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  • Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    4 Mentors Co-creating the Community of Mutual Learning, Mutual Aids, and Co-making

    In June 2021, A8 Design Center initiated the "No. #202155000 Designer Open Call", led by facilitator OU Ning, to carry out multi-dimensional and diversified spatial transformations for the Tianfu Park Lawn with "curatorial thinking".

    In June 2021, A8 Design Center initiated the "No. #202155000 Designer Open Call", led by facilitator OU Ning, to carry out multi-dimensional and diversified spatial transformations for the Tianfu Park Lawn with "curatorial thinking".

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!


    Facilitator  OU Ning

    The Tianfu Park Lawn Project uses a different method from general design competitions to gather young research and creative forces. After the long list is selected, the parks and green spaces in Chengdu and the local culture of this city are studied through collective field visits, document reading and workshop discussions, trying to explore and summarize the nativeness of Chengdu culturethe mobilization method of placemakinng, and the effective principles of common space as the basis for design and creation. Then the short list will be selected from the propoals delivered by the long list candidates, enter the second and third rounds of workshops within the reduced scope, and finally collectively deduce the renovation design of the original infrastructure of the lawn, the creation of the additional temporary architecture and art installations, and overall content operation plan for the Tianfu Park Lawn.

    As the facilitator of this project, my work is mainly to create a platform, integrate resources, build bridges, guide research, stimulate ideas, coordinate cooperation, catalyze actions and promote the process, and integrate unfamiliar individuals into a community of mutual learning, mutual aids, and co-making under a common task.  In order to inject greater wisdom into this community, and to provide broader experience resources and stronger academic support for the Tianfu Park Lawn project, I specially invited DONG Gong, HOU Hanru, Chu-Joe HSIA, and WANG Di as mentors, covering four different fields including architectural design, contemporary art, urban and rural research and planning, and Chengdu historical research. They are not "judges" who are high above and inaccessible but are "supporters" who are both mentors and friends and can fully communicate with everyone. They will share lectures, discuss and comment, and answer questions in the workshops, and act as the guide to the theory and practice of the lawn research and creative community. I am looking forward to meeting the four mentors and all participants in Chengdu!

    About the Mentor

    (in alphabetical order)

    DONG Gong

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    Founder / Design Principal of Vector Architects

    Foreign Member of French Academy of Architecture

    Plym Distinguished Visiting Professor at 

    the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    DONG Gong founded Vector Architects in 2008. He was elected as the Foreign Member of the French Academy of Architecture in 2019 and in the same year, was appointed as the Plym Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been teaching Design Studios at Tsinghua University since 2014. 

    He and Vector Architects have been invited to various major exhibitions, including the 2018 "FREESPACE" Venice Biennale, and have won international awards such as "100+ Best Architecture Firms" selected by Domus (2019); nominated for the Swiss Architectural Award (2018); the overall winner of the Italian "Archmarathon Awards" (2016); and the "Design Vanguard" selected by Architectural Record (2014).

    In 2019, the renowned architectural journal AV Monographs published a monograph of Vector Architects titled "Cosmopolitan Vernacular" (vol.220). His projects have been also widely published in Casabella, Arquitectura Viva, The New York Times, A+U, Detail, The Architectural Review, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, Lotus, Domus and many others. 

    DONG Gong has been invited as a guest speaker and critic by academic and professional institutions including Tsinghua University (China), the University of Hong Kong (China), the Technical University of Madrid (Spain), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich-ETH (Switzerland), and la Société Franç des Architectes (France), Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy), Casabella Formazione (Italy).

    DONG Gong's practice has earned international recognition by his representative works, including Seashore Library, Seashore Chapel, Yangshuo Sugarhouse, The Renovation of the Captain's House, Changjiang Art Museum, and Suzhou Intangible Cultural Center.

    Selected  Projects: 

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    The Renovation of the Captain's House

    Location:Fuzhou, Fujian

    Time:January 2017

    Captain's House locates on the southeast end of Huangqi Peninsula. Before the renovation, there were problems such as thin structure and large-scale indoor water leakage. The captain hopes to add a third floor to the existing structure which can accommodate their current lifestyle. The proposal decided to add a layer of 12cm concrete wall to the original brick masonry walls, which meets the needs of additional construction and provides the possibility to re-adjust the spatial pattern. The new "Window-furniture" system is combined with human behaviour, as a "medium" placed between nature and indoor space. The arch, as a three-story additional structure, is conducive to the rapid drainage of the roof. The natural directionality connects two seas with dramatically different characters at both ends of the space. At dusk, the gentle light comes out from the translucent glass blocks. The house becomes the carrier of emotion for the captain's family and gives deserved dignity and decency to the daily life of ordinary people.

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    Seashore Library

    Location:Beidaihe New District, Hebei

    Time:April 2015

    The library is an attempt to explore the coexistence relationship among the boundaries of space, physical activities, changes in the light atmosphere, air circulation, and ocean views. The design starts from the cross-section. According to the different functional requirements of the reading space, meditation space, activity room and water bar rest space, the specific relationship between the space and the sea is set, and the way light and wind enter the space is defined. The movement and memory of the human body in space have become the elements that connect this series of relationships. The gradually rising ladder platform allows people in different positions of the reading space to see the sight of the sea without hindrance, becoming a "bleacher". The sea is like a drama with nature as the theme, constantly evolving with the change of seasons and the flow of time.

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    Yangshuo Sugarhouse

    Location: Yangshuo, Guangxi

    Time:June 2017

    The hotel resides on the south of the Li River, surrounded by mountains rising from the ground. The interior of the site is rich in the natural landscape, with a sugar factory remained from the 1960s and an industrial truss used for cane sugar transportation. The newly-built hotel rooms and villas are placed on the two wings of the old building so that the old building still occupies the core of the building complex. The new body is strictly controlled to be lower than the old factory building, and the roof form of the old sugar factory is adopted. The artificial horizontal geometric volume and the mountains form a reciprocity relationship. The mixing of the "回"-shaped concrete blocks and local stones establishes an implicit continuity between the new and the old. The site is regarded as a walkable spatial system: the new and old volumes together define enclosed or open space, and a gradually climbing linear public walkway connects the three "karst cave" spaces with strong directivity. Walking among them, people will constantly experience the light and dark, the tall and short, the far and near of the space.

    HOU Hanru

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    Curator and Critic

    International curator, critic and prolific writer, HOU Hanru is based in Paris and currently in Rome where he has been Artistic Director of MAXXI, Italy's National Museum of 21st Century Arts, since 2013. Over the past two decades, he has been singled out for his progressive vision in trying to break free from preconceived, standard concepts. "I always look for things that are not so easily definable", he says. Born in Guangzhou, China, HOU graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and moved to Paris in 1990. After 16 years working as an independent curator and critic, he moved to the US and became Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibitions and Museum Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, positions he held until 2012. During the course of his career, he has curated and co-curated more than 100 exhibitions at leading institutions and events around the world. HOU also consults for and advises numerous cultural institutions, serves on art juries, lectures at international institutions, guest edits art journals and is the author of many articles and books, including On the Mid-Ground (Timezone 8, 2002), Paradigm Shifts, Water and Mcbean Galleries Exhibitions and Public Programs, San Francisco Art Institute, 2006-2011, Curatorial Challenges: Correspondences between HOU Hanru and Hans-Ulrich Obrist (2013). A consulting curator for New York's Guggenheim Museum since 2015, he is also a founding member of Guggenheim's Asian Art Council, a curatorial think tank. 

    Selected  Projects: 

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    A Story for the Future

    A passionate work of research, reflection and debate on the first decade of the 21st century, through the point of view of MAXXI.

    City, square, worlds, reality, believe are the neon lights that stand out in the gallery, referring to the five major themes of the exhibition and creating an Atlas that recounts the Museum’s programming in relation to world events.

    Visitors are invited to explore the colourful rooms, let themselves be carried away, lose themselves in a galaxy of images, sounds and projections and be an active part of this "collective brainstorming".

    What emerges is a profound link between artistic creation and contemporary reality, also underlined by the collaboration with the ANSA Agency, which has contributed to creating a powerful image-based account of the main events of the decade. The mission of organising this explosion of ideas and stimuli in space was entrusted to the renowned Dutch studio Inside Outside by Petra Blaisse.

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    The Street. Where the World Is Made

    The streets is a place of sharing and innovation, the principal laboratory for artists, architects and creatives.

    More than 140 artists and over 200 works to compose the multicultural, polyglot, colorful, scary, stimulating, deafening story of the streets of the whole world, the real great laboratory for discussion, creation, comparison, where the contemporary era is invented.

    Works of art, architectural projects, photographs, performances, site-specific interventions and videos welcome visitors to a sequence of galleries that form a street dozens of metres long.

    The exhibition is organised based on themes – public actions, daily life, politics, the community, innovation, the role of the institution – fundamental for understanding the new functions and identity of the modern-day street. Starting from the belief that this space is the place where the world is created, it is analysed as a manifesto of contemporary life, a scenario, and a privileged point of view, a landscape in which the creative community and citizens give life to a new community and a new world of urban creativity.

    The street is analysed as a continuously mutating manifesto of contemporary life, an element of connection but also of rupture, the setting for everyday experiences such as street festivals, improvised cinema or street food.

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    Cities on the Move (1997-2000)

    "Cities on the Move" is an important exhibition in HOU Hanru's curatorial career. In 1997, he and Hans Ulrich Obrist started curating the exhibition together. The exhibition opened at the Secession Art Museum in Vienna, and in the following three years toured to the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France, PS1 Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Louisanna Art Museum in Denmark, the Hayward Art Museum in London, and the KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. In Bangkok, more than 140 artists from all over the world participated in this exhibition. "Cities on the move" exist in different places in different forms, and are realized according to the local exhibition space and cultural context, highlighting the rapid and dramatic changes in architecture, culture, and society between art and cities in Asia in the 1990s. Relationship. The exhibition not only interprets Asian contemporary art through a unique perspective, thus breaking its long-standing rigid model in the Western exhibition context but also introduces pioneering practices in architectural concepts and methods in visual art exhibitions.

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    Uselessness as Usage

    As a new extension of the Times Museum's  "Operation Delta", this exhibition project follows the rapid and somewhat dramatic changes that have occurred in recent years in the Pearl River Delta, its surrounding regions, and the world at large. It emerges from the research, reflections, discussions, and new imaginings in response to this changing reality, and attempts to provide an open-ended, tentative "architectural answer". Rather than seeking to be useful, effective, and "beautiful", the exhibition creates conditions and structures that relate to, or even contradict, the new conditions of (self-)limitation derived from shifting realities, and to share them with the public in order to stimulate reflection, criticism, and reinvention of the utility and meaning of the architectural, as well as urban, social, and social conditions.

    At the same time, this exhibition ultimately intends to provide a platform of expression for a public interested in dreaming and experimenting with various activities deemed both "useless" and worthwhile, from everyday actions to theatrical exercises, from perseverance to daydreaming. The exhibition will open up a new platform for the Times Museum to further broaden and deepen its important mission as an active creator of public life in the community.

    Chu-Joe HSIA

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    Architecture and Urban Theorist

    Chu-Joe HSIA is currently the Professor Emeritus of National Taiwan University; (2013~), Tongjuan Chair Professor, Southeast University (2016.9~), and Professor of the Architecture Internationalization Demonstration School, Southeast University (2017.11~). He received a Ph.D in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Urban Design from Harvard University, a Master of Architecture from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Architecture Engineering from Fengjia Engineering and Business School.

    The main research fields include architectural sociology and urban sociology, architecture and urban theory, architectural history and urban history, heritage preservation, architectural design, urban design, urban and regional planning.

    In 2009, he won the "Vitruvian Prize for the Teaching and Research of the History of World Architecture". At present, Chu-Joe HSIA is committed to the theme research of "global metropolitan governance in a networked society, especially metropolitan governance in the Yangtze River Delta".

    Selected Publications:

    Author or Main Author, Editor or Co-editor, and Translation

    (1). Chu-Joe HSIA (1992) "Theorizing Architecture", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (2). Chu-Joe HSIA (1993) "Space, History, and Society", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (3). Chu-Joe HSIA (1994) "Public Space", Taipei: Artist Press. (in Chinese)

    (4). Chu-Joe HSIA and Chih-hong Wang (eds.) (1993) "Readings in Social Theories and the Cultural Form of Space", Taipei: Minwen. (in Chinese)

    (5). Chinese translation of "The Rise of the Network Society", by Manuel Castells (Chu-Joe HSIA and Chih-hong WANG) (Oct. 2000) 

    (6). Chinese translation of "The Power of Identity", by Manuel Castells (Chu-Joe HSIA and Li-Ling HUANG) (Nov. 2002)

    (7). Chinese translation of "End of Millennium", by Manuel Castells (Chu-Joe HSIA and Li-Ling HUANG) (Jan. 2001)

    (8). Chu-Joe HSIA (2009) "The Spatial Experiences, Memories and Representations of Lin Family Garden", Taipei: New Taipei Municipal Government. (in Chinese)

    (9). Chu-Joe HSIA (2010) "NTU Campus and Campus Planning", Taipei: NTU Press. (in Chinese)

    (10). Chu-Joe HSIA (2015) "The Tale of Three Cities, Hong Kong": Jockey Club Institute for Social Innovation, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

    (11). Chu-Joe HSIA (2015) "A Glimpse of Devil Appearance: Planning and design in Urban and Regional Processes", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (12). Chu-Joe HSIA (2016) "On Heterotopias: Selected Essays (I)", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (13). Chu-Joe HSIA (2016) "On Heterotopias: Selected Essays (II)", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (14). Chu-Joe HSIA (2016) "On Heterotopias: Selected Essays(III)", Taipei: Tongsan Press. (in Chinese)

    (15). Chu-Joe HSIA (2020) "Representations of Space, Shanghai": Tongji University Press. (in Chinese)

    WANG Di

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    Chair Professor, Department of History, University of Macau

    PhD. Johns Hopkins University

    Prof. WANG Di is an internationally-renowned historian and Chair Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Macau. Prof. WANG was co-editor of the journal "Frontiers of History in China" and serves as member of the editorial board of many other academic journals, chair of Award Committee of Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant for Research in European, African and Asian History, American Historical Association, invited nominator and evaluator for the Tang Prize in Sinology, Life Achievement Award of Studies of the Traditional Chinese Learning, National Humanity Center, Distinguished Research Achievement Award (DRAA) of University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong RAE 2020–Review of research outputs of City University of Hong Kong, history programme of Chinese University of Hong Kong, and so on. He was the invited speaker for numerous distinguished lectures, such as the Distinguished Lecture Series of Advanced Institute of Humanity and Social Sciences (Peking University), Luojia Distinguished Lecture Series (Wuhan University), Hu Hua Distinguished Lecture Series (Remin University), and Lecture series of K.C. Wong Education Foundation (delivered in Fudan University and Shanghai Jiaotong University). Prof. WANG was the President of the Chinese Historians in the United States in 2003 and 2005.  Other than serving as a professor in the Department of History in Texas A&M University in the United States, Prof. WANG was also Zijiang Visiting Chair Professor in the East China Normal University and Visiting Chair Professor Jinan University in China, and Visiting Research Fellow in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, National Humanities Center, Institute of Oriental Culture of the University of Tokyo, Center for Chinese Studies, University of California at Berkeley, etc. 

    Selected Publications: 

    Violence and Order on the Chengdu Plain

    Author: WANG Di

    Publisher: Stanford University Press

    Subtitle: The Story of a Secret Brotherhood in Rural China, 1939-1949

    Year of publication: 2018

    Sichuan was one of the most active areas of the Sworn Brotherhood Society (called Paoge in Sichuan, literally "Gowned Brothers"). Ongoing social unrest gave secret societies the opportunity to seize power as they gained unprecedented political influence. It is estimated that in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party took over China 70percent of male adults in Sichuan were members. By studying the secret society's history, culture, and social roots, this project explores how the organization extended its reach into all levels of society and how and to what extent it dominated local communities.  

    The Teahouse under Socialism

    Author: WANG Di

    Publisher: Cornell University Press

    Subtitle: The Decline and Renewal of Public Life in Chengdu, 1950–2000

    Year of publication: 2018

    This book received the Best Book Award from the Urban History Association in the United States in 2019. This project won an NEH Fellowship from the National Humanities Center during the 2006-2007 academic year. This study uses a multidisciplinary perspective and methodologies from the disciplines of history and anthropology to explore urban public life from the establishment of the People's Republic to the end of the Cultural Revolution and into the post-Mao reform. The changes in teahouses reflected the national political, economic, social and cultural transformation. The book also addresses the impact on people's everyday life of the co-existence of sweeping "open-market" economic reforms and a socialist political system. 

    The Teahouse

    Author: WANG Di

    Publisher: Stanford University Press

    Subtitle: Small Business, Everyday Culture, and Public Politics in Chengdu, 1900-1950

    Year of publication: 2008

    Based on the collection in the Chengdu Municipal Archives, a tremendously important resource that heretofore has not been examined by scholars, this study examines the interactions of teahouses, daily life, and public politics. This study argues that the teahouse was a microcosm that reflected changes in the larger society and a complex establishment that represented far more than just an venue for leisure activities and served not only as a place for public discourse, recreation, and entertainment, but also a multifaceted work site and arena for local politics. Reviews of the book appear in American Historical Review, Choice, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, History: Reviews of New Books, International Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Business History, Pacific Affairs, and so forth.

    Street Culture in Chengdu

    Author: WANG Di

    Publisher: Stanford University Press

    Subtitle: Public Space, Urban Commoners, and Local Politics, 1870-1930

    Year of publication: 2003

    This book won the Best Book Award for 2005 from the Urban History Association. This book uses the phrase "street culture" to signify the full range of cultural artefacts and activities that appeared on the street and explore how urban commoners, social reformers, and state officials brought about and reacted to changes in popular culture through the use of public space. American Historical Review, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Asian Studies Review, Journal of Chinese Political Science, Canadian Journal of History, Social History, International Journal of Asian Studies, Histoire Sociale, Pacific Affairs, Archives of Social Sciences of Religions, Histoire Sociale, Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature, Journal of Urban History, Vostok, and other publications. 

    Striding Out of a Closed World

    Author: WANG Di

    Publisher: Peking University Press

    Subtitle: Social Transformation of the Upper Yangzi Region, 1644-1911

    Year of publication: 2018

    This is an empirical study of society in Qing Sichuan. It was published by Zhonghua shuju, one of the most prestigious publishers in China, in 1993, with the second edition in 2001 and a third in 2006 and a revised edition in 2018. Its traditional Chinese version was issued in Taiwan in 2002. This book, regarded as one of the most influential works in Chinese social history, has had a great impact on the field. Carolyn Cartier's article "Origins and Evolution of a Geographical Idea: The Macroregion in China" pointed out, "WANG Di's monograph on the upper Yangzi macroregion, which treats a single macroregion broadly, is an important addition to the scholarship; it provides a far-reaching assessment of social, economic, and cultural conditions in the region during the Qing. Unlike Skinner's original presentation of the macroregion, Wang's study assesses aspects of culture and society that inform spatial processes and details how increased economic activity extended beyond the macroregional boundaries."

    About the Competition

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    The renovation object of this competition, "The Tianfu Park Lawn", is located in Tianfu Park in Tianfu New District, Sichuan. It covers an area of about 55,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 13,750 people. The lawn can hold small sports, market activities, outdoor cinemas and other activities. The content planning attracts citizens' visits and participation and becomes a spontaneous leisure and relaxation destination for citizens. At the same time, this lawn also looks forward to the design power to bring:

    Optimize existing facilities

       Add more convenience facilities

       Add art installation

    Updated Rule

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    In order to make the project truly have the attributes of cross-border integration and diversification with more publicity, designers and artists will participate in the workshops together. Participants of different majors and different research fields will explore Chengdu, parks and the site together through field research, literature reading, and workshop discussions to stimulate more thinking and inspiration.

    Based on the above adjustments, there will be corresponding changes in the project timeline, and A8 will announce detailed schedule later. In addition, #Artists Open Call# will also be released in the near future. Please pay attention to the new rule of the Tianfu Park Lawn Project.

    Welcome to add A8 Design Center Assistant if you have any questions about the competition.

    Tianfu Park Lawn | Check It Out! Mentors Assemble!

    (Please note "Tianfu Park Lawn")