Wuyi Primary School Auditorium
11 August 2004

What is the architecture that interests us? What is the architecture that we played with, and dreamed of day and night? What is our building’s reasons of being? What is the constructive essence of architecture? What, after all, is architecture’s original ground? These are the fundamental questions posed irresistibly and permanently to “standardarchitecture”, to the new generation of architects in China, and in fact, to every generation of architects in history.

Apparently, we are not interested in following this or that styles, not interested in imitating masters and their designs, not interested in pretentiously calling ourselves avant-gardes by copying avant-garde works, not interested in wearing a foreigner’s mask and sell architecture like junk food. We even have serious hostility of being labeled into categories such as the fresh-and-slicks, the avant-gardes, the foreign designers, the returned-overseas, the minimalists, and what so ever.

In the case of Wuyi Elementary School Auditorium project (WESA), we are more interested in raising questions, rather than providing fixed answers. The Wuyi Elementary School is located at Tongzhou County, the suburb of Beijing. With a capacity of 520 seats, the WESA functions as a performance center, a film theatre, or a ceremonial place both for the elementary school and for the Wuyi housing community. The campus is very flat and the existing classroom building is an out of scale and banal volume. The only thing interests us is a landscape that is wild.

Is it possible to make something fun for the students? Is it possible to totally change the atmosphere of the school? Given the unbelievably low budget, is it still possible to make a building that is elegant? Is it possible to create something to make use of the landscape, to orchestrate the landscape and to signify the landscape? We selected a long rectangle plot with a dimension of 30 by 72 meters. The WESA is placed at the end of the plot, directly facing the uninteresting classroom building. Between them, an almost squarely proportioned space is left open.  

The “WESA” project is a carrier of our inquiry. The extremely rational plan and merely intuitive appearance generates something provocative, something with spiritual qualities; a building that is ephemeral and permanent; a building that is both light and heavy; something happy at the same time moody, playful at the same time sincere, curious at the same time decisive; a building that transforms the landscape from a non-place into a place. The WESA is a building that inquires, explores, confronts, and invites for mental disputes and investigations…

The WESA is a manifestation of the new generation. But the new generation, despite of their devotion and passion, is powerless. The only thing they can do is to build, to construct. It is only through the way they construct that the architecture they devoted to could take the form of physical existence. This is why we like very much the roughness of “WESA”, since it is only when the building is rid of every unnecessary refinement, its existence,as a result, could become entirely physical.
什么是我们感兴趣的建筑?什么是让我们如此整日摆弄、朝思夜想的建筑?什么才是我们建筑存在的理由?什么才是我们的建造的本质? 最终,什么是建筑的起始点?这些都是不可避免的指向“标准营造”的基本提问,同时也是中国新一代建筑师、以及历史上和未来的任何一代建筑师所必须永久面对的提问。



有没有可能为学生们带来某种趣味?有没有可能将小学校的气氛整体改变? 在建造预算很低的情况下,有没有可能建成一个优雅的建筑?有没有可能在此利用景观、强化景观、与景观形成协奏?为此,我们选择了一个30米×72米的长方形基地。礼堂就位于基地的一端,直接面对着令人乏味的教学楼。在它们之间,留下了一个近似于正方形的广场。

与其说WESA是对武夷小学礼堂的一种答案,不如说WESA是我们充满激情的一个提问,WESA是我们创造的由极其理性的平面和纯粹直觉的形式所产生的一个挑动的状态:一个有精神的建筑?一个既短暂又持久的建筑?一个既轻松又沉重的建筑?一个既快乐又忧郁、既玩笑又认真、既好奇又肯定的建筑?一个能够将这个“什么都不是的地方”变成“某一个地方”的建筑? WESA作为一个证实了我们的“存在”的建筑质疑着、对立着、引诱着思想的争辩和盘问… 

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