A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.94 episode is about Sichen Dong who graduated from TU München and is working in WWA Architeckten
Why going abroad?
During my bachelor study, I have been visiting Europe (Germany, Finland) few times for different experience. After Bachelor graduation, based on the knowledge of architecture, as a craftsman, I would like to perceive and experience more knowledge of architectural material, tectonic and construction, therefore, I decided to go to the German-speaking area to continue my study.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
回想后，第一件应该是周围同学对专业的自主和热情 （不光是建筑专业）。大部分国外同学都会在Gap一年后选择专业进行学习，期间有的去南美当志愿者，有的去亚洲教外语等等。Gap 期间的 ‘空闲‘ 会让自己体验更多的同时冷静独立的思考未来，并坚定自己的选择和为之付出全部的努力吧。
The first thing impressed me is the passion and enthusiasm of the students here (not just for architecture). Most of them spend one gap year before going to university, to experience and learn on their own, such as be a volunteer in Africa, or a language teacher in Asia, etc. The gap year will allow people, especially the young one, to think about the future calmly and independently, in the meanwhile be sure of their own choices and make the best effort.
On the architectural level, many houses here, at first glance, are very simple design, not too complicated with fancy shapes or concepts, but very silent, quiet and detailed-oriented. Each experience is different and people are surprised by the subtle thoughts behind (site, materials, structure, light, shade, even temperature, sound, and smell).
What do you miss the most about China?
Family, the friends I’m grown up with, the eating and our folk culture.
Will you come back China? Why?
Not in short term, I hope that I can continue to develop myself and reflect on my thinking about architecture and life over here, at the same time, experience and practice the full-phase of the local projects.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
Nor clearer, but the more I experience Western culture in different contexts, the more I discover the charm and irreplaceability of our own culture. For example, ink painting, traditional architecture, ancient poetry, and even Philosophy.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
In addition to the rigorous teaching of structures, constructions, and materials required by traditional German universities of technology, TUM offers a wider range of different teaching platform, virous departments (architectural informatics, data urban theory, etc.), as well as frequent academic exchanges with other university and college (a semester abroad is required for undergraduate architecture students here).
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
Currently, we are working on a Collection house in Freiburg, the project manager is very experienced, I have learned a lot from him, not only the strict operation and control of the practical projects in Germany, but also almost every detail of the house construction.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
很喜欢16世纪的勃鲁盖尔、20世纪的梵高对于荷兰民间、田园生活的描绘, 比如 《收割者》里农民的一个笑容、喝醉后的一个趔趄、下地归来后的憨憨大睡等等，很真实，很有代入感。另外, 常会临摹印象派（莫奈，德加，塞尚）、立体派画家（毕加索，马蒂斯）的手稿和书信里的草图，对比完成了的、被广传的作品，会觉得未完成的作品（过程的作品）更值得学习和回味。
Personally I like the depictions of Dutch folk and idyllic life from Pieter Bruegel (16th century) and Vincent Van Gogh (20th century), e.g. ‘The Harvesters’, the smile from the farmer, the stumble after getting drunk, the silly sleep after field working, and so on. Those detail are very realistic, lively and emotional. In addition, I often learn and draw the sketches from manuscripts and letters of Impressionists (Monet, Degas, Cézanne) and Cubists (Picasso, Matisse), in contrast to the finished and famous work, the unfinished or imperfect works (the process work) are more worthy of study and experience.
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
I would like to use a few keywords (essays) to summarize my experiences and (architectural) thinking.
Prototype: The compact and systemic (design) thinking.
Contrast: The realization of dramatic and contradictory experience.
Narration: From materiality of the object (architecture) to emotion of users.
Imperfection: From the transparency to the beauty of the perception and imagination.
Reality: The tactile and real experience.
Childness: The simplicity and relaxed enjoyment.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
Since 2015, and I kind like to review my previous favorite houses regularly and rethink about the connections and developments combined with the latest ideas and buildings.
W O R K
Rammed earth watchtower
Essay: Prototype, Contrast, Imperfection, Reality
指导老师/Instructor: Roger Boltshauser (ETH),
客评/Critic: Jürg Conzett, Martin Rauch, Florian Nagler
Cham, Zürich, Switzerland
The architecture as a tall watchtower to connect the different areas and the surrounding landscape. Based on the material and tectonic (real project and should be finished in two months, prefabricated element), do the research and think about the spatial also architectural experience and construction. The compact and systemic thinking was combined with site, material, space, tectonic, and structure to develop the design.
▼瞭望塔与周边环境，watchtower and its surroundings
▼平面图，立面图，剖面图，plans, elevations, section
▼建造概念和产品分析，construction concept and production
Forest ranger station
Essay: Prototype, Contrast, Reality
指导老师/Instructor: 蒋蔚 / Wei Jiang
陕西西安， Xi’an Shaanxi
Based on the material itself, through the real model to understand and clarify the static space prototype（half-arch rammed earth interactive space）. After the research go through a real project/design (forest ranger station), combine with the factors (function, site, condition) of architecture to grasp and review the conclusion of the previous research.
▼通过实际模型探讨材料力学空间的原型，clarify the static space prototype through the real model
▼项目区位，location of the project
▼一层平面图，first floor plan
Apartment for artists
Essay: Prototype, Narration, Imperfection, Reality
指导老师/Instructor: Musso Florian (TUM),
The colorful dwelling echoes the traditional culture and art of Munich. The spatial experience creates a new dialog between architecture with city town on an urban level. Based on the living analysis of artist daily routine, organize the suitable spaces options for the people (artist) who lives inside. The materiality resonates emotionally in the aspect of architecture, city, space, materials, and environment.
▼项目区位，location of the project
Zen training center
Essay: Narration, Imperfection, Imperfection, Reality
指导老师/Instructor: 穆钧 / Jun Mu
福建泰宁, Fujian Taining
Based on the perception of the natural environment and the understanding of Zen, through the organization between architecture and surroundings form a silent and ceremonial atmosphere outside. Meanwhile, on basis of the local conventional material, tectonic and architectural space to form a quiet ceremonial atmosphere inside.
▼建筑内效果图，view inside the building
When: 2017 till present
Where: Germany, Switzerland, Finland
Who: Sichen Dong
From: Shaanxi, Xi’an
School: Xian University of Architecture and Technology, TU München, Aalto University
Contact: sichen-dong.com, firstname.lastname@example.org