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Tsinghua University's "Form & Space" Design Contest funded by Häfele finally ended as a success at the beginning of 2015. As the sole sponsor of the contest, Häfele has established a close partnership with the Architecture College of Tsinghua University. This time, apart from financial supports, Häfele also sent professionals to provide instructions to the students.
The famous architect Juhani Pallasmaa once said, “Fully computer-generated designs may well project a seductive surface appeal, but in fact they take place in a world in which the observer has no skin, hands or body.” However, buildings composed of space, structure and maintainers shall adapt to human’s activities. Therefore, this contest required the students to create very different inner and outer spaces by fully utilizing their senses, combining materials of different color tones, forms and textures and taking into consideration the light and shade effects.
A total of 18 students were divided into three groups, with Terrence Curry, Associate Professor of the college as their tutor. After 8 weeks of hard work, they presented three pieces of very different works (with a budget of RMB 5,000 for each group) that really show their devotion to structure and material application:
The first group created an inner space of leisure and comfort with artificial leather and polycarbonate board; while the outer space uses aluminum composite panel decorated with exposed Häfele connectors, presenting a hard and tough appearance.
The second group created a very different square shape with perforated aluminum composite panel, plywood, solid wood and etc. Connecting the wooden frames was the most difficult and important part of the design. The arm-shaped panel consisting of hardware connectors seems light weighted, but solid.
The theme of the third group was dream. Birch plywood and spruce solid wood made the basic structure surrounded by canvas, so that the outside looks light. However, the hardness of wood made the curve shaping difficult and uncontrollable, and they experienced some frustrations. It can be said that students were highly challenged when they finished after trying different kinds of materials and techniques.
Invited by Prof. Curry, Satoshi Ohashi, the Japanese architect from ZAHA Studio, commented on the work of three groups on shapes, structure, design concepts, and space. Häfele marketing director Ms. Petra Vogelsang and Engineer Markus Zobel provided suggestion on construction, technique, and hardware application. Encouraged by Prof. Curry, students examine each other’s work, giving ideas from different aspects. From the open topics and open discussion, students realized the complexity and diversity of design. Though only the first group won, without doubt, every student at present achieved new level of courage and creativity when it comes to facing challenge and solving problems.
Tutor from Tsinghua University: Terrence Curry