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中国现代浪漫主义建筑的探讨 / 赵洋

2023.02.16 | , , , ,
建筑学院 建筑学院


Editor's note: In recent years, more and more excellent Chinese architectural designs have emerged in Chinese society, gradually changing the situation of Western modern architecture sweeping the world. Many young architects are also actively discussing the future development of Chinese architecture and summarizing architectural theories corresponding to Chinese culture. This time we share architect Yang Zhao's personal works during his study and work periods to see what he thinks.

建筑学园: 在你的作品集中,可以看到很多中国元素的作品,即使是求学和工作海外。为什么要坚持做中国建筑呢?

In your works, we can see many Chinese design elements, even if you are studying and working overseas. Why insist on designing Chinese architecture?

赵洋: 当我在美国留学的时候,发现学校只会教适合西方现代建筑理论,他们会认为这样的理论和体系适合所有的社会环境。然而事实上,亚洲以千年农耕文明发展而来的社会,从人与人到城市与自然的关系都与西方社会截然不同。我虽然可以虚心理解和学习这样的理论,但是得益于本科在天津大学的学习,让我知道坚持研究现代中国建筑设计的重要性。所谓民族的就是世界的,因为我们对自己的民族文化理解最深,所以做相应的设计也才有绝对的话语权和优势,才能让人耳目一新,让中国设计在世界绽放光彩。

When I was studying in the United States, I found that schools would only teach theories suitable for Western modern architecture, and they would think that such theories and systems are suitable for all other societies. However, in fact, the Asian societies developed from thousand-year farming civilization are completely different from the Western societies in terms of the relationship between people, as well as the relationship between cities and nature. Although I can understand and learn such theories with an open mind, thanks to my undergraduate study at Tianjin University, I know the importance of persisting in the study of modern Chinese architectural. “What belongs to the nation belongs to the world” is indeed true, because we have the deepest understanding of our own national culture, so we have the absolute right and advantages in designing Chinese architecture, which would refresh people’s minds and let Chinese design shine on global stages.

建筑学园: 看到你的研究生毕业设计更像是城市设计,相信这跟你本科的城市规划背景离不开关系,你对中国城市发展有什么见解呢?

Seeing that your graduate thesis is more like an urban design, I believe this is inseparable from your undergraduate urban planning background. What is your opinion on China's future urban development?

赵洋: 对于近代中国许多百年甚至千年古城的摧毁,我相信很多有识之士都是无比痛心的。城市系统是社会关系的一种具象化,中国传统古城所呈现的社会性和合理性正在被效率至上的城市道路和高架桥撕裂,成为了生产机器,而缺乏原本的生活气息和人情味。我觉得很多中国传统城市里面那种邻里空间和氛围是中华文化和社会关系的精髓,需要在以后的城市发展中慢慢找回。恰好很多以前做的错误的城市规划建设已经逐渐达到它们的建设寿命,所以未来几十年,或许是我们找回中国城市文化特色的契机。

For the destruction of many century-old or even thousand-year-old cities in China, I believe that many people of insight are extremely sad about it. The urban system is a concretization of social relations. The sociality and rationality presented by traditional Chinese ancient cities are being torn apart by the efficiency-oriented urban roads and viaducts, and become production machines without the original taste of life and human touch. I think the neighborhood space and atmosphere in many traditional Chinese cities is the essence of Chinese culture and social relations, and it needs to be slowly recovered in the future urban development. It just so happens that many erroneous urban planning and construction in the past have gradually reached the end of their construction life, so the next several decades may be an opportunity for us to regain the cultural characteristics of Chinese cities.

建筑学园: 看到你的千佛崖保护设计十分有表现力,这是你内心中国公共建筑的设计方向吗,如何解读?

Seeing that your Thousand Buddha Cliff Protection Design is very expressive, is this the design direction of Chinese public buildings in your heart, and how to interpret it?

赵洋: 这可能是我所做过的设计中最夸张的一个。就好比伦佐匹亚诺和理查德罗杰斯青年时期合作的蓬皮杜艺术中心一样,张扬和充满浪漫色彩是这个设计的主旋律。或许在现实生活中难以实现,然而我想表达的更像是一种畅想。因为我们都知道,中国的文学和艺术中,不乏古人天马行空的想象。所谓建筑是凝固的艺术,中国的建筑设计也应当充满浪漫主义色彩,展现出东方特有的魅力,从概念设计到建筑施工的细节,都应当有属于我们民族自己的创新。

This is probably the most exaggerating design I've ever done. Just like the Pompidou Art Center that Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers collaborated in their early time, publicity and romance are the main theme of this design. It may be difficult to achieve in real life, but what I want to express is more like an advocation. Because we all know that in Chinese literature and art, there is no lack of imagination of the ancients. “Architecture is the solidified art” — Chinese architectural design should also be full of romanticism and show the unique charm of the East. From the concept design to the details of construction, there should be innovations belonging to our own culture.

建筑学园: 你举得中国现代建筑面临哪些挑战,你有什么样的愿景?

What challenges do you think Chinese modern architecture is facing, and what kind of vision do you have?

赵洋: 我举得中国现代建筑的发展还是任重而道远的。因为上世纪的西方建筑理论得到了长足的发展和实践,而我们中国的现代建筑来到这个世纪才开始蹒跚学步,目前看到的好的作品还比较零星且缺乏理论体系。但是好在有越来越多的建筑师,坚持做中国自己的建筑,去探索去实践去论证。只要坚持下去,我们也一定会由量变产生质变,让更多的国人参与到自我文化的认同中来。毕竟这样的翻天覆地,需要世代的努力。我们这一辈青年建筑师,也应当该承担起自己的职责,努力探究中国浪漫主义建筑特有的设计理论和建造方法,从而逐渐形成自己的学派和体系,最终达到文化输出。

I think the development of Chinese modern architecture still has a long way to go. Because the western architectural theory in the last century has been greatly developed and practiced, while our Chinese modern architecture has only begun to toddle in this century, and the good works we have seen so far are still relatively sporadic and lack a theoretical system. But fortunately, there are more and more architects insisting on doing our own architecture, exploring, practicing and demonstrating. As long as we persevere, we will definitely make quantitative changes to qualitative changes, allowing more Chinese people to participate in self-cultural identifying. After all, such earth-shaking changes require the efforts of generations. Young architects of our generation should also shoulder our responsibilities and strive to explore the unique design theories and construction methods of Chinese architecture romanticism, so as to gradually form our own thoughts and systems, and finally achieve cultural outputs.

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Evolved Spatial Logic—Traditional Chinese City in a New Era



In the past several decades, China's awareness of ancient city protection was very weak, and it was not until recent years that people gradually paid attention to it. Then most of the ancient cities have been demolished, and the relatively intact ones, which can still abide by the principle of "repairing the original as the original", are only the famous Four Ancient Cities. However, in the case of the Old City of Beijing or Suzhou, where new buildings and ancient buildings coexist, how should we renew the city so that it can maintain the vitality and the original style at the same time?


2016年,北京公布了《城市总体规划2016年 - 2030年》,其中明确表示“加强历史文化名城保护,强化首都风范、古都风韵、时代风貌的城市特色”,以及“不允许在二环以内建高层建筑”。然而,过去几十年的拆迁和那些不恰当的新建建筑,已经破坏了大约三分之一的原始城市肌理。当这些建筑到达它们的使用寿命以后,会有大片新建工地。如何才能最合理利用这些未来的新建工地,在延续古城原始空间逻辑的同时,使其进化发展成适合现代人居住生活和举办各种公共活动的超级城市社区,是我们建筑师和规划师在处理古城现代更新方法的最大挑战与责任。比修旧如旧更挑战的事,我们不仅要关照城市原始风貌,而且要以超前的设计理念来泽被后世。

In 2016, the government announced the "Beijing Master Plan 2016-2030", which clearly stated that "strengthen the historic and cultural protection of the city, enhance the urban characteristics of the capital style, ancient city, and new era", and "prohibition on any new high-rise construction within the second ring". However, demolition and inappropriate new constructions over the past few decades have destroyed about a third of the original urban fabric. When these buildings reach the end of their life cycle, there will be large areas of new construction sites. How to make the most reasonable use of these future sites, while continuing the original spatial logic of the Old City of Beijing, and make it evolve intosuper urban communities suitable for modern people's living and holding various public activities, is the biggest challenge and responsibility of our architects and planners, for dealing with the modern renewal method of the ancient city. It is more difficult than simply restoring the original, because we must not only consider the original style, but also design futuristically to benefit the coming generations.



Like other traditional cities, the urban planning of Beijing in the Ming and Qing dynasties emphasized the hierarchy of roads. Except for the government functions on the central axis, the royal gardens and city parks, the other places are divided into residential communities of similar size by the main streets orthogonally. However, once you enter a residential community, you will find that the roads are of different widths and lengths, and the directions are all complicated, which is “Hutong” as we usually call. The more you go in, the more it doesn't conform to the original orthogonal directions, but like capillaries, it organically spreads to the courtyards of every dwellings. The reason is that, starting from the Ming Dynasty, land transactions started occurring between neighbors, and after hundreds of years of evolution, it finally became an organic and naturally formed urban texture. Moreover, this seemingly chaotic urban texture actually reflects a neighborhood environment suitable for Chinese people to live in. Because entering the alley from the street, the experience of spatial privacy changes nonlinearly. When you first enter the hutongs, you may feel very private, but there will also be places where the sizes are deliberately enlarged, because these are places for activities between larger neighborhoods. In ancient times, some people did business here, and some people provided daily services here. When people enter the hutongs at the next level, the streets will become narrower, but there would still be people playing chess and chatting at street corners, because these are public spaces for neighbors who are more familiar with each other. Finally entering the courtyards, the scales are opened up again, full of families’ daily public activities. In conclusion, the fluctuating changes in the degree of privacy in hutongs reflect the traditional Chinese group living relationship, showing that people desire to live together while also giving each other a certain degree of respect for privacy. This is the essence of ancient Chinese urban space. Although efficiency is not the first priority, it is full of human touch. Therefore, while modernizing and protecting it, we should focus on reflecting the logic and essence of this kind of urban space.



The site we selected was the former Xicheng Comprehensive Market. Because it eventually degenerated, and traditional markets were gradually replaced by supermarkets, the Xicheng Comprehensive Market was razed to the ground. The construction of this massive market in the last century is a typical case of destroying the original urban fabrics of the ancient city, but it also provides us with a rare opportunity to have a whole site of land to explore. Before re-drawing the road network, we first analyzed nine relatively well-preserved city blocks, and recorded the parameters of the road network of them, such as the ratio of area to road length, the number of east-west hutongs, the width and lengths of hutongs, number of shifts and expansions, etc. Through comparison, we found that except for street density, other street parameters are quite similar. Therefore, we can summarize these street parameters and randomly generate street road networks parametrically. And finally, the road network with the most overlaps is also the most reasonable, which can give people a sense of space that re-weaves the broken road network. At the same time, the expanded nodes and intersections also provide permeability, connectivity and public spaces for the newly designed site.



The newly designed road system is in line with the spatial logic of the ancient city, providing an excellent opportunity to restore the urban texture. However, reasonable road is just one aspect. What needs more considerations is how to make the architectural scale and spatial logic meet the current needs of people’s life with high diversity. In other words, the original residential function is no longer suitable nowadays, and the precious space of the ancient city should invite more citizens to participate in public activities and interactions.



In order to study what kind of spatial configuration is suitable for different programs, it is necessary to start with the most basic architectural geometry. Due to the possibility of having several, and different degrees of building enclosures and road openings, courtyard style buildings with privacy ranging from almost completely private to almost completely public can be formed. However, this is just one courtyard with many possibilities. If several different courtyard style buildings are juxtaposed, staggered, overlapped or merged, then a building group with very different privacy can be formed, thus serving completely different programs. In a sum, it can be said that if the courtyard style buildings overlap more, then their privacy and intimacy are higher, and they are more suitable for programs with smaller scales; and vice versa.




For example, building groups with strong privacy and intimacy are more suitable for lofts with a style of half work half life, or programs such as retail, markets, and shops. And this still fluctuating privacy happens not only in two dimensions, but also in three dimensions. Usually people live and work in their own enclosed spaces, because of such vertical spatial configuration, it is easier for neighbors to become familiar with each other, thus forming a strong sense of neighborhood. At the same time, because of various small and refined public spaces, people from different industries would have more exchanges, including ideas, business, etc., in this community. Once such a community structure is established, different tenants can renovate to form the most comfortable spatial configurations for themselves, which also continues the sustainable self-renewal of the city. The new hutongs will be like the old ones, but more proactive in renewing and growing themselves.




Again, a medium-scale building group is very suitable for a public building like a library. Moreover, this library should include lecture halls, study rooms, bookstores, cafes, and etc., which are suitable for everyone to participate in. Different from the traditional library, it is not only connected with other buildings on the ground floor, but also its own public courtyard is connected with those of other buildings, making it an important part of the publicity of the whole site, instead of just an individual building. At the same time, the new building maintains the original scales — In addition to the outdoor courtyard, when the building needs double-height space, it can also have an indoor courtyard. For example, book racks can use the interior three-story space to form a large area of book collection and reading space, and introduce natural lighting so that people can still feel they are in a courtyard. Another example, the exhibition hall and lecture hall can also use the indoor courtyard space to adjust natural lighting and space division in different occasions. Conclusively speaking, through the design and experiments of building volumes, even a public building like a library can be completely decomposed by traditional architectural scales.


最后,大尺度的建筑群落比较适合剧院和体育中心这样的建筑功能。通过坡屋顶的建筑形式和钢结构大跨度的结构形式,这样的 功能依然可以被消解在此地块的社区设计之中。同时,因为类似于此地块寸土寸金的属性,建筑功能应适当叠加。也就是说,在不同时间段和场合,大尺度的建筑群落应当承担起不同的建筑功能。比如,当有正式的表演时,剧院的幕布可以完全关闭,形成安静的室内表演空间;而在日常,剧院的幕布可以打开,让人们看到室内彩排的场景;体育中心也可以将不同的体育场容纳在一起,通过网上预约制,使其发生不同的功能;最后,当需要举办大型活动时,就可以将剧院的立面完全打开,让剧院本身成为舞台,而使体育场成为观众席。

Finally, large-scale building complex is more suitable for programs such as theater and sports center. Through the sloping roof architectural form and the long-span steel structural form, such programs can still be decomposed in the scale of this community. At the same time, because of the preciousness of the land, programs should be superimposed appropriately. That is to say, in different time periods and occasions, large-scale architectural complexes should accommodate different programs. For example, when there is a formal performance, the curtain of the theater can be completely closed to form a quiet indoor performing space; and in daily life, the curtain of the theater can be opened to allow people to see indoor rehearsals; the sports center can also integrate different playgrounds and allow people play different sports through online reservation system; finally, when big events need to be held, the façade of the theater can be fully opened, making the theater itself a stage and the sport fields an auditorium.



When the street system on the ground and the circulations in the buildings have been determined, because underground floors have been developed in the communities, there should be underground streets connecting the public spaces of each community. Therefore, the underground streets should connect public courtyards of three different scales to form a real three-dimensional network. Even above the sport fields, a bridge can be designed to continue the original street system. These moves not only conform to the original spatial logic of fluctuating changes in privacy, but also enhances the logic in three-dimensional spaces to form an unprecedented super community. Such community not only forms a strong sense of neighborhood, but also fulfill people's needs for public spaces in all aspects. The enhanced spatial logic makes people feel the long-lost ancient city space, and encourages people to continue to renovate and evolve the Old City of Beijing, so that it can keep the architecture and urban vitality forever.




New Civilization—A Future Community Reform

合作伙伴: 邱实 / Teammate: QIU Shi



Traditional Asian communities have evolved for thousands of years, and they have the most suitable spatial characteristics and social relationships for Asian residents. Imagine if we can combine the advantages of traditional dwellings and spatial logics, the efficiency of industrial production and assembly, and then integrate with information technology, what kind of residential high-rise can be designed in the future, and what kind of community can be formed?



As we all know, Asians like to live gregariously. One of the underlying reasons is that the early Asian food production methods were mainly through agriculture. However, the development of agriculture needs to rely on collaboration, thus lead to group living. However, in the past two centuries, with the second and third industrial revolutions, Western civilization has greatly influenced the living patterns of Asians — small families live in segregated apartments, and family members also live in separate rooms. Over time, people would rather face their digital screens than talk to people. As a result, traditional Asian residential communities stopped evolving and became history. It's time for us to rethink the wisdom of Asian dwellings, and integrate it with technology to serve the new generations. Whether in the dry north or the humid south, courtyards exist in many traditional dwellings as spaces for family members to share public activities. After sorting out, we find that modern people have a variety of interesting activities that can be shared with their families. So in theory, we need the living room to remain in the center and accommodate more programs.




Although it may be difficult for us to bring the outdoor courtyard into every household, we can still treat the living room as a courtyard and design it to be central oriented, so that it has direct lines of sight with all other rooms in the house. As a fact, the living rooms of many families are designed linearly, that is, the sofa and the TV face each other, which does not promote communication. Therefore, we should also design the furniture in the living room to be central oriented. For example, we can design a stove in the center of the living room and surround it with a platform that can be raised or lowered, so that everyone can sit around the stove talking or eating. To emphasize this direct communication, all other rooms in the house need to have operable windows that can be open directly to the living room. In this way, even if people are in their own rooms, if they need to communicate with the people in the living room, they can just open the windows; if they want to see the people in the living room or just be alone, they can close the windows, with or without louvers. Such a basic setting gives people a feeling of returning to the courtyard dwellings, and also greatly enhances the communication among family members.



As mentioned earlier, the versatility of the living room is particularly important in this design, because it needs to carry all the activities that can be shared, so we should use all the available space to fully explore its spatial potential. For example, we can use the space underneath the stairs to accommodate washing machines, dryers, wardrobes and closets; we can use the space underneath the floor as insulation while providing storage for various items such as fitness equipment or musical instruments; we can set the lifting platform around the stove with multiple pre-set heights, making it suitable for different occasions; finally, we can lift the largest multifunctional screen up or put it down, depending on whether we want to communicate with the outside.



When you observe this section carefully, you will find that many people are doing different things at the same time, and they are enjoying themselves. They can see but they wouldn’t be disturbed by each other. For example, people in the study can see the living room and outdoor scenes while working quietly; people in the kitchen can cook; people in the living room can chat, pet the dog, and water flowers; neighbors can walk down the stairs instead of taking the elevator, just to say hello. The privacy of the space gradually changes from completely open outdoor to relatively private in the study. Such a gradual change makes people feel comfortable, instead of everyone closing the door to do their own things.



The considerations for building energy are as follows. In winter, when the stove is working, it will send a certain amount of heating to the air-conditioning system, so as to save some energy instead of just using the heater; the louvers underneath the roof will open to allow the room to fully absorb the heat of the sun during the day with natural lighting. In summer, the rainwater will be absorbed by the planter at the front yard with sloping roof, which not only has the traditional poetic flavor of "rain curtain", but also allows the fresh air system to pass through the planter to continuously bring in cool air that is lower than the indoor temperature to achieve energy saving; The windows can also be opened under appropriate circumstances to form natural ventilation; the louvers can be closed in the hot summer as sunshades; and the glass roof itself has built-in photovoltaic panels that can collect a certain amount of electricity.



After the birth of a child in Asian families, parents are often more willing to take care of the child for a period of time. Because this house is designed to have many partitions be reassembled, so it can completely satisfy three or even four generations living together. When there is a need for accommodating four generations, the only necessary move is to swap the second bedroom with the study on the second floor, and divide it into two bedrooms for the third generation and their children to live in.



In this design, Information technology should not only bring convenience to people, but also greatly promote communication. For example, a smart kitchen should be able to understand what the family members want to eat every day, and the refrigerator itself should know what to store and purchase, so that food can be delivered to door on time; fitting, changing and online shopping can be done through virtual reality on the multi-functional large screen, without the need to physically try on, and computer should automatically set reminder of washing clothes; people living in the same building or community should have their own Interest groups, and visit neighbors on foot, just like the old days; when the multi-functional large screen is lifted up, it welcomes nature and neighbors; and when it is closed, it can be like a transparent window, an opaque wall, or a large home cinema for the whole family to enjoy family time.



Finally, it is worth mentioning that traditional communities are often inseparable from the street network like a capillary system. Replacing streets with elevators and stairs loses a lot of sense of neighborhood. Therefore, after creating a single-family house that conforms to the spatial logics of traditional dwellings, it is necessary to design a pedestrian street passing through the whole building, so as to truly form a neighborhood. When we mirror, reverse and overlap these single-family houses, we find that the front yards of all households can be connected with one pedestrian path. Because the multi-functional large screen can completely adjust the transparency, whether the living room is open to neighbors depends entirely on occasions. Also, any bedroom wouldn’t be seen by anyone from any angle. It can be said that this system not only ensures privacy, but also forms a close neighborhood relationship over time. Imagine, if we connect such residential high-rises, wouldn’t that be equivalent to connecting several residential streets? In this way, a kind of high-tech residential community that complies with traditional spatial logics and Asian living habits has finally emerged.



Thousand Buddha Cliff Historic Cultural Relic Protection Design

合作伙伴: 李煜群 曹桓铭 / Teammate: LI Yuqun, CAO Huanming



Among the many Buddhist sites in China, Thousand Buddha Cliff, located on the side of the Jialing River in Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province, is one of the most famous. There are more than 400 caves on the cliff, and there are more than a thousand of Buddha statues in the caves. Artists started carvings on the cliff back in the Tang Dynasty and ended in the Qing Dynasty, and the arts remained for thousands of years. And because the Jialing River is where the ancient waterways in the south must pass, it is breathtaking to look at Thousand Buddha Cliff from the river. However, due to the fact that the cliff faces north, it does not receive sufficient sunlight all year round, and it is eroded by the water vapor of the Jialing River. Finally, in the last century, part of the cliff collapsed. In addition, many of the original wooden platforms decayed, and the color of the Buddha statues faded due to the rain. It can be said that it is imperative to protect the Thousand Buddha Cliff now. The challenge for architects is: how to ingeniously design to not only protect the cliff, but also create spaces full of local features and Buddhist attributes.



In order to solve the erosion, sunlight must be directed onto the cliff in order to stay dry; and there must be a system of shelter from rainwater to prevent further erosion; finally, if any heavy structures need to be built, then Such a structure should conduct the load completely vertically downwards instead of imposing any burden on the cliff. Considering that numerous sailboats traveled on Jialing River for thousands of years, and they often use exquisite tensile structures, besides, canvas is a good material for sheltering from rain, “sailboat” may be the perfect design concept to solve these comprehensive problems. As shown in the diagram, on the top of the cliff, some light-weight steel structure should be built first as permanent shelters; then the canvas can be set in tension by using the steel cable structure to protect most of the caves in rainy days; canvas should also be spread out horizontally to dry the cliff walls through sunlight reflection on normal days; among all the Buddhist caves, two are the most important and are recommended to be permanently protected indoor. Taking the concept of sailboat, an interior space like the bow of a ship can be sculptured out. Finally, such an architectural form can be extended to provide people with a viewing platform over the Jialing River to watch the entire cliff.



For tourists, visiting the preserved Thousand Buddha Cliff should also have a certain dramatic experience. First of all, the visitors will climb up to a higher viewing platform from the ground level, and after going down several levels, they would gradually approach the main entrance of the indoor Buddhist cave. Entering the main entrance where the space is gradually compressed, you can see a gloomy corridor with lights penetrating from the main lecture hall. Then, entering the main lecture hall, which is also the most important interior space for protecting the two Buddhist caves, a strong beam of light and the towering space give people a sense of sacredness. Finally, follow the strong light to the outdoor viewing platform to look back at Thousand Buddha Cliff, you will have a feeling of traveling through thousands of years, watching boats passing by and artists working on the cliff.



In terms of structure, the large-scale steel structure should be designed ingeniously so that the weight of the building is balanced and the overall building load can be transmitted downward without adding any burden to Thousand Buddha Cliff itself. On top of the cliff, where there isn’t any Buddhist cave, light steel structure can be anchored deep into the rock, carrying the load of the steel cable and canvas membrane structures to shelter the Buddhist caves from wind and rain. Finally, some light steel cable structures can be used inside the main lecture hall to prevent deformation of the curved wood panels.



In conclusion, in terms of function, the design protects the Buddhist caves from erosion; in terms of culture, it provides a public forum space to preach Buddhism to more people; in terms of architecture, it continues the local feelings and cultural images, and proposes a comprehensive solution with the concept of sailboat, recalling the ancestors who created such a cultural treasure




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