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The picture above is my home town,
I’m from a small town on the east coast of Borneo (Malaysia).
In my teens, my family emigrated to Canada,
we went from a tropical paradise straight to this frozen land.
My post graduate studies took me to New York City,
to a 3-4 year adventure in this grey concrete jungle.
After graduation, work lured me
to the glitzy neon fantasies of Hong Kong.
Every place I’ve lived were
so drastically different from the last.
While in Hong Kong,
I worked on the Chin Suei highway rest stop in Taiwan.
I saw this small folded paper model
I made took form as an absolutely real building.
To a twenty-something year old,
this was an earth shattering experience.
When the building opened,
it got so immensely popular,
people came to camp out on the grounds, barbecue, hold car meets.
The renown movie director Tsai Ming-liang
did an unforgettable musical sequence in the toilet.
I saw some of our design elements,
like this auditorium,
got remodelled into a shark tank,
and a huge tourist hit.
There were even allegations of
illegal extensions to increase retail area.
Despite all this,
Chin Suei is still the highest grossing
rest stop in Taiwan,
pulling in NT$600 million annually,
the second highest
lag way behind at only NT$2-300 million.
Thus began my experience
of Taiwan’s many “strange ways”.
I settled in Taiwan,
and set up my practice here in Taipei.
I feel really strongly that we architects
are much like frontline workers here.
We see a lot of the growing pains
of a developing city,
witness a great many strange conditions,
which we have to face up to and resolve.
I’m constantly asked 3 questions,
which I hate answering.
Why is Taipei so ugly?
Who is your favourite architect?
Which is your favorite building?
Foreign visitors or Taiwanese alike,
hearing that I'm an architect,
will invariably ask me these 3 questions.
I really hate answering them,
because in my mind,
space and architectural experience
can not be described with one building
or one grand master.
For example, this is my favorite building,
on the edge of Ximenting,
an entire building facade made of stairs.
Not sure why it was built like that,
I think it’s incredible that this exists.
I doubt if any client would agree
to building something like this now.
so this is super great.
Xiangyang Road, is also my favorite.
This phenomenon is where
the proxy wars of major Taiwanese corporations
are fought out on this little street
every year in May and June.
Such energy, all happening here,
totally incredible.
No architect can design
these wonders in their spaces.
This, is what I consider
the ultimate spiritual center.
The idea of “spiritual uplift” is so potently expressed here.
The temple is all about spiritual uplift,
beetle nuts gives you a mental high,
haircuts or makeovers are facelifts,
What an ingenious program mix.
Abroad, we could never ever get this mixture,
not even if we begged the gods.
To me, these phenomena emerged from the city,
and in a way,
represent the collective desires of its citizens.
I call these phenomena “Urbanmatic”,
as they are automatic or self-generated urban phenomena.
I think Urbanmatic indirectly affects my designs sometimes,
while at times it can be a direct inspiration.
This building here seems fairly normal, nothing unusual.
But on closer inspection, all the ground floor shops are beetle nut vendors.
These typically scattered road side shacks actually organised as a “beetle nut main street”.
Extraordinary.
Take this audacious illegal addition,
making a looping ring high up on the 7th or 8th floor,
totally fierce, so gutsy.
A hand made bridge,an umbilical cord linking the buildings together.
A hand made bridge, an umbilical cord linking the buildings together.
This is a 500m long expressway exit,
where the entire street becomes an architectural space.
When we had the opportunity to design the Taiwan Rail Museum,
using movement to sculpt a space became a big motivation for me.
We re-interpreted rail elements with the experience of light and shadow,
We re-interpreted rail elements with the experience of light and shadow,
as these elevated public walkways at the visitor center,
for people to journey across.
This project is located at the Railway Bureau at the North Gate,
it’s a competition project we won, now in our 6th year on this project.
Even after 6 years, we’re still unable to apply for a building permit.
This is because this greater area is the “Taipei Gateway Project”.
This grand urban project stretches westwards from here
all the way to our museum site.
The government has yet to quantify key factors
such as floor area ratio and site coverage.
Since this master plan has no planning specifics,
therefore no permit application can be made.
It is very common to observe this tremendous lag
between urban planning and architecture in Taipei.
Like this project apparently built after road widening.
A brand new residential tower
unfortunately has a half-demolished building as its front,
a very difficult to occupy installation piece.
This strongly reflects the lag between planning and architecture.
Seeing this example makes me feel that
our inability to apply for a permit even after 6 years is really nothing,
it really is so totally common.
But then again, government planning doesn't always result in great spaces.
We’ve worked on this very peculiar planning project once.
The client’s brief for the project,
is a proposal for negotiating allowable floor area with the planning department.
Existing on site is their most profitable gas station.
They are also Christians, who hope to build a church to give back to their ministry.
And of course they also want the usual residential, hotel, office and shopping mall too.
whatever you can think of, they want.
On top of all that, they also want a “transportation depot”.
Why a depot? Because a depot will ensure the largest gains in allowablefloor area.
So we were commissioned to create a design as such.
Gas stations, churches and multiple dwelling, these programs don’t work together,
they are antagonistic to each other.
So we came up with the idea,
that references the all-you-can-eat roast meat
shish-kabobs ubiquitous in night markets.
with each program land use tightly “skewered” together
on a small site,
forming this seemingly normal final massing.
This was our way to sort out such a crazy program mix.
Take a look at this building’s illegal extensions, which is so very systematic,
strata council may have gotten one contractor
to do a unified illegal build.
We recently got a retrofit project in Ximenting.
I almost fainted when I saw the project site.
How could this possibly be “beautified”?
We thought perhaps the spirit of systematic illegal extensions can be adapted,
but in a way that would also expose the existing conditions, like this peeling red wall.
We want to express the old traces through the new facade design,
each trace one on top of the other, hence the project name “Layers”..
Underneath the new layer of open lattice expanded aluminium,
the weathered facade can also be seen.
The old and new layers stack like book spines,
these semi transparent layers are then illuminated at night,
like layers upon layers of peeling paint one find in old buildings.
This kind of layering phenomena can be seen
throughout Ximenting,
On this building, we see real space,
screen space and ad space,
completely obscuring an entire building;
like this cram school, which becomes a sort of grey architecture.
Here the architecture has lost its form, eaten up by its own statements.
One of my favorites:
This is by a certain famous spokesperson debating with another
by making use of an entire building facade as a canvas for his arguments.
Perhaps most of you think this is quite ugly,
but I love Urbanmatic.
It is such a unique energy.
Ximenting is a very special place
congested with cars, signage and people.
When we started to design a hotel here,
I really wanted to take this intense energy flow, urban flow,
and transform that into an urban landscape of symbols.
we looked at energy flow diagrams.
We wanted a very natural flow, and didn't want to represent movement manually.
so we used parametric computations on a simple triangle.
By shifting the position of the apexes,
we got 55 units of movement,
applied as urban landscape on an entire building.
During design, the room layout plans were constantly adjusted.
Manually readjusting the arrows to fit these changes would be utterly unbearable,
so we’d regenerate a new facade design after every adjustment.
A software application of “flow” output as instant construction drawings
was quite a fun way to work.
The flow idea also extends to our lighting design, of swaying fiber optics fringes.
Speaking of fringes, this is also one of my favorites.
I’m sure you’ve all seen these parking cities.
What’s cool is that they are cities of fringes.
These fringes are really everywhere, at gas stations and parking lots.
I think it’s so amazing
that they can create unified spaces on such a large scale.
When we designed a weekend house in Taitung,
we referenced this approach.
Taitung enjoys incredibly mild weather when there’s no typhoon,
so we created an outdoor living that is sheltered from the sun by these fringes,
with the rooms as individual, free standing “boxes”.
These 4 boxes hold the kitchen,
living room, bedroom and bathroom,
and enclosed by 2 skin layers, like a beetle.
A hard shell protects the house from the typhoon gusts,
A soft shell protects against the sun and insects.
This soft shell is made of insect netting and fringes.
A simple concept organization:
4 living boxes organically placed in the landscape,
enclosed by a metal frame with 2 skins.
In this house, all the living happens semi outdoors,
inspired by our own Taitung experience of eating and napping outdoor throughout the day;
a very special lifestyle.
On top of the living boxes, maybe you can even get a tan.
We’ve customised and tested these fringes,
now flame retardant and and of unique dimensions.
The house of hard-soft shell design also glows at night.
Back to Taipei, to the historical railway platform right behind where we’re sitting here tonight.
It used to be the busiest rail depot of Taipei,
all freight trains converged onto this very platform.
I love this site,
as it offers a rare chance to see the real skyline of Taipei.
By skyline, I don’t mean the luxury-towers-rising-above-central-park type of skyline,
rather, it’s the bare naked urban skyline of a developing and changing city.
you can see all the colorful roof extensions
in green, red and yellow.
We expressed this sense of locality into the paving design,
and on the platform, conceived a “skyline structure”
that is inspired by this urban fabric.
Our structure spans a large 25m, a super skyline design.
The structural module then repeats horizontally to create a multipurpose arts space,
it straddles the historical platform on old train wheels,
and glides on repurposed tracks,
and can telescope from a 10m mass to a 75m path,
The resultant form evokes a city on the move,
calling to mind the silhouettes of organic asian urban systems.
>From my own experience,
a truly creative city
is not about copying the success of others,
It is much more important to recognise our own strangeness,
then we can find opportunities for transformation.
I encourage you to embrace your strangeness,
for when you embrace your own strangeness, you will find beauty within.
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【TEDx】台北咪-建築 (Grace Cheung at TEDxTaipei) ()

2337 分類 收藏
李柏勳 發佈於 2017 年 7 月 29 日

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活過數10載台北,\n您嚐到建築味嗎.

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