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Tca Think Tank

An Interview with Xu Tian Tian, DnA Design and Architecture

09:30 - 16 June, 2015
An Interview with Xu Tian Tian, DnA Design and Architecture, Ordos Art Museum. Image © Ruogu Zhou
Ordos Art Museum. Image © Ruogu Zhou

"In China there’s history but there’s no existing context. All the contexts are made for the future. Most of the designs, most of the buildings are only designed for a planning scenario lasting five or ten years. And in that case, first of all, you need to accommodate functions for the future, for the planned purpose. I’d say even though the current project is in a very rural area, it could soon, let’s say in just one or two years, become a populated area. So that’s a different challenge here when you are designing in China."
- Xu Tian Tian, Beijing 2013

Spontaneous Artist Community

Xu Tian Tian: What condition is Songzhuang in, in general? I haven’t been there for quite a while.

Pier Alessio Rizzardi: Songzhuang is developing very rapidly, everything was under construction, and especially in the areas around your three projects the residential buildings were growing fast… I must say that all the projects you designed [Songzhuang Artists’ Residence, Museum and Cultural Centre] were extremely damaged.

Xu Tian Tian: That’s quite disappointing...

Songzhuang Artist Residence. Image © Iwan Baan Songzhuang Art Museum. Image © Ruogu Zhou Xiaopu Culture Center in Songzhuang. Image © Ruogu Zhou Xiaopu Culture Center in Songzhuang. Image © Ruogu Zhou + 15

An Interview With Zhang Bin, Atelier Z+

09:30 - 26 May, 2015
An Interview With Zhang Bin, Atelier Z+, Sino-French Centre of Tongji University. Image © Zhang Siye
Sino-French Centre of Tongji University. Image © Zhang Siye

"It’s really easy to build a building. From the very beginning to the realization; it’s very easy! You just give it an interesting form and you get approved. But the real issues are how to make it user-friendly and to enhance the quality of the life of the people trying to escape the influence of the “system”. That’s the challenge. In my experience […] I’ve learned that for architects, both Chinese and foreign, the use of form to create an object is easy but how to do the right thing is very challenging."
- Zhang Bin, Shanghai, Sept 2013

Anting culture and sports activity centre. Image Courtesy of Atelier Z+ Library of Tongji Zhejiang college. Image © Su Shengliang Building C, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University. Image © Zhang Siye Anting culture and sports activity centre. Image Courtesy of Atelier Z+ + 18

An Interview with Lu Wenyu, Amateur Architecture Studio

09:30 - 13 May, 2015
Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus Phase 2. Image © Evan Chakroff
Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus Phase 2. Image © Evan Chakroff

“Every couple of years a new manifesto appears, but how long can it last? We need more people doing instead of talking. [At Amateur Architecture Studio] we spend an enormous amount of time experimenting, trying to resurrect the craftsmanship that is almost lost. We use a method that is passed on, hand-to-hand, to re-establish tradition instead of talking about abstract but empty concepts.”
- Lu Wenyu, Hangzhou, 2013

Pier Alessio Rizzardi: “A house instead of a building” is a really famous phrase of Amateur Architecture Studio. What is the meaning behind this concept?

Lu Wenyu: Once, Wang Shu said: “we only make houses, we don’t make architecture.” The house and architecture here have their own meanings. Making a house means making it for the people, making it more tranquil, or closer to nature, more humanized. Instead, architecture is an abstract concept, so many designs nowadays are actually architecture. So this sentence, from almost 20 years ago, “making houses, not architecture”, is about not making that abstract concept, but to make something really concrete and tangible, something that you can touch or that is made with your own hands… so when you see this house, you feel differently.

Ningbo Historic Museum. Image © Evan Chakroff Zhongshan Road. Image © Evan Chakroff CIPEA Villa, Nanjing. Image © Evan Chakroff Hangzhou Xiangshan Campus. Image © Evan Chakroff + 24

An Interview With Chen Yifeng, Deshaus

10:30 - 6 May, 2015
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi
Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi

“We use two aspects to express architecture: Qing [emotion], Jing [pattern]. Jing is the architectural pattern that we apply, to certify the living and working style, to consider what our architecture can bring. Another thing is the relationship between architecture and the site, the city and nature. Ancient Chinese dwellings are usually enclosed by walls, creating an introverted space. This is the second aspect Qing, more related to traditional customs, aesthetics, and our attitude towards the environment and nature. The enclosed space originates from our interpretation of Qing. What we have captured about the ancient spirit of aesthetics is a kind of uncertainty, a kind of blurry and ambiguous feeling.”
- Chen Yifeng, Shanghai, 2013

Long Museum West Bund / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Xia Zhi Kindergarten of Jiading New Town / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shu He Spiral Gallery / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Shu He Youth Center of Qingpu / Atelier Deshaus. Image © Yao Li + 20

An Interview with Zhu Pei, Pei-Zhu Studio

10:30 - 23 March, 2015
An Interview with Zhu Pei, Pei-Zhu Studio, OCT Design Museum / Pei-Zhu Studio. Image © Pier Alessio Rizzardi
OCT Design Museum / Pei-Zhu Studio. Image © Pier Alessio Rizzardi

“If we look at architecture from a cultural point of view, we see we are in a special moment where we are trying to figure out our identity. I think we are too focused on how to transform old Chinese architecture into contemporary architecture; but in no way can you transform it, you can see it with your own eyes. For instance you cannot transform a Roman building into today’s buildings! Sometimes you have to forget about history to create contemporary and unique architecture.”
- Zhu Pei, Beijing, 2013

OCT Design Museum / Pei-Zhu Studio. Image © Fang Zhenning Blur Hotel / Pei-Zhu Studio. Image © Pei-Zhu Studio Shenzhen Urban Planning Bureau / Urbanus. Image © Pei-Zhu Studio Blur Hotel / Pei-Zhu Studio. Image © Pei-Zhu Studio + 13

An Interview with Liu Xiaodu, Urbanus

10:30 - 19 February, 2015
An Interview with Liu Xiaodu, Urbanus, Nanshan Wedding Center/ Partner in charge: Meng Yan. Image © Meng Yan & Wu Qiwei
Nanshan Wedding Center/ Partner in charge: Meng Yan. Image © Meng Yan & Wu Qiwei

“If you don’t know or really didn’t study the local culture, do universal design. That’ll keep the quality. If you want to do something that you don’t know, there is a big chance that it’s going to fail and have a bad impact on the city and the people here. Do it in your own way. If you do something good and beautiful back home, you should do exactly the same type and put it here. That’s also a good contribution because you show good architecture quality… Do something universal!” - Liu Xiaodu, Shenzhen, 2013

Founded in 1999, Urbanus is led by its trio of partners Meng Yan, Wang Hui and Liu Xiaodu, all of whom studied first in China and then abroad in the USA before returning to their native country at the very beginning of its construction boom. In this interview Liu Xiaodu discusses the changing realities of Chinese architecture education, the beginnings of their firm and the positive side to the “chaos” of the country's current urban expansion.

Diwang Park/ Partner in charge: Meng Yan, Liu Xiaodu (now demolished). Image Courtesy of Urbanus Maillen Hotel And Apartment / Partner in charge: Meng Yan. Image © Wu Qiwei Maillen Hotel And Apartment / Partner in charge: Meng Yan. Image © Wu Qiwei OCT Loft Renovation / Partner in charge: Liu Xiaodu, Meng Yan. Image Courtesy of Urbanus + 12

TCA Think Tank Creates "Parasite Pavilion" With Five-Day Workshop in Venice

01:00 - 23 November, 2014
© Marco Cappelletti
© Marco Cappelletti

Casting complex shadows and engulfing visitors in a series of maze-like spaces, the Parasite Pavilion was constructed as part of the Synergy & Symbiosis event at the 2014 Venice Biennale, which showcased the best of the UABB Shenzhen and Hong Kong Biennale from 2005 to 2014. Based on the Bug Dome pavilion, a similar experiment from Hong Kong 2009, constructed by Weak! Architects as an icon of "illegal architecture," this new pavilion is the product of an intensive five day workshop, with the cooperation of architects and students from Europe, Australia, and China. Read on after the break to learn more about the Pavilion and Workshop.

© Marco Cappelletti © Marco Cappelletti © Marco Cappelletti © Marco Cappelletti + 22

Biennale Exhibit Examines the "Chinese Condition" - What Happens When 1% of the World's Architects Design 33% of its Buildings

01:00 - 18 June, 2014
© MCPH Marco Cappelletti
© MCPH Marco Cappelletti

"Chinese architects account for 1% of the world total, but the turnover from building work is 1/10 of the world total. In other words, one hundredth of the world’s architects must design 33% of all buildings and they must do this for just 1/10 of the profit. How does this condition effect architecture?"

This is the question that motivates THECONDITIONOFCHINESEARCHITECTURE, the exposition TCA ThinkTank displayed within the Chinese Pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale 2014. Read the curators' description of their exposition's look into the perceptions and reality of Chinese architecture, after the break.

Courtesy of TCA Think Tank Courtesy of TCA Think Tank Courtesy of TCA Think Tank Courtesy of TCA Think Tank + 22