Yaohua Wang shared with us his project An Open Appeal for China, designed along with Scott Chung, Jiaohao Lu, Xiaoxuan Lu, and Lennard Ong. They recently received 2nd Prize in the AIM International Architecture Competition. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The problem of architecture in the role of artistic production is that there are none. Modern artistic practices have intimidated Architectural ambition to polite neutrality: the white box or kunsthal model suggests architecture as a blank spatial canvas for art to happen independent of it.
We delight in architectural provocations like the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, for example, which shows how architecture can become a spatial catalyst for new artistic production. Olafur Eliasson’s “The Weather Project (2003)” would never have been imagined without it. It is this interdependent relationship between architecture as a spatial practice and art as a cultural catalyst that we seek to extend.
But we feel like modern art has exhausted itself. China’s emerging artistic culture is an important balance to the ambitions of its rapidly burgeoning middle class. Sited in Beijing’s Central Business District, ground zero of China’s economic growth, this project is crucial to China’s cultural future, and should be treated with bold ambition.
There is a folk tale called The Pied Piper of Hamelin. It involves a wandering piper, dressed in pied clothing, that played beautiful music. The music was so enchanting that people to follow him where-ever he went.
In this project, we wondered if architecture could be a pied piper. We hope to seduce through the architectural music of “contrast”, imagined at all scales of this proposal.
By raising the buildings, we want to create a free and open space that is visually open and accessible from all edges, something that is lacking in the immediate vicinity of its dense urban site. We also contrast topological spatial experiences against the predominantly cartesian geometry of the existing site and buildings in hopes that it might entice dierent patterns of behavior and use, allowing for a more organic artistic culture and unexpected encounters to emerge. This project is naive in the sense that it has yet to have precedent. But in the face of rapid modernization, where eciency precedes imagination, we believe this is a good thing. We are naive by how we believe in architecture as an agent to create possibilities beyond the merely efficient. We do not yet know what these possibilities are, and can only speculate, but this is also a good thing.
Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, maybe its time for architecture to stop following and take lead. We hope you will believe and dare to imagine with us.