Cities should learn from villages - Wang Shu 王澍

Cities should learn from villages - Wang Shu 王澍

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Language: English

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Number of phrases: 365

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00:25
Today I would like to speak to everyone about this topic: I have been studying this topic for ten or so years. Now I would like to give you a bit of an introducation about myself. I come from Xinjiang. or at least I was born in Xinjiang. But I spent my childhood in Beijing, living in a hutong neighborhood. In May 2012, when I was at the Great Hall of the People (government building in Beijing) I accepted a Prizesk Award and decided that I would move there again to study. This picture was taken after I realized this plan outside the the Great Hall of the People. I called a taxi and made the driver take me back to the hutong neighborhood where I grew up. This is our home. Look at the photo, see my home. Now, the houses have been demolished. Originally, I assumed it would be protected from that, considered a historical artifact However, due to a larger objective,
01:37
The country built a science and technology research center in its place. That center is considered too important. Therefore our homes were destroyed. Another part of my background is this: At that time, when I was young, Chinese architects were very decent and respectable. Before, basically, I was an outlier among architects. An offbeat, unconventional architect of some sorts. I really am a strange kind of man, very different from everyone else. When I came back, everyone was so shocked they thought their eyes were falling out. They asked, "Why did he come back?" This situation is so strange. Because he is too abnormal. Some people say, "You have received this award." Is it enough to not let people destroy the neighborhood? I say, "You have all thought a lot, but you are taking this too seriously. There will not be this effect." But, in my opinion, this is very serious. Because someone has taken my home, my childhood, my history, my personal background And tore it all down. This city and me
02:49
Since the day they began tearing down the houses This city and me no longer are connected We don't have any real relationship. What would an architect normally do? Should they do this type of thing? Let's take a look. This is something architects normally do. Can you all see that this is Beijing? Actually, people who cannot tell, come on out. Can you even determine whether this is in China or not? I think it is hard to even tell if this is on Earth. Because maybe this city is on the Moon Or possibly on Mars? Of course I am not trying to belitte Beijing. I think the innovation there is tremendous. Now some people say the future of the world can be seen in China. This is because Chinese people are willing to thoroughly put an end to their old culture. They would go to the Moon or to Mars and build the largest machines. An unbelievable amount of enthusiasm and power. They could potentially do that. This is Shanghai. This is not a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. This is really Shanghai. Can everyone see this is Shanghai? If you can't, don't tell me. I remember two years ago, when I was at Tongji University,
04:08
I received my doctoral degree in Architectural Studies The university invited me to stay and give lectures I refused. The school was very surprised. They said, "We usually only let people who studied at international universities come here to teach." "You are the first person to study in China who we invited to remain here and lecture." "And you dared to refuse." "Why?" My answer was this: I think Shanghai is not really a Chinese city. I would like to go back to Hangzhou. My family is in Hangzhou. At the time, I was very young, and a little bit arrogant. But the question I was thinking was: Because I don't think this is the future of Chinese cities, This is too unimaginable, inconceivable. Looking at the world, Shanghai and Beijing are just representations. From then until now Chinese counties have been established. There are 3,000 counties with over 50 million people in them. Every city has become like that. You could say Chinese culture On the whole in Chinese cities Already has collapsed And left behind little residue.
05:17
People probably have this type of attitude: You can't believe this statement. We probably like to think we have become like America or another country like that It is this type of attitude that makes me ask Why would we want to do that? I think we need to think deeply about that. After all, what is the future of China's cities? What type of relationship is there between history and culture? Our country once loved nature... how could it become one like this? Now people who were once ordinary and humble live under huge skyscrapers Their values are completely different. In my opinion, this presents a huge problem. This is also why I choose to stay in Hangzhou. One of the people here in front of me, Zheng Qiang, is also from Hangzhou. We perhaps have the gift of local cultures. Here is Hangzhou. For the past thousand years, this is what Hangzhou was like. 30 years ago, Hangzhou was still like that. You can see that this is a large scene. It shows what Chinese people think about cities. What is the perfectly-constructed Chinese city like? This is a picture of Hangzhou thousands of years ago. Here is a map.
06:30
It shows Hangzhou in 1955. You can see what people from Hangzhou used to like to say about it 半边山水半边城 ~ half landscape, half city This is something that people all over China said about cities. Architecture is half and the other half is the scenery. Put the two together and then you get the concept of a real city. If you truly go into a city, what should it be like? This is a painting of the Southern Song Dynasty. There it is during four seasons When you go into the city, In the 1970's, everyone in Hangzhou was like this. Of course, much like every city today, Hangzhou changed. You can see the lake is still here and in tact. It has the same types of large buildings as Beijing and Shanghai. To what degree? The area in the red is Hangzhou in 1950. From 1970s onward, Hangzhou has been this big. Looking at today's map, you can see the yellow That's all Hangzhou. Basically, the whole city is built up.
07:56
In the past, Within 20 years, Hangzhou's size had expanded 10-fold. That is to say, the ratio of buildings to the area of the lake is 10:1. It's like this type of comparison. Obviously I am very lucky The city still has West Lake. If this lake didn't exist, I would leave the city. And find a better place to live. Chinese people have an expression that goes: Chinese culture in the city After it is destroyed We can go to the countryside to look for it again. This is our tradition. Every time this happens, We all need to go to the countryside to recover our traditions. Reflect on our inner experiences in relation to nature. Go to the countryside to see echoes of original Chinese taste and culture. Did what we were looking for come back? Actually, the countryside nowadays, Here is the countryside in Zhejiang, look at the condition it is in. Villages in Zhejiang 40,000... In the past ten years, 10,000 villages were demolished Today, 30,000 villages have been demolished 30,000 villages should have been included in the protection list, but only 1,000 were So only 1,000 have been preserved This means that the remaining 29,000 can be easily demolished The remaining 29,000 villages can be demolished easily
09:16
There is demolition everyday. What will they do after demolition? Make this. We cannot blame them. Beijing and Shanghai are both like that. Obviously they do have the right and power to do this. This is a very common and famous housing style in Hangzhou for new houses They are trying to display their wealth and power. No you can even see such a house in Africa. Because this new style has spread to Africa, it is an example of our influence and soft power growing. So, this is a question We imagine the country side as romantic, but does this vision still exist? This is why I moved my studio to Zhejiang so that as a teacher my students and I could investigate China is very big I think Zhe Jiang is also big, it is about the same size as France So first we make things clear in Zhe Jiang This decade we have done a lot of this kind of work In every place we go we do a detailed investigatio we do this to investigate the materials and technology used
10:41
In regards to this we encounter a problem I have always had my doubts We have always talked about urbanization When we look at the situation in Beijing and Shanghai The process of urbanization in the world is the same as in China So is there no value to be found in tradition? We see that the natural ecology found in traditional architecture still has value in the modern world Traditional buildings were made by hand. Today, can we do this? This is one of our principles We want to take a path it is a path much different from the path that is closer to nature Because we are most afraid of creating a new Chinese style because the real thing is very rich and attractive Of course the biggest problem is in the cities because the city is too strong in China. This is what I have done over the past 10 years It is a very awkward challenge, similar to Don Quixote challenging the giant
12:05
This type of work, as we do here on campus I call it an attempt to experiment with cities in the countryside to see if there is any possibility This red dot is the Xiang Shan campus of China Academy of Art The center of the campus is where the architectural college is Under the spire is where my office is You can see this is what we do We think that today, Hangzhou can become this kind of city You can see the state of the buildings. It's all plants. You can only see a small amount of the building Looking from this position, it is clearly traditional Chinese architecture But after Chinese people look at this They think it is the same as before, but in reality it is a new building Of course, many people like to talk about materials Because, to be honest, when foreigners see my buildings they cannot understand it. This is because Chinese culture is a little complicated, a little local. So they cannot understand it
13:16
In general, it is easy to understand the materials used All of our campus uses recycled old materials But I had to answer questions The whole city was dismantling traditional buildings, that were once so dignified and graceful There was this big pile of garbage. What would we do with it? People asked what we would do with it, and I gave them an answer This is what we will do We used more than 8 million pieces of recycled materials, such as brick and stone to make this campus this process is very difficult We did this process from 2002 until 2013 At any given time, I am on the verge of collapsing The pressure to work was huge Fortunately, I have my wife She's over there In the hardest of times, she always supports me. Together, for four years, every night we would sleep for 3 hours
14:34
For four years, we lived in a hotel without returning home. We did it for this situation We also didn't have any income, the school didn't have any money, so we worked practically for free This is what we do. Everyone take the opportunity to look at it This is our most recent completion for the school. A special hotel the was built using mud It could be that largest building in China that was constructed using clay Of course, we have learned so much from the countryside I have always thought of this problem. China's countryside must be rescued China's traditional culture of recovery of urban areas, I personally think is quite pessimistic, almost impossible Every city in China I have been to is in a state of despair. But it is possible to save China’s urban culture. If we do not rescue it within the next ten years, it will collapse so that Chinese culture will totally disappear from the Earth. Starting 12 years ago, all the way until now, we have been working on this
15:46
This is Fuyang, Hangzhou here we made a village, this village is also very interesting. We did an investigation of more than 300 villages Only one village made the protection list, the rest , more than 290 could be easily demolished. This is our protection policy Then we put out a survey to see how many villages were worth retaining. We later discovered there were more than 20. It is a very miserable state, we later chose this village as our starting point. The village has not been included in the protection list, and our experts believe it has no value for protection. But in my eyes it is valuable, because every place has its value, each group of people living there have their value, you can not say that it has no value. Here’s a semi-residential village I helped with. Basically there is only less than half of the old house, the rest are new houses, take a look at the photos, basically it is like this. These 20 new houses, I think you can bring back, because I am a wise doctor, and a wise doctor can always bring them back Despite medicine’s advances, we still cannot bring something back after it has died
17:18
And there are 20 villages that I would like to be able to recover and bring back. But, in my eyes, you cannot do that for the remaining 280 villages. We went to the village, the village had new land, they made a plan to build 15 farmers new, big houses. They dream of living like an American. After hearing about them, I spoke with them and I said, “We cannot waste land, our predecessors know that our land is very competitive, we look at our original village approach, this approach is too extravagant So we started this work, trying to think of ways to help them. The farmers themselves want to build houses, they want to tear down the old, and create the new. Upon arriving, we tried to find a different approach A lot of people say that we should be able to solve this problem So we started this work, trying to think of ways to help them. The farmers themselves want to build houses, they want to tear down the old, and create the new. In fact, to learn it can find a lot of truth, you see this is the old village, it has high density, because the land was very restricted this does not allow the use of luxury as you look at the old village texture.
18:35
In accordance with such an old texture I made a re-design. You see the land, I did 24 households, then I tried 15 households. Even though the places became dense, I thought this seemed quite natural. So this time you will feel the power of architecture to accumulate power This is my sketch of the painting. Look at the growth, the complexity and the delicacy of the changes I am a stupid architect of 24 farms. I have designed eight kinds, each of these eight also created three changes, so the design is like 24 kinds. Any architect who uses commercial interests to calculate, cannot do so, because you will certainly have no doubt that this is not possible But when you face such a life, this is another idea entirely. This is my design of a small house, you can see the left is the traditional style, the right is my drawing with a very important center Not only is there the use of a shape or material on the outside, but there is no yard, which I am very concerned about In chinese life, to have or not have a yard is completely not a concept
19:42
second, where are your ancestors We Chinese people have a central door, where are your ancestors, this is our Chinese religious belief If you go to see a new farmer's house, there is no yard, no main room, the ancestors do not know where everything is It is now in this state so we must adhere to the new house, ancestral hall, of course there are many other things, such as I did making the kitchen big I hope they can still use the traditional way of cooking. We are in this old house interspersed to do such a design and transformation we made this map so that farmers could use it like the dictionary as a check, and then follow this to make their changes. Of course, to do it now, right now it has taken four years to make a new residential area, whereas the old village took only half of that. We made it very slowly because I think this cannot be fast, any faster would bring about problems Everyone look at the changes before and after just some subtle changes after the transformation, and you can see the color....go back This is the entrance before the transformation of the village and some subtle changes after the transformation, which is a mixture of new and old
20:55
the black stone is that from the top of the local mountain this is an old house the locals say this has no value and suggest demolishing it I said this is the best treasure in your village it absolutely cannot be demolished Now, next to that still needs to be fixed! you can see, after the changes, the old house was preserved. The distance of those set of houses in Zhejiang Province is considered illegal construction the whole province is engaged in a large movement called "dismantling illegal construction" I went to the scene to have a look, I said its too vivid because those little houses have chicken coops, a small workshop with a pigsty, I said this is all life, this does not us to dismantle, just try to alter it. After the change, it looks like this.... some small changes. This is an old bridge that we walked over We made a small adjustment and made a public space... old people like to be there to sunbathe These old people sit here and after we re-did it, you can see a little bit of change we do not want to finish and feel the authenticity disappeared, as the only standard is feeling that it is genuine. We can see in the distance the new village we restored with the old and new village combined, we can see the bridge that I designed
22:16
Now, people naturally like to gather here to chat. This is part of a new residence that we did at the time many people said farmers would not accept this it would be absolutely impossible to accept at the time when we did it for 13 years, many farmers opposed the conflict so the local government’s pressure was also very high The village secretary’s pressure was also great Everyone said that these farmers cannot accept the house in the end with this type of house, now a lot of people visit, but in the end can the farmers accept? Take a look at this overlooking view After the Spring Festival this year, the village had a meeting the farmers divided the house, divided the new house that we designed It was a test Will the famers accept this? First, they had 13 households who got priority to vote the village gave them two choices one is to pick one of the houses we designed the second is for the village farmer to go create their own on some open land Two choices, you choose I think that this is very good, as we must give people choices The final outcome is of the 13 farmers, 12 households chose our new house design
23:36
while one chose to create their own What made me even happier was that two days ago our professor from our Fine Arts Academy went to our village to have a look after her returned, he excitedly told me I went to see your new design the farmers actually put firewood stoves in your designed kitchen He said, is this how you wanted it? At that moment, I was very happy I said this is what I wanted I wanted the kitchen design to be much bigger than in the city I just want to have farmers do such things, put soil back to the kitchen have the traditional firewood meal where the taste will come out from the food many city people do not know, the mountains of wood, a variety of wood gets regularly cleaned up, but if we do not clean up the mountain, then the plants cannot grow well So, cutting and burning the firewood in certain areas is a must This is the result I wanted to know about more importantly, these old people they can easily sit down and be relaxed there Happily sit there, as our work did not interfere with their lives At the same time you will find that they have more than just one thing
24:53
confidence and pride in their village...thank you everyone.

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