Questions and Answers on the Design of Tangshan Earthquake Site Park


Tang Qi: when you first received this design task (or contest topic), how did you understand it? What is the first reaction?

Yuan Ye: the notice of the competition was first seen on the information column on the first floor of the architectural college. I think this competition has special social significance. My first reaction was that the park should commemorate ordinary people, 240,000 ordinary people who lost their lives because of disasters, not heroes. That's what I'm interested in.

Tang Qi: It is understood that this is your first independent design task. How did you feel when you took over this project? Especially behind the project was the disaster in 1976, when it was estimated that you were not yet born. How did you understand that disaster?

Yuan Ye: I was born in December 1975. I was less than one year old when I was under the earthquake. Of course, I had no impression. I only know a little about this earthquake through my parents' sporadic memories. Before preparing for the design, I found some information about the Tangshan Earthquake on the Internet and got a better understanding. In the library, I borrowed the reportage "Tangshan Earthquake" written by author Qian Gang. After reading it, I was deeply shocked. It's all I can never imagine, and I find it hard to describe in words.

Tang Qi: the core of the Tangshan earthquake ruins park project is to commemorate the wall. This part introduces 2-3 design schemes, including glass curtain wall and stone curtain wall. From the point of view of architectural designers, what are your personal comments on these different types of design? What kind of plan do you prefer? If your preferred solution has not been selected, can you analyze it from the perspective of the judges or users?

Yuan Ye: The original plan was glass wall. From the beginning of the design, I decided to use glass wall. Otherwise, I would not choose memorial wall as the main monument of the park, because the stone wall is really too common. And I've carefully studied many classic stone wall designs, including the U.S. Vietnam War Monument designed by Lin Zhang. I find it hard to surpass, especially the Vietnam War Monument, which is perfect. However, if it is a glass memorial wall is not the same, because glass has the characteristics of transparency and reflection, it reflects the richness of stone can not be compared. We designed two parallel glass walls, with a 3-meter passage between them, so that people could walk through the glass walls. The water and trees on both sides of the memorial wall, with their names engraved, superimpose dynamic images with the presence of light. All the scenery is condensed on the wall. And this creates a resonance between the living, the dead, and the sky and the earth. I think it will achieve this effect, if completed.

However, in the deepening stage after the selection of the scheme, it is not my personal and design team's own business, we must listen to the views of the government and the people. The municipal government has held several committee meetings with us to discuss the design of parks and walls. The plan was announced in the Planning Bureau, and many citizens left their opinions. The Planning Bureau summed up these opinions and gave them to me. I have read them carefully. You know, this is not a monument designed for the architect himself, but for so many people who died and so many more who lived to commemorate them. In the process of revision, I experienced painful torment and choice. This feeling has also been experienced before, but none of this is unforgettable. At that time, I was struggling in my dream. I may value the design too much.

Questions about glass walls focus on the cost of firmness and maintenance, not on the cost of construction and technical difficulty. What I think is more critical is the difference in understanding "monumental". There are, of course, factors that are time critical.

Finally decided to use the polished black granite wall, curtain wall company provides many samples for us to choose. My requirement is to have a high degree of finish, like a black mirror can reflect the reflection of people and scenery. Without any decoration, it has to be as clean as a giant minimalist sculpture, and then carve the name on it, with a uniform quality.

Tang Qi: This building project is a carrier used to trust people's feelings. Different people have different feelings, and emotions are changing. How do you design this project from the perspective of visitors and experiencer? What kind of emotional resonance do you want to achieve with them?

Yuan Ye: I think, visiting and memorial is a process, so the design must grasp the emotional changes of people. The main entrance is located at the southeast corner farthest from the site. In order to maximize the depth of the base to establish a long enough Memorial road, this also largely determines the total length of the wall. Why is it so long, to walk hundreds of meters, I think this is necessary, because people's emotional gestation is a process. The sequence of spaces is like this: people first enter a sunken square at the entrance to the park, and when they go down, their mood becomes depressed and calm, which indicates the beginning of an unusual Memorial road. The deliberate planting of a ginkgo tree in the corner of the sunken square is a meaningful sight in the open square, suggesting a connection between the two trees on the surface of the water at the end of the memorial road. Turning around the low wall engraved with the Tangshan Earthquake Site Park, a ruin square appears, which is one of the most obvious symbols of the disaster in the park, playing a role of a puzzle. Turning around is a black concrete wall engraved with memorial inscriptions. Large gaps can help clear away emotional impurities. Attention begins to turn to the memorial wall. On this long Memorial road, step by step, walk along the huge Memorial wall, and the surface of the water will gradually appear on one side (the entrance and the first three memorial roads are below the water level), and the trees on the other side will appear repeatedly through the slits between the walls. I think this journey must be unforgettable. The Memorial Road and the commemorative wall are all commemorative squares, showing the whole picture of the ruins. The Earthquake Memorial Hall and the science museum are also built here. During an earthquake, the track bent by the earthquake was laid on the surface of the water and disappeared into the water so that it could be followed to the center of the water. It was here when the earthquake struck, and now appears in an amazing gesture of strangeness, adding to the symbolism of the rails. The two trees remain on the water, visually linking the two ends of the track and contrasting with the ginkgo trees planted alone in the sunken square at the entrance. When the memorial road turns to the square and looks back, it forms a vast scene with the memorial wall as the boundary, and the background is the ruins. All of these make people feel the destructive force of the earthquake directly, while reflecting on the relationship between life and nature.

It's a bit like the long lens of a movie. Maybe it has something to do with what I like about movies.

Tang Qi: the design and construction process of this project has undergone many twists and turns. How many times do you go to the site? How do you feel about it every time you go?

Yuan Ye: architects are willing to treat their works as their own children, so do I. I was eager to see him go from drawing to reality bit by bit, and at the same time there was a sense of fear and tension that I feared he would not look good after birth. This concern is increasing with the rapid progress of the project. We are still adjusting the details of the size a few days before the construction, taking into account the scale and scale relationship, afraid of irreparable mistakes. The effect of construction should be said that many places are not very ideal, and many places become the eternal pain in the heart. I must admit that I am inexperienced, and I know that these pains are the price an architect must pay for his growth. In retrospect, I should have invested more, been more cautious, had been more persistent, consulted more experts, more deliberation, so that the final results will be better.

Tang Qi: How did you feel when the project was completed?

Yuan Ye: very calm.

Tangqi: standing here, looking back, what was the greatest benefit this project has given you, and what changes have you made?
Yuanye: I think as an architect, through this project, I 've grown a lot. The actual engineering and the original conceptual design are two levels of things. A mature architect is not only able to plan well, but can control the entire process of the project, especially the construction process. At a particular time in China, building a high quality architectural work is by no means an easy task and requires great effort on the part of architects. In addition to making up for the lack of professional knowledge, it is necessary to continuously increase the experience of the project site, and at the same time, it is more necessary to carry out the ability and communication skills of the project organization. More importantly, you need a strong will. You can not compromise and you can not insist on everything, but you must adhere to your own principles. You must define these principles at the beginning of the design to ensure that the design ideas are implemented.

Tangqi: As an architect at one of China's top universities, can you put your point of view on the current field of Chinese architectural curtain wall design and technology? Is there anything you 'd like to say to the curtain wall designer community?

Yuanye: The curtain wall in the building, like clothes in people, is the architectural elements that directly demonstrate the architectural character. At the same time, curtain walls are often the embodiment of advanced construction technology. The development of modern architecture technology and aesthetics has a great relationship with the progress of curtain wall technology. Whether it is the pyramid of the Louvre or the eggshell of the National Theatre, the role of curtain wall technology is crucial. Architects should thank the curtain wall designers for helping the architect achieve the most important personality expression in the building.
I think architects should work closely with curtain wall designers to understand the key to curtain wall technology and performance. Curtain wall designers also need to make every effort to cooperate with the architect's expression of architectural character, especially to reflect the spiritual connotation of the building in order to enhance the overall quality of the building.

Tangqi: How do you think design creativity is produced and expressed?

Yuanye: Creativity in architectural design is created by limitations. Based on the specific conditions of the construction project, it is cleverly used and can effectively organize these conditions and enhance its spiritual connotation. The conditions themselves are not superior or inferior, so it is important for the architect to understand the project as a whole. Among them, it is crucial to excavate the potential of the base and refine the characteristics of the base. In the design of the seismic park, the base has two implicit "axes": First, the rails on the original site are relatively obvious. The other is the line from the southeast corner of the base to the site. This is an implicit line that needs designers to find and emphasize. The two lines naturally divide the base into four parts: the water area, the forest area, the memorial Square, and the gravel area, and eventually hand over to one point, which is the location of the earthquake memorial. Of course, different designers will have different understandings of the base, but exploring the design opportunities implicit in the current situation is one of the important ways to create creativity.