Monday, November 29, 2010

Think about Architecture as more than the skin

While we appreciate architecture work, there is always rather misleading when we were attracted by its aesthetic , and letting that very superficial value leading our judgement.

We often forgotten that architecture is not a piece of art for display but an art to be occupied. The importance of its very volumn and the immediate environment that one utilized should be given the priority.

Do you create for the sake of creating, is a modest Glenn Murcutt's work any inferior compared to an upside down barn house that would definitely attract more roll of eyeballs?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Micro-architecture is nothing new to the architecture world, however it had become the "toy" to most young architects, not only because it is a manageable size to its finest details, it is often for one self or that particular fan that would sponsor the weirdest idea.


We had Landscape Architect Ng Sek San who had done it in his experimental resorts both in the forest of woods or the forest of concrete.

在马来西亚,有锡山在自己家园里 -Sekeping Serendah搞上泥土为墙的土屋,玻璃透视的坦荡荡玻璃小屋,还有接下来好几件分散各地的绿色小居。

But you would find even more from the east  -  Japan, where Junya Ishigami and Sou Fujimoto had showcased in Design Datum 2009 and 2010.

而东方社会里,就数日本几个新锐建筑师玩禅意玩得最尽兴。 除了之前提过的 Junya Ishigami, 还有Sou Fujimoto (藤本壮介)

Sou Fujimoto's projects to most of us would be an impractical sculptures, however the zen philosophy and the original design thoughts behind it are quite fascinating.


With Japan in his project's context, the flexibility in the anonymous space is already a legend, where shoji being changed with season, furniture being fold and unfold to change the function of a single room.  Those are just a few to be named.  Sou Fujimoto wants more, he would want the space with its dimension, form and volume to have a direct dialogue with the user's size, height and behaviors, and together they create a "chorus" - a pure interaction.

日本一个处处量尺度寸的文化里,却因为地方小有了无限活动自由的空间,厅是房,是餐厅,不过几样简单可以收纳的家具,一个空间就有了许多面貌。 可是藤本还是不满意的,他想让空间本身和人有一种对话,决定当下。  他的比例是一个洞穴,那么高低不平,宽窄不一的空间,因为个人需要和每一个人的高低肥瘦,就会有了许多不同的交集,而给了一个空间许多的变化。 

He gave an example as it is in a cave, where you might be rolling up in a dent, catching a nap; the next person could have been putting his legs high and reading a book in the very same dent.  The translation of space is no longer defined by furniture or any third element, but the space and the user and nothing else.  There comes his first project, almost like a Jenga Block we enjoy playing.

或者一个坑是你卷缩睡觉的地方,是他靠着叉起脚的闲读书的书房,而那高起的土堆是你的枕,他的桌。 这样的诠释就已经不再依靠家具,而纯属个人和空间的关系配对了。
他的第一个建筑是他的休闲地,像我们玩的Jenga Block。  

The lumbers were screwed together forming a rather humble looking cuboid, with void being carved out in various height and volume,  allowing user to pick the right setting for an activity on hand.  Staying in it?  Maybe not, but he did managed to experiment his ideas of "dialogue"

一些平行而锁起的原木, 在一个长体型的容量中,不停的挖空,而形成许多相通的空间。 随性自喜的选择适合的平面,高度, 体积,容量来进行活动。 这就是他的实验微型建筑。

The White Box where he challenged the idea of urban housing, putting many "small houses" on top of each other, in an attempt to realize the urban space (private vs public) in a mini setting of apartments.  Till now, the units still vacant.  Well, who can blame the untactful potential tenants?  As I would never opt to stay in a house where I would need to run out of my warm bedroom into the open for a good hot chocolate over the other room. 


Well, the next one, which he named the Box House, had finally put some layman sense into it.  He jokingly called it " The Box Within The Box Within The Box". 

可是接下来这一间,我想藤本终于对实用建筑有了一点新的看法。 那是盒子屋,他戏称是盒子内的盒子内的盒子的屋子。 

The Box House is situated in a non-inspiring neighborhood.  Sou Fujimoto wanted a garden of Eden.  He build a big box with opening slightly higher than eye level, allowing eyesight to be directed to the trees crown and blue sky.

Putting the second medium sized box in it, thus creating an indoor garden, and defining the kitchen and living room.  The window opening in this box is lowered to capture the indoor garden views.

The third small sized box would contain those needing privacy.  With this simple stacking and layering of boxes almost similar to those ideas in a Russian Stack Dolls, he had one "Domestic Issue" solved.

这所房子 (House-N)所在地是一个杂乱的地区,而藤木在这样的一个地方想要制造一个伊甸园。 他先用一个大箱子,把建地和外界分开。  用略高的窗口把视线引向蓝天和树冠, 隔离了邻居或者不理想的格局。 再放一个中型箱子,设计了厨房,和客厅,这一回就可以把窗口拉低,让大箱子内的禅意花园那样清凉感觉。 再一个小箱子,放下了书房,睡房,简简单单的就解决了所有的问题。 我想他或者终于住进了一间家,明白有时设计的玩也该有一个底线,除非我们本来就在搞艺术。 

I do understand how some cannot agree with him much, but I think those ideas presented is so original, and maybe, I would say maybe is for us to ponder further and to cultivate it to another level for a much matured solution to the very genuine question. 

可是之前玩过的那些个House-N, Block里提出的想法,还是可以行的,只待成熟。

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bruder Klaus Field Chapel - Peter Zumthor

2010 11 03  L

Will it make sense to you for a chapel to look like this from outside?

Photo from Domus

Like this inside?

Photo from Domus

and having a plan like this?

Photo from Domus

with a section like this?

I wonder for a long while, with a part of me awe at its magnificent play of contrast of light and darkness, the intimidating yet inviting winding and confined route it created, and its almost deceiving sense of one lying under the sky scrapping trees, gazing at stars from around, the scratch of sky far atop; and another part of me just wondering of Mr. Peter Zumthor design intention in the making of such space.

The 112 trees taken from clients forest were positioned in cone shape, leaving an oculus at the top.  The concrete wall punctured with 250 holes by the shuttering ties was filled with blown-glass plugs.  Concrete was layered on to the tree trunks poured to 12meter height in 24days, compacting by hands forming the visible layers from outside.  All done by the commissioner, who had this little chapel build at a corner of his field, in Mechernich, Germany. 

The chapel literally was fired from within, burning the 112 trees into charcoal, almost as if creating a clay sculpture from kiln.  Leaving the dark stained concrete surface with the traces of form work. 

Maybe the process of building it by itself is a meditation of its own..........with a good reminder of how churches used to be build by those who worship them with heart and soul. 

Though I would think of so many ways of interpreting it to link it with the life of Bruder Klaus, the one that spend most part of his life in a ravine, under the forest of trees, gazing at the scrap of sky from way below, almost buried within rock. 

But as Mr. Peter Zumthor would smiled and answered as quote in:-

"Zumthor smiles. Of course it happens that an author writes, paints or builds things that he doesn’t know about, hasn’t seen or heard of, but that are still worth one, three or ten different interpretations. But not because he spent days and weeks studying symbols and symbolism. It makes it better, more interesting, unless you’re not prepared to believe in premonitions, visions, and the poet as a prophet. The only vision that Zumthor believes in is that of architecture. The only language his buildings speak is that of their construction and materials."


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Klippan St. Peter Church by Sigurd Lewerentz

2010 11 02 L

How could we describe the is of a square, rough with brickwork, giving it a rather crafty look, with the marks of the hands, that would definitely drive Mr. Tadao Ando to wall. 
You would approach the church through a small park, quietly.  Entering the church through a narrow corridor, with controlled darkness, and the roughness on wall, you kind of enter into trance, winding down the sloppy floor, with intentionally uneven floor, that would again getting all your intention and getting rid of all your worry, you will be greeted with a even greater darkness, till your eyes meeting the only lit up baptist shell hanging above a crack on the floor. 
It would remind you of the night when Jesus was in the stable at Bethlehem.  When the travelers thread the way in such darkness, and found the light in a unlikely place for Jesus. 

Picture:flickr seier + seier

当我在书里看到这座教堂时, 我是有点震撼的。  

外 观是四四方方砖砌的稳重, 不花俏甚至有点不修边幅的让石灰泥从砖缝中跑了出来, 任它就这样的把砖面给染成一副看来会让有洁癖的建筑师抓狂的感觉。 进口处有点窄,斜斜的把人引进建筑的内腹, 而平面图里, 四平八稳的, 条理分明的也不多加修饰。 很沉淀的建筑, 把来祈祷的人都给放安静了。  来到正堂, 地面刻意的被砌得不平,像一片砖砌的地毯, 浮凸着花样,让人必须低下头,放慢脚步也放慢心情。  而就在这样的地面上裂开一个缝, 在暗暗的空间里像未知一样的让人看不清深处。  裂缝上有只贝壳, 悬在铁条上, 伴着几根蜡烛,和滴水的声音, 慢慢的从水管滴到贝壳, 从贝壳滴到裂缝, 受洗的仪式会在这贝壳处进行。    听说每年在春分时, 阳光才会透过那些看来不经意安排的窗口, 照亮着一个安静的贝壳, 像是宣告诞生的开始。 像那夜,旅人在黑暗中,跋涉而来,在马棚中初见耶稣。  

 Picture:flickr seier + seier

Monday, November 1, 2010

Designing Design by Kenya Hara

2010 11 01 L

We all have been asking about the very thought of design, and wonder what could it mean?  As if literature is of no use to human material world, the design seemed rendering unnecessary value to a practical product. 

What is appropriate?

Can we mass produce the beautiful handicraft and expect it to be accepted by the mass as beauty? 
Or maybe we should look into what technology can bring us and let the sense of beauty grow to what it should be as we allow the nature to take charge of how a flower should blossom?

Mr.Kenya Hara believed design is to listen, and explore the gray area, solving the hidden issues, even when it is not felt as an issue at the time. 
It might had sound too difficult, but isn't it always a moment in your life that you would exclaimed to something with that : 'omg, why didn't we think of that?'

Mr.Kenya Hara started the idea of 're-design' to re-look into simple daily product, re-examine the needs and the function of it, and just allow the flow of thoughts to bring us where we should belong.

Such as this toilet rolls, it had always been round, so as to roll easier.  However, when the designer was given a task to re-look at this, examining of how we use them, how frequent we use them, the impact of its usage to the environment, the designer see the urge to save the paper, save the trees, save the forest.  Thus the square toilet roll was reasonably designed.

The squareness of it creating friction when it is rolled out for use, resulting annoying noise of clucking along the way, and resisting the smooth flow of paper.  All of these concluding the main idea of an environmental design and yet minimizing drastic change to the whole production line. 

So, how would you justify the need for design?