Faced with the containement imposed on all to counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many architects had to adapt their practice and their working method to this new rhythm of life. The “Locked down” series gives them a voice, by questioning their vision of the situation – but also their cultural recommendations.
Today, we are going to China to meet Yung Ho Chang, partner of Atelier FCJZ.
L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui: Where are/were you locked down and how did you get organised to continue working?
Yung Ho Chang (Atelier FCJZ): My partner and I were locked down at home in Beijing. All of us at Atelier FCJZ are connected via WeChat (for texts, voice, and images) and QQ (for sharing computer screens) and we set up project-based groups and communicate frequently.
Are containement and architecture opposites?
Yes to some extent. While we can maintain team-working on the Internet, architects’ office is about face-to-face interaction. And there is no way for architects not to visit the construction sites.
What lesson do you think you will learn from the ecological impact of this sanitary crisis ?
Our generation leads an excessive life: Consume too much, waste too much, move around too much… We have to stop doing that.
A film to see / a book to read during lockdown?
I read quite a few books during the self-isolation period and like to recommend two: Vermeer’s Camera by Philip Steadman and My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Interestingly, both books are by authors with architectural backgrounds and both read like detective stories although they aren’t. And for a movie, the most memorable one was I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba in Spanish), a black and white Soviet propaganda film made in 1964 directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, beautiful.
What do you expect from this experience?
To slow down a bit. Too much rushing before.
What impact does this containement have on the perception of your workspace and domestic space?
It will perhaps take more time to find out. So far, the containement has taught me to appreciate city more.