Home_2121 first prize winner | Naiyue Zhang
Naiyue Zhang comes from Shanghai and studied architecture as an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh. This student interests in the city future and urban ecology topic may be due to the growth experienced in the city, thinks architecture may not eradicate crisis and conflict but still bring poetry and hope to humankind.
1.Please introduce yourself in a personal and professional way.
My name is Naiyue Zhang, I am studying architecture in Edinburgh, and my hometown is Shanghai. I am a cat person but allergic to their fur. I like their sensitivity, cautiousness, curious and unpredictability, which resonate with me. Fortunately, many of the architects and architectural scholars around me own cats, so I can get a certain amount of happiness from their social media. As an architecture student, I am interested in urban ecology and its future and setting my own futuristic theme sci-fi world. When it comes to architectural aesthetics, I prefer lightness and minimalist form.
2. What is your design philosophy?
Perhaps, in summary, my answer to the above question is 'Architectures are shaped by human lifestyle'. Then, on this basis, I imagine what kind of careers and lifestyle might emerge 100 years later. Besides, in what way will present buildings exist 100 years later? If there is a change in the environment of the earth's surface, will there be more population in the future? At that time, will there still be so many people yearning for the metropolis? I conceived my fiction while facing these questions above and designed the house in the story.
3. Can you briefly explain your understanding of the topic and the source of ideas?
'Home' means residential architecture, shelters, or a broad sense means a place to come back. So where will people living 100 years later like to come back? At first, I thought it crazy; humans may not be living on the earth in 100 years. They might fly to mars or upload their consciousness to the cloud servers. However, I was in front of an architectural competition ask about 'change of home ideas' and 'residents interacts'. These wild ideas should be turned into feasible and constructive designs. So I chose 'somewhere on earth' for the site and defined my designing brief as 'to design a residential facility for a family living in the future dissimilative environment.'
I suppose the most significant environmental threats that will emerge in the future are disasters caused by unstable climate and resource shortages. Therefore, my design should first be climate adaptable and disaster-resistant. Materials and structure will be helpful for these two advantage. I referred to space materials in material selection, and the pufferfish inspired me for the inflatable facade.
Besides, I thought about the impact of further intelligence on human family life and housing structure. If everyone owns AR glasses, will these people share the same screen in one room? To some extent, television has shaped the living room for 50 years, but when I owned my first smartphone, I forgot the remote control's location; then which device will change humans future? Besides, future humans who are good at telecommunications might not need a large place to meet visitors, so I removed the redundant living room.
4. When and how you were first introduced to architecture?
My programme started in 2018, but before that, I did one foundation year and… well, maybe I was introduced to the first time I stepped out of my house. ‘Is that spiky tower used to fence aliens invading from the air?’ Kindergarten children might occasionally think about architecture, and I was one of those kids.
5· What does architecture mean to you?
A honest negotiator work for defer a variety of conflict. A tool for write down poems and dreams. As an object, architecture is the physical evidence of human activities. As a discipline, architecture teaches me to think about how to solve practical problems.
interview - video
bothy, No.2121 Conservatory Park by Naiyue Zhang
I start this concept by imagining life in the future in 2121. If it was 2121, when humans still existed and chose to live in reality, AR wearable facilities and holographic emitters might replace the status of current smart phones. On the other hand, climate and population in 2121 might not be as good as 100 years before; however, many people are working on new energy and looking for new materials nowadays. These facts make me speculate that people of the future will use materials in laboratory to build more sustainable living places, and decreasing population lead to urban decline, many towns turn to ruins and forests.
Then I start the story by imagining a hypothetical family unit. There are two adults doing field research on botany in an abandoned site. They choose to make their home near the ruins of one conservatory, they own a child study in a boarding school, and a dog as an assistant to guard against wild animals. In 2121, telecommuting will become more common, especially for recluses and researchers. These two adults will use their devices to communicate remotely with colleagues and the child. Besides, the advance of information transmission equipment makes individuals paying more attention to the distance so that the living room will shrink and blend with the kitchen in this context.
In consideration of the stability of the structure, I decided to make the building plan circular. Circles have no direction, so that this architecture can collect solar energy and water from all around. This plan is arranging in order from public to private. At its centre is a functional space with a thick solid wall. The bathroom, machine room and storage is located here. The water around the centre is used for cooling and noise reduction in addition to decoration.
In terms of materials, I chose carbon steel fibre skeleton and Polytetrafluoroethylene membrane. Carbon steel fibre is light and robust, and the membrane surface will adjust insulation performance by inflating and deflating. For equipment, storage batteries, power generation units, equipment rooms, and rainwater treatment will be installed to save energy and ensure emergency needs. These designs aim for a more extreme future climate. In addition to being placed in forests, this structure can also appear above water in coastal cities and flood-prone areas if its foundation becomes a floating object.
Therefore, I ended up naming this project ‘bothy, No.2121 Conservatory Park’. A bothy is an essential home, especially one for housing farm labourers or mountain refuges. I expect this bothy can give future humans a place to go back, no matter what environment they live.
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