Several Notes about Making Architecture
Space: the most basic and abstract way of perception of our relation with the outside world, it is deep in one’s sub consciousness.
Material: the substance which provokes our sensation and gives meaning.
Construction: assembling of parts, could be deceiving and change the attention of viewers.
Mechanism: the accomplishment of modern technology which makes our body a dependent of it. It is everywhere and already becomes the base of modernity. But its artificiality could be the enemy of naturalness of life.
Architecture is the place for events, media of memory, and therefore is a carrier of culture. In the informational age, the power of architecture seems becoming weaker. The virtual experience is replacing the real body experience. Architecture seems to be very slow and awkward in this transformation. However, the power of architecture is right at its material essence. It is a real “presence” which could be touched, seen, listened and smelled, and it evokes our sense and emotion.
在中国的当下，我们处于一个迅速而大规模建筑的时代。同时，我们又处于一个强调共性与集体关系的社会环境。信息的过分传播使大多数建筑成为追求视觉快感的拼贴。今天的数字技术及更多的人工合成材料似乎要给建筑带来革命——如同当年钢筋混凝土技术造就了现代主义建筑的变革，我们似乎正在从欧几里德空间向拓朴空间过渡。然而再新奇浮华的形式也无法改变建筑中最恒久的基本关系: 内与外、轻与重、明与暗、动与静、快与慢等等。这种恒久根源于人的身体演进的缓慢, 建筑实践在世界逐渐趋向技术至上的变革历程里宛如时间坐标上的橡皮筋, 一端要随着时代前进, 而另一端固守在原点, 能否抵抗住这一张力成为对建筑师韧性的考验。
Our Age and Context
China is no doubt in the age of development and urbanization, which features fast speed and large scale. This can only be achieved with a guarantee of mass production and standardization of technology and industry. The speed and scale makes architect work fast and think less. The making of architecture is more like a collage of images. Meanwhile, China’s social context is still heavily dominated by a collective culture and political style even it’s in the process of change towards capitalism and diversity. The pursuit for individual identity and poetry is rarely affordable in such context. The question is: what we create as an architect in such a context then? The new technology surely is a creation because it gives us some new experience. For example, the digital technology is making contributions to the transformation of our spatial experience from Euclid space to topological space. Sometimes we are having ecstasy of new fancy forms. However, architecture is not just technology and form, the most meaningful quality it brings to us is deep in the basic contrast between lightness and weight, slowness and speed, transparency and darkness, clarity and blur, stable and transience, order and chaos, inside and outside etc. The certainty of meaning in architecture is because of the condition of our body. The architectural practice is in the tension between certainty and transformation, absoluteness and relativity.
The Discovery Of Authenticity
We believe there is no absolute correctness in architecture. It is always a dialectical dialog between different values. In the reality, architecture performs the game of real and illusion, power and democracy, formal and formless, luxury and cheap, literal and abstract, honesty and deceiving, coherence and contradiction, melancholy and happiness. Architecture responds to the site, to the people who get involved, to the time. There is no certain answer. The only certain goal of our architectural practice is in the discovery of authenticity although we know that might not exist.