RSAA participated the Unternehmensforum Sichuan - Deutschland(NRW) +
November 01, 2019
”The "Drum Tower on Architecture" series of talks is hosting by Büro Zhuang Ziyu, dedicated to contemporary Chinese design practice and a new attempt in the exploration of architectural theory and practice. The entire series takes lectures, talks, and salons as the main forms to create an informal communication occasion for architects and even excellent practitioners in other industries.
Topic: “Construction” and “Form”
Zhang Dongguang, the co-founder and lead architect of Atelier Heimat. Working for many years, he has always insisted on starting from the basic issues of architecture, focusing on the discussion of "physical properties" such as materials and construction. In 2014, as one of the youngest architects, he won the Excellent Work Award of the WA China Architecture Award Design Experiment Award and the Excellent Work Award of the Residential Contribution Award.
△Reconstruction of the pedestrian bridge in Luotuowan Village / Atelier Heimat
On June 19th, Drum Tower on Architecture Vol.1was held in Beijing Office of Zhuang Ziyu Studio, No. 7 Drum Tower. During the conversation, Zhang Dongguang gave his own interpretation of the relationship between "Construction" and "Form", combined with engineering practice.
Zhang Dongguang: At fitrst, I want to say thank you to Zhuang Ziyu and Li Na for thier invitation.
At first, I want to explain the topic. The word "Form" has many meanings abroad, but it is translated as "form" in China, which may mean modeling. The word "making" is translated by Zhuang as "construction", which I think is very good. In fact, the meaning of "construction" is not same in China. "Construction" includes a series of processes such as production materials after design. But the meaning of "construction" in China may point to the construction site, actually there are many things behind it.
When it comes to construction, I have to mention Semper, an architect and theorist in the mid-nineteenth century. His had a famous book is called "The Four Elements of Architecture", which explores the origin of architecture from the perspective of anthropology. Semper divided the building into four main elements, roof, wall, stove and high platform.
△The Four Elements of Architecture
In modern times, the main topic of the " Constructing Architecture - Materials Processes Structures A Handbook " is the architectural form, which involves all aspects. Therefore, architecture is a very large and complex discipline, but it is not to say that everything must be done. Many architects have a variety of perspectives. I think it is very good. If you do well in a certain aspect, it may be a good building and a good architect.
Today I will focus on tectonic. Once it involves practice, this is a necessary proposition. I will do some discussion through several small projects in the studio.
△The first project
The concept of the first project is called " Shade the atmosphere ". The key words are "minimal material" and "complete structure". Our cient is the local government, and the requirement is beautify the landscape for tourism. We made a simple covering : a roof on the top and a portal frame with diagonal braces on the bottom, trying to shade the space with minimal material.
Because we are architects, not engineers, we hope that it will have some architectural things, and creates a boundary between inside and outside from the dense enclosure.
It is a small bridge that must pass from the village to the farmland. We want to make a temporary resting place for the villagers. In order to change the rhythm of the space, we added some colors, the inside will be slightly darkened, so that the surrounding scenery is emphasized, creating a staying atmosphere.
△The second project
The second bridge is called "temporary weaving place". In this project, a village is divided into two parts and a bridge is used to make a connection. Our client wants a traditional bridge, but the construction cost of the bridge is relatively high and considering the planning status of the village at that time, we think that we should try in modern ways. We should not only deal with the present, but consider what it will look like five years later.
Rural construction is a big proposition. It is not only considered in architecture. Some plans harm the natural growth of the village, so we will try to respond the plan.
△Client‘s intention of "The connection bridge “
We first choose available materials and easily construction methods——rattan and fence. We made a woven structure, which was formed by crossing the poles densely and then enclosed to the space, achieving our goal with the least language and forming an independent structure. If the village develops better one day, the bridge can be removed and the wood used for other things. This is a "temporary" strategy.
Design and construction is a process of communication, also a process of inspiration.
△The third project
I will talk about a part of the third one. I called it the "simple" roof . In fact, we solved many complex problems through a simple strategy. It involves transportation, structure, construction, and lighting effects.
This structure is relatively simple. One and a half units of the two entrances support a roof with a little arch and triangle. Today we mainly talk about the roof. The roof is composed of four components. In order to reduce the weight, we made some holes in the roof. This method will also bring about changes in light.
△The fourth project
The fourth is the National University Student Construction Competition organized by UED last year. The site is in a wood next to the village. The natural environment is very good. It is preset as a children's playground.
The inspiration came from the second visit to the site. We found that many small wooden stakes were removed from the demolition pool in the village. Finally, this small wooden stake was used to make an undulating ground. Students completed in 15 days, they participated in it and learned the weight of the material, the hardness of the soil and the capacity of the structure, which is a touching thing.
Because of conditions, we can only use an old methods to form a dome. The final completion was very ceremonial. The first time I got in, I was touched. It was a space experience I had never had before.
△Construction process of the ”Natural Construction“
Architecture often discusses more than just construction. Architecture often discusses more than just construction. Sackler also studied in construction. He said that discussing architecture from a constructive perspective is as single as discussing architecture from a spatial perspective. So can we integrate many things together? The begining may only be construction, spatial form, or sociology, but it will eventually involve many issues.
That’s all, thank you.
/ Question x Zhang Dongguang /
Q: Mr. Zhang talked about township construction in speech. Sometimes the architect's ideas conflict with geopolitical things. How to deal with this problem? To extend to another point, when we are working on the project, there will be conflicts in thinking with the owner. How do you deal with this kind of problem?
A: Sometimes I think there are many problems in planning. Communities formed over decades are not only about physical space, but also many things such as relationships or property, which are very complicated. We should change our role and way of thinking. We can learn a lot from local craftsmen or farmers. We may be more exquisite in building architecture, but it is not mean good. They are very rough or even temporary structures, but the reason they touch us is to show the real life.
Q: What do you think of the relationship between subject and object? For the third project, I would like to ask whether you pre-designed an occasion for children to interact with the environment? Or is it just an accident?
A: This question reminded me of a dialogue between Ryue Nishizawa and Toyo Ito, they discussed the order of function or space . There is a view that ancient people use caves, so they have space first, and then, add functions. Sometimes we feel that we need to do a function first and then form a space. For the project I talked before, we considered natural things, time, how children use it, and the scale, but some things really need users to develp. Sometimes users can see more than we designers.
Q: So what is this form in the end?
A: All the results I have talked about are there, there is no predetermined form. I think some of the projects I have done before are not mature enough, including their combination may be a bit blunt, in fact, there are preset ingredients. In conclusion, there is a principle of structure or structure, and the generation of form may be more relaxed.
Zhuang: In my opinion, the final project is a world-class project. Applying a completely different material component to another completely different form, I think this is an innovation from construction and culture. On the other hand, there is actually another inspiration from Zhang’s lecture today. We rarely talk about cultural significance when we do projects in the company.
In a lecture given by Professor Li Xiaodong last weekend, we also talked about the cultural crisis. He talked a lot about contemporary content, and I asked him whether culture and context can be understood as symbolic and strong formality, and culture has many forms and symbols, which can being superimposed and blocked, there is no way to get a real result in the end.
The more interesting thing today is that what Mr. Zhang said is all in the site. Can I understand that you are more concerned about the context or the value of the site at this moment?
zhang: This proposition is too big, in fact, we also have cultural elements in it. It's just that it may not be the same culture as most of the time. We are in awe of those things and want to respond in design, but it may still need more practice and experience.
△Office of Zhuang Ziyu Studio, No. 7 Drum Tower.
△Panelists in Büro Zhuang Ziyu