Both Chang and Wang share a
Both Chang and Wang share a similarity in scale conversion in their conceptual experimentations. Chang’s Head House installation (1990) is a subversion of the notion of a house because it Exendin-3 (9-39) amide merely provides a habitable space for the head of a visitor (Figure 1), while Wang’s ‘Eight Uninhabitable Houses’ are in fact tailored-made light fittings, exploring the possibility of having a family of ‘architectural objects’ scattered around his own residence (Wang, 2002: 52–64) (Figure 2). Both cases involve the strategy of naming, which highlights the theme to be explored conceptually.
Wang’s subsequent installations illustrate his use of limited resources for conceptual experimentation. His ‘Decay of a Dome’ in Venice Biennale (2010) and his ‘Squarely Sphering’ in Taipei (2011) were mainly constructed using timber members and window hooks, which were easily erected and dismantled. Likewise, Liu’s ‘Follow the Wind’ (2002) was established by using cheap local materials, i.e., balloons, agricultural membranes, and Chinese fans, for easy sheltering (Figure 3) (Liu, 2002: 140–145).
Besides conceptual experimentation, these architects are interested in material experimentation. Chang has explored the application of new materials in his works, such as the use of plastics and fiber glass for the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion (2010) and the Fiber Glass House, Nanjing (under construction). Conventional materials have been used in alternative ways, such as Chang’s use of grasscrete pavers for his lattice screen installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2008) (Figure 4) and Liu’s exposure of the holes of perforated concrete blocks on the external facade of the Design Department, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing (2006) (Figure 5). Both Liu and Wang collaborated with their artistic counterparts during the construction process. Liu invited fine arts students to be involved in the production of aluminum etching panels of the Sculpture Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, whereas Wang worked with a pottery teacher to use ceramic pieces on the facades of the Ceramic House, Jinhua (2006) (Figure 6).
Issue of universalism/localism All three architects have produced some climate-responsive designs, but their approaches are different. Liu provides double storey openings and lattice blockworks in the Sculpture Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing (2004), to facilitate natural ventilation, which is needed to alleviate the hot weather in Chongqing (Figure 7). Both Wang and Chang are conscious in terms of controlling solar penetration into interior spaces by using old and new building materials, respectively. In the Xiangshan Campus Phase I, Hangzhou (2004), projecting sun-shading screens with old roof tiles on top are provided on the facades of teaching buildings, as designed by Wang (Figure 8). By contrast, in the Shenzhen Television (SZTV) Tower (under construction; designed by Chang), sun penetration would be moderated by the crystalline glazed facade, which would collect solar energy through the building-integrated photovoltaics on the facade (Figure 9). In response to rural contexts, the three architects have different emphases in their designs. The Dalinor Tourist Orientation Centre, Inner Mongolia (2004), which was designed by Chang (2004), has a sunken exhibition space covered with a green roof to match the pastoral scene in the vicinity. Visitors reach the Liu’s Luyeyuan Stone Sculpture Museum, Chengdu (2002) by walking through a meandering path in the natural surroundings. Both Chang and Liu aim to reduce the visual impact of their architectural works. In the Xiangshan Campus, Hangzhou (2004, 2007), which was designed by Wang, the central hill is fully highlighted by arranging teaching buildings on the periphery of the site, and the original brook around the hill is preserved to protect the natural site conditions. Besides responding to physical conditions, these architects are interested in the use of local materials and workmanship. Early examples include Liu’s use of pebbles from adjacent rivers in the Xiyuan Leisure Camp, Chengdu (1996), as shown in Figure 10, and Wang׳s use of rammed earth in the West Lake International Sculpture Exhibition, Hangzhou (2000), as shown in Figure 11. Liu’s ‘low-tech strategy’ emphasizes the balance between the availability of regional resources and architectural quality (Liu, 1997), whereas Wang has conducted a series of studies in Cicheng (a small town) to understand vernacular construction methods (Wang et al., 2006). Compared with Liu and Wang, Chang is keen on experimenting with new materials, but he expressed his concern for local materials and craftsmanship through his teachings and in some of his works. Chang’s unbuilt project, the Small Museum of Contemporary Art in Quanzhou (1998) was an attempt to refer to folk techniques in re-using materials from demolished buildings in the vicinity to construct walls. The ‘1K House’ design studio (2009) at MIT led by Chang and his colleagues explicitly required students to use locally available resources in constructing affordable housing to keep the budget low (Figure 12).