Learning after Bernard Tschumi and Kenneth Frampton, Ziyu Zhuang has been granted the Master’s degree of Architecture and Urban design in Columbia University, USA. RSAA/ Büro Ziyu Zhuang was founded in 2010, in which Ziyu Zhuang works as the chief architect, as well as around 20 architects from Europe, North America and China.Meanwhile, Ziyu Zhuang is a partner of the German RSAA design group which was founded in 1965, operating in Cologne and owning around 80 architects. Based in Beijing, Büro Ziyu Zhuang aims to use the connections from Germany and China to establish a new design vocabulary making use of the resources of both to create a new element of thought, a fusion of European and Chinese architecture. This will create a new and unique style which takes advantage of the two-way system, bringing Chinese influences to Europe, crafting a new line of thought that surpasses the constraints of each individual culture, and viceversa.
You mentioned that the installation represents multiple layers of time and space for a city.How would you interpret the layers of time and space?
From the architect’s perspective, we aim to reshape the layers of time and space in this newest installation art for people in Shenzhen. The “form” refers to the current state of time. It is the narration of the story connecting the past and the future. Built in the Ming Dynasty, Dapeng’s ancient city is real and historic. The site itself has deep narrative potential for both its history and future. If we put it into a grand magnitude of timeline based on history and tradition, we can form a totally different unconventional way of thinking on the idea of the future. We use this as a starting point to rethink what we see as given about how a city is and how it could be. The installation represents multiple layers of time and space. It introduces the importance of the observer: Depending on one’s literal point of view, this installation presents itself either as an organized and rigid structure or as a chaotic cloud of pixels. Alongside the point of view, the proximity of the observer plays a crucial role as well. Each pillar is an artificial shape, constituted from many individual particles, each a simple geometric form in themselves. Upon close inspection, each particle seems important but seen from a distance, the focus shifts to the larger form each group of pixels creates. This effect gets repeated the sum of the pillars: Their individual shape loses importance from a distance and forms a larger image.
How would you describe the relationship between the material you use in your artworks with the area?
Each piece of the installation made from concrete and metal, but more important than the material is the finishing. Part of each pillar is polished so that it reflects its surroundings multiplying the interpretations and showing that form is not a constant but subject to change. After we exhibited this installation in the past few months in the area of Dapeng, we found people felt comfortable and enjoyable to walked around the area. The material of this installation merges with the ground, sand, and stones exceptionally well.
You said, ‘We use it as a starting point to rethink what we see about how a city is and how it can be.’ Did you get the perception you expected as a feedback from the viewer and urban life?
I think this is an opening question for us, as an architecture, especially, we had this unique opportunity to create this installation art for the people, who are living in the Dapeng, Shenzhen. The answer is YES after several months of the exhibition and testifying. When contemplating the time in an architectural context, one very quickly extends the questions that are at the center of the design, to the location, and subsequently to the history of the built environment it is located in. These thoughts make the location in Shenzhen / DaPeng so interesting. While Shenzhen is the reality of the present and most likely future of China, DaPeng is more than just the past: It represents a possibility of Shenzhen, a “what if” scenario, if the free trade zone had not established. DaPeng is what people would see if they would think of Shenzhen in such a case. The mega modern versus traditional city is the most apparent contrast we stumble upon in this scenario, but others come quickly to mind, such as the quest of the artificial and natural character of our cities.
Project Category: Large Space Art Installation
Design Time: 2019
Design Team: RSAA/ Büro Ziyu Zhuang
Principal Designer: Ziyu Zhuang，Na Li
Team Members: Fabian Wieser, Kunyu Zhu, Xin Zhao, Hongyu Zhao, Chloe Huisi Liang
Lighting Consultant: Chloe Zhang
Curation Team: Shangqi Art
Construction Team: Shenzhen Meicheng Sculpture Engineering Co., Ltd.
Interview: Özlem Kan