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Issue 01: Interview


Mark Lee | Scale and Tension



对话Mark Lee: 尺度与张力






Mark Lee is a principal and founding partner of the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee. Since its establishment in 1998, Johnston Marklee has been recognized nationally and internationally with over 30 major awards. Mark has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Technical University of Berlin, and ETH Zurich. He  has served as Chair of the Architecture Department at the GSD since 2018. He has held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University and the Frank Gehry International Chair at the University of Toronto. Together with partner Sharon Johnston, Mark Lee was the Artistic Director for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial.


Mark Lee © johnstonmarklee.com





“ I think great public spaces can accommodate various scales and various sizes. By sizes, I mean that public spaces should be able to accommodate the collective and the individual. You can always be yourself in a public space, as well as you can always feel that you are a part of a larger group. In terms of scales, I think being heterogeneous in scale is essential. ”




ChinaGSD: Johnston Marklee has done a series of exciting public and cultural buildings, including museums, exhibitions, pavilions. Most recently was the completion of the Menil Drawing institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Ideally, what qualities should public spaces have? Can you give an example of public space that you think embodies those qualities?

Johnston Marklee设计了一系列令人兴奋的公共和文化建筑,包括博物馆和展览馆。最近完成了梅尼尔绘画学院(Menil Drawing institute)和芝加哥当代艺术博物馆(the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago)。理想情况下,公共空间应该具备哪些品质?你能举一个公共空间体现这些品质的例子吗?



梅尼尔绘画学院(Menil Drawing institute) © johnstonmarklee.com
Mark: When you invoke public space, you often think about the opposite of public spaces, which is private space. How do you define public space might be how you define the opposite of what private spaces. For me, I think good public spaces often have a fascinating interface between the public and the private. It is interesting to find out when does it become private, when does it become public, and where is that interface? I think having the porosity of the boundaries between public and private is always important.

For example, the Menil Drawing Institute buildings we design are situated in a 30-acre campus within the Menil, the art foundation. Unlike many art museums, the boundary is not very clearly defined. It's not like the experience you drive past a wall or gate and suddenly arrive at the foundation. The foundation keeps some of the institutional buildings and private single-family houses, and it is really like a neighborhood. So, it's like you suddenly find yourself arriving into the Menil foundation without knowing when you pass that threshold. I find it very beguiling and an exciting moment of how public space comes to be. It is not like you suddenly walk through the Italian Renaissance gate, then you arrive in the Piazza. The transition is much more surreptitious.


当你提到公共空间的时候,你经常会想到公共空间的反面,那就是私人空间。你如何定义公共空间可能就是你如何定义私人空间的反面。对我来说,我认为好的公共空间通常在公共和私人之间有一个迷人的交界面。它什么时候变成私人的,什么时候变成公共的,交界线在哪里?这些问题都非常有趣。我认为,在公共和私人之间保持渗透的边界是很重要的。

例如,我们设计的梅尼尔绘画学院建筑位于梅尼尔艺术基金会内的一个30英亩的校园内。与许多艺术博物馆不同的是,博物馆的界限并不是很明确。它不像你开车经过一堵墙或一扇门,然后突然到达场地。基金会保留了一些机构建筑和私人独栋住宅,很像一个社区。所以,就好像你不知道什么时候跨过了那条界线,突然发现自己来到了梅尼尔基金会。我发现这是一个非常诱人和令人兴奋的时刻,关于公共空间是如何形成的。这并不像你突然穿过意大利文艺复兴之门,然后你就来到了广场。这种空间的转换更加隐秘。




芝加哥当代艺术博物馆 (the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago © johnstonmarklee.com

In contrast, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago was the intervention we did in a building by Josef Paul Kleihues. He designed a modern building based on the new classical ideal of a museum. The museum sits on a socle, being raised at these grand stairs that bring you up. In a way, there is a very classical ideal between private spaces and public spaces. What we are trying to do to that museum is to keep the syntax and the ethos of the project while at the same time opening it up a lot more. By doing this, what used to be closed is more connected to the exterior, and what used to be a close educational, private space is becoming public space that is connected to more lobby spaces.


相比之下,芝加哥的当代艺术博物馆是我们对Josef Paul Kleihues的一栋建筑进行的改造。他设计了一个基于新古典理想的现代博物馆。博物馆坐落在一个大台基上,人们通过大的阶梯拾级而上。在某种程度上,这是一种非常经典的私人空间和公共空间的原型。我们试图对博物馆做的是保持该项目的秩序和气质,同时将它变得更加开放。由此,过去封闭的空间与外部更紧密地联系在一起,而过去封闭的教育、私人空间变成了公共空间,与更多的大厅相连。


If asked what examples of great public spaces are, I can think of a few and question why they are great public spaces. I think great public spaces can accommodate various scales and various sizes. By sizes, I mean that public spaces should be able to accommodate the collective and the individual. You can always be yourself in a public space, as well as you can always feel that you are a part of a larger group. In terms of scales, I think being heterogeneous in scale is essential.

One great space I love is the Piazza of Saint Peter's in Rome with the famous Bernini colonnade. The colonnade is so axial, ceremonial, and so much about the Catholic Church. However, when you go into that space, you will realize that the columns' base is very anthropomorphic in scale, with 17 or 18 inches as the chair's scale. You can see people sitting down on the base of a column. It's a gigantic column that relates to the Cathedral scale, but there is a scale for the human being, and I find that quite important.

Another example I could think about is St. Peter's Square (Red Square) in Moscow. Unlike the Roman Baroque example, where all the buildings work in concert to form the space, it is formed by multiple types of buildings. It has the Moscow Kremlin on one side, and the Lenin's Tomb on the other. It has St. Basil's Cathedral on one side, and the great GUM Department Store on the other. It seems like very different buildings that come together to form this public space.


如果有人问我好的公共空间有哪些例子,我能想到一些,并思考为什么它们是好的公共空间。我认为好的公共空间可以容纳不同的尺度和规模。说到规模,我的意思是公共空间应该能够同时容纳集体和个人。在公共空间里,你可以一直自己待着,也可以一直觉得自己是一个更大的群体中的一员。就尺度而言,我认为尺度上的多样性是至关重要的。

我喜欢的一个很棒的空间是罗马的圣彼得广场,有着著名的贝尔尼尼柱廊。柱廊有很强的轴线和仪式性,与天主教堂关系紧密。然而,当你进入那个空间,你会意识到柱子的基础是非常亲人的尺度,17或18英寸就像椅子的尺度。你可以看到人们坐在柱子的基础上。这是一根与大教堂尺度相关的巨柱,但也有着人体的尺度,我觉得这很重要。

我能想到的另一个例子是莫斯科的圣彼得广场(红场)。不像刚刚提到的罗马的巴洛克的例子——所有的建筑共同形成一个完整的空间,它是由多种类型的建筑组成的。它的一侧是莫斯科的克里姆林宫,另一侧是列宁的坟墓。一边是圣巴西尔大教堂,另一边是GUM百货公司。这些不同的建筑聚在一起形成了这个公共空间。


There is a kind of generosity about this type of heterogeneity of the building that forms the public space. I could think of examples like Saint Peter's Square and more contemporary examples, like the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Very different buildings form them, and it is also a very different type of public space. Shibuya is more about speed people crossing, as opposed to space for contemplation or worship.

The issue of scale can sometimes be accommodated in the example of the detail, like Saint Peter's, but I also see it in the arcade scale. I think Ballet Royal in Paris is also a great example of public space. It is a homogeneous space, but also with a heterogeneous scale of the arcade and the gardens that many things could happen within it.


建筑类型的异质性形成了公共空间,这是一种慷慨。我能想到像圣彼得广场这样的例子,还有更现代的例子,比如东京著名的涉谷十字路口。非常不同的建筑形成了不同类型的公共空间。涉谷更多的是关于人们快速穿越,而不是沉思或礼拜的空间。

尺度的问题有时在细节中体现,如圣彼得大教堂,但有时也体现在拱廊的尺度。我认为巴黎的皇家芭蕾剧院也是公共空间的一个很好的例子。这是一个同质的空间,但同时也有不同规模的拱廊和花园,许多事情可以发生在其中。


“I think great public spaces have a way of transcending politics and time and spaces. They are always generous and can accommodate different regimes. ”



ChinaGSD: Together with Sharon Johnston, you were the artistic director of Chicago Biennial’s "Make New History". How do you view public space through the lens of historical contexts? What does history give to public space?

您曾与Sharon Johnston一起担任芝加哥双年展“创造新历史”的艺术总监。您如何透过历史语境的镜头来看待公共空间?历史给了公共空间什么?



2017年芝加哥双年展 (Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017) © johnstonmarklee.com

Mark: When I think about history, I also think about the opposite, which is the future. It is easy to think about these dialectics. For many people, they think history as something that is attributed to the past or something nostalgic. But for me, I see history as a much larger continuum. It is not about the opposition between revolution versus evolution. It is a series of many revolutions that, if you zoom back out, it becomes an evolutionary trajectory.

When we worked on the biennial, one book that was very influential for us was the book Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. What the book described really fits into the cultural phenomenon that we see today. Everything is available today, including any images and information is available, which is excellent in high speed. Nevertheless, the problems also appear when everything is available that everything becomes equal and the same. You can put Saint Peter's Cathedral next to a popup shop. As an image, everything is flattened. So, there is a desire for meaning and a desire for structure.

For me, history provides a fundamental structure to what is out there that's very flat and very homogeneous. When we look into how history has been utilized, we can find that historiography has always been within the culture of architecture. Sometimes there are moments when history was like a straitjacket. It is like doing the Beaux-Arts or during the post-modern period. However, I think now we have past that period. Now history is a way for us to learn the patterns and things that happened before informing us about the parallel of how things could happen today.


当我想到历史的时候,我也会想到它的对立面,未来。思考这些辩证法是很容易的。对很多人来说,他们认为历史是过去的东西或怀旧的东西。但对我来说,我认为历史是一个更大的连续体。它不是关于革命与进化之间的对立。这是一系列的革命,如果你站在远处看,它就变成了一个进化的轨迹。

当我们思考双年展时,有一本书对我们很有影响,那就是迈克尔·哈特(Michael Hardt)和安东尼奥·内格里(Antonio Negri)合著的《帝国》(《Empire》)。这本书所描述的确实符合我们今天所看到的文化现象。现在一切都可以很快被获取,包括图像和信息。然而,问题也出现了,当一切都可获取,一切变得平等和相同。你可以把圣彼得大教堂放在商店橱窗旁边。作为一个图像,一切都是平坦的。所以,人们渴望意义,渴望结构。

对我来说,历史为我们这个平坦、均匀的世界提供了一个基本的结构。当我们探究历史是如何被利用的,我们会发现历史编纂一直都是在建筑文化之中。在一些时候,历史也像一种约束,像是布扎或战后时期。然而,我认为这个时期已经过去了。现在,历史是一种让我们了解以前发生的事情和规律,让我们知道今天的事情是如何发生的。


So, when I think about the biennial, there are many projects that address the issue of public space. For example, the Belgian Office 51N4E did this project for the Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania. They think about how a traditional square could accommodate this type of dynamics activity. By the design of the square and the landscape, the change of water, the public square becomes an active participant in shaping, as well as responding to activities, opposed to a more static way that reticent to the site.

What is more, HHF, the Swiss office, who teaches here at GSD this year, they looked into the future of parking garages. They suggested that maybe in the future we need less parking because of wide sharing on public transportation. When they designed parking garages that are required today, they already think of how these garages in the future could be converted to spaces like offices and living spaces, with an understanding that it is just a fleeting moment.

Another well-known work is from Standard Architecture. They have been looking at the hutong spaces in Beijing, with an understanding of the lens of metabolism. It is quite interesting for someone outside of China to look back into how a Chinese architect is looking at something historical in China and looking at something that is a much more international in terms of thinking about the metabolism.

In the end, I think great public spaces have a way of transcending politics and time and spaces. They are always generous and can accommodate different regimes. It is thus essential to think of how one could plan that ahead of time.


所以,当我想到双年展的时候,有很多项目都是关于公共空间的。例如, 比利时事务所 51N4E在阿尔巴尼亚的地拉那做了斯坎德培广场的项目。他们思考传统的广场如何适应这种动态的活动。通过广场和景观的设计、水的变化,公共广场成为塑造和回应活动的积极参与者,而不是一个更静态、沉默的场地。

此外,今年在GSD任教的瑞士事务所HHF,他们展望了停车库的未来。他们建议,也许在未来,由于公共交通的普及,我们需要更少的停车空间。当他们设计今天需要的车库时,他们已经在考虑未来如何将这些车库改造成办公和生活空间,因为他们知道这只是一个转瞬即逝的时刻。

另一个著名的作品来自标准营造。他们一直在用新陈代谢的视角观察北京的胡同空间。对于中国以外的人来说,回顾一个中国建筑师如何看待中国的历史事物,以及如何看待新陈代谢这一更加国际化的事物,是很有趣的。

最后,我认为好的公共空间有一种超越政治、时间和空间的方式。它们总是很慷慨,能够适应不同的体制。因此,如何能够提前为之做出计划是很重要的。



“ The culture and the scale cannot be just paralleled to what is happening in Europe or America, and simply take their models and transplant in China. I'm very interested in how that evolved based on the scale and how these public spaces are used.”



ChinaGSD: In 2012, you have been invited by Ai Weiwei to be part of the Ordos 100 in China. Later In 2013, Pavilion of Six Views was completed for the West Bund Art and Architecture Biennale in Shanghai. How is designing Chinese public space any different to designing elsewhere, like Europe and the United States?

2012年,你受艾未未邀请参加中国鄂尔多斯100 (Ordos 100)。2013年晚些时候,为上海西岸艺术区与建筑双年展(West Bund Art and Architecture Biennale)设计建造的六景馆竣工。你认为中国的公共空间设计与欧洲和美国以及其他地方的设计有什么不同?



House House © johnstonmarklee.com

Mark: The Pavilion of Six Views was the only built project in China designed by us. The design for Ordos 100 was not built. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable moment because, in Ordos 100, we met many people in person, people that we know of, know a little bit of, and admire each other’s work. It became a springboard event for many future collaborations, not all hundred of them, but a smaller group of collaborations. Sometimes when we get together, we still think about Christoph Gantenbein, Kersten Geers, and many other people involved.

When we look back, we always suspect that Ai Weiwei actually did not really care about the buildings. However, he wanted 100 architects to be in the Mongolian desert together in the hotel. In this way, when we were relatively isolated there, much discussion happened.


上海六景馆(Shanghai Pavilion of Six Views)是我们在中国设计的唯一一个已建成的项目。虽然我们为鄂尔多斯100的设计并没有落地,但是,这确是一段难以忘怀的经历,我们在鄂尔多斯100遇到了很多人,一些是我们之前认识的,一些是我们了解比较少的,还有一些彼此欣赏的。鄂尔多斯100就这样成为了未来合作的“跳板”,并不是大范围的合作,而是成就了较小规模的合作。当我们一群人再次聚在一起的时候,仍然会想起Christoph Gantenbein, Kersten Geers和其他参与鄂尔多斯100的朋友们。

每当追溯当时的场景,我们总是怀疑艾未未其实并没有关心那些建筑,而是更加希望我们这100名建筑师能够在蒙古沙漠的酒店里一起工作。这样,当我们感觉比较孤独的时候,就会有很多的讨论出现。



上海六望亭 (Shanghai Pavilion of Six Views) © johnstonmarklee.com

The Shanghai Pavilion of Six Views was for the West Bund Art and Architecture Biennale. It was a pavilion design for the three months that the West Bund Biennale was held, but at the same time, they wanted a permanent building, as opposed to something that could be a dismantled in three months. When we asked what is the permanent building for, they are not quite sure about it. So, there is much unknown about how things could change. We designed these six views based on the exhibition and site. We thought about how three of the pavilions captured the view of the outside, which are more extroverted, while another three of them are introverted. Now it is the Shanghai Center of Photography. If we had known before, we would not have built any curve walls because now they cannot accommodate large scale photography.

上海六景馆是为上海西岸艺术区与建筑双年展设计的。这是一个为西岸双年展(West Bund Biennale)举办的三个月的展馆设计,但与此同时,主办更想要一个永久性的建筑而不是在三个月内就可以拆除的东西。当我们问永久建筑的作用是什么的时候,他们也并不是很确定。所以,对于事情会如何改变,是很多未知数的。我们根据展览和场地设计了这“六景”。其中三个展馆着重捕捉外部的景象,更加向外,而另外三个则是更加向内的。现在六景馆成为了上海摄影中心,如果我们之前知道了,就应该不会建造任何曲线墙,因为现在场馆不太能容纳大规模的摄影展览。


For the issue of how Chinese public spaces differ from the US and Europe, I would speak for myself. I myself grew up in Hong Kong, and I saw many types of public spaces, or the types of ways for living, which also happens in Mainland China. The homes are tiny, so people go back mostly for sleep. The public spaces are their living room, and people would like to go out to use public spaces. It is like extending the private spaces into the public realm. When I go to China today, I see the same thing as people in Chinese cities, especially the type of density, take outside spaces as their living rooms.

It is certainly different in terms of scale compared to the American cities. The Chinese block is often eight to ten times over the Manhattan block, so it is a much larger scale at a much larger collect one has to deal with. I am also interested in different ways of occupying the public spaces that you do not see as much in the US or Europe. For example, eating in public spaces is normal and usual in China, much less so in America or Europe for that sense.

The culture and the scale cannot be just paralleled to what is happening in Europe or America, and simply take their models and transplant in China. So, I'm very interested in how that evolved based on the scale and how these public spaces are used.


关于中国的公共空间与美国和欧洲有何不同,我想讲讲自己的经历。我自己在香港长大,我看到了很多类型的公共空间和生活方式,中国大陆也有同样现象。房子很小,所以人们回家主要是为了睡觉。房子的公共空间只是他们的客厅,所以人们更喜欢出去使用公共空间。这就像是将私人空间扩展到公共领域。当我现在来到了中国,我发现了中国的城市有着同样现象,尤其是是密度大的地方,人们把外界的空间当作他们的客厅。

与美国相比,城市的尺度是相当不同的。中国的街区通常是曼哈顿街区的八到十倍,所以要处理的尺度也大得多。我对占据公共空间的方式非常感兴趣,这在美国或欧洲是非常不常见的。例如,在公共场所吃饭在中国是很正常的,但在美国或欧洲就不那么常见了。

中国的文化和尺度是不能与欧洲或美国的情况相互比较的,更不能简单地移植欧洲或美国的模式。所以,我感兴趣的是公共空间如何在不同尺度上发展,以及这些公共空间是如何被使用的。


Another thing I would think of is the acceptance of surveillance. In Beijing Airport, we can board a plane with facial recognition. Regarding the surveillance, people are somehow used to it. Somehow most people do not mind because surveillance makes the space safer. I'm just curious about how this type of surveillance could be broken down into the homes' privacy with 5G technology.

Indeed, it is happening all around the world. Yet, with facial recognition and the 5G technology speed, how would the boundaries between the public and private space also break down virtually opposed to the Menil, which is more like a physical breakdown of the boundaries? The virtually break down in terms of public and private is also something that interests me, and it expects more observation at this moment.

另一个我想到的事情是接受监管。在北京机场,我们是可以通过面部识别登机的。关于监管,人们在一定程度上已经习惯了。大多数人都并不是很介意,因为监管让空间变得更安全了。但是我只是很好奇,现在我们拥有了5G技术,哪种类型的监管方式能够解决家庭隐私的问题。

事实上,这个问题正在世界各个地方出现。随着面部识别和5G技术的快速发展,公共空间和私人空间之间的界限该如何在实质上打破,而不是Menil那种物理性的边界打破?公共空间和私人空间的渗透也是我的兴趣点之一,但目前仍需要更多的观察和研究。


“ How can we stand very close to each other, but still find these view corridors between this density to have the spatial projection? How can we be collective but still maintain the moment of individuality?”



ChinaGSD: Your practice is well regarded for the design of high qualities residential projects situated on beaches, plains, hills. The drivers for these projects might be more specific due to the nature of their scale. Yet, the exterior of these residences suggests these buildings are not introverted, but active in engaging with the outside world. When designing these projects, what is your stance towards neighbors, and by extension the neighborhood?

在设计海滩、平原、山区的高品质住宅项目时,您的实践得到了广泛的认可。由于其尺度的特征,这些项目的因素可能更加具体。然而,这些住宅的外观表明,这些建筑并非单纯的是内向的,而是积极地与外部世界互动。在设计这些项目时,您对邻居和社区的立场是什么?




Vault House © johnstonmarklee.com

Mark: This is something that we have been working on ever since we started our practice, because many US cities are made out of single-family houses like in Los Angeles. Now we have some more, maybe quality public buildings. However, for decades, not a century, Los Angeles architecture was made up of single-family houses. When we started our practice, what we have been noticing is also this notion of density.

Therefore, there is a conflict between the desire to have your own space, your own house, a lot of space around, and how to deal with this encroaching density. Many projects, like the View House in Argentine, the Hill House, the Vault House, or even the Pavilion of Six Views, have to deal with density but still provide a view corridor. This is sort of a Japanese idea of a view borrowing. The analogy I always use is that when you are standing in a very crowded subway train when people are standing right next to you, but between the heads, you can look further.

How can we stand very close to each other, but still find these view corridors between this density to have the spatial projection? It is how we have been thinking about the relationship between a single-family house and the neighborhood. How can we be collective but still maintain the moment of individuality? It is something that has many historical comparisons.


这是我们自开始实践以来一直在做的事情,因为很多美国城市都是由单户住宅组成的,比如洛杉矶。现在我们有更多的可能是高质量的公共建筑。然而,几十年来,不到一个世纪,洛杉矶的建筑都是由单户住宅组成的。当我们开始实践的时候,我们也注意到了密度这个概念。

因此,存在这样一种冲突:人们想要拥有自己的空间、自己的房子和周围宽敞的空地,同时还要应对这个不断加剧的密度。许多项目,比如阿根廷的View House、the Hill House、the Vault House,甚至是the Pavilion of Six Views,都必须处理高密度的问题,但仍要提供一个景观视廊。这是日本的一种借景观念。我经常用的比喻是,当你站在非常拥挤的地铁上,人们就站在你旁边,但在头与头的空隙,你可以看得更远。

我们如何能够站得很紧凑,却还能在密度之间找到这些景观视廊以达到空间的投射?这就是我们一直在思考的独栋住宅和社区之间的关系。我们怎么能既是集体的又保持个性呢?这在历史上有很多参考案例。



Poggio Golo Winery © johnstonmarklee.com

For example, a saying goes like houses on the outside need to be conservative, as gentlemen or ladies. We have a larger social decorum from the outside world that the houses have to respond to. Whereas on the inside of the house, it is your private realm. You can be extravagant and crazy. But it somehow breaks down the difference between the exterior and the interior, or the exterior's responsibility versus the interior's responsibility. For some others, there may be little distinction with the glass and wall. The interior and exterior are the same thing for them.

From my perspective, I think there is a middle point where there is a limited engagement to the exterior. Engaging the exterior neighborhood while maintaining privacy within the individual houses is the balance that we are trying to solve in our projects.


例如,俗话说,房子外面需要保守,就像绅士或淑女。我们有来自外部世界的更大的社会礼仪,房子必须回应。而在房子里面,它是你的私人领地。你可以奢侈和疯狂。但它在某种程度上打破了外部和内部的区别,或者说外部的责任和内部的责任。对其他一些人来说,玻璃和墙壁可能没有什么区别。对他们来说,内部和外部是一样的。

从我的角度来看,我认为存在一个中间点,即内部与外部的参与是有限的。我们在项目中试图解决的平衡是与外部社区保持联系,同时保持个体住宅内部的隐私。


ChinaGSD:  There are various public space ideals that are taught in academia, but not always achievable in practice. From your vantage point between academia and practice, how do you value these ideals? What do they mean to us?

在2019年接受《透视》杂志雅克·赫尔佐格(Jacques Herzog)采访时,他提到M+是伦敦泰特现代美术馆(Tate Modern)唯一可能完工的项目。如果以1995年为契机,有哪些设计策略保持了惯例不变,此后又有哪些变化?回顾过去,您如何描述这种做法对公共空间的态度的演变?



Hill House © johnstonmarklee.com

Mark: This is a question, especially for educators and students in an academic environment, and it is a question we always ask ourselves. I want to allude to some artwork that I always refer to by the conceptual artist John Baldessari. In his seventies, he did a series of projects. One is called a photographic project in which he photographed his finger moving consistently. It is called using your finger to achieve a straight line. When he photographed, it's never a straight line but always kind of slightly curved. When I throw balls into the air and try to photograph the balls, it is never exactly safe to form a perfect triangle.

For me, the lesson from this work is that it is essential to have an ideal on the one hand, but also acknowledge that you can never achieve the ideal unless you are really in a totalitarian state. It is important to realize that your ideal and utopia are never achievable. However, rather than lamenting or being said that the ideal could never be achieved, it is better to realize that the discrepancy between the ideal and what you have, and your disposal to achieve that, are the world's content.


这是一个对处于学术环境中的教育者们和学生们的问题,也更是一个我们经常会问自己的问题。我想引用抽象艺术家John Baldessari的一些作品来回答。在John Baldessari 70多岁的时候,他做了一系列作品。其中有一个摄影作品,是他拍摄了他自己手指的持续运动,用手指去实现一条直线。当他拍照的时候,结果从来不是一条直线,总是有些许弯曲的。当我把球扔到空中并试图拍摄球时,同样的,结果从来不是一个完美的三角形。

对我来说,从这个作品中领悟到的是,一方面理想化是必不可少的,但同时也要承认,除非你真的处于极端主义国家,否则你是永远无法实现理想化的。重要的是要认识到你的理想和乌托邦是永远无法实现的。然而,与其哀叹理想化永远无法实现,不如接受理想与你现在所持有的距离,并为实现理想做出相应的打算,这才世界的内涵。


Being in academia, you have, in a way, slightly insulated by some of the things that are happening outside. How can we introduce and interrogate some of these ideals that one could always think of when you are engaged in something much more professional and much more pragmatic at hand after school? When considering the relationship between academia and practice, I also think of the speed that ideals are realized or semi-realized.

When we trace back to the 20th century and explore how modernism came about worldwide, I tend to look at a place, Scandinavia. In Scandinavia, modernism came very late, like in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, because Scandinavia embraced a type of Nordic Classicism as the national identity at the turn of the century. Such architects like Gunnar Asplund or Alvar Aalto, they all did architecture of Nordic Classicism style. But when modernism finally came in Scandinavia, it came in a refined and mature way right away.

Unlike the modernism that happened in central or western Europe, when they went through the world wars, and when modernism becomes something to prove a point, Scandinavia did not have to do that. Modernism there happened in a much more evolutionary way when it finally happened. So, they didn't have to throw out many things from Nordic Classicism, but Nordic Classicism was incorporated within Scandinavia's modernism.

For me, that was a critical model. It is not just like one revolution overthrew another, but a prolonged and smooth transition. The speed and cadence of how these ideal models are achieved or interpreted is also an important factor. What we see ideals today might be achieved or inspire a different form of realization someday in the future.


处在学术界,我们在某种程度上与外界面发生的一些事情隔绝了。当我们完成了学业从事了更加专业化以及实用主义的工作时,我们该如何介绍和审视这些理想?在思考学术与实践的关系时,我会想到理想实现或半实现的速度。

当我们追溯至20世纪,探索现代主义是如何在世界范围内产生的,我倾向于这样一个地方,斯堪的纳维亚。在斯堪的纳维亚,现代主义出现得很晚,类似于瑞典、芬兰和挪威,因为在时代转换的过程中,斯堪的纳维亚是以北欧古典主义(Nordic Classicism)作为国家文化象征的。像Gunnar Asplund和Alvar Aalto这样的建筑师,他们都以北欧古典主义为建筑风格。当现代主义最终来到斯堪的纳维亚半岛时,它却迅速以一种精致且成熟的方式出现了。

不像是中欧或西欧的现代主义,当他们经历世界大战时,现代主义成为了证明自己的工具,而斯堪的纳维亚是不需要这样做的。当现代主义最终发生时的时,它是以一种进化性方式发生的。所以,他们并没有必要抛弃北欧古典主义的很多东西,反之,北欧古典主义很好地融入了斯堪的纳维亚的现代主义当中。

对我来说,这是一个非常关键的模式。不是一场革命推翻了另一场革命,而是种个漫长而平稳的过渡。如何实现或理解这些理想模型的速度和节奏也是一个很重要因素。在未来的某一天,我们现在看到的理想很有可能会以另一种形式被实现或是激发。

ChinaGSD: The pandemic has severely impacted the way we use public space. How will this shift the way you understand the future public space?

当下的疫情严重影响了我们使用公共空间的方式。这将如何改变您对未来公共空间的理解?
 
Mark:  The pandemic is still at an early stage, and we are all experiencing it in a very personal way. Nonetheless, when I look at the furniture design companies, like Littrell, Nordfurniture, most of their main focus in the past was furniture provided for contracted offices with a small amount of dedication to domestic furniture.

However, even before the pandemic, they realized that they have to focus on domestic furniture because more people are working at home, and offices look more like home. You can see the shift in terms of the focus. From my view, the pandemic actually expedited this understanding of the importance of the private space as a workspace with a much more comfortable and acceptable way of using Zoom to communicate now.


目前疫情仍处于早期阶段,我们每个人都在以非常个人的方式经历着它。尽管如此,我发现一些家具设计类公司,如Littrell, Nordfurniture,他们在过去主要侧重的还是为签约的办公室提供家具,而对家庭家具上只做了少量的投入。

不过,在疫情之前,他们意识到必须该把重点放在家庭家具上了,因为越来越多的人在家里工作,同时办公室看起来越来越像家。你可以感受到焦点的转变。在我看来,疫情实际上加速了人们对私人空间的重要性的认知。私人空间作为工作空间,提供了一种更舒适、更能够接受的环境给人们在Zoom上进行交流。


Then the question comes, if we have to rethink the private and interior space, what is left of the public space? I am quite optimistic about that. Admittedly, all these things are making the type of privatized lifestyle with working at home more possible. However, at least from my perspective, it can actually help amplifies what a public space truly does.

When people are isolated for so long, they can't wait to go to the beach and have real contact with people. I am very positive that I think public spaces are even more important because people, in the end, need to interact beyond virtual interaction.

那么问题来了,如果我们重新思考私人空间和室内空间,那公共空间还剩下什么呢?我对此其实相当乐观。不可否认,所有这些都使得在家工作的私人化的生活方式变得更有可能。然而,至少从我的角度来看,它实际上有利于彰显公共空间的真正作用。

当人们被孤立太久时,他们迫不及待地想去海滩和人们进行真正的接触。我非常肯定,公共空间将会变得更加重要,因为人们最终需要进行虚拟互动以外的交流。


“Admittedly, all these things are making the type of privatized lifestyle with working at home more possible. However, at least from my perspective, it can actually help amplifies what a public space truly does. ”


These are some of my thoughts from my own experience. I was quarantined in Hong Kong for two weeks when I was trapped in the room and had to wear a bracelet, activate my app, and walk the room's parameters. Though I asked for a hotel room that's higher with a view, on the 5th day, I still can't stand it. In the end, I went crazy as I looked at the view and started counting windows that I saw outside. The moment at midnight, when my quarantine finally expired, I went to the park that I have been looking at just from the same point of view for two weeks. Just walking around by myself made me feel so different from a very different point of view. It was the point that I started to realize how much I value the physical space versus the virtual screen, which was my window looking out.

I also see this as a parallel like in many forms of history. Like in art history, painting always has the responsibility to represent something. When photography was invented, people questioned whether the painting was dying since they had photography. Not exactly, because now that painting was relieved of its role to represent, painting found something deeper for what it is about. So, in the same way, I think public spaces will truly amplify what they do best for bringing people together in a physical way with this pandemic.


这是我根据亲身经历产生出来的一些想法。我在香港被隔离了两周,当时我被困在房间里,不得不戴上手环,激活我的应用程序,在房间的限制中进行走动。虽然我订了一间有风景的更高的房间,但在第五天,我还是无法忍受。最后,当我看着窗外的风景,开始数我看到的窗户时,我都快疯了。午夜时分,我的隔离终于结束了,我去了两个星期以来我一直以同一个角度看到的那个公园。我在公园走动时的感受,和我在隔离的时非常不同。这让我开始意识到相对于虚拟屏幕,那个我望向外面的窗户,我是多么重视物理空间。

我认为,这与历史上的许多形式是相似的。就像在艺术史上一样,绘画是负责去表现一些东西的。当摄影技术被发明出来的时候,人们就开始质疑,既然有了摄影技术,绘画是否会消亡?但不完全是这样,因为现在绘画不再仅仅是表现什么的角色,而有了更深层次的含义。所以同样地,我认为公共空间将会真正放大最优势的地方,在疫情的背景下,人们将以一种有形的方式聚集在一起。




Questions by: 王轶群 Yiqun Wang, 吴逸欣 Yixin Wu, 何牧 Clara He, 陈勇图 Toby Chan
Interview by: 王轶群 Yiqun Wang, 吴逸欣 Yixin Wu
Graphics: 高盛枫 Lisa Gao,秦瑜 Qin Yu,吴叶 Bella Wu

Editing/Layout: 汪宸宇 Claire Wang,吴叶 Bella Wu,  施云子 Yunzi

Shi


Proofing/Overview: 何牧 Clara He,汪子京 Tommy Wang,曾迪 Di Zeng ,陈勇图 Toby Chan
 
Translation: 刘诗宇 Shiyu Liu, 王暠 Gao Wang

2020 | ChinaGSD