The Guangzhou 广州-based magazine Design 360° has always been a favorite bilingual [CN-EN] periodical of MovingCities. The first issue of 2012 has City x People x Design 城市•人•设计 as its theme. For our contribution we went in a dialogue with architect Zhang Ke 张轲 from standardarchitecture 标准营造.
In early December 2011, we received following set of editorial directions:
We’d like to invite you to participate in the 1st issue of 2012, with the subject of CITY, DESIGN & PEOPLE. Dialogue Participants of #37 – Design 360° Magazine:
Way of Dialogue: Each guest above respectively invites another person who can be an artist, designer, author from different specialized fields, to have a one-to-one dialogue with the topic of CITY, DESIGN & PEOPLE.
In his forward to the new issue, Design 360° Editor-in-Chief Wang Shaoqiang 王紹強 stated that:
We are living in the city with firsthand experiences. Benches in the bus stops, criss-cross flyovers, a classified dustbin on the pavement, skyscrapers, every tiny detail in the city is silently telling its story through design. Diversity of the city has given us an abundant urban experience.
Our dialogue with Zhang Ke 张轲 was centered around the analysis of a couple of encounters, discussions and meetings we were both part of during the past years in China. As architects of and communicators about the urban condition, we have met in China on quite different occasions and in a diverse set of spaces: in restaurants, galleries, offices, campuses, airports, living rooms and print media. We have not collaborated in the strict sense of the word, but are part of a world where similar minds meet. MovingCities was interested in understanding better how standardarchitecture 标准营造-projects – such as the Eggs of the City, The ‘Social Theatre’ Housing and Tree Towers Housing – react upon the present Chinese urban condition. We introduced ourselves as following:
The interplay between cities, people and design are the present and future condition of human existence, interaction and life. Cities are not only composed out of buildings and infrastructure, but also out of social and cultural reciprocal actions. Equally out of encounters, unexpected and expected ones, between people and ideas moving around in cities. All this occasionally turns into a design and thinking force that can contribute to the changing perception of our living environment.
Extract from the City x People x Design 城市•人•设计 dialogue for Design 360° #37:
MovingCities: What we are hinting is that we have the feeling that something comes out your proposals: so instead of sucking people in, capturing and captivating them in a context of artificial life, they become radiating entities. This is a social-cultural bearing on architecture, how life can spill over from within the building to the rest of the city. It is not about an escape of the city, but about influencing its use.
Zhang Ke: We are serious about social theater and love the work of theater scenographer Meng Jinghui, who brings surrealistic, even cynical, but also popular experimental theater in different medium-size theater throughout Beijing and China. This social theater housing project raises the question if affordable housing needs to be deprived of cultural life, as well doomed to become garbage where, in 20 years or so, no one wants to live in anymore. Can we turn this around by incorporating social-cultural events?.
MovingCities: What currently concerns us, is the feeling that architecture should not only be adapted to the speed of the city, but also to the local climatic conditions and even the local social, cultural and creative life. We have to be both more provocative and subtle at the same time.