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← Urban architecture inspired by mountains, clouds and volcanoes

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Showing Revision 6 created 11/07/2019 by marialadias.

  1. I am an architect.
  2. And this picture shows the city
    that I come from,
  3. Beijing, China.
  4. And old Beijing is like
    a very beautiful garden,
  5. you can see a lot of nature.
  6. When I was a kid,
  7. I learned to swim in this lake
  8. and I climbed mountains
    every day after school.
  9. But after getting older,
  10. we built more and more modern buildings.
  11. And they all look the same.
  12. They all look like matchboxes.
  13. Why are modern buildings
    and cities full of these boxy shapes?

  14. In this photo,
    you actually see two cities.
  15. The one on the left is New York,
  16. and the one on the right
    is Tianjin, a Chinese city
  17. that's being constructed.
  18. And they have very similar skylines.
  19. Maybe they also follow the same principle.
  20. You know, competing for density,
  21. competing for more space,
  22. competing for efficiency.
  23. Therefore, modern architecture
  24. becomes a symbol of capital and power.
  25. Chinese cities are building a lot,

  26. they're also, you know,
  27. not only competing
    for this space and height,
  28. they're also learning a lot
    from North American urban strategies
  29. [and] also repeat a lot from city to city.
  30. So here, we call it
    1,000 cities with one face.
  31. So as an architect in China,

  32. I have to ask myself,
    what can I do about it?
  33. One day, I was walking on a street,
  34. I saw people selling fish.
  35. And they put the fish
    in this cubic fish tank.
  36. So I was asking the same question,
  37. why a cubic space for fish?
  38. Do they like cubic space?
  39. (Laughter)

  40. Obviously not.

  41. So maybe the cubic space,
    cubic architecture,
  42. is cheaper, is easier to make.
  43. So, I did this small research,
  44. I put a camera and I tried
    to observe how fish behave
  45. in this cubic space.
  46. And then I found
    they probably weren't happy.
  47. The cubic space wasn't
    the perfect home for them,
  48. so I decided to design
    a new fish tank for them.
  49. I think it should be more organic,
  50. it should be a more fluid space inside.
  51. More complex interiors.
  52. I think they should feel happier
    living in this space,
  53. but I wouldn't know
    because they don't talk to me.
  54. (Laughter)

  55. But one year after,

  56. we got this opportunity
    to design this real building for humans.
  57. This is actually a pair of towers
  58. that we built in Mississauga,
    a city outside Toronto.
  59. And people call this
    Marilyn Monroe Towers --
  60. (Laughter)

  61. because of its curvature.

  62. And the idea was to build a tower,
  63. high-rise, residential tower,
    but not a box.
  64. It's more inspired by nature,
  65. with the sunshine and wind dynamics.
  66. After we finished
    designing the first tower,
  67. they told us, you know,
  68. "You don't have to design the second one,
  69. you just repeat the same design,
  70. and we pay you twice."
  71. But I said, "You cannot have
    two Marilyn Monroes standing there."
  72. And nature never repeats itself,
  73. so now we have two buildings
    that can dance together.
  74. So I have this question for myself.

  75. You know, why, in the modern city,
  76. we often think architecture
    is a machine, is a box?
  77. So here, I want to see how
    people looked at nature in the past.
  78. By looking into this Chinese
    traditional painting,
  79. I found that they often mixed
  80. the nature and the artificial, man-made,
    in a very dramatic way,
  81. so they create this emotional scenery.
  82. So in the modern city, my question is:
  83. Is there a way that we don't separate
    buildings and nature,
  84. but combine them?
  85. So there's another project
    that we built in China.

  86. It's a quite large residential complex.
  87. And it's located in a very
    beautiful nature setting.
  88. To be honest, the first time
    when I visited the site,
  89. it was too beautiful.
  90. And I almost decided to reject the project
  91. because you feel as a criminal
    to do anything there.
  92. I don't want to become a criminal.
  93. But my second thought was,
  94. if I didn't do it,
  95. they would just put, you know,
    standard urban towers there, anyway.
  96. And that would be a pity.
  97. So I decided I had to give it a try.
  98. So the way we did that was

  99. we took the contour lines
    from the existing mountains,
  100. and we took those lines
    and then translated them into a building.
  101. So those towers are actually
    taking the shapes
  102. and geometries from the nature.
  103. So each building has a different shape,
  104. a different size, different height.
  105. And they become
    the extension of the nature
  106. [where] they're situated.
  107. And you know,

  108. people think we use computer sometimes
  109. to design this kind of architecture,
  110. but I actually use a lot of hand sketch,
  111. because I like the randomness
    in the hand sketch.
  112. And they can carry sort of emotions
  113. that cannot be made by computers.
  114. Architecture and humans and nature
    can coexist together

  115. and are having a good
    relationship in this photo.
  116. Actually this guy in the photo
    is one of the architects on our team.
  117. I think he's been enjoying
    the beautiful nature scenery,
  118. and feeling relieved
    that he is not part of the criminals --
  119. (Laughter)

  120. in the end.

  121. Back to the city,

  122. in Beijing, we were asked
    to design these urban towers.
  123. And I made this model.
  124. It's an architecture model,
  125. looks like a minimountain and minivalleys.
  126. I put this model on my table,
    and I watered it every day.
  127. And years later,
    we completed this building.
  128. And you can see how my hand sketch
  129. is being translated
    into the real building.
  130. And they look quite similar.
  131. It looks like a black mountain.
  132. And this is how this building
    is situated in the city.
  133. It's on the edge of this beautiful park.
  134. It's different, very different
    from the surrounding buildings,
  135. because other buildings are trying
    to build a wall around the nature.
  136. But what we're trying to do here
  137. is to make the building itself
    as a part of nature,
  138. so we can extend the nature
    from the park into the city.
  139. So that was the idea.
  140. A Chinese art critic drew this painting.

  141. He put our building in this painting.
  142. Can you see there's a black,
    tiny mountain?
  143. That looks very fit into this painting.
  144. However, in this reality,
  145. our design was being challenged
  146. that it looks so different
    from the surroundings.
  147. And they asked me to modify my design,
  148. either color or shape,
  149. to make the building
    fit the context better.
  150. So my question was,
  151. why it fits this traditional,
    you know, natural context,
  152. better than the reality?
  153. Maybe there's something wrong
    with the reality.
  154. Something wrong with the context.
  155. In the very northern part of China,

  156. we also built this opera house.
  157. It's an opera house next to the river,
  158. in the wetland park.
  159. So we decided to make this building
    part of the surrounding landscape
  160. and merge into the horizon.
  161. The building literally
    looks like a snow mountain.
  162. And people can walk on the building.
  163. During the day or when there's no opera,
  164. people come here,
    they can enjoy the views,
  165. and they can continue
    their journey from the park
  166. onto the building.
  167. When they reach the rooftop,
  168. there's an amphitheater
    that's framing the sky,
  169. where they can sing to the sky.
  170. Inside the opera,
  171. we have this lobby
    with a lot of natural light,
  172. and they can also enjoy
    this semi-indoor-outdoor space,
  173. and they can see
    the beautiful view around them.
  174. I've been building several mountains,

  175. and here I'm trying to show you
  176. one building that I think
    looks like a cloud.
  177. It's the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts
  178. that's being constructed
    in the city of Los Angeles.
  179. It's a museum created by George Lucas,
  180. the creator of the "Star Wars" movies.
  181. Why a building that looks like a cloud?
  182. Because I think, I imagine,
    the cloud is mysterious.
  183. It's nature.
  184. It's surreal when this natural element
    landed in the city.
  185. And it makes you feel curious about it,
  186. and you want to explore it.
  187. So that's how the building
    landed on earth.
  188. By lifting this museum,
  189. making it float above the ground,
  190. we can free up a lot of landscape
    and space underneath the building.
  191. And then we can, at the same time,
  192. create this roof garden above the building
  193. where you can visit and enjoy the view.
  194. This museum will be completed
    in the year 2022,
  195. and you're all invited
    when it's completed.
  196. So after building all these
    mountains and clouds,

  197. now we're building these volcanoes
  198. back in China.
  199. This is actually a huge sports park
  200. with four stadiums in it,
  201. with one football stadium
    [with] 40,000 seats in there.
  202. So it's a very large project.
  203. And you see from this photo,
  204. you can hardly tell where there's building
    and where there's landscape.
  205. So the building becomes a landscape.
  206. Even becomes a land art,
  207. where people can walk around the building,
  208. they can climb this building
  209. as they're wandering in this volcano park.
  210. And this rendering shows
    one of the spaces in those volcanoes.
  211. This is actually a swimming pool
  212. with natural light coming from above.
  213. So, what we're trying to create

  214. actually is an environment
    that blurs the boundary
  215. in between architecture and nature.
  216. So architecture is no longer
    a functional machine for living.
  217. It also reflects the nature around us.
  218. It also reflects our soul and spirit.
  219. So, as an architect, I don't think
  220. in the future we should repeat
    those soulless matchboxes anymore.
  221. I think what I'm looking for
    is the opportunity
  222. to create a future
  223. with harmony in between humans and nature.
  224. Thank you very much.

  225. (Applause)