Architecture, drama and space -- Interview with D1 magazine of Shenyang Construction University (201


D1: Thank you very much, Professor Yuan Ye for accepting interview with D1. The theme of our new issue is "Architecture and Art". First of all, I would like to ask Mr. Yuan to talk about his views on "Architecture and Art".

Yuan: From the development of Western architecture, architecture itself is a kind of art, in fact, it is called the mother of art in the West. In Italy, I don't know if this is the case, at least in the 20th century, no matter what design major, undergraduate is to learn architecture, architecture is a basic education course, not like our professional education, it is a basic artistic quality. After learning architecture, sculpture, painting and other art categories are all involved. Western churches, like the Vatican churches, are actually a synthesis of all categories of art reflected in architecture. However, the concept of "architectural art" was introduced relatively late in China, that is, "architecture and art" in the modern sense. Originally, we do not have the term "architect" but only "craftsman" and "literati". It may be a kind of inheritance, and some aesthetic things naturally form a norm. I think it may have been in modern times that the concept of "architecture and art" began to emerge. Especially the Liang Sicheng generation, who guided the concept of architecture in the modern sense to China, mentioned the relationship between architecture and art.

I. Drama and architecture

D1: We've seen your article Drama and Architecture. As a post-90s generation, we know less about drama, such as Thunderstorm, which we learned in high school, and we've seen some but still know less about drama. So, for your generation, is it possible to pay more attention to drama in ordinary life?

Yuan: No, it should be personal interest. I was a undergraduate in 1994. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Chinese young people were more enthusiastic about literature and art. A large number of pioneers in poetry and drama appeared at that time. So we were the tail of the trend of thought in literature and art at that time. We caught up with it. Fortunately, we were interested in literature and art. It happened that I often read some scripts and so on when I was in college, and I liked them very much, which had an effect on this aspect. After 90, I think, Meng Jinghui's "Vanguard Drama" later had an impact on contemporary young people, as everyone knows, "Rhino in Love" has become a classic, we can not say classic at that time, can only be said to be a representative of the avant-garde drama, now become a classic. But at that time there was no combination of drama and architecture. It was entirely personal preference. But now gradually, drama and architecture are all interlinked with art.

D1: do you usually watch many plays?

Yuan: not much. I read more scripts. There are still many opportunities to see drama in Beijing, but as an architect, it is too busy. But I still pay more attention to contemporary drama, such as what trend of thought, what are the tendencies?

D1: Maybe we first learned that the relationship between architecture and art was that Mr. Lin Huiyin wanted to learn architecture when he arrived at Penn University, but the school did not accept female students and changed to stage arrangement. At what moment did you think of the connection between drama and architecture, besides personal interest?

Yuan: Architecture and drama are actually intrinsically linked, and I do not want to contact them. Read many books of drama theory, and books on architectural theory, and find that they have many intersections. Especially in the Renaissance, when architecture was called "setting architecture", like the stage, the idea of reality and stage design was interesting in many places. At the same time, many architects were also stage designers, like famous architects would be asked to do the stage setting of opera, because its perspective is the Western mirror. The "fourth walls" we talk about in the Box Theatre, its perspective effect simulates the real situation. In fact, in western cities, we can see a similar train of thought.

D1: As we know, when we go to the theatre, there is more interaction between the people underneath the theatre and the people on the stage. We just need this interaction to highlight the scene. You mentioned a scene like the whole western city with a "fourth wall," and I think there's a mixed feeling in our city that requires interaction between people, right?

Yuan: Yes, Chinese cities are like this. Zhao Chen wrote a book called "The Misunderstanding of Facade". He said that western architecture is actually masked architecture, which should be presented in the city. In the west, flowers are placed outside to make people look. There is a kind of openness and openness. Chinese are not. Chinese people are very private. The patriarchal clan system has long led to introverted national character, which is very private. So it doesn't take on a unique look in public places, so our city becomes a unique context, intertwined with human life, unless the most important buildings are built. Even important buildings, it is not a strong gesture to express, including Tiananmen, we now see that it is an extremely large independent building, but it is not the original, the front of a thousand steps corridor, there is a large courtyard, it is actually a very large sequence of one of the nodes. And the West is not, like the Arc de Triomphe is the center, obelisk is to attract everyone's attention, is sculptured, as I wrote in my article is the protagonist of the play. But China is not. Chinese actors and walls seem to be blurred.

D1: Well, there's a need for an atmosphere in which the audience cheers and the actors are more confident to perform. I think that's how it feels

Yuan: Why, I don't think much about it. It may have something to do with the farming society in China. It has performances in its spare time. The performance is not a separate category, it is closely linked to your life, like the Northeast Errenzhuang, sitting on the top and bottom of the Kang is turning, like this time you can hardly distinguish between the audience and actors, the audience can also enter the role at any time, actors can also run to the audience, blurring the Chinese drama Understand. Later, a long time also formed our operas. At this time opera is independent, there is a special stage, but the same below is not a kind of watching other people's life. But the west is not. The West seems to be peeping. All the people are watching another world. China is not, watching the audience and actors interaction, noisy, drinking tea, cucumber seeds, children crying, throwing towels, but it does not matter, the actor he acted his, the next to do their own. Unlike Westerners who are very formal in going to the theater, this is really a different point of view.

D1: You quote Peter Brook at the beginning of the article: "I can choose any space to call it an empty stage. A person walking through this space under the gaze of others constitutes a drama. "It makes people feel that life is a drama. The space we live in is a stage of drama. Is the original intention of your writing coming from here?

Yuan: Yes, I saw the article written in this sentence. It still had an impact on me. The essence of drama is to refine the conflicts in life, to concentrate them together, to exaggerate them, and to put the narrative together in limited time and space. In fact, drama can be said to be the condensation of life, which reflects the elements of life and exaggeration. You give it a certain space, there's an audience, the actors walk on the stage, and the play really happens. It doesn't have to wear a costume, have a light, or have a lot of audience. These are additional things, and the drama itself can happen anytime.

We do architecture, including the understanding of the city, architects and ordinary people are different, sometimes architects should be like a theater director, you see people, things, imagine a play, so that you have the director's desire to operate, you design and expect to happen can be linked, but you may also There are two possibilities: one is that you're a poor director, not a good architect, that you're inexperienced in building, that you don't understand people's lives; the other is an accident, that's outside the building itself, because It is very difficult to define behavior by material, which is why the modernist function and ethics that I mentioned later have bound people.

D1: Suppose we set up a scene to break this code of ethics and consider not allowing the scene to restrict people's lives?

Yuan: It's open space, modernism. Wright was the first prairie dwelling house to break the interconnection between rooms in traditional Western architecture. So you'll feel that its rooms are divergent and can move freely inside, so people thought about it at that time. There's general space like Mies, he's even more extreme, he thinks the direction and route of the mobile space is still limited, so just be open, do whatever you want, anything can happen.

But sometimes restriction is not a bad thing, such as church, to the spiritual needs of people, must be upward, relatively closed space, and has a strong directional, light from above down, the cross, the priest, the altar in front, this time needs such a place, an atmosphere. So when you're restricted a lot and want to be open, when you're free to a certain extent you want to be surrounded and protected and restricted.

D1: It's almost like setting up a scenario in a certain environment, whether it's a place or a function that we expect the space to require.

Yuan: people have the desire to get together and have the desire to be alone. In the design of architecture, there will be a gathering space, spiritual place, it hopes to materialize, spatialize, and architecturalize a kind of human nature needs. In fact, it is also a drama mode of thinking.

D1: in fact, there is an internal connection between them. When designing a space, as you mentioned in the case of Diderot, he argues that everyday life is not heroism. When we students design, they may want a new concept, they may want to set a situation, but it may not happen after setting it. How to control?

Yuan: most buildings want people to move freely instead of restricting their freedom. In architectural design, we should consider the elasticity of space or the possibility of life as far as possible.

Because the possibilities are infinite, you can't predict, it's hard to predict what will happen here. But for example, the canteen, you might think it's a place to eat, but it's not, it can happen all sorts of things, causing a lot of conflict, group, personal, so it's hard to predict what such a functional space can do, when the architect's values play a big role, the architect The canteen will be used as a life generator to set up some space, but the key is to provide the opportunity for events to occur. For example, if you design a staircase in this dining hall, the width of the stairs, the height of the handrails and so on will be limited according to the regulations, if you take a lunch box to stand on the stairs and wait for people may be embarrassed; but if you widen the stairs, put a bookshelf on the stairs, put a magazine, install a TV, etc., it can be pretended as If nothing happens on the staircase, it will not be embarrassed. Well, can you think of that? I think you can have the talent of drama director. I wrote in my article (Drama and Architecture) that Louisikan's description of the architect's dramatic genius probably means that.

D1: Are there any specific dramatic designs in your actual projects, or are the ideas from here?

Yuan: School buildings do a little more. My point of view is that there should be a lot of "gray space", or transitional space, connecting the places where people communicate with each other between the various functional spaces. This part of space is the most important consideration.

People's growth is a continuous state, more in the state of autonomy, people-to-people communication, this growth is more important, we seldom say that we are more affected in the classroom teachers, in fact, in extracurricular, between students we are more affected, so I pay more attention to the design of the University as an entrance. Steps, squares and other designs, such as large steps, he can sit down to watch the crowd entering the door, waiting for people.

Like the Spanish staircase, it doesn't have to be exaggerated, but this space is the generator of life. It's big enough for all the possibilities of life to happen here.

II. Rustic architecture

D1: What do you think of "plain architecture" when you mention "plain architecture", "it happens for human life and exists for human life"? Is there any connection with what general Xi Jinping mentioned about not to do strange buildings?

Yuan: I was born in western Liaoning. When I was little, our family's small yard was the most pristine building for me. Just as every one of us lives in a space when we are young, because that space is very simple, not to show ourselves, for a concept and exist, it is purely for survival. Every little life is inside, every detail, every corner, even every trace on the wall, and it's very familiar to you, and it's integrated into your life.

I want architecture to return to this state, it is not the protagonist nor supporting role, you can not say it is the background of life, it is a part of life. When you think of life and the sweet and beautiful things, though you think of the space or the building, it can not be divided into parts and can not be used to analyze it, just as we say there are no architects of residential buildings why they are so beautiful, so simple.

Of course, plain drama expresses the same idea. It does not mean to focus on dramatic conflicts and the performances of actors, but to refine the simple things in life and present them on the empty stage.

D1: Nowadays, it is very difficult to make "plain architecture" in large space buildings, such as gymnasiums, and so on. They will pursue exaggeration. What do you think of such buildings?

Yuan: This is true of architecture. We are now a media age. The image of architecture. This expression of architecture has become an appeal of architects, but it is not a good direction. It runs counter to the "plain architecture" we just mentioned, but it is also a feature of this era and can not be denied. Fix it. Our time is not the past, our life has changed, the building will naturally change with our living conditions, showing a new look.

But I think, a building can not only express a demand, the building is loaded with many aspects, unlike our small courtyard just bears our life, like public buildings, developers will first consider to attract attention, cost recovery, and the government, planners will want the building to become a landmark, generation. City image. When people get close to this building, it acts as a catalyst to trigger life and make people feel more comfortable. I think it is also a public or social problem for building to grow. A good building should take these aspects into consideration. Combine noodles. So the architect here is a tightrope walker who wants to play games with different people. Sometimes you can win on one hand and you can lose on the other.

We say that architectural design is to solve the problem, you do a design always have a cut-in point or that you have to ask the problem and then try to solve it, can be like drawing Bubble Diagram and so on to solve its function. There is also a kind of traditional Chinese garden is not the way bubble map, it is to imagine its life situation, reflect the ideal of life, to play the piano, write poetry, drinking with friends. He imagined what he was going to do here would naturally materialize these things of life, create situations, and he might hope that what happens in a study is different from what happens in a pavilion in the water, so the way we call building or creating the environment is not functionalist.

In fact, when we do architectural design, we all have a tendency to consider this aspect, but we should make ourselves conscious to do, do not let themselves into the dead end of functionalism, otherwise the architecture will be flat, no life without thought.

III.Follow up

D1: what is your original intention of becoming a studio?

Yuan: people need expression when they are alive. This is a desire to express. Architecture is not a person can do, the building must be a team work, the establishment of this organization is to do a good design, or do the ideal design, and not for the organization to do.

D1: if we want to be a good architect, should we cultivate some feelings of life?

Yuan: Western architecture used to be noble majors. They weren't forced by life. They didn't need to support their families. It was a kind of interest. They wanted to create a new life. So there was no essential difference between being a sculptor and a painter. China is not the same, our country has a large demand for construction, a large number of houses in a short period of time, so there is no need and there can not be so many thoughtful buildings. But to really be a good architect, we really need to connect architecture with art, but not all architecture is art. 90% may be just a house. If you want to go in the direction of the Master, you need several efforts, first of all, professional skills, to continue to learn; and then life experience, understanding of life, as we are very difficult to let a person who has not stayed in a five-star hotel to design five-star hotels; there is also an important art. Talent is influenced by family and living environment. Architecture is the final culture, and the level of accomplishment is different.

D1: Thank you very much, Mr. Yuan. Finally, I'd like to ask you to talk about our expectations for students who want to be architects.

Yuan: I don't expect to talk about it. I haven't reached that age and achievement yet. I remember my state at that time. Talking about freedom, our environment gives you freedom, not to imprison you, some of the things that frame your freedom to be vigilant, to find ways to liberate themselves. Now you are very young and interested in everything. I was interested in drama at that time. I also wanted to be a director of the Central Academy of Drama. There were many students who didn't study architecture. Don't be confined by their major. But architecture cultivates your eyes to see things and enriches your life. To be more demanding of yourself, young people should pursue "Tao" instead of "skill". Read more, communicate more with experienced people, and maintain your own independent judgment. Don't believe in any kind of authoritative statement. Recognize a thing and do it. To a certain extent, if you find a real mistake, go back and allow it to happen.

D1: Today's conversation has made us very fruitful both in design and thought. Once again, thank Mr. Yuan for his interview with D1!