critic: Preston Scott COHEN
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Junfeng WANG: This is a studio project designing an addition to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which aims to explore new formal possibilities in two categories: Unified Multiplicity and Redeployment.
The project is conducted as a pedagogical experiment that addresses one of the theoretical conundrums of contemporary architecture: multiplication and unification. Specifically, it tries to answer the question: How to unify different elements in architecture while still preserving its diversity? The facade is composed in a way that unifies three spatial typologies from the ground floor up—semi-urban residual space, cellular galleries, and open-plan gallery space—and clearly manifests their presence at the same time. Moreover, the open-plan gallery and the skylit rooftop form a continuous spiral system, a unified formal order that is forced to mutate between parallel and radial composition to meet different functional demands.
As an addition, the project’s scheme also questions the solutions of either, one, blunt imitation or, two, complete transgression of the old building in many current addition projects. Instead, it tries to generate a deep formal relationship between new and old through a new approach that identifies either a distinctive or hidden element in the existing building, and then redeploys it in the new building by means of another formal language. The project identifies three significant elements in the existing building—triangular tips, low entrance, and the monumental chimney—and then redeploys them in the addition with a new language. By doing so, the addition is able to inherit the deep gene of the old while developing its own unique identity.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
JW: Manfredo Tafuri; Preston Scott Cohen; Steven Holl; and videos of waterfalls and icebergs.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
JW: Reading: Manfredo Tafuri, “Venetian Epilogue: Jacopo Sansovino from Invention to Consuetudo”; Preston Scott Cohen, Contested Symmetries; and Steven Holl, Parallax.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
JW: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Trahan Architects, Neri & Hu, and many others. I am attracted to what rather than whom, so anyone can be on my radar as long as he or she is doing provocative work.
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