We believe that unbuilt projects have their own value! There are countless unbuilt projects behind a built project. Though these projects will never be completed, we might be able to see the purest architectural ideas in them. In Unbuilt Album, gooood introduce representative unbuilt projects of different architectural studios, helping to understand the ideas and possibilities behind these projects. Unbuilt no.1 introduces Atelier Deshaus. More about them: Atelier Deshaus on gooood
出品人：向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑：陈诺嘉，武晨曦，历剑，周诗若，王姝 / Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi, Li Jian, Zhou Shiruo, Wang Shu
Among all the projects of Deshaus, what is the proportion of the projects that will never be completed? How about the proportion of those that have been completed and under construction?
At the end of 2016, UED published a special album of Atelier Deshaus, including a list of 45 projects, of which 9 were uncompleted works and would never be built in the future. It showed that there would be one uncompleted work of every five projects. Although the list did not include all our projects, the ratio can still be reliable. It has been more than 3 years since then and we have not taken any further detailed statistics, but the remaining 36 projects are supposed to have been finished now.
How do you think the importance of uncompleted projects? What would you do if you are informed that a project will never be built?
During the early years of Atelier Deshaus, we did not pay much attention to the projects that could not be finished. Our projects were relatively more targeted, coping with more concrete issues since that we seldom participate in design competitions. However, after a period of practicing, we found that the idea behind each design was continuous, and the uncompleted projects were merely part of the design process during that period. Therefore, we did not purposely sort out these projects, nor did we forget them. When I give a lecture, it is usually a reflective process for a certain period of design. For a long time, I rarely talked about our uncompleted projects because somehow I felt that only built projects had the value of being introduced to the public.
Why did you choose these 5 projects, including Erdos P9, Xixi Wetland Hotel, Dayu Art Village, Sanchagang Park Observation Tower and Pudong Art Museumas the representative cases of your uncompleted projects? Could you talk more about these projects?
I think these 5 projects respectively have their own characteristics and each of them contains certain value in the typological aspect.
Erdos P9 project
In the Erdos P9 project, we investigated the integration of different types of workspace in headquarter projects. It was fundamentally related to the functions, but was eventually expressed in the form of space, which refered to an effective standard plan with a series of individual office space piled up like rockeries on the upper floors, and the outdoor spaces generated in between. Erdos was historically regarded as the Jiangnan beyong the Great Wall, which means it once had a scenery similar to the Jiangnan area in southern China, and we tried to use the garden-like external space to respond to such a name. More importantly, this kind of space would help to generate cohesion and cultural attributes, which is generally what we call the identity of a company. However, this identity is not symbolic, but established by the externalization of its spatial experience.
▼鄂尔多斯P9办公楼外观，下层为标准办公楼平面，上层由独立小空间堆砌而成，external view of Erdos P9 project with standard floor plan on the lower levels and piled up individual office space on the upper floors
▼堆砌的办公体块中形成园林一般的空间体验，spatial experience of traditional Chinese Garden created between the piled up volumes
Xixi Wetland Hotel
I was interested in the relationship between the conceptual diagrams and the physical spaces when I was working on the project of Xixi Wetland Hotel. Corresponding to the topography of the wetland, we intended to design a naturally grown structure that can be adaptable to the terrain. What we tried to do in this project was to explore the difference between the walls that are built in Y shape, rather than those X-shaped ones, because the structure of natural creatures is always in Y shape, while the X shape is more like a man-made form.
▼西溪湿地酒店模型，项目由可以自由生长的空间结构组成，model of Xixi Wetland Hotel, the project consisted of a naturally grown stucture
Dayu Art Village
Dayu Art Village continued the structural model developed in the project of Xixi Wetland, exploring a cell-like community in which the internal spaces have the same organizational structure but vary in each specific workspace. By using this method, we created a flexible prototype of space within a fixed organizational structure that is adaptable to various sites and locations. We expected to simulate the form of a naturally grown village in such a once-for-all project.
▼大裕艺术村模型，Dayu Art Village model
Sanchagang Park Observation Tower
The project of Sanchagang Park Observation Tower has not actually been canceled so that I would say it is just suspended. Since I started focusing on structural issues, I have been working on a series of design explorations about the rationality of combining structural morphology with behavioral spatial forms.
▼三岔港公园观景塔外观，external view of Sanchagang Park Observation Tower
▼结构与空间形态融合，combination of structural morphology and behavioral spatial forms
Pudong Art Museum
After the completion of Long Museum West Bund, we tried to develop new forms of gallery spaces and Pudong Art Museum was one of the outcomes of that time. In parallel with Pudong Art Museum, we took part in the design competition for Helsinki Guggenheim Art Museum. As we mistook the cut-off time, we had only 4 days to finish the proposal in which our idea was not sufficiently embodied. In this case, the idea for Guggenheim was partly adopted in Pudong Art Museum. Another important thing about of Pudong Art Museum was its relationship with the city. It showed an alternative openness due to its unique location, compared to that of the Long Museum West Bund.
▼浦东美术馆外观，采用开放的沿江立面，external view of Pudong Art Museum, transparent facade facing the Huangpu River
What is your most unforgettable uncompleted project and why?
I have to say it is Pudong Art Museum because of its unique location. It was really a great pleasure for an architect of Shanghai to design in such an important site in the city. It was a pity that the opportunity was not left for the architects who were familiar to this land. On the one hand, it indicated the openness of Shanghai as an international metropolis. On the other hand, it implied that Chinese architects should still pay more efforts to gain recognition and credibility from the public and the society. Unfortunately, none of the proposals in the first round of the competition ever had a chance to be exposed in public.
▼浦东美术馆，位于黄浦江转角处的重要地带，Pudong Art Museum located on an important site where the Huangpu River turns
In the project of Pudong Art Museum, you designed a transparent glass façade facing the river. While in the scheme by Jean Nouvel, there was also a glass façade which was opaque. Compared to his scheme, what is the advantage and shortage of your design in your understanding? How do you improve your design ideas through uncompleted projects?
What you mentioned was my proposal for the first round of the competition. In the beginning, Jean Nouvel’s proposal borrowed the image of a huge bird spreading its wings at the waterfront. The idea of glass façade was actually showed in his second-round proposal. According to his description, the huge LED screen behind the glass façade facing Huangpu River was inspired by Duchamp’s artwork “The Large Glass. I suppose it was also a counterpart to the huge illuminated advertising on the façade of the high-rises in Lujiazui. It was obviously a production of the media era and I think the best explanation is that it was an ironic metaphor of the relationship between the artwork and the mass audience. The glazed façade in my proposal was the continuation of the riverside landscape inside the art museum. It was a terraced space starting from the interior of the museum, naturally bringing in the outdoor public landscape. We responded to the site on the turning corner of Huangpu River with a space of city-scale, while remaining the visual connection between the Bund and the Oriental Pearl Tower through a semi-transparent approach. It also reflected my consideration of breaking the barrier between a gallery space and the public, and opening up the possibility for art museumsto embrace daily life in the city with more openness and publicity.
▼浦东美术馆采用整面玻璃立面，更为开放，Pudong Art Museum, a whole facade was made of transparent glass, creating a more open sense
▼浦东美术馆模型，将公共空间引入美术馆内部，Pudong Art Museum model, a continuation with the outside public space
You have mentioned in one of your presentations, “The Theme/key terms of yin(causality), jie(borrowing), ti(propriety), yi(suitability) “. How would you like to start designing for landmarks in the city today in 2020?
When I was working on the renovation of some old industrial sites along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, I found that the renovation design strategy of existing buildings can be closely related to the former gardening law of ” yin(causality), jie(borrowing), ti(propriety), yi(suitability)”, which in turn influenced my observation of the site and the evaluation of the existing conditions when I was working on a new project. Any building, landmark or not, should be well-justified to embrace the site, and even if it is innovative, it needs to be justified in its relevance. In current design, I would tend to integrate more elements of conditionality, making good use of existing conditions and adapting to local conditions, while still seeking to maintain a clear structural core.
▼沿江工业建筑改造 – 左：民生码头八万吨筒仓改造（点击这里查看更多），右：上海艺仓美术馆（点击这里查看更多）
Renovation of old industrial sites along the Huangpu River – left: Renovation of 80,000-ton silos on Minsheng Wharf (click HERE to view more), right: Modern Art Museum and its walkways (click HERE to view more)
To deal with the complicated form of Sanchagang Park Observation Tower, you made detailed structural analysis of the project. Is it worth devoting so much to a project that may never be built? Knowing that the project has a slim hope to be constructed, will you choose to stick to your idea to do an “exaggerated” project, or will you compromise on the design to let the project be realized？
Sanchagang Park Observation Towers had been planned to be accomplished but it was suspended due to some accidental factors. You will never know whether the project will be built or not when you are doing the design. In every project of ours, we tried to use innovative methods to provide a reasonable solution that suit the local conditions. It is inevitable to make change, or compromise if you meet any constraints in the process of proceeding the construction. However, constraints are not the excuse to give up. Every design is a conditional challenge.
▼景观塔外观，结构复杂，external view of the observation tower with complicated structure
▼三岔港公园景观塔结构分析，structural analysis of Sanchagang Observation Tower
▼结构与流线整合的创新设计，innovative design of integrating structure with walking path
After finishing Long Museum West Bund, you have also designed many other art museums, like Pudong Art Museum we mentioned above. Compared to Long Museum, what have been remained and what have been improved in your design concept? What progress do you want to make in art museum construction?
After the construction of Long Museum West Bund, our first museum project was Taizhou Contemporary Art Museum. Then we took part in the design competition for Pudong Art Museum and designed Jingmen Long Museum, Xitang Art Museum and Wuhan Qintai Art Museum afterwards. The operation mode in Long Museum West Bund was inherited and optimized in Jingmen Long Museum and Wuhan Qintai Museum, embodied especially in the arrangement and configuration of exhibitions and cultural activity spaces. For Jingmen Long Museum, we made more detailed considerations on the operation mode of an art museum and how it could be reflected in space design. There are both relatively closed exhibition halls for ancient art and more open ones for contemporary art. One of the focal point in these projects is to modify the design brief according the operation model of the museum. Chinese art museum is only in its infant period and it is a general problem about how to operate an art museum perfectly. We hope that we could find out a new form of contemporary art museum through studies in spatial operation, spatial experience and functional flexibility.
▼古根海姆美术馆，空间设计与艺术品展示相结合，Guggenheim Art Museum, integrate spatial design with exhibition of the art works
▼浦东美术馆，继承龙美术馆的空间设计和运营经验，将室外公共空间引入室内，Pudong Art Museum, inheriting the design and operation experience in Long Museum West Bund, introducing outdoor public space into the exhibition and cultural activity spaces
Reviewing the many art museum projects by Atelier Deshaus, completed or not, what do you think is the biggest challenge in operating a contemporary art museum? How could architectural design help an art museum to achieve sustainability in its operation?
I think what I have mentioned above happens to be answering your question. It was the same starting point as of Wuhan Qintai Art Museum. Contemporary art museums in China are generally facing the problems of the source of exhibits and the sustainable operation of space. I believe that it will be an effective solution for contemporary museums to establish greater openness, interactivity and comprehensiveness, and in the meantime to build a close connection with education. For Taizhou Art Museum, we innovatively discussed the possibility of establishing a mobile exhibition system in China by collaborating with some of the medias related to art and design industry. The design process of Qintai Art Museum didn’t go well. We specially designed the roof form to fit the art works of Olafur Eliasson. However, as the operator quit the project when we were discussing the design brief, this design idea failed and I felt uncertain about the following up operation. It was also influenced by the pandemic and I hope that it could be accomplished as we expected.
▼武汉琴台美术馆，Wuhan Qintai Art Museum
Could you please share some of your ongoing projects or recent architectural ideas with gooood?
新近完成的一个我自己觉得比较重要的项目是边园，项目很小，但却是一段时间思考内容的浓缩。在新的工作展开上，一方面是持续保持关注结构的实践，另一方面，在当代新媒体交互和技术背景下生活方式的改变所带来的生活空间的改变是我特别关心的话题，2018年鸟巢广场的China House Vision上的空间装置“后舍”便是这一背景下的一次探讨，不是美学上的，而是生活方式与空间构成上的，美学是自然而然的。
Riverside Passage is rather a more important project that have newly been completed. It is small in scale but is a concentration of our thinking of architecture for a period of time. As for the ongoing and future projects, we will continue paying attention to the experiment of structure. On the other hand, we are also very interested in the possible changes in the typology of living space brought by the development of new media and interactive technologies. House ATO was an exploration under this background. It was a space installation we built on the plaza of the National Stadium for China House Vision in 2018, in which we investigated the issues in lifestyle and spatial composition, rather than the aesthetic part, since it would naturally come after.