesied in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, “This will kill that. The Book will kill the Edifice”.

n of the Face

construction of the Book

“One book, older than the others, burned almost immediately,sending up a tongue of flame... Ghosts of books, apparently intact on the outside but consumed within; yet sometimes a half page had been saved, an incipit was discernible, a title.”[Page 290]

. For the first time I laughed with his throat, t assume the shape of almost to be weeping...”

”[Page 287]

“fragments”[Page 290]

[laughter frees people from fear]

[arcana hits the weakness of intellect]

[laughter upsets the holy]

[arcana foments pretentious pride]

[laughter foments doubt]

[arcana breaks a celestial seal]

[(06)-(10)- the poisoned Second Book of Poetics that caused murders found] [laughter sweep away all knowledge] [laughter is weakness, corruption and foolishness of our flesh]

05

[(11)-(15)- library on fire] 06

07

09

08

10

, laughing]

gy]

th rhetoric of mockery]

21

22

23

14

24

25


Tiananmen was divorced from any architectural context to become an emblem – an image that has “a direct verbal definition well known by all is on the list of blacklisted sensitive keywords in China, which is part of the system of Chinese internet censorship. Tiananmen has been t is constructed by the monuments built around it, its visualization of political rhetoric, and the mass movements that have become landmarks

construction of the Edifice

construction

“On 23 May three young m defaced Mao’s portrait. the Central Academy of F statue of the Goddess of right before Mao’s portr

Internet access to a long list of Tiananmen-related words and terms are blocked by Chinese authorities.

Tiananmen

splashed

[Chiang Kai-shek] [Mao]

[Mao] [Joseph Stalin] [Mao]

[(01)-(11)- collage of portraits ever displayed on Tiananmen]

[People’s [People’s [People’s [People’s [People’s [People’s

Daily: Daily: Daily: Daily: Daily: Daily:

no one has the power to such things must not be the Square is sacred] no one has the power to such things must not be the Square is sacred]

01

add any memorial or to remove anthing from the Square] allowed to happen in China!]

02

04

05

[(14)-(

add any memorial or to remove anthing from the Square] allowed to happen in China!]

14

03

15

16

17

毛主席语录

[(18)-(24)- Epigraph of the Little Red Book by Lin Biao [facsimile [facsimile [facsimile [facsimile

of statement QUOTATIONS FROM CHAIRMAN MAO TSE-TUNG of statement 18 of statement of statement 中国人民解放军总政治部编印

by Comrade by Comrade 19Comrade by by Comrade

Lin Biao: Lin Biao: 20 Biao: Lin Lin Biao:

Study Study 21 Study Study

Chairman Chairman Chairman Chairman

facsimile of statement by Comrade Lin Piao in his own handwriting

facsimile of statement by Comrade Lin Piao in his own handwriting

Study Chairman Mao's writings, follow his teachings and act according to his instructions Lin Piao

Study Chairman Mao's writings, follow his teachings and act according to his instructions Lin Piao

Mao's Mao's 22 Mao's Mao's

writings, writings, 23 writings, writings,

follow follow follow follow

his teachings his teachings 24 teachings his 15 teachings his

and and and and

act act act act

according according according according

to to to to

his his his his

instructions] instructions] instructions] instructions]


l members of a group, class or culture.” Hence It’s quite difficult for a westerner to believe that as a national symbol, “Tiananmen” the center of political tension and attention throughout China’s history. The enriched image of Tiananmen and the vast ground below it s in history.

of the Face

construction of the Book

After Lin Biao Incident (Lin died when a plane carrying him crashed allegedly after attempting to assassinate Mao on Sep. 13, 1971), an order of “scratching out pages” with Lin’s epigraph of The Little Red Book was executed.

men from Mao’s birthplace On 30 May, students of Fine Arts erected the f Democracy in the square rait.”

scratched [1971]

d [1989]

[Mao]

[Mao]

[(12)-(13)- the erection of statue of Goddess of Democracy] 06

07

08

09

10

11

(17)- a government tank destroying the Goddess of Democracy] 12

13

[According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for “Tiananmen” can not be displayed]

scratched]

[According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for “Tiananmen” can not be displayed] [According [According [According [According

to to to to

relevant relevant relevant relevant

laws, laws, laws, laws,

regulations regulations regulations regulations

and and and and

policies, policies, policies, 16 policies,

search search search search

results results results results

for for for for

“Tiananmen” “Tiananmen” “Tiananmen” “Tiananmen”

can can can can

not not not not

be be be be

displayed] displayed] displayed] displayed]


A Phantasmic Anatomy of the Edifice

This is an illusive representation of the internal structure of Tiananmen. Tiananmen is not a knowable structure. It is a black box. As such it is open to all interpretations from all readers. One of them might be: [chimneys]-[books]-[tents]-[laughters]

]

ts

n te

[

]

ks

o bo

[

“The Ministry of Construction Engineering, established in 1952, decreed that Beijing was to be restructured from atraditional cultural and administrative city into a heavy industrial city.” [Robin Visser]

]

ys

e mn

hi

[c

“I hope the day will come when all you can see from Tiananmen Gate is a forest of tall chimneys belching out clouds of smoke.” [Mao in 1949]

]

ys

hi

e mn

[c 17


s]

er

t gh

au

[l

“Mao wanted Beijing to become a forest of factory chimneys. Today it is becoming a forest of skyscrapers.” [I.M.Pei]

“It’s historically rare: the leap between nothing and an urban situation has occurred without any intermediary.” [Rem Koolhaas]

s]

er

t gh

au

[l

“When you laugh, you don’t think. I suppose the less you think, the happier you will be.” [Yue Minjun]

“It surely was the effect, as dozens of television cameras expertly framed the ironic, silent confrontation between Goddess and Chairman.” [Roderick MacFarquhar]

]

ts

n te

[

]

ks

o bo

[

“I was not freed from this repressive power even after I emigrated to America: watching students killed in front of Tiananmen on 4 June 1989. I felt as if I were there, struggling under its shadow.” [Wu Hung]

The Red Little Book is considered the second most printed book ever, next only to the Bible. It has been estimated that five billion copies had been printed by the end of the 20th century, with editions in 52 languages.

Artworks & photographs cited(adapted) are attributed to:

18

Andy Warhol, Mao, 1973, synthetic paint and silkscreen on canvas Jeff Widener, Tankman, 1989(photograph) Wang Xingwei, New Beijing, 2001, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, Great Solidarity, 1992, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, Great Joy, 1993, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, Kites, 1993, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, Untitled, 1994, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, The Execution, 1995, oil on canvas Yue Minjun, AD 3009, 2008, oil on canvas


03 Aphasia (2012-2013) Top Score & Best Design Award (1/38) Studio: Urban Design instructor: Prof. Zhang Tianxin

"Aphasia is an acquired language disorder caused by damage to the brain. This class of language disorder ranges from having difficulty remembering words to losing the ability to speak, read, or write, but does not affect intelligence. This also affects visual language such as sign language". This is what happened to old communities that have witnessed the tremendous changes. They lost their language ability facing an alienated world. The site was a decaying community in the urban fringe of Beijing near Zhong Guan Cun tech hub, originally built in the socialist period and now a highly diverse complex with a large proportion of floating population. I critically read the community as residual of the city’s rapid urbanization process, after the dramatic changes of the surroundings. I offered a design proposal by preserving the community’s vernacular characteristics as a resistance to the overwhelming city expansion.

Background image: a collage of two photographs showing old residents and Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub. The original artwork of the old men is attributed to (the other one is a photograph taken by me): Zheng Siqi, Expecting, 2012(photograph, second prize of National Geographic Photo Contest 2012, category of People)

19


[20000226]

[20000518]

[20000730]

[20120924]

“Cun” in Chinese literally means

[20000730]

“village”. Zhong Guan Cun, as the name suggests, was a real

village only fourteen years ago.

Since then, Zhong Guan Cun is not,

and will never be a “Cun”. What it used to be is projected to somewhere/someone else, such as

the inhabitants who witnessed the tremendous changes. They are the last villagers.

[20120924]

[20000803]

[2000]

detailed planning of West Zone of Zhong Guan Cun

[site location]

20

Photographs taken in 2000 credit: http://www.panoramio.com/ (others taken by me); the 2000 detailed planning of West Zone of Zhong Guan Cun credit: http://www.cityup.org/


An Immured Diversity A striking contrast about the community is: it contains a large variety of social groups while it is walled from all directions. The enclosures include iron fences, steel bars, brick walls, stone walls, railings, etc. The walls provide media for texts and images. In some way, it is a grand exhibition of a mosaic of the streetscapes.

“hotel→” 住宿

“hotel inside”

“Shentong Express”

内院住宿

STO申通快递 SHENTONG EXPRESS

文明城区始于心 和谐海淀践于行

“A civilized urban area begins in the mind; the harmonious Haidian is practiced with actions.”

“No Entering”

“No Parking”

“Peking University”

AUX

AUX

AUX

禁止停车 青勿入内

“With efforts of the whole region, pooling all people’s wisdom together, co-create a national civilized city.” “greening” 举区域之力 聚万众之智 共创全国文明城区

绿化

“Xinjiang Flavor” “Civilized Haidian” 新疆风味

www.kaoshi001.org

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文明海淀

82613 640

一站式宣传专家

广告位招商 188111283108

“One-stop Advertising Expert: Ad Space Available” 21


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“#5 Yiheyuan Rd”

“Donkey Meet Burger”

“Xianfen Hotel, free wifi”

电话82613640

翔凤宾馆

“Old Sichuanese Sichuan restaurant”

老蜀人川菜馆 订餐电话:62658868

免费上网

社区信息栏 一层 单间

招租

北大南门

北一 大室 南一 门厅

“South gate of Peking University, one bedroom- one living room”

“Couple Kebab”

两口一串

“Unorthodox Barbershop” 标新立异

绿化养护

“hotel→” 住宿 和谐家园 明海淀

Nonresident students preparing for the entrance examinations for postgraduates, university students, technicists working in Zhong Guan Cunn, deliverers, security guards, dustmen, tenants, rent seekers, rental agents, vendors, and natives together act as the space users and remodeller.

“a harmonious homeland and the civilized Haidian” 22


1978

1997

100%

As a product of China’s “Welfare Housing System” at a particular historical stage, Haidainlu community was originally built as a high-end community and assigned to government cadres in the late 1970s, during which time China was witnessing a historical shift from socialist to post-socialist.

15% 4%

building types

residential

81%

Since the early 1990s with the China’s reform of housing system, property rights began to change. In the words of Aldo Rossi,the community has been through a transition from the “socialist” house to the “captilist” house. In response to social changes, the community droped rapidly in clas status .

commercial facilities temporary

2002

67%

26%

7%

On its south side, a dramatic change took place in the early 2000s. All urban textures were wiped out for the construction of the high-rises of Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub. A large floating population soon crowded into the community for its lower rent.

2012

85% property rights percentage public

self-owned for rent 23

9% 6%

The community became a residual of the city’s rapid urbanization process. This unpredictable transition results in a great diversity of urban landscape. To the old dwellers, it is a sense of strangeness.


A1

3

2

A1

A1 1

Peking University campus

A1 0 A9

A7

A6

A5

A4

A3

A2

↑ N

B1

B2

B3

B4

R=400m

A1

Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub

A8

site Fourth Ring Road of Beijing

Current Plan 1:4000

24


A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

25


A7

A13

A8

B1

A9

B2

A10

B3

A11

B4

A12

A1-A13 and B1-B4 are sections of main surrounding buildings at a radius of 400 meters. Distinguished by height and volume of the structures, the surrounding built environment has a polarization: divided by the Fourth Ring Road of Beijing, buildings on the north side including the site and Peking University campus are of a similar type. Campared with them, buildings on the south side, which sit in the West Zone of Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub are mega structures like colossuses, overlooking the community from above.

26


Grids It is a coincidence that if we connect the two monumental structures of the site, South Gate of Peking University and the abandoned chimney, we get an angle α whose Tangent α=1/3. Leading lines and grids are established accordingly, with a 3.6m × 3.6m unit. South Gate of Peking University

All surrounding walls, railings and stockades are removed and relocated according to the direction of the new leading lines.

06

α

08

03

05

04

08

03

05

As the visual focus of the site, the abandened chimney is preserved and finds visual connection with the South Gate of Peking University.

“Aphasia” Facing the overwhelming high-rises and the never-ending traffics, the local residents of the Haidainlu Community are mute. They have no clue how to make any connection between themselves and the urban condition which is happening right in front of them. It is alien. The urban design tries to avoid conversation between the site and the highly urbanized Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub, which is on the other side of the 60-meter-wide 4th ring road of Beijing.

West Zone of Zhong Guan Cun Tech

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A series of house plans for Building A are proposed. They have varying degrees of structural consistency with the leading lines.

01

02

03

04

06

05

07

08

09

Building A designed as short-term tenement houses. Elavated from ground by 2 or 3 floors, the building links the university campus and the community.

Building B designed as short-term tenement houses. Its wall-like south façade weakens the link with Zhong Guan Cun.

The design starts with accepting the analogous and rejecting the alien. One of the laws of Chinese traditional gardening is applied here: “Cover the vulgar and take in the elegant” [俗则屏之,嘉则收之]. The two proposed new buildings (Building A & Building B) for the floating population are designed as the starting point of this strategy. Building A on the north side significantly enhances the link between the community and the university campus, while Building B on the south side serves as “a wall” resisting the urbanized Zhong Guan Cun and the annoying traffic noise of the 4th ring road.

↑ 3.6m 3.6m

h Hub

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N

Site Plan 1:1000


north faรงade of Building A

1:700

ground & 2nd floor plan

1:700

3rd floor plan

1:700

4th-6th floor plan

1:700

Building A serves as short-term tenement houses for the floating population. The piloti structrure of the building responds the urban context by claiming its affinity with Peking University campus on its north side: the ground-level supporting columns leads from South Gate of Peking University to the chimney. A link between the two monumental structures is strengthened.

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north faรงade of Building B

1:1000

south faรงade of Building B

1:1000

floor plan

1:1000

Building B, on the other hand, resists the Zhong Guan Cun Tech Hub with a plain, wall-like south faรงade, leaving only waste pipes to the endless stream of traffic.

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The Mirage of a Village Zhong Guan Cun, literally means Zhong Guan Village, indicating its rural past. Yet it is a fairly recent past, which makes it more astonishing to look at this urbanized area without any trace of what it was 14 years ago. If there is anything left of it, it can only be its incomplete shadow projected to the old community, the old buildings, the trees, and the dwellers’ memories. The community is residual of the city’s rapid urbanization process. Or to put it another way, it is a rare “reserved area” with vernacular characteristics. This design is an attempt to preserve these characteristics. However, it has to be admitted that any attempt of this kind is ultimately no match for the power of the city.

floor plan

1:1000

coff

文明海淀

和 海淀

和谐海淀

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axonometric section


04 Amnesia (2014) Excellent Award 2014 Urban Design Competition for College Students, China instructor: Prof. Wang Fang & Prof. Song Feng

Amnesia is loss of memory. As Rem Koolhaas argues, "After Aldo Rossi, we are unable to imagine that a city can exist without history. But today there exists a vast portion of humanity for whom living without history doesn’t pose any issue whatsoever. We could go even further: living without history is a passionate adventure for them." Beijing's CBD is an extreme example: it was built on a blank site after a full demolition of the existent urban fabric. The design puts forward an analysis model of “desert islands” of the Northwest Zone of Beijing's CBD area. A new typology is created from scratch and brought to the site as a connection to the future, out of my own wishful thinking.

Hugo Gernsback demonstrating his television goggles in 1963 for Life magazine. An Luxembourgian American inventor and writer, also called "The Father of Science Fiction", Hugo Gernsback foresaw a number of future events in early 20th century.

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Photo collage of site by me. Photo credit: Cai Hongru, Overlook. photograph taken in April 2014.

[site location] Northwest Zone of Beijing’s CBD, east of Chaoyang Gate

Any building at CBD is nothing like any other.

Each monolith is claiming its uniqueness and identity.

It’s like a stage show where everyone wants to play the lead.

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The outcome is: for each of them there is no identity at all.


“Tabula Rasa� It’s hard to believe that an urban history could be entirely wiped out in less than one decade, together with the vanishing of its old urban fabric. Completely replacing the old residents, the new comers---- the financial workers of the CBD are the present users of the space. They have a demanding job and lead a monotonous money-earning life. No one knows or cares about the past. People care about the future. 20010128

20020206

20031212

20050101

20060424

20080525

20090811

20140511

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demolished

newly-built


The “Desert Island” Model A desolate "urban island" with low accessibility cuts off the east-west continuity of the CBD and leads to the decline of the public space. Inspired by coastal landscape, a “shoals-islands” strategy is proposed.

phase 1

phase 2

“desert island” phase 3

“shoals” phase 4

“islands”

connections an isolated public space

“desert island”

“shoals”

“islands”

The design deals with problems in terms of scale and landscape continuity. At a site where there is no history, or even marks of history, architecture and urban space is no longer capable of representing the past. Form is then created out of nothing. the hierarchical structure

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[shoal type 4] semi-outdoor stage Designed for improvisational actors, music festivals with dining facilities.

[shoal type 1] mini theater For music, dance, drama and other kinds of arts

Collage by me of forms created out of thin air. Artwork is attributed to: Anonymous, God as Architect, Frontispiece of Bible moralisée

[island type 1] skateboard park Arranged close to the office buildings.

[island type 2] shopping mall For shopping & dinning with a semi-outdoor first floor.No more than 4 storeys.

Islands System Structures of a new typology are implanted to the interspaces of the out-of-scale CBD skyscrapers. They perform as the “shoals” and “islands” with commercial and recreational functions. Together with the main island in the middle, they constitute isles of a mixed-use CBD. A 3.5m x3.5m x3.5m cube frame performs as the prototype of the newly-built structures to negate the inhumane scale. 37


[island type 4] music plaza & recreation conplex Fashions, food and beverage, cinemas, wine bars & spa.

[shoal type 3] leisure park Close to office buildings, with a bookstore.

[main island] green space For recreation and entertainment. RestaurantCoffee shops, wine bars arranged underground.

[island type 3] semi-outdoor art gallery With a shorter refresh cycle. Coffee shops, art stores and bookstores.

[shoal type 2] CBD gym & basketball court Close to office buildings. For after-work exercise. 38


Site Plan

N

1:3500

[17:00-18:00] gym/ spor after work A prospect of an all-day functioning CBD - the role transitions of the financial workers after everyday work.

A

B

B’

[18:00-20:00] dinning exhibition/movie/drama

A’

C

C’

[20:00-22:00] shopping ing

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rts time right

section A-A’

perspective A

& recreation: a/show

section B-B’

perspective B

g & entertain-

section C-C’

perspective C 40


05 Chronology (2011-2014) Design studios/ Research projects/Competition enties/ Installations/ Fabrications

Drawing Practice of a Milling Head

Final project of the course "Engineering Drawing and Its Application" Fall 2011 i nstructor: Prof. Wang Meihua

House Design Practice

Final project of the course "Introduction to Architecture" Fall 2011 instructor: Lecturer Shen Wenquan

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Examining the Roof Style of "Wu Dian"

Top Score (1/150): research project of the course "Introduction to Traditional Chinese Architecture"; paper to be published in 2015 Spring 2012 instructor: Doc. Wu Xin The research project takes an argument raised by Lee Yunhe, an architectural historian, 23 years ago that there is a correlation between the radicals of Chinese characters and the significance of a building type. The paper, however, deals with the roof style of "Wu Dian", which is of the highest rank in Chinese architecture but with a low-rank radical.

Prison, Power and Space

Research project of the course "American and Chinese Domestic Architecture" Spring 2012 instructor: Prof. Amy Lelyveld (PKU-Yale Joint Program) This research draws a comparison between Ann Frank's house and Yue Family house in Sanxi, Hubei Province, China. Probing the discipline and surveillance of prisons, this research considers the invisible patriarchal discipline power of traditional Chinese family rituals with more features of a “prison”, even compared to Ann Frank’s chamber.

Hori-Vison

Top Score (1/38): studio of Planning of Urban Landscape Architecture and Open Space Spring 2012 instructor: Prof. Song Feng collaborators: Liang Hong, Mandy Wong, Kang Yixin, Wang Na, Zhao Luyun, Zhao Zhe

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The Building Types of the Newly-built Residential houses of Beijing Since 1949 Undergraduate research project May 2012- Sep 2013 instructor: Prof. Song Feng collaborators: Liang Hong, Zhao Zhe Extensive literature survey of more than 1200 journal articles, field investigations into more than 50 old communities, interviews and redrawing of more than 150 house type plans.

Baiwanzhuang Residence Community in Beijing: Typological and Evolutionary Analysis of Urban Artifacts Top Score(1/20): research project of the course "Introduction of Urban Morphology" Spring 2013 instructor: Prof. Song Feng With Aldo Rossi’s scope on urban artifacts through a rationalism of urban geography, economics, history and politics, and M. R. G. Conzen’s approach of town-plan analysis, this study aims to examine the typological and evolutionary problems of Baiwanzhuang Residence Community as a “study area” of urban artifacts.

The Contradictions of Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport: a Cultrual Study of a Space Research project for the course "Introduction to Critical Theory" Summer 2013 instructor: Prof. Zhang Xudong Viewing an airport terminal by Foster and Partnersas as text, the research tries to uncover the political and cultural logic hidden, and the alienation of urban space since Walter Benjamin.

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Chicago’s Chinatown: the Growth of an Exotic Neighborhood Research project for the course "Roots of American Modern Cities" Fall 2013 during my exchange at the University of Chicago instructor: Prof. Michael Conzen The reseach probs the history of the urban form and building types of Chicago's Chinatown. As the research suggests, the growth is a process of a reinvention and reconstruction of a new exotica.

Skyscrapers, Hugh Ferriss and 1920s-1930s American Urbanism Research for the course "Early 20th-century Urban Visions" Fall 2013 instructor: Prof. Katherine Taylor This study is based on three insightful publications concerning skyscrapers and American urbanism, especially New York City of 1920s-1930s. A comparative study of the three authors’ writings contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the prophetic drawings by the New York delineator Hugh Ferriss.

The "Gnomon"

Entry of 2014 International VELUX Award for Students of Architecture Spring 2014 collaborators: Cai Hongru, Wang Yifan Public space design giving people awareness of time passing.

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Drama Memorial

Installation Art Exhibited in Peking University Hall 12 Apr 2014 collaborators: Cai Hongru, Guo Boya, Su Mang, Wang Yifan, Zhou Xiaoquan The installation was designed for the 2014 "Drama Memorial of Pekeing University", which was aimed at commemorating the deceased with drama.

A-void

Installation Art Exhibited in 2014 Beijing International Design Week. Published in Dezeen and Designboom. 27 Sep- 5 Oct 2014 designers: Chen Chen, Federico Ruberto, Nicola Saladino collaborator: Aniruddha Mukherjee Pilot Project of 2014 Beijing Design Week by reMIX Studio. The UV installation outlined its plans for the renovation of an ancient hutong residence by marking proposed structures with illuminated white strings.

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06 Photography & Art Work

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An tairan portfolio  
An tairan portfolio  
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