Interview record of post-80s architect Cheng Yanchun | Design makes the world of life more beautiful

by Design Daily Team

Source: iKuku

Cheng Yanchun, born in Beijing in 1985;

Beijing Architecture University·School of Architecture/Undergraduate;

Peking University·Architecture Research Center/Master;

Waseda University·Graduate School of Creative Science and Technology Architecture Major/PhD;

The chief architect of C + Architects.

In 2014, he founded C + Architects architectural design office/host architect with his partners. He currently teaches at Beijing Architecture University.

The completed projects include: Banbidian No. 1 Cultural Pioneer Park No. 8 reconstruction, 2015 Beijing International Design Week · Stage House, Bijin style barber shop, Jingyuan 22nd floor reconstruction, Naxiang Hotel (joint design), etc.; published ” World Architecture Travel Map-Japan.

The ikuku intern went to C+ Architects to have a detailed exchange with Mr. Cheng. The following is the interview record.

—————————Interview Record——————— ———

Q: What projects have you participated in recently?


Cheng: Recently, I participated in two kindergarten projects, an office renovation project, and the project of last year’s Beijing International Design Week is preparing to implement. Designing a kindergarten requires an in-depth understanding of children’s growth and education, especially the relationship between people and the environment, nature, and society behind it. This is a very challenging project. In the life of ordinary people, nearly one-third of the time is spent in school, and kindergarten is the beginning. For me, besides doing architecture, this is also a good opportunity to think about people fundamentally; office renovation The project is to re-establish a relationship between people, buildings, natural light, wind, and water on the basis of the old buildings; the project of the design week is mainly to explore the continuation of the original space characteristics in the Beijing Hutong space, and the use of site creation More possibilities, design a place for people to meet and communicate in the alley.

Q: You are very familiar with Japanese architectural culture. What are the characteristics of Japanese modern houses? Is there any difference between Japanese architectural culture, architects, and construction sites?

Cheng: Japanese houses are more diversified and modern. Our former houses were also rich and colorful, but now people’s living environments are getting closer and closer. Especially in the development of residential areas in cities, a few people basically determine the way of life of thousands of people. If everyone has the opportunity to choose their own way of living, I think everyone’s life will be happier. The word “modern” in modern architecture is not only the appearance of architecture, but also the way people think, recognize, and do things, and the whole process needs to be modern. One of the more rare things in Japan is that the overall level of architecture in this country is relatively high. In particular, ordinary people in Japan have a good understanding of architecture, and the entire nation has a high level of aesthetics. In my opinion, Japan is a place where design is everywhere. Design has penetrated into the most subtle aspects of life. Of course, there are both good and bad.

If we compare the construction of the two countries, we still need too many people with professional standards and professionalism. The construction site of a Japanese friend of mine is very clean. An inspection will be done at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. If there is a screw on the ground, it will be fine. Another time, my friend and I saw a group of carpenters working in a village. A speaker was placed next to the construction site with Mozart on it. It was unimaginable at the time.

Q: Are there any special gains while studying in Japan?

Cheng: During my study abroad, I was basically in the state of studying abroad. I had the opportunity to experience the architectural projects I saw in magazines and media. The experience gained from the scene is very helpful to my current architectural design. The design is a reflection of previous experience. Because I looked everywhere, I later published “World Architecture Travel Map-Japan” in cooperation with China Construction Industry Press, which was the first book in the entire architectural travel series.

Teacher Cheng gave this book to the ikuku intern during the interview

Q: How did you decide to study architecture in the first place? Will you encounter some difficulties in the beginning?

Cheng: My undergraduate degree was at Beijing University of Architecture and Architecture, and my name at that time was Beijing Institute of Architecture and Engineering. Unlike other classmates, I am a transfer student. At first I wanted to study industrial design, but later I studied architecture by accident. Before applying for the Department of Architecture, I need an additional examination of fine arts. The students have a good foundation in painting, but I didn’t even know what a sketch is at that time, so I encountered a lot of difficulties at the beginning, especially the first two years of the Department of Architecture. , So it was quite difficult at the beginning.

Q: How do you view the phenomenon of large-scale career changes after graduation from architecture students?

Cheng: There are about 50 students in the two classes of the architecture department of our university. Everyone is now engaged in various industries, such as real estate, furniture design, photography, music, etc., many of which are related to architecture. But at present, there are very few who are truly independent in doing firms. At the beginning, most of the students were definitely aiming to become the architects in the portfolio. I think this is the lack of professional education for architects in university education. Therefore, the content taught in the school is quite different from the problems we actually encounter at work. Everyone has slowly found their own direction through the platform of architecture. I think this phenomenon is normal. Not everyone has to become an architect.

Q: As an architecture teacher, did you summarize some personal experiences about architecture during your studies? What advice do you have for current students?

Cheng: Although I have been studying for a Ph.D., I don’t have much time in school, and I don’t encourage my classmates to study in school all the time. I started an internship in an architecture firm in the third grade, and then I basically completed courses in school while working in the firm. After I arrived in Japan, I traveled everywhere. If I was only in school, I would lose a lot of opportunities to touch real architecture. If you love and firmly want to pursue this career from the heart, it is best to get in touch with some real practices and go to a good office to work with a good architect. If you have the opportunity, it is a very good way to study after doing the research work in the early stage. Nowadays, network information is very developed, and it is flooded with various construction information every day, so we must cultivate our own judgment.

Q: What do you think is the difference between Chinese and Japanese architecture education?

Cheng: The research in the research laboratories of Japanese universities is very good. Some research laboratories have been studying the same field for decades. In addition, in addition to architecture, many of them, such as structure and landscape, have an education foundation in architecture, so they can better collaborate with each other. For example, the undergraduate graduation project of Waseda University is a combination of several majors working together to complete a project. This combination is very interesting. Many Japanese architects that we are now familiar with have fixed structural engineers behind them. This kind of comprehensive architectural education background is what makes Japan unique compared with other countries.

Q: In your previous works, you have a good grasp of the coordinated relationship between environment, architecture and people. In your design ideas, do you value the internal logic and style of architecture more or the integration of architecture and external environment?

Cheng: I think I didn’t deliberately focus on which one, but I hope that these are the natural results of in-depth thinking and research. In short, in our design, we hope to rebuild the balance between people, environment (nature) and architecture. To re-establish order, from the size of the universe to the trivialities of our daily life, we need order, and it is the same in architecture.

Q: Some of your projects are renovation projects. When carrying out this kind of project, what is your focus? In the process from design to construction, are there limitations and regrets?

Cheng: The renovation project needs to understand the state of the original building and at the same time make the building reborn by adding new rules. At the same time, people, space, light, environmental elements, etc. are reorganized in harmony. The realization of each building is not an easy task. Unfortunately, there will certainly be some. I think it is not easy for a project to achieve more than 60% of the design in China.

Q: For the renovation project of Building 8 of Banbidian No. 1 Cultural Pioneer Park, what is your starting point for setting up the “straight single run staircase”?

Cheng: The stairs in this project are set up to implant the center of the building, as I said before, to re-establish the order of the building, so that the functional flow lines are developed around the center, and the human vision also has a center. Above the stairs is a skylight, which emits light from the stairwell during the day, which emphasizes the center and brings light to the building. How a building receives sunlight is very important. Many of our projects are thinking about the relationship between architecture and light.

One-way straight stairs of Banbi shop renovation project image@夏至

Q: You co-founded C + Architects. How do you divide the work internally? What is the general relationship with Party A?

Cheng: My partner is my university classmate, and we design together when we are in school. Later, I studied abroad. I went to Tokyo and she went to Paris. I am responsible for general project matters, and she is responsible for the operation and management of the firm. So far, the owners we have met are all very interesting people. They actually gave me a lot of inspiration, because each project has a different occupation, so every time they are in contact with and learning in different fields, this is very Interesting things. Generally, owners find architects to do design to realize their dreams, so I think the relationship between architects and owners can be called “dream companions.”

Q: For C + Architects, in terms of the core concept of architectural design, what kind of firm do you want to define? What are your expectations for the future of C + Architects?

Cheng: I didn’t want to define the firm as a specific state. From the beginning when I thought about the firm’s name, I hoped it was a more neutral name. Together with my colleagues in the office, I will try my best to do everything well and continue to carry out new challenges. It is my current idea. I hope everyone can enjoy this state.

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