Ivy Chen

Combining modern architecture on the basis of ancient Chinese architecture

Class of: 2025

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Clay and plexiglass

Faculty: Alaiyo Bradshaw

Prompt: This project required us to create our own projects based on what we learned in class about using the ceramic lab, laser lab, and printmaking lab.

I grew up in a city, Beijing, where tradition and innovation coexist. It is a city where one can see palace buildings from more than 600 years ago, as well as modern buildings, such as Zaha’s architectural work, and other modern skyscrapers in the city. My idea is that tradition should not be completely replaced by modernity, and that old design does not mean obsolete. So in this project, I want to combine the old with the new and explore it. My memory of modern architecture is square buildings. I think the emergence of skyscrapers is a good representation of contemporary society’s pursuit towards high efficiency. Because in the past buildings could not be built with stacked floors due to technical reasons, they were usually small single-story houses. I grew up living in an apartment, and although we had many neighbors on one floor, we hardly knew each other. I think in some ways, the emergence of new buildings has made people physically close but mentally very far apart. So when I finished building the square house, I was looking for a way to express this contradictory feeling. I am fascinated by the pieces construction of ancient Chinese architecture, where brilliant craftsmen relied on pieces of construction to join wood without the need for nails. I was so fascinated by the piece structure that I tried to use it in this project.