ALAN PLATTUS with ANDREI HARWELL
As in past studios, one of the principle goals of the studio is to foster interaction and collaboration between Yale students and students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, as they discover and explore the city of Beijing and aspects of contemporary Chinese architecture and urbanism.Again, as in previous studios, the large and more or less un-programmed urban site is an occasion and vehicle for this process of discovery; the vast scale, uncertainties, conflicts, and fragmented uses and spaces of the site serving initially as a mode of de-familiarization and then as a provocation. Students are challenged, we hope, to look at the site in deeper and more critical ways, turning apparent obstacles into opportunities for invention, as well as extending the already huge site even further as they connect it to systems that operate at multiple scales within and beyond the conventional boundaries of site and city, while inventing new programs based on their observations of the spatial and cultural patterns and images of the Chinese city. To respond productively and creatively to this kind of project requires embracing and celebrating the open-endedness of urbanism, stretching one’s representational repertoire, and sharing information and ideas. The best projects do not simply meet pre-existing goals and expectations, they redefine our agenda by setting their own agendas.