MovingCities published, in the December-January 2013-14 issue of Mark magazine #47, an interview with Chinese architect Hua Li 华黎, founder of the Beijing 北京 -based practice Trace Architecture Office 迹·建筑事务所 (TAO).
TAO is one of those smaller-scale Chinese outfits that possess an intriguing ability to operate on the fringes of urban, rural and regional architecture, thus creating an approach and a language that in each case bears a unique signature. TAO’s projects and their locations “still have diversity and are not yet globalized, but they do reveal traces of local materials and construction techniques.’” Read the full interview.
The aforementioned article discusses the architectural approach and intentions that determine each of the distinct projects Trace Architecture Office has undertaken so far; including the Xiaoquan Elementary School 四川德阳孝泉镇民族小学灾后重建, the Bamboo Raft Factory 武夷山竹筏育制场 and the Museum of Handcraft Paper 云南腾冲高黎贡手工造纸博物馆.
I am interested in projects that have a clear typology, where you can define how the place will be used. This is important, as a lot of projects are very ambiguous in their programme, especially in China. When you face the uncertainty of the market, architecture is very difficult to conceive. I do not believe in this so-called ‘flexibility’, as it often means nothing. I prefer specificity. […] Some people think my buildings are a bit strange, of course, as they differ from local examples. What we do is something of a marriage; I use that word when talking with villagers.
Hua Li | Trace Architecture Office | Interview  by Bert de Muynck
published in Mark magazine #47 | Dec13-Jan14