Making Architecture – Lecture in Hong Kong University by Dong Gong, Vector Architects

In Dong Gong’s mind, the fundamental of architecture is making, is the involvement of our hand and body, ultimately to create a place with spirit.

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2018年11月8日,直向建筑(更多关于 Vector Architects on gooood)创始人/主持建筑师董功受香港大学建筑系教授王维仁邀请参与2018秋季公开演讲系列“Agendas for the South”,发表题目为“Making Architecture”的主题演讲。董功认为建筑的本质是建造,是通过我们的双手和身体来最终创造一个场所,和场所的精神。演讲中,他回顾了直向建筑近年来的主要建筑实践,并在问答环节中与听众进行了互动。本文记录了董功的演讲以及问答环节的主要内容。

Dong Gong, founder and design principal of Vector Architects (more: Vector Architects on gooood) was invited by Professor Wang Weijen to take part in the public lecture series of “Agendas for the South” at the Department of Architecture of Hong Kong University on November 8th, 2018. He delivered a lecture with the title of “Making Architecture”. In Dong Gong’s mind, the fundamental of architecture is making, is the involvement of our hand and body, ultimately to create a place with spirit. He introduced recent architectural practice of Vector Architects during the lecture and answered questions from the audiences in the Q&A part. This article recorded the main contents of his lecture and his answers to the questions.

 

 

 

王维仁教授:“在我看来,董功的职业生涯正在加速。他的作品不仅仅探讨了类型学,建筑构造,注重结构、施工、材料以及人的感受,同时还体现出他对于文化的关注和相关问题。更重要的是,董功的建筑中会有一种场所感。”

Professor Wang Weijen:Dong Gong, his career started to accelerate. His projects to me, not only typological, tectonic, as a concern on structure, construction, material, and also human condition, and here’s about concerns and issues about culture, and very importantly, there’s a sense of place.

 

 

 

董功演讲 | Lecture 

 

▼演讲中的董功,Dong Gong giving the lecture

 

我今天的主题是建造(Making Architecture),我将通过项目来详细阐述这个主题以及我对建筑的理解。今天主要分享船长之家改造、海边图书馆和阿丽拉阳朔糖舍酒店。我认为,建筑从根本上说是一门建造的艺术。当然,建筑是一个复杂的问题,它涉及许多其他因素,例如社会,环境,能源,政治。但建筑的本质是建造,是通过我们的双手和身体来最终创造一个场所,和场所的精神

我们在威尼斯双年展的参展装置是一个黑色钢结构,这个结构的目的是将人们带到夹层,我们希望创造一种人在空间里面走动的场景。因为二层需要上人这个动作,我们必须遵守意大利的建造规范,不得不与当地的意大利工程师还有承包商,也就是施工团队一起合作。整个过程对我们来说,是一个“学习过程”。为了保证整个装置的最终质量,我们派建筑师在展览开幕前两个月到达现场监督建造的整个流程。整个装置构件先是在威尼斯附近的当地工厂进行激光切割,并用船运至场地,然后在现场组装。作为一名中国建筑师,当我看到这些精确控制、高度工业化的制作过程感觉很新鲜。当然,在中国的一些大城市,比如北京、上海,也会有这种技术。问题是中国太大了,我们有不同的地域,不同的气候,不同的人、生活方式以及建造能力,很多时候,这都是可望不可即的。像我们这样的建筑师,项目遍布全国,必须在不同的地域条件下工作,我认为这也是一个很好的挑战,而且对建筑师来说,也是为根据具体场地条件进行创作提供一种力量。

My topic today is making architecture. I will elaborate on this idea, my understanding of architecture later on through my projects. Actually, there are three main projects I like to share with you guys. The first one is the renovation of Captain’s House, the second one is Seashore Library, and the third one is Alila Yangshuo, which is a hotel project. For me, I think architecture fundamentally is the art of making. Of course, architecture is a complex issue, it relates to a lot of other factors, for example, social, environmental, energy, political, but, for me, the fundamental of architecture is making, is the involvement of our hand and body, ultimately to create a place with spirit.

I’m not going to talk too much about the design. The black steel structure is our installation in Venice. The whole point of this structure is to take the people up to the second level, the mezzanine level. So, to create a certain of circulation, the human movement, inside the space. But because we have to take the people to the upstairs, so, we have to be obligated to comply with the Italian code, so that’s where all the nightmare starts. (ha) We had to work with a local Italian Engineer firm, and together with a contractor, which is a construction team. So, I don’t know if you guys can imagine that to work totally with Italian people, but the whole process for me, is a learning process actually. Because to guarantee the final quality of this whole installation, we sent the architects two months before the opening of the exhibition, to supervise the whole procedure of this manufacturing. And, I actually collect some of the pictures throughout the process. As you can see, the whole things are laser cutted in a local factory, near to Venice, and ship transported to the venue, and then installed on site. It’s a very impressive memory to me because as a Chinese architect, when I look at all these precisely controlled, highly industrialized making process, it feels fresh to me, but I’m sure, some big city in China, such as Beijing and Shanghai, will also have this kind of technology, it’s not hard to find. But, the issue is, China is too big. Even though we call it one country right? But we have different zones with different weather, different people, lifestyle, and also the construction capability. So some time is very tough for an architect, especially like us, because our projects are spreading out throughout the whole country, so we have to work in different locations. But, at the same time, I think it’s a good challenge and it’s kind of energy for an architect to create something unique based on the local condition.

▼董功在威尼斯双年展上的装置作品草图,Sketch of installation designed by Dong Gong in Venice

▼视频,直向建筑在威尼斯双年展,Video of installation designed by Vector Architects in Venice ©陈颢

在船长之家项目中,由于场地位于福建沿海的村子,在那里不得不手工制作一切。由于巷子很窄,甚至没有机械设备可以接近房子,工人们必须将所有混凝土通过人力搬运到施工现场,再将混凝土运吊到三楼进行浇筑。整个施工过程花了差不多半年,那是一个很艰辛的过程。我坚信好的建筑一定是诞生在一个具体的、独特的场地条件下的,而我们建筑师应当试图去揭示蕴藏在场地背后的某种独特能量。

In the project in the Fujian village, everything is literally made by hand, by human body. There’s not even a machine can approaching the house, because the alley is kind of narrow, so, the workers have to literally carry all the cement to the construction site. That’s how they transfer cement up to the third floor and pour the concrete. Half a year, is the entire process, including the lower two floors actually, it’s a really painful process. I believe in architecture has to based in the very unique condition and try to reveal certain energy behind it.

▼船长之家拱顶施工视频,Construction process of the vault of Captain’s House ©直向建筑

 

船长之家
Captain’s House

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北茭村位于中国南部沿海整个村子在一个半岛上,船长之家位于岛上最狭窄的咽喉部位。整个村子的村民主要以捕鱼为生,无论何时去那个村子,你都能看到不同年龄段的人群,仍然能感觉到这个村子背后的生活。如果你去到中国内陆的很多其他地方,特别是一些乡村,那里甚至已经没有年轻人了,城市化的进程把所有人都吸到了大都市里。所以,我非常喜欢这个村庄的原因之一在于村子看起来有点乱,但其实有一些非常有趣的空间。它的空间体验有点像欧洲小城,虽然建筑质量没那么好。在这里你们可以看到不同年代的建筑物,可以看到整个场地是如何演变的。

▼黄昏外景,Evening View

The Captain’s House belongs to the south part of China. it’s actually located in the Peninsula, right on the very narrow neck of this piece of land. The whole village makes their living by fishing, it’s a pretty good profitable industry in that place, so whenever you go to that village, you see a full chain of different generations of people. So you still feel life behind this village. If you go somewhere in the middle of China, especially, in some of the villages there are not even young people, because the urbanization process drags all these manpower to the metropolitan area. So that’s part of the reason why I like this village very much. Though it seemed a little messy, there were many interesting spaces. The experience in this village was somehow like that in European towns, except for the building qualities. You can see different generations of the buildings and the generations how this entire place evolved.

▼鸟瞰,项目位于充满活力的村庄中,Aerial view of the project in a vibrant village

改造前的房子是一栋两层楼的建筑,常年经受海风和雨水的侵蚀,砖混结构单薄存在一定的安全隐患,海边潮湿易腐的气候条件也造成了室内大面积漏水。船长一家人希望在现有条件下加建第三层,以更好地适应他们目前的生活需求,  因为他们需要更多空间来招待每年暑假拜访的亲戚朋友。这对建筑师来说是一个挑战。尽管房子的状况很差,但当你看到这个场地时,就会发现它所处的地点非常独特:它矗立在悬崖上,面朝大海。老房子处在半岛最狭窄的位置,因此他们的住宅有机会在视觉上与两个方向的风景相连。一侧是面朝台湾的方向,因为每年夏天台风都会从那个方向来,所以没有船停在那里;另一侧是港口,船长的船就停在那边。我们开始设计过程的时候,这两片不同特征的海给了我们很多灵感。

The house before the renovation actually, two-story building with some very severe problem of water leaking and structure safety, because it’s along the seashore. The weather there is kind of very, very tough. So to make sure that building a better condition, the captain has another desire that they want to build the third floor to this current structure, because every year their friends and relatives coming to this place to take the summertime as vocations, so they need more space for people to accommodate. So that’s the challenge actually to the architect. Even though the building is in a bad quality, but when you see the location, it’s just a very unique, splendid architecture location, it’s right on the cliff, facing the ocean. I just explained that the location of the building is in the very narrows part of the peninsula, so in their home, there is opportunity visually can connect this both direction of the ocean together, and the one on the right is the direction to Taiwan. But because every year in the summer the hurricane will come from this direction, so there’s no boat actually parking there because of the risk. But on the other side is the port so the captain’s boat actually parks there. So there are two different characteristics of the ocean give us a lot of inspiration when we started the design process.

▼改造前建筑原状
Original condition of the building before renovation

▼改造前建筑结构问题严重
severe structural problems of the original building

事实上,设计是从对结构加固方式的思考开始的。我和我的结构工程师朋友肖从真老师一起做了一系列的对比,最终选择了在保留原有砖墙结构的基础上添加一层12cm混凝土墙的方法。这种方式有两个好处:它不仅加固了现有结构,并且可以为新建的第三层提供结构支撑。由于新的结构介入,使得我们有了重新调整房屋的空间格局的机会。

Everything actually starts about the structure reinforcement, we actually had a series of comparison working together with the engineer, Xiao Congzhen, he’s one of my good friends. But eventually, we actually made a decision, the logic of this structure reinforcement is to add a layer of concrete attaching to the existing brick wall. This will give us two advantages, why is that can make this current structure stronger. And second of all, it can have the new load bearing capability for the new third floor. Because of this involvement of the new structure, we have a little freedom to change the layout a little bit because of this structure.

▼结构加固示意图,Diagram of the structure reinforcement

住宅大体上依然是原来的布局,我们只是将原有临海的设施空间,比如卫生间,移动到了靠近邻居家的一侧,在改善通风和采光的同时,也使客厅、餐厅与主卧室获得了更好的观赏海的视线。住宅的一层是客厅、餐厅和厨房功能,开放式厨房和中式油烟厨房由推拉门连接,厨房中设有开向前院的窗户。在二层平面,我们几乎做了同样的处理:最初,这里有两个面向大海的卫生间,我们把它们移到了后墙,让建筑主立面向自然敞开。二层是家庭的起居室和卧室,还有一个像书房一样的小角落,是建筑里抬头能看到三层混凝土拱顶的唯一的地点。三楼对于这家人来说是一个多功能的空间,他们会在三楼做很多不同的事情,比如唱K,还有台跑步机。它基本上没有一个特定的功能,可以在暑假的时候和他们的亲戚朋友一起使用。

So basically, is the original layout, but what we did is we move some facility space, for example, the bathroom, from the place that, you know, blocking the light and air from the ocean side, but we move this kind of space to another location, because this wall is shared with a neighbor’s building, so we consider this particular location is not as valuable as this place. The first floor is basically a lobby dining room, and also the kitchen. One open kitchen together with a closed kitchen, the sliding door. That’s the window of the kitchen to the front yard. On the second floor,we did almost the same thing. Originally, there are two bathrooms, facing the ocean, but we actually relocated to the place along the back wall to open up the main facade to nature. The second floor is basically the living room and bedrooms for the family. There is a corner like a study room, which is actually the only location you can look up to the third-floor concrete vault. And the third floor, for them, it’s a multi-function floor. They actually did different kinds of things there, they do karaoke, and they actually have this running machine there. So it’s basically no specific function, and it could be shared by their friends and relatives in the summer vacation.

▼船长之家改造模型,Model photo of Captain’s House

▼一层改造前后平面对比(左:改造前,右:改造后)
First floor plan before and after renovation (left: before, right: after)

▼二层改造前后平面对比(左:改造前,右:改造后)
Second floor plan before and after renovation (left: before, right: after)

新增加的第三层是一个拱的形状。我们选择拱这个形态有很多原因:其中首要的原因就是它的形态有利于屋顶的迅速排水,没有水可以留在它的顶部,雨水很快的就流下去了;第二个原因是拱顶天生具有方向性,当你站在那,你可以同时看到两片性格迥异的海,拱可以加强人们的这种感知。从而让人们感受到这个场地,它就像从建筑到自然的锚固点;第三个原因显而易见,拱形是两边承重墙向上收拢自然生成的结果,这可以避免掉梁和柱的出现,所以这个拱本身也是结构。

The shape of the newly added floor is the arch or it’s a vault. There are different reasons why we make this design decision. The very first important reason is that it’s a good shape to resist the water because no water can stay on top of this shape. So it’s kind of running very fast. That’s the first reason. The second reason is that I have a sketch later on. The vault inherently has a direction to both sides. So as I explained already, that because when you stand on that level, you can see both directions of the ocean. So the vault can actually make this feeling, the perception stronger. To let the people feel, you know, the location of the building, and it’s like an anchor from the architecture to nature. That’s the second reason. Well, obviously, because of the load-bearing concrete wall underneath, so it’s a natural structure shape to converge on the top, which can save a lot of column beam. So the vault itself is also a structural shape.

▼设计草图,Design sketches

因为这栋建筑的墙比普通房子的要厚,于是我们利用厚度做了一些文章。我们在每个窗口都插入了一个小空间,你可以把它们称为介于室内、外之间的家具。这些窗户作为“媒介”置于建筑空间与自然之间,同时与人的行为活动相结合。钢筋使新混凝土与旧砖墙绑定在一起,起到了结构加强的作用。混凝土拱顶的浇铸用的是小木模板,被组合成为我们需要的尺寸和形状。

在整个建筑物建成之后,我们找到了一张照片,是传统造船的场景,有点像工地上的工人们在支模的时候的样子。船长告诉我们,他说当他第一次走进这个空间的时候,他感觉像在一艘浮船里。

As the wall is thicker than the regular buildings. So we actually played a thickness. Each window, we try to insert a small like space or small, you can call it like a furniture in between the interior space and outdoor space. So there’s, this is like an intermediate medium to be between the architecture space and nature, which kind of allows people to have some activity going on there.Steel rod actually extend inside the hole, because that will allow the new concrete to interlock with the old brick wall. So it’s kind of structured reinforcement. Concrete casting process is made by pieces of wood, and put together to the right dimension, and the shape.

We found this picture shows you traditionally how people make a boat after the whole building was constructed. Actually, the captain told us, we didn’t have this idea, when he walking into the building at the very first moment, he feels like in a floating boat.

▼造船场景与拱顶施工场景,Photo of ship building and vault construction scene

▼施工现场,Construction site

在夜里,船长之家会从周围的环境肌理中略微跳脱出来,正是得益于当代的技术,我们能够使建筑的外立面在更加通透的同时不被台风破坏,你们可以看到邻居的房子在夜里明显会暗一些。在白天,它又能够和谐融入周围的环境,这也许是跟材料的颜色和调性有关。同时,拱的形状其实是比较谦逊的,更让它能够适应周围的村落。

At the nighttime, it’s a little bit jumping out because the new contemporary technology can let us to a more transparent facade without, you know, be damaged by the hurricane. But you can see the neighbors’ houses obviously dark condition at night. But day time it’s kind of blending into the neighborhood, I guess, maybe it’s because of the color, the tone of the material. And also maybe, you know, the shape of this arch is kind of humbled, to be adapted to the environment.

▼建成后的建筑鸟瞰,白天与周边环境和谐,夜晚脱颖而出,Aerial view of the building, which merges into the environment during daytime and jumps out in the night

底部的两层建筑是在原先的结构基础上增加了一层12cm的混凝土对它进行加固。你们可以看到,我们尽可能多地暴露了原来的砖墙纹理,而三层则是一个全新的结构。为了表达新旧之间的微弱区别,我们在二、三层之间设置了一条狭缝,阳光会在一天中的某个时刻从这进入三层地面。船长一家信仰基督教,三层的拱也蕴含了宗教空间的隐喻,对于我来说,这个空间相对于一二层的生活空间更具有精神意义。

And the lower two floors are actually based on the original structure. But we still try to because we have to reinforce it by the new layer of concrete. But as you can see, we try to expose the texture of the original brick as much as we can. But on the third floor is a totally new structure. And to give a little bit difference between this new and old we actually leave a narrow gap in the middle which actually allows light to slide at the floor of the third-floor space. Their whole family’s actually religious people, they believe in Christian. So for me, this is almost like a family chapel for them, hopefully.

▼改造后的项目外观,立面更加通透,External view of the building after renovation with more transparency

▼三层拱顶与二层间设有一条狭缝,A narrow gap left between the vault and the second floor

拱两面的海景非常不同。从一个方向望去是非常繁忙的港口,能看到船长的船只停泊在那里。而另一侧的海面则非常平静安宁,不过在夏天天气不好的时候也会出现很可怕的场景。位于拱一端的夹层地面起到拉接结构部件的作用,它可以保证拱形的稳定。另一端则有一个梁,它在支撑顶部玻璃砖的重量的同时也起到结构作用。单就混凝土的质感来说,似乎有点粗糙,我们用的是小木模作为模板进行浇筑,有一种人在洞穴内的感觉。

You already can notice the ocean view is very different. In this side, it’s a very busy port. We just can see their father’s and their husband’s boat inside the port. But on the other side of the ocean, it’s just very peaceful. But in the summer because of the weather sometimes it’s kind of hard, it’s a very horrific scene. Actually, the floor of the mezzanine level also play as a structural component because this can hold the arch to avoid breaking apart, so structurally is actually a tension structure to hold the arch. On the other side there’s a beam, actually to support the glass brick at the top, at the same time is the structure member too. It’s kind of rough in terms of the quality of the concrete, as you can see, actually, we use this small wood slate formwork. It’s like a cave.

▼拱的两侧可以欣赏到截然不同的海景,Different views of the sea on each side of the vault

▼木纹混凝土墙面,形成洞穴般的空间,Wood-pattern concrete walls create a cave-like feeling

 

海边图书馆
Seashore Library

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我要介绍的第二个项目到今天已经建成三年了,这座建筑被网友叫做“中国最孤独的图书馆”。从建筑的层面来讲,事实上它是想要探索人造空间与这片广阔海洋之间的关系,还有光的氛围、变化的条件、空间的感知等。它被称为“最孤独的图书馆”的原因是,当这个项目刚建成的时候,场地周围一栋房子也没有。但如果你现在再去到那里,已经到处都是房子了。在最近的三年里,那里被开发的猛烈程度就像下赌注一样迅速,这就是中国的城市化。

The second project has already been three years after the construction. The nickname of this building is the loneliest library of China. That’s the name of the internet. Architecture wise, it’s just the exploration about the relationship between this man-made space and the nature of this vast ocean. And as well, the light condition, the changing quality, the perception of the space. When we built this project, actually, the reason it’s called the loneliest library is because there’s literally no building around this site. But if you go there right now, it’s already full of buildings. In the recent three years, there’s a lot of bets and drastic speed, this is the urbanization of China.

▼海边图书馆外观,External view of the library

在这个项目正式开放之后,有一个点击量很高的中国网络媒体在网上发布了图书馆的短视频,突然间它就变成为了一个旅游景点。我们在这个空间里只设计了75个座位,但在那一个月里,平均每天有2000到3000人去到图书馆,只是拍照,实际上没人真的在那里读书。之后,业主启动了网上预约流程,现在的情况变得好多了,每天最多有200人可以提前一周在线预约参观。

Well, the story I’m going to talk about is right after the opening of this project. There’s a very popular Chinese online media post a very short clip on the internet and all of a sudden it becomes a touristy spot. So you can see here, the whole space, we only have 75 seats. But during that one month, originally, averagely, there is like 2000 or 3000 people going there, just taking pictures. And, you know, nobody’s actually reading there. And later on, the client applied an online reservation process. So right now, the condition is already much better. There are only 200 people maximum could allow going there if you reserve online, one week early.

▼图书馆内部空间,Interior space of the library

我经常会看到各种各样的人用不同的方式使用这个空间:他们也许是附近的一些学生,你能看到孩子们在那里做功课,它起到了社区的公共活动空间的作用。你也能在图书馆里看到一家人,老人和孩子、还有睡觉的人等等。项目的附近还有一些其他建筑工地,空闲时建筑工人会来这里转转。你还能看到一些漂亮女孩们、朋友三四、恋人们,还有一些名人,我的偶像崔健就去过,还有日本知名设计师原研哉。模特和女演员们喜欢在那里拍照,拍广告片等等。也会有一些艺术家会来到这里。图书馆里会时常举办音乐会,诗歌分享会,还有很多讲座、论坛或教学课堂等各种各样的活动。他们甚至在这个建筑靠海那一面举办过时装秀,然后把图书馆用作了模特的更衣室。作为一名建筑师,建筑建成之后发生的这些事情对我来说是非常独特的体验,从中你可以真实地看到自己的设计是如何与社会和公众产生互动的。这个项目三年前在网上发布之后,在整个社会引起了很多的讨论和批评,不止是在建筑圈内部,许多不同行业的人们都针对它产生了争论。对我来说,我单纯地相信它一定是击中了这个时代的某种东西,使建筑与社会之间产生了这样的能量。这种东西很难用语言说清楚,但这是一种很特别的体验。

What I like is about I see the different status of different people using this space. Maybe that’s the students nearby. And you see the kids doing their homework there because it’s a public space for neighborhood actually. Family, elderly, kids, sleeping figures. We have some other construction site nearby, so you see some construction workers stopped by the space. Pretty girls, friends, and lovers. There are also some very famous people, the one in the corner is my idol actually. His name is Cui Jian, a hard rock star in China. And models and actress taking pictures there, advertising. That’s a guy from Japan Kenya Hara, he’s the very famous designer visiting the library. At some time they have some concerts or if they have some poetry sharing, things like this. This is also Beidao in the library. There are odd figures, some artists, so-called artists, and there’s a lot of public activities too, lectures, discussion panes or class, different kinds, And they even have this fashion show in front of the building, and they used the building as a changing room actually,  over here for the models. Concerts, of course, I talked about this. So it’s a kind of unique experience for me as an architect to see one of your design can have such a way to engage with the society and the public. But this project because it’s posted online two years ago, three years ago, it caused a lot of discussions and criticize in the whole society, not inside architecture. It’s actually exposed to the different kinds of people and there’s a lot of arguments. But for me, I just believe there must be something healing to some very mysteries energy of our current time to generate such kind of energy between the architecture and the society. But we can discuss this later. For me, it’s hard to clarify at this moment. It’s quite an experience actually.

▼图书馆内会举办不同活动,成为社区公共空间,Various activities in the library, which became a public space for the community

 

阿丽拉阳朔糖舍酒店
Alila Yangshuo 

点击这里查看更多,click HERE to view more)

阿丽拉阳朔糖舍酒店的设计开始时间比海边图书馆还要早。因为这个项目要复杂得多,所以花了更长的时间。这个项目位于中国南方的广西省,大家都知道,“桂林山水甲天下”,意思是那里的山水是中国最美的风景。那么很明显,对于我们来说,处理建筑与风景的关系自然而然地成为了非常重要的问题之一。

The design of Alila Yangshuo project started even earlier than the library, but because this project is much more complicated so it takes a longer time. The project is also located in the very southern part of China, Guangxi province. Yang Shuo is, everybody knows that “Gui Lin Shan Shui Jia Tian Xia”, meaning that mountain water landscape in that is supposed to be the best scenery in China. So obviously, how to deal with this relationship with the landscape definitely became one of the very important design topics.

▼鸟瞰,项目周边风景壮丽,Aerial view of the project with breathe-taking scenery

场地当地的风貌非常美丽、独特。特别是对于来自中国北方的人来说,这些都是非常新鲜的。我们在北方看到的是更加柔和的景观轮廓,而在这里,景观几乎是垂直的。糖厂则是除自然风貌以外另一个非常重要的制约因素。20世纪八十年代,邓小平主席沿着漓江经过这里,他说我们必须不惜一切代价保护漓江的生态环境。从那以后这片地区的所有工厂都被关闭了,这座甘蔗制糖工厂就是其中之一。幸运的是,糖厂不在阳朔县的中心地区,所以它没有被拆除,在那里矗立了十几年。有一天我们的业主开车路过那儿的时候看到了它,觉得很喜欢,于是决定把这块三角形的地连着上面这栋废弃建筑一起买下来。

The landscape, it is very unique, beautiful landscape, especially for people from the north area of China, this is very fresh because normally we see a much more gentle contour of the landscape, but this is almost like a vertical. And that’s the site here, the factory. That’s another very important factor and I’m going to talk about besides the natural landscape. The factory was a sugar mill, manufacturing sugars from the sugar cane actually. In the 1980s this Chairman Deng Xiaoping actually once visited the area, along the Lijiang, and he said we have to protect the Lijiang environment at whatever cost. So after this, all the factories were shut down after this, and this sugar mill was one of them. But very fortunately because the factory is not inside the middle area of the Yangshuo county, so it’s not demolished, it just stayed there for several years. When our client one day driven by the road and saw the structure and fell in love with the structure. So he decided to buy this piece of triangle land, together with the existing abandoned structure.

▼老建筑设计图纸,Construction document of original buildings

为了更好地了解整个房子的结构,我们找到了由桂林设计院完成的场地与建筑施工图纸文件。很有意思的是,由于那个年代的意识形态,每张施工图纸上都会标记一句口号,比如“工人阶级必须领导一切”,“紧跟伟大领袖毛主席奋勇前进”…这座工厂是那个年代经济特征的一个典型代表。我很幸运地和曾在这间工厂工作过的员工们一起吃过一顿午饭。当他们回忆起在工厂工作的时光时,仍然为此感到自豪。因为在那个年代,如果你有家人在国有工厂工作,对整个家庭来说是一件光荣的事儿。老糖厂是那一代人的生活记忆和情感载体,同时,它也是今天仅存的物质上联络的纽带。

To have a better understanding of this current structure, we actually found out a whole site of the construction drawings document, done by Guilin design Institute. But very interesting, as you can see that, at that particular time, because of the ideological stage, in every construction drawing, you have to have a slogan on the top. The worker has to lead everything, We have to follow the chairman Mao closely, things like this. So, the whole factory was actually a very representative model of that time. And I was very lucky because I had the chance to have lunch together with this a number of people who were working in that factory many years ago. And when they talked about their memory about working in that factory, they still feel proud of it. Because at that time, if you have a family member working in this kind of state-owned facility, it’s kind of pride for the family. They talked a lot of old stories to me, actually. So I feel this factory is kind of a very deep emotional relationship to the local people. It’s our only piece of structure, physically.

▼董功的速写,Sketch of DONG Gong

我调研场地的时候,会画草图来记录我的感受,同时思考新空间如何在现状之上进行介入。这个项目的两个要素一个是如何处理建筑与自然的关系,另一个是如何处理新建筑与现有结构的关系。在我看来,最终方案中老糖厂建筑必须是整个酒店综合体的精神核心。正如在早期草图中所表达的,新的体量被放在现有结构周围来给整个综合体赋予一定秩序。在设计初期,我们对许多不同方案进行了比较,最终确定了我们的设计方向。这是一个规模很大的项目,总面积约为1.8万平方米。这让我们必须作出许多实验,以确保做出正确的决定。

Normally we started design on site, when we’ve visited the site, we use sketches to record the feeling, and then start thinking about how the new space intervene in the currently existing condition. It’s not really about recording the whatever I see, I already start thinking about, you know, some design issues at that moment on site. So there are two important factors I mentioned, one is dealing with the relationship with nature, obviously. And another one is how to deal with a relationship with an existing structure. We have believed that in the ultimate result, the existing structure it has, has to be the spiritual main factor of the whole compound of the hotel. So as we can see in the early sketches, we placed the new volume alongside this existing structure, you know, to make this whole compound to follow the certain order, and normally we will go through these comparisons at the beginning of the process to make sure that the design direction, is more or less accurate. Because this is a very kind of big project, the overall area is about 18 thousand square meters. So we’ll have to make sure that the decision we made, we have to have a device to believe that we make the right decision.

▼设计草图,Design sketches

四周群山以近乎垂直于地面的角度拔地而起,于是我们选择了简单的水平横向长方体块作为新建筑的主要体量。人工化的水平几何体量和自然的山体形成了相互衬托的关系。现有结构位于中间,加建结构在它两侧。容纳102间标房的体块位于右边,另一边则是体量较小的多层花园别墅。原有的结构被设置为项目的一系列公共空间,如餐厅,咖啡吧和礼品店等。因为当地所有新建筑都必须要有坡屋顶,一开始设计的建筑平屋顶受到了当地政府部门的批评。但是我现在挺喜欢这个坡屋顶,所以有时候设计过程中的妥协不一定是坏事。

Because of the verticality of nature we ultimately we try to do a very simple horizontal building to somehow in balance with this with the characteristic of nature. And again, the existing structures in the middle and the new additions are on both sides. On the right side is actually the typical room volume, they have 102 typical rooms inside the space. And another side is the villa, garden Villa, much smaller volume and the current structure was transformed into a series of public programs of the hotel, for example, the restaurant, the coffee bar, and gift shop, things like this. In the very beginning, actually, we do a flat roof building. But later on, this was criticized by local government, because we have to make sure that all the new buildings have to be pitched roof in the area. But actually, I like it. So somehow, I don’t know some compromise through the design process may not be a bad thing.

▼模型,Model

▼总平面图,以老建筑为核心的建筑布局,Site plan, the original building was the core of the layout design

我们希望尽可能简化体量的另一个原因是想要避免过于外显的形式对老建筑造成不必要的干扰。所有这些空间设计实际上都是向体量内挖出的。我们在新建筑中设计了一条连续的走廊,它是一个连接了三个室外平台节点空间的线性步道。老建筑在项目的中心,我们利用消防水池在项目的中间设计了一个能映射老厂房倒影的景观水池。穿过水池的下沉步道是一条坡道。当人从水池的一边走到另一边的时候,随着坡道高度的改变,人的视线以及与水的关系会不断发生着变化。老糖厂的建筑结构看起来像一座城堡,有种神秘的气质。周围的群山,风景秀丽。在办理入住手续以后,客人穿过连廊到标准客房,或者穿过水池到达另一侧的别墅套房。他们可以看到光线被混凝土砌块过滤洒进来。穿过像桥一般的通道,通道的旁边是一个个狭窄的通高天井,光会从最上面的照射进来。我们还保留了原先糖厂用于把蔗糖从漓江运输到工厂的工业桁架。

Of course, there’s another reason is that we want to make this new volume as simple as possible, not fighting with the old structure. So we try to keep this volume simple. And all this spatial design is actually cutting in carving in. So we actually create a continuous walkway throughout the new building. So it’s a linear walkway connecting three node space as a public terrace of hotel. In the center is the old structure, and we actually take advantage of the fire extinguisher water to make a reflective pound in the middle, in the center of the whole compound. The sunken road is actually a ramp so you can go one side cross the pond that to another slide. By changing the height you change the eye level and the relationship from your eye and the water is different. This old structure really looks like a castle, has some very mysterious spiritual quality. And this is the gate of the compound and that’s the front desk. So when you check in, you can go either through this corner to the new building to the site, or you walk across this pond to another side of the villa part. Faster corridor space, you see the light filtered by this concrete block. When you go into each of the guests room you will across this kind of bridge like space, which has a narrow atrium go all the way up to have a natural light on the top. We also kept a truss originally carry the sugar cane from the Lijiang River to the factory.

▼项目鸟瞰,Aerial view of the project

▼穿过水池中间的坡道,步移景异,Walk through the ramp in the middle of the pond with changing sceneries

▼泳池,保留老糖厂的工业桁架,Swimming pool with truss of the original factory remained

▼溶洞空间,Cave Space

▼从别墅看向老建筑群落,The existing building complex view from the Villa

通常在构思建筑的最初我们就开始考虑材料和节点。新房子需要对老房子有一种恰当的呼应,我们花了很多时间在设计建筑立面上。我们选择混凝土镂空砖作为主要材料,希望保持老建筑砌体结构的逻辑。老糖厂是青砖建造的工业建筑,我们希望有一定的差异性,不想那么简单地就用青砖去呼应青砖。我们试图用这个时代的材料、这个时代技术的可能性,去呼应老房子,所以我们在设计中花了很多时间研究材料。

Normally, we think about this construction detail at the very beginning of the design process. I talked about you know, this building has to find out the proper relationship with the existing structure, we actually spend a lot of time on this the building facade. We chose the concrete block as the main material because we want to keep the logic of this stacking masonry structure. The original structure was made by brick so but we don’t want to simply copy the brick to the new building, we’re still trying to find some contemporary quality of the material. So we spent a lot of time in the design process to study the material.

▼镂空砖组成的半透明立面与老建筑的青砖相呼应,Translucent facade composed of concrete blocks, corresponding with the black bricks of the local buildings

▼半透明混凝土砌块立面近景,Closer view of the translucent facade made of concrete blocks

整个项目花了大约五年的时间,其中寻找合适的合作厂商来制作混凝土块实际上就花了一年。因为一些技术和造价上的问题,最后我们也没找到合适的合作厂商。于是我们的业主决定亲自制作这些混凝土块,他们直接在场地对面开了一个小工厂。

The whole project actually took us about five years and tries to find the right collaborator to make this concrete block we spent one year actually, because of the issue of the price and also the issue of techniques. But eventually, actually we failed to find the right collaborator. So the client decided to make all these concrete block by themselves, they open up a small factory right across the site.

▼施工过程,工人发明脱模机器,workers invented a kind of machine to pull the concrete block out of the mode during construction

混凝土砌块用塑料模具浇筑,工人发明了一种将混凝土块推出模具的机器。他们把钢筋放入模具中来加固水泥,模具上有个洞口,钢板需要放在模具的底部,然后机器推动钢板将混凝土块推出模具。对于砌体墙来说,不仅要考虑重力还要考虑抵御侧向力,所以每个混凝土砌块中都需要埋设一根钢筋。从技术上讲,钢筋把每一层的砌块联结在了一起。但事实上如果从一开始就把这根钢筋一直焊到顶上,就没办法在上面垒砌块了,所以他们必须从一米的高度开始,完成这部分以后,再把另一条钢筋焊到之前的钢筋上。整个建筑是一块一块、一段一段地建造而成的。可以看到一层混凝土块与一层本地石材交错排列,石材的中部会有一个用于加固的孔。混凝土砌块之间会形成一个圆洞让钢筋穿过并埋设其中。木棒是半圆形的,两个砌块放在一起时就形成这个穿洞。石材、混凝土砌块形成的幕墙在最终造好以后,所有的钢筋都被隐藏了起来。这个长110米的立面上看不到构造柱,它是一条连续的、完整的半透明立面。因为最终钢筋必须连接到上面的结构,最后一块砌块怎么垒其实很困难,需要一些智慧。当地工人非常聪明:他们先留下一点空间,放一块当地石材,将钢筋焊接起来,再将石材向上推,混凝土砌块最后侧滑进去。建筑物的每个上层楼板的边缘都是这样处理的,这个细节困扰了我们整整两个星期,当地工人却很快就为我们提供了解决方法。我们想尽量避免施工接缝,所以通常情况下我们建议用大尺寸的模板来获得混凝土的连续纹理。在每个公共平台,我们都设计了竹构装置,以后慢慢地会长上藤蔓。这个项目的室内设计师是琚宾,他也是我的好朋友,我还和他一起完成了景观设计的构思。

The whole concrete block is actually a cast in the plastic mold. And then they invented a kind of machine to pull the concrete block out of the mode. They put a steel rod inside the mode to reinforce the cement. They have to put this plate of steel at the bottom of the mode. So later on the machine can push this steel plate to push the whole block off the mold. And they started the stacking process.  As you know that this kind of the masonry wall, not only the gravity they have to think about. Together is about the lateral force resistance. So literally in each of the block, we have a steel bar hidden inside. Technically, this bar will connect to floors, the floor below and floor above. But think about it. If they weld this bar all the way up in the very first hand, you’re not able to stack the block. So they have to start that one-meter height. And when they finish this part, they weld another piece of bar connect to this current bar. So this just makes piece by piece. And then there’s the detail of this masonry wall. There’s one layer of concrete block and there there’s another layer of local stone, actually. It’s just layer by layer. And the local stone will have a piece of hole in the middle to reinforce that natural force. But for the concrete block, remember that wood stick is the half circle so when you put two bars together there will be a circle to allow the bar to penetrate and hidden inside. So that’s a stone and that’s the concrete block so later on, eventually, you won’t see the steel bars. That’s all hidden. That’s a reason why this building is actually 110 meters long, but you don’t see the reinforced column for the facade. It is a continuous block, translucent facade because of the steel bar hidden behind. But the trick is the last piece because ultimately this steel bar has to connect to the structure above. Then how you actually stack the last piece, it’s very difficult, need some wisdom. And the answer is actually provided by the local workers too. They’re very smart. The way they do it is they leave a room to put another additional local stone like this, and then they weld the bar, and then they push the stone up and then slide the concrete block inside. So the whole building, at the very edge of these upper floors, it’s all made this kind of process. We actually had a lot of struggle to figure out these details. It cost us two weeks without any answers, but the local workers actually provided that for us. We have to try to avoid too many construction joints, so normally we suggest a big size of the formwork as a continuous texture. In each of the public terrace, we actually designed this bamboo installation, and later on, the ivy will climb up. We don’t have a landscape designer for this project. Ju Bing and I were landscape designers.

▼砌块与结构相连处处理方法,construction method of how to connect the steel bar to the upper structure at the last piece of block

酒店正式开业的第二天就遇到了一场50年难遇的洪水。地下室非常不幸,被水淹了,酒店不得不运转关停。在把所有地下室机电设备都更换后,酒店于去年10月底第二次正式开业,到目前为止都运营得很好。

The very next day of its first opening, the whole Yangshuo County was flooded. It was claimed to be the biggest one of the recent 50 years. So it’s very unfortunate, and the whole hotel was shut down because the basement is flooded. They have to change all the mechanical systems and machines. So the second opening was the end of the October last year, actually. They’re doing well now.

▼码头上的工业桁架,industrial truss at the wharf

▼泳池及码头,swimming pool and the wharf

我相信每个场地在建筑被建造之前,就已经存在一定的能量,而建筑能做的事情就是通过它自己对场地的介入将这种场地的能量转换成人们可以感知的东西。我认为这就是空间的力量。缓缓流动的小溪中有一块石头让你意识到水是流动的。如果没有这块石头,你可能无法注意到水的流动。石头像是一个媒介,让你清晰地感受到水的波纹,从而感知水的流动。对我来说,很多时候建筑对于一个场地的介入,就像这这一块石头一样,揭示场地的能量。

I believe in that every site, before the architecture was, there’s already certain energy, and what architecture can do is to use device and intervention of the space to review that, and transform something this kind of stuff, to something that’s perceivable for the human being. I think that’s the power of the space. So as you can see in this picture, you can imagine that the water is flowing. Without this piece of stone putting there, you probably won’t be able to notice it. As long as the stone is there, you see the ripples actually around it, so you start to feel the waters flowing. I think architecture for me, has a similar power of this piece of stone, to reveal the energy of the site.

▼演讲现场,lecture venue

More: 直向建筑, Vector Architects on gooood

 

 

 

问答环节 | Q&A

 

问题1

王维仁教授:我有两个问题,首先,你在南方有这么多好项目,为什么不直接从北京搬到南方去呢?然后,你和船长的女儿之间到底是什么关系?(笑)

董功:这个项目不是传统的业主委托,这是一个叫梦想改造家的电视节目。这个节目的运作机制是:每年有很多来自全国各地的申请人把改造申请寄到东方卫视电视台,电视台从当中选择他们认为有潜力的那个,然后也会挑选建筑师。在我之前,与他们合作的大多数都是室内设计师,因为这节目通常是关于室内空间的翻新的,但我们这期节目是建筑改造。我想说明的是:我做这个项目,并不意味着船长之前就知道我,因为这个项目实际上是由电视台牵线搭桥的。在船长第一次走进建造好的空间,特别是三楼的时候,我看到他的表情有点一言难尽,很明显他对这种木模混凝土不确定。他问我,这是完工了吗?你们知道,混凝土上面没有什么别的面层。我说,是的,已经造完了。但船长的女儿非常喜欢它。房子完工一两年以后,我觉得全家人都开始渐渐喜欢这个空间了,包括船长和他的妻子。有很多游客和他们的亲戚朋友来到这个新家,给了他们很大的信心,他们在这生活得也很舒适。所以说我猜其实是船长女儿影响了她父亲在施工结束后很长时间仍然保留着我们的设计。

 

问题2

学生A:您的每个项目实践都非常花精力,这真的很难得。通常业主会不同意,会在那说这个好麻烦,这需要很长时间等等,但是,你似乎有着无限的耐心。必须对工人有耐心,又要说服业主,还要亲自去现场,尽管你并没有真正住在那里。你的设计流程对我来说很新颖。

董功:这其实是一个非常疲惫的过程。而且我越来越觉得我现在和五年前的我不一样了,也许是因为年龄变大了,我有点失去了耐心。我现在就会说他们想的话可以去试着找其他建筑师来干。如果你想在中国建一些好的建筑,还是需要花费很多额外的努力的。因为我在美国工作过,我知道那里的体系是什么样的。中国和美国的情况非常不同,但这是你必须面对的条件。在某种特定的条件下,或者可以说是一种混乱的状态里,你也可以在其中找到一些能量。只要客户愿意,我们可以有很多机会在过程里修正设计,这是不一样的体制。只要你能说服业主,我认为这个过程要容易得多。

 

问题3

学生B:像海边图书馆这样的项目,你觉得在社交媒体的聚光灯下它失去了它真正的功能了吗?因为我们知道现在社交媒体正在重塑人们的行为,你如何看待这种现象?

董功:我思考过这个问题。之前很多人也问过我,说这不再是个图书馆了。但对我而言,从最开始,它就不是一个图书馆。它被叫做“图书馆”,但它其实更像社区内的公共空间。业主实际上是想在建筑群中建立一系列这样的公共空间来试图激发那种邻里之间的生活方式。所以它是不是传统的“图书馆”对我来说不是一个问题。我认为这在一开始就是个误解,比如因为它是一个图书馆,所以你必须保持安静,然后人们必须在里面阅读。但就定义而言,其实这栋建筑的功能是有点模糊的。我觉得这种模糊没什么,但是在网络那个帖子发布之后我真的承受了很大的压力。有很多批评,我以前从没被这么批评过。但对我来说,作为一名建筑师,这是一段很难得的记忆。那半年,中央电视台讨论了这个项目五次,而且有些报纸也针对那个商业广告和图书馆写了非常负面的评论……这种情况其实在当今中国特别有代表性,但我也无法解释清楚它代表了什么。它没什么对错,不过它是我们必须考虑的现象。

 

问题4

学生C:在阳朔糖舍酒店中,我看到了一个非常好的工艺。工人们可以非常有效的把建筑造好,他们甚至可以帮助思考怎么造建筑,这种施工并不是到处都能做的。我的问题实际上是关于室外空间。我想了解一下那里是什么样的气候环境。

董功:那里天气温暖多雨,空气很容易流通。如果你去当地的建筑走走,你能发现几乎每家每户都有外部走廊和阳台,这是当地非常典型的处理流线与空间的方式。与之相比,中国北方的一些地方,走廊和阳台总是被玻璃或者墙遮着。这个半户外的走廊对当地人来说不是问题,只要它能挡雨就行了。这个空间完全没有空调,为了让你在户外环境多走走,这是一个度假酒店,不是一家商务五星级酒店。在演讲开始时我提到的那个非常重要的问题,即中国各地的独特条件:对我来说这样的砌体墙在北京几乎是不可想象的,北京的劳动力太贵了。但是在阳朔当地就没关系,劳动力很便宜。这也和业主的决心有关,他们坚持要把这个过程继续下去来达到一定的建筑质量。

 

问题5

学生D:您今晚展示的三个项目,都位于乡村。这让我想起了现在国内另一个非常热门的话题,就是乡建。现在似乎很多建筑师都选择做或假装知道怎么造乡土建筑,然后选择所谓的乡土材料。您的项目在我看来有些不同,您会使用一些新材料,或者至少不假装它们乡土,您的建筑看起来似乎不是很当地。例如,您提到建筑应该扎根于场地,但是混凝土对于您的船长之家来说是非常困难的施工,而且从某种意义上说混凝土是否也有点外来?我想了解一下您对于地域这两个方面的看法。

董功:我的设计的确没有试图假装是当地建筑,说得准确一点,是没有试图看起来像当地建筑。我不认为建筑外观本身是那么的重要,我认为建筑呼应场地的特定条件这件事情可以有不同的角度,材料和外观只是其中的一部分,其他的还可以有感知和氛围。因此,我不认为应该完全按照建筑外观来判断。我也不认为我的设计是乡土建筑。我仍然相信当代的方法,包括技术,包括美学,可以通过某种方式与本土的情况产生“化学反应”。我的建筑从来都是根植于当地条件的,那些非常具体的场地条件。

 

问题6

学生E:在我看来您的所有项目都与场地密切相关,如果你的设计方法是通过建筑表达场地的能量,那么当你在一个密集的城市中设计的时候会发生什么?当你的场地没有太多像桂林一样美丽的景观时,比如在一个像香港这么密的场地,你会怎么设计?

董功:这是一个非常好的问题。我想解释一下为什么在我们实践的前10年里有很多这样的在乡村的项目,在这种周围都是美丽风景的场地。这是因为我们没有机会设计那些重要的城市项目。在中国,我们有两种设计公司:一个是大型设计院,另一个就是像我们这样的独立建筑师事务所。我们必须要积累经验和名声到一定程度,才能被接纳在城市或市区做一些重要的项目,比如我们现在有几个在做的项目,可能会在几年内完成。一开始,我们的实践的确是主要在乡村或者郊区的。当我谈论场地能量的时候,它不一定只意味着景观。比方说,这种场地的能量可以是人们的生活方式,甚至可以是城市里的公共空间。可能我今天展示的这三个项目都是和自然景观相关的,所以你会有这个疑问。也许若干年后,你会看到更多我们在城市的项目。我认为建筑设计是一种方法,是一种设计的逻辑思维。建筑师必须能够在不同的条件下做出反应,包括城市和自然。所以这不是说你能做的只有一种建筑类型,重要的是创作过程与不同项目和不同条件的相互作用。

 

Question 1

Wang Weiren: I have two questions but you don’t have to answer. First is, you have so many good projects in the South, why don’t you just move from Beijing to the South? Secondly, what is exactly the relationship between you and the daughter of the captain? (ha)

Dong Gong: That project was not a regular case like clients commission architect to design for them. It’s a TV program called “Meng Xiang Gai Zao Jia”, meaning dreaming House Renovation, something like that. And the system is that every year there’s a lot of applicants coming from all around the country apply to the TV station, which is “Dong Fang Wei Shi”, a Shanghai TV station, and they select whatever they feel potential one, and then they will select architect too. Before, most designers they work with are interior designers, because it’s usually about interior space renovation. But this time it’s a building renovation. As I know Meng Yan was in this year’s TV series. So it’s becoming more and more influential. And so, what I’m trying to say, is that it doesn’t mean the captain like me, because it’s really actually connected by the TV station. At the very first moment, Captain walking to the finished space, especially in the third floor, I see his facial expression, is kind of not, because obviously he doesn’t feel quite relevant or engaged with this concrete finished. And he asked me, is this finished? There’s no other cover, you know, in front of it. And I said, yes, it’s finished. But his daughter likes it. But through the recent one or two years after construction, I feel the whole family start liking the space, I’m talking about the captain and his wife, because there’s a lot of visitors and their friends and relatives, give them a lot of confidence. And I feel they live comfortably in the space. So the daughter helped me to convince the father not change the design after the construction.

 

Question 2

Student A: You seem so wonderfully engaged with your projects. It’s really rare to see because, you know, usually the client standing there, and then like a workman will say oh it’s so troublesome. And this takes a long time and so forth. But, you know, you seem like infinite patience. During the process, I’m sure, it’s not really easy for you, you have to be patient with the workman’s and convince the client and be there a lot yourself. And you don’t really live there. It’s just really refreshing for me to see.

Dong Gong: It’s kind of very exhausting process, actually, more and more, I feel that I have a kind of different conditions comparing where I was five years ago, maybe because of the age, and I’m losing the patience actually. I just said forget about it, Just try to find some other architect. I’m just trying to say that if you want to build something decent things in China it still takes a lot of extra effort comparing, because I was working in the States, I know how the system run there. So it’s very different. But that’s the condition you have to face. At some certain condition, this kind of chaotic sort of status, you can find some energy behind that. This kind of lack of clarity, means that you can play with it. As long as the client was convinced, you can change everything. It’s different system. I think it much easier process as long as you can convince the client.

 

Question 3

Student B: I just got one question to ask, like a project, the seashore library. Do you feel like the project actually makes it lost its real function under the spotlight of the social media? Yeah, because the usage of social media is reshaping people’s behavior nowadays, and how do you see this phenomenon as they affect?

Dong Gong: I thought about this, actually. A lot of people asked me, this is no longer a library.  But for me, in the very first moment, this was not a library. It is called library, so called library, but it’s just like a public space inside the neighborhood. And the client is actually trying to build a series of this kind of public space inside the compound. Try to sort of stimulating you know, a kind of lifestyle between this neighbors, so it’s not a struggle for me. I think it’s really about me the misinterpretation in the very beginning, because it’s a library so you have to be quiet, to be silent, and then people have to read, but this one is kind of fuzzy, in terms of the definition. I’m okay with it actually. But I really took a lot of pressure after this internet posting. I received a lot of criticizing, which I’ve never experienced that before. But for me, it’s a valuable memory as an architect, but through that half a year, you know, CCTV just talked about this project for five times, and there are some newspaper wrote very tough comments on this commercialize advertisement and library…This kind of very, you know, I think that represents some something for our time in China, but I can’t really explain what it is. It’s not really about the right or wrong, it just like a phenomenon that we have to consider it.

 

Question 4

Student C: I see a very good workmanship in the Alila Yangshuo project. They can do all these effectively, they can even figure out how to building I mean, this kind of construction could not take place everywhere. My question is actually about the outdoor space. Is there any problem with weather issues, I mean the climate there?

Dong Gong: It’s warm and it’s rainy actually.  Well, the air went through pretty easily. If you go into the local building and you always see the exterior corridor and balcony. It’s a very typical local way of dealing with the circulation. In comparing with northern areas, where we have this always covered part by the glass or by walls. So this is not a problem for locals, as long as it can resist the rain. This space is not air-conditioned at all. So it’s really about you walk outside for a little bit longer distance and for this vacation hotel, it’s okay. It’s not like a business five star hotel. But your question actually reminds me, very important issue I was mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, is about the different unique conditions of China. Because, for me, I cannot imagine this masonry technique can happen in Beijing. That will cost you a fortune, because of the labors. But the local it’s okay, because the labor is cheap. And it’s also really about the determination of the client. They insisted to, you know, to push this process forward to achieve a certain quality.

 

Question 5

Student D: The three that you showed up tonight are located in the countryside or even rural area. And that reminds me of another really hot topic right now in China, which is the countryside construction like Xiang Jian. Just talk about architecture, it seems a lot of people choose to do or pretend to know vernacular construction, tend to be vernacular, choose so-called local materials. Your projects I can see it’s a little different, you use some new materials, or at least not pretending to be, which doesn’t seem very local. You mentioned the building should be rooted in the site, should come from the local, but then, for example, the first example that you show is a very difficult construction with concrete, would it be also a bit foreign, in a sense? I just want to hear your opinion on how to balance these two sides?

Dong Gong: I agree with you that I’m not trying to pretend to be local. Or more accurately, look local. So I don’t think merely the building appearance is that important. I think for architecture to relate to the specific condition, there is really a different aspect to be adaptive to the environment. Material appearance is only one part of it, and also, for example, the perception and the atmosphere. So I don’t believe in only using appearance to be a judgment, and what I’m doing, I don’t believe it’s a vernacular architecture. I still believe in the contemporary quality, including technical part aesthetic, whatever, to somehow have a chemical reaction to the local. I always address local conditions, you know, it’s very kind of specific conditions. So I hope I answered your question.

 

Question 6

Student E: I think all of your projects are very site-relevant, like you are inspired by the context.  I just have a question as, if method is the energy that’s given by the site, and to use architecture to express it, what happens when you design in a dense city, when, you know, when there isn’t much landscape, as beautiful as Guilin, what if you’re going to the site in Hong Kong. It’s like very dense.

Dong Gong: I think that’s a very good question. And I like to explain a little bit about why in the first 10 years of our practice, there is a lot of this kind of projects in the rural area, in this landscape, you know, surrounded by the beautiful landscape. It’s because we don’t have a chance to work for an important project in the city. In China, we have two kinds of design firm. One is we call this like a state-owned big design Institute. Another is like us, this independent architect. For us, we have to be able to accumulate whatever or experience and our fame to a certain level, to be allowed to do something important in the city or in the urban area, which we are doing a couple of projects now, which will be finished probably in a couple of years. But in the beginning, it’s really about this countryside or suburban project. But when I talk about this energy of the site, it’s not necessarily only means that the landscape. The energy could be, for example, the lifestyle of people, or even this kind of whatever, this open space in the urban area. So that’s the energy I was talking about. But probably the three projects I show today are really about the natural landscape. So you have this question. So maybe after a couple of years, you will see more of our projects, urban projects coming out. I think architecture design is really a kind of method, you have logic in mind, but the architect has to be able to react in different conditions, including urban or natural. It is not about there’s only one building type you can do. It’s really about this idea-generating process to interact with the different projects different conditions.

 

本文整理自2018年11月8日晚18:30在香港大学建筑系举办的主题为“MAKING ARCHITECTURE”讲座,文字部分由徐之非整理、翻译,尚京京校对。本文相关图片信息由直向建筑、香港大学建筑系提供,项目摄影:陈颢,苏圣亮,夏至,何斌。 

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