On a daily basis, numerous architectural elements are passed by without a second thought and used by modern city dwellers as part of their daily routines. These elements operate, condition and set the tone for our experience of space, yet often get unnoticed. In this project, the way architectural elements condition us is highlighted through a representation of daily life illustrated by a stop motion animation. By subtly modifying certain operations of the architectural elements, their usage (by us) is consequently changed.
“We shape our tools and, thereafter, our tools shape us.“ - John Culkin
Using filmic techniques implemented throughout the plot, the project explores how architecture conditions us through experience of space in a subjective way. Thus it puts forward the notion that the surprises (that we call the “glitches“) created by altering the mundane or the taken-for-granted in architecture could recondition us.
On the another hand, the notion of norm and what we consider as “normal“ is greatly related to subjectivity and gaze. By using these filmic techniques, the concept of “voyeur“is examined, and how the pleasure of looking at others and being looked at affect our behaviors and consciousness of being.
Varanasi in Dust
The Hinduism Temple in Happy Valley is the biggest gathering place for the 40,000 hindus who are living in Hong Kong. All kinds of religious activities happen in Hinduism temple both daily and non-daily. Antyesti are also held in this temple as the terminal service for hindus before his soul take departure into the next incarnation in the cycle of Samsara.
Mandala plays a crucial role in Hinduism since it is believed to show the cosmology and contain the ultimate truth. In the cosmological mandala, Mount Meru and the Ganges River are cognized as complementary places which are located respectively in the middle and on the edge.
The project seeks to retrieve spirituality and monumentality of religion on this site by extending the original temple into the massif of the mountain and building an underground Ashrem with a crematorium as a living facility and a hidden sacred realm for Hindus who seek salvation.
This project challenges contemporary modes of human awarenesses in terms of human understanding of the self, other and environment in order to re-encourage engagement with the different ingredients that make up our world. It is crucial to recall the importance of these three ways of engagement to strengthen the existence of others and the environment in our life so as to enhance our conscious presence in the world.
The argument is that we normally stay busy with meaningless daily routines, ignoring many of the wonderful matters that pass by, neglecting our relationship to the other and ultimately not knowing who we really are and what we are living for. Could we have a PAUSE to reconsider what we are meant to be and how our lives should be interpreted?
The footbridge is an infrastructure that links point A and point B, while it also as the potential to become a large communal platform due to having numbers of users every single minute, especially the office workers who are walking to the office and back home after work.
This project uses the footbridge as an experimental site and it aims to utilize this very little moment of passage to introduce people to a PAUSE from work, stepping out of the autopilot mode that we are normally living in a loop everyday, to reflect upon ourselves, appreciating the surrounding cityscape, and interacting with the people next to us.
Imagine the cityscape along the whole footbridge is captured with its structural frames , they are presented like the oil paintings in art gallery. Are you ready to slow down and gaze upon them? Would you try going beyond and to walk into the "framed picture", to get away from the loop for just a PAUSE?
'Play' and Body Movements
This projects dissects 2 important aspects of architecture: first, that we design for sedentary lifestyles not conducive to healthy bodies and second, the role of architectural education and design thinking on our readings of space.
If you look around the built architecture in our daily lives, we have produced, on one hand defensive and on the other sedentary architecture- it prohibits people from sitting or resting in areas while creating efficiencies and ease of movements that do not exploit our full range of movement.
Therefore, the project takes this on and examines the tactile sense and body movement in space.
Borrowing the concept of “spectacle” from the situationists, I define that contemporary urbanized and civilized architecture is also a spectacle. The détournement, which means a reroute or hijack of the spectacle, that I’m proposing is the concept of “play”. Providing certain set-ups and claiming the use of a region of space, people can join the play as players. They obey different rules and focus on the tactile experience at hand.
This project has resulted in a few installations designed based on a series of body movements. These were then tested providing insight as to how different users interact with them. Since tactile senses and our bodily movement in and through space are largely subjective, I expected unique reactions and comments from others.
This process provides insight into the role of architecture and architectural education. Not only do we design for the most convenient and comfortable motions within buildings, but we are also training people to be confined to certain unitary movements. We do not provide options and tolerance for others to move in different ways. When it came to the difference of education background of players, I found that those in architecture involuntarily assessed it from a design perspective and predicted the design intents.
These behaviors were not common with those not in architecture, which shows that we have cognitive differences regarding design and its use.
This project only covers a small part of research about the tactile sense and body movements of humans, instead bringing into focus critical questions about our role as architects in society and the role of architectural education.
This is an initial project that examines the condition of the boundary, looking at different modes- first the defensive, second the definitive, and third the illustrative- in order to consider how architecture might help shape our notions of self in space.
Boundary is subjective, determined by things like culture, gender and history. In the contemporary context, boundary is also highlighted by the pandemic, with people needing to keep distance from one another.
This design exercise extrapolates these ideas through 3 prototypes that were then developed further into an architectural project for place making in Hong Kong.
House of Erik Saite
BRIEF : Conceptually, it is a house encapsulating Erik Satie’s music and personalities. Pro-grammatically, this is a residence designed according to Satie’s odd daily schedule.
SITE : The site is located at Satie’s former residence at Paris, France. The footprint is about 8x8m in three stories. The house is sandwiched between a narrow alley in the front and a large garden in the back.
MUSIC TO SPACE : A major argument in this project is how music relates to architecture. After self-study and deliberation, instead of the symbolism (logically analyzing the music and translating to architectural elements), I assert that“atmosphere” is the communal aspect that music and architecture share as they all render a field of affection.
ATMOSPHERE : The operation of design will put emphasis on creating atmosphere linking with Saite’s Piano Suite “Gymnopédies”, which refers to Peter Zumthor’s interpretation in the book “Atmospheres”.
Examining the Scopophilic and Voyeuristic
This initial project uses the conceptual framework of “scopophilia." Scopophilia takes active and passive forms, which are referred to the pleasure gained from looking as well as to the pleasure gained from being looked at respectively, The concept is first developed by Sigmund Freud, in his view, these two types of pleasures are the two fundamental human drives. That means we seek to gaze at others and to be gazed at. In feminist theories, Laura Mulvey went further speaking of “male gaze”, where the woman becomes a passive object of the male gaze.
“In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. “ The gaze is an indicator of the imbalanced power system between man and woman. Inspired by this binary opposition of the activity and passivity, my prototypes are trying to speak to this and subvert it.
The first is a visibility face shield, a headpiece responsive to the gaze that forces the gazer to come to terms with his own image while shielding the woman. The second allows the woman to recapture her place in space through an expanding skirt that reappropriates notions of the cage skirt.