Wenfei Gao, BA of Beijing University of Technology, MA of Glasgow School of Art. Throughout my MA career, I have tried to re-examine contemporary design with experimental and critical thinking, while using speculative design and imagination to influence my own designs in real life, trying to find another way for traditional culture to exist in the future. It is believed that every material culture reflects the region, but this is not limited to creative design, but to design with a more open mind.
Based on my years of study in Beijing, I find that Beijing is currently facing a lot of hutong demolition and many architects are working on Hutong reconstruction, but I question the straightforward antique of the materials and facades. Therefore, I am thinking about how to analyze and evaluate the cultural elements of Hutong, and how to use the space language to retain these elements in the future, to explore new ways to preserve the memory and culture of the past in the rapid development of society.
Through the study in GSA, let me review the current domestic development and existing problems from another new angle. It was a challenge and a discovery to try to answer the questions that puzzled me in my own way.
Hutong Memory- 2030
This research portfolio will focus on exploring which material culture in Hutong is worth preserving and how to use the space as a medium to witness the history of Hutong material culture to continue to play due cultural value in the future.The aim is to provide a new way to preserve the material culture of Hutong by collecting the material culture of Hutong and transforming them into thespace language.
The structure of the research report is divided into three parts. Firstly, I collected the material culture in the Hutong, and then selected the cultural elements which are worth to be preserved by establishing the evaluation criteria and test the feasibility of the elements in the spatial model. Then analyzed, deconstructed, and recombined those elements that were selected to form a new space block. The resulting space blocks are then used in the fifinal space design.
After analysis and evaluation, I selected 15 elements to be used in my work. As a kind of cultural material representing Hutong identity, these cultural elements are regarded as a kind of cultural symbol to convey the hidden cultural meaning in the society. These symbols constitute the unique attributes of Hutong architectural space, and architecture is also a part of semiotics. I used deconstruction to analyze the hutong space and these cultural elements, breaking them down, cutting them up, reassembling them into a three dimensional volume, which is then combined with individual volumes to form 16 complete functional spaces.