Derationalizing the Fujian Tulou

Section Cut Architectural Model

February 2020

 

The Western gaze has rationalized and exoticized the Fujian tulou, constructing mythologies of social structure from a decontextualized reading of their physical language. A myth of defensive, insular, militaristic egalitarian societies arises from a preoccupation with the thick retaining wall and centralized circular geometry, evident in the architectural drawings from their UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination. In reality, these buildings defy the rigid categorization of international organizations: their fractally iterative forms transcend time; their inherent repetition provides infinite reconfigurations of socio-cultural spatial practice; their vast variety resists reduction.

Our model deconstructs this structural mythology, developing a new representation of this iterative and adaptive architecture. It undermines the defensive myth and materializes the porous relationship between the building and the “outside" world. Through the transparency of its acrylic frame and a structure that allows the building to release from its topography, our model invites the user to consider the intricacies of its interior. This, along with the wandering section cut, highlights the non-circular geometries of the tulou which are often overshadowed by popularized representations. By rethinking the purpose of the traditional section cut the model develops narratives of social hierarchy that exist despite the strict symmetry of the tulou. Finally, the opportunity to fold and refold the structure speaks to ways in which social-cultural connections can be formed independent of spatial dimensions and barriers. 

This project was completed in collaboration with Helen Dugmore for Arch 200b: Scales of Design.

tolou.gif
Unfolded Both Sides
Unfolded Both Sides

press to zoom
Entrance
Entrance

press to zoom
site_1113_0009
site_1113_0009

press to zoom
Unfolded Both Sides
Unfolded Both Sides

press to zoom
1/9

A Device for Seeing

Architectural Concept Piece

January 2020

 

In the past decade, as demand for environmentally responsible design has grown, architects have begun to churn out lush renderings full of trees and other natural elements. However, these eco-fantasies of tech campuses, apartment high rises, and civic buildings framed by new glowing landscapes fail to consider the radical changes to the built environment needed to counter the climate crisis. Constructed from transparencies of generic plant life, our device uses similar cliche techniques to import a “natural” rendering into the user’s everyday life. In turn, the user recognizes that simply pasting trees into the built environment is not enough to counter architecture’s contribution to the Anthropocene.

This project was completed in collaboration with Will Suzuki and Mary Buckly for Arch 200b: Scales of Design.

1
1

press to zoom
2
2

press to zoom
3
3

press to zoom
1
1

press to zoom
1/6