As an architect, no matter how much support you have got, you always feel you are fighting by yourself. – Zhang Ke
The recent turning point experienced by the Chinese economy will probably be treated in future studies as the sign of a new coming era in China. The slowest growth rate in 25 years has already caused profound echoes in the architectural field. As one of the three Chinese participants in the central exhibition, “Reporting from the Front,” at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, in this interview architect Zhang Ke discusses his insight into the architectural front line in China, reflecting on architects’ social responsibilities and his vision of tomorrow’s Chinese architecture.
Ennead Architects have unveiled their proposed design for the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts campus expansion, master planning and architectural design competition. “This campus expansion and re-envisioning positions Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts—one of China’s top schools of fine art—as an Academy in the Park,” inspired by nature and an oasis destination within the dense urban fabric of Tianjin, write the architects.
Zhang Ke is the founder and partner of standardarchitecture, an architecture firm based in China. Still relatively new, the firm has roughly 40 staff members, half of which are from China. Despite their status as a fledgling office, standardarchitecture has already completed a varied range of projects, including urban interventions in the iconic hutongs of Beijing and tourism infrastructure in the Nepal region. In 2015, Zhang Ke and his firm were the focus of an exhibition at the AEDES Gallery in Berlin, titled “Contemplating Basics.” In this interview, Zhang Ke talks about the importance of learning at different schools, as well as his own beliefs about the duty of an architect, the importance of context and his desire to tell stories in architecture.