Hangzhou Canal Food Town

In 1966, when the Cultural Revolution was in full swing, I went to Badaling to climb the Great Wall, which left a lasting impression upon me. It was ash-gray and dreary, like the gloomy people drifting down Chang'an Avenue. The Great Wall's mass overwhelmed me. They say it’s a symbol of the national unity of the Chinese people. This makes little sense to me, as it’s clearly the tears of blood and piles of bones of China’s working people. It demonstrates the formidable construction ability of the Chinese nation. So long as there is a tyrant, a Great Wall can be built.   For thousands of years, some great number of Chinese peasants' sons have been killed at this dividing line. All along, I never fully comprehended the grandeur of the Great Wall. I felt very stifled when I was standing in Badaling. The Great Wall silently and endlessly writhed into the distance.

The canals are different. Although the emperors of the ancient past dug the canal, they were not especially civilized. But after all, it brought profound development to Chinese civilization. Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty not only enjoyed amusing himself in the region south of the Yangtze River, but he also went to war there.  In the history of China before the era of modern transportation, the canal became the largest transportation route in the country.  Neither science, nor economics, nor culture, nor politics, nor any of China's greatest advancements, can be untangled from the swift, continuous current of the Grand Canal. I have always felt indignant on behalf of the canal.  Of course, from a philosophical and cultural point of view, the Great Wall and the canal represent yin and yang, firm and yielding, just stirring up the great and complex character of this nation.

At the end of the last century, I began to pay attention to the motives of establishing a market in Hangzhou. I traveled all over Hangzhou-- to every mountaintop, to every literary culture that revolves around the West Lake, to every remnant of the Southern Song Dynasty culture centered around Phoenix Mountain, to the Zen Buddhist culture that focuses on the Lingyin Temple. In Hangzhou’s West Lake region, every stone reflects the light of history.  Because of Hangzhou's cultural imbalance, I will look at the north of the city, and pay attention to the canal.

During the Golden Age of the Qing Dynasty, most of Hangzhou’s taverns, teahouses, opera houses and merchants were concentrated in the Gongshu Canal District. The agricultural and fish markets were there, too, and the river transportation and government also flourished there during that time.  I spent more than a decade sorting out and arranging the ancient canal, and started writing “The Grand Canal Manuscript: On the Yinhushu River.” The historic scenes of Hangzhou's Gongshu District, with its fish market, agricultural market, the Beiguan night market, and the Ancient Water Street, all constantly ablaze with lights, hearkens back to the glory days of the Qing Dynasty. Here, the flourishing of a grand past slowly unfolds before one's eyes. Thousands of boats, tens of thousands of people, rows of buildings, the Ancient Water Street’s mix of joyful chatter and sorrow-- a century of complexity along the canal, all expressed within this 15-meter long site. This north section of Hangzhou and its significance for the secular world, offers a unique artifact of cultural heritage. 

I am used to creatively expressing culture, turning culture into industry, and creating architectural works out my paintings. Then the architectural artworks were developed into tourism and cultural products. Finally, I recorded poetry in calligraphy. What I want to do is to see and use works that can be applied in academia and also enjoyed by the public, that contribute to the economy, and that will retain historical value.  So I do any architectural work and I always hope to make function or commerce the primary consideration. The design of the canal's architecture is not as natural and unrestrained as in my paintings: row upon row of uneven, irregularly sized buildings dot the canvas. It is perhaps not ideal for the modern commercial and tourism industries. I can only seek compatibility between vernacular architecture and modern commercial functions. Ancient Water Street, with its striking vernacular architecture and sense of color, as well as its infrastructure for transportation, fire prevention, heat flow and waste disposal, achieves a harmonious balance of ancient folkways and modern features. Tourists can enjoy the sights and sounds, and commerce can thrive along the Grand Canal. This is the ultimate aim of Ancient Water Street.

As a result, I used the ink scroll “The Grand Canal on the Yinhushu River” to produce an architectural design. In the heat of Hangzhou’s summer, I toiled away, “burning the midnight oil,” striving to create rational ideas, hand-drawn scroll sections, and illustrations of  architectural designs. The book was published during the Great Leap Forward, and, in one breath, its traditional Chinese painting evolved into the architecture of Ancient Water Street.

Ancient Water Street showcases both the culture of the Grand Canal and modern art, aspects that will always be emphasized in Hangzhou’s Gongshu Canal District. Bestowing future generations with fantastical dreams, endowing the city with rich memories, and waving the flag for cultural heritage. 

Zhu Renmin, Hangzhou, 2008

Story of the Ring House

 

looking out to sea

 

Lake villa, filled with longing

The sky opens to the ring house

We meet on the embankment

 

A chorus of heroes gathers

With hundreds of lanterns

And nary a trace of care

 

Market and homes crowd the way

Lives unfold on bridges and in halls

The great garden is just a little frail

 

Lines from a Jinghang poem

Saluting the villa

At the southern head

 

From today we sail back one hundred autumns

Acting the story of the ring house

A thousand brushstrokes, ten thousand touches

Dredge up one thousand wheel spokes

And a dense sea of goods

 

Ink of crushed jade fills the river

A bumper crop from the north

Glides down the river

Dragon boats race in the spring

The drunken bridegroom hurries to the city

Where Little Red washes her sleeve

 

I drew a circle at the confluence of the three rivers-- the Shengli River, the canal, and the red Jian River-- bringing them together at a single point, tempering the chaotic relationship between the sharp corners of the axis crossing the three rivers. This scene of ten or so meters unites the spirit of the city and its people. It has become the only circular complex on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and a highlight of the Ancient Water Street (Gushui Street) on the Shengli River.  Creative Land Art. There is no similarly circular structure in the history of China’s Grand Canal, but I think that the times and the site need this symbol, as it appropriately represents the era. Hangzhou’s Grand Canal needs this ring of buildings imbued with individuality and the spirit of the city. 

“A babbling and twisting Ancient Water Street, a century’s worth of complexity.” I used this as a title when I submitted the illustrated plan of the proposed Grand Canal project to the government, and it was endorsed by the Hangzhou municipal government, particularly the municipal party secretary. I worked hard on this project this day and night, and within half a year, I had turned an ink scroll painting into an architectural landscape design. A year later, the most lively food street in the north of the city, the Ancient Water Street, was revealed on the Shengli River in the Gongshu District. "It provides memories for the city, wealth for future generations, and a boost to the Grand Canal's cultural heritage.” What is puzzling is that not long ago, the Ancient Water Street introduced a large amount of commercial industry. The canal architecture that I had so painstakingly designed was quickly distorted beyond recognition. For each meter, over ten thousand original boxwood carvings had been destroyed, all turned into large glass facades. This truly broke my heart. Preservation and use, these two opposing actions, are inevitably intertwined. Fortunately, the facades of restaurants in the district along the river are required to retain the original features of my design. 

The process of my creative practice developed from traditional Chinese painting to landscape architecture and drawings for architectural works, to sculptures. After mastering each of these skills, I finally wrote a historical memoir of each project. This is a rare form of artistic communication in the history of design, whether in China or abroad.

 

Q: Teacher Zhu, as a designer, how did you become involved in this Hangzhou Shengli River project?

A: Over the decades of my design career, in China and abroad, I hardly ever participated in any large-scale project bidding. Instead, I selectively fulfilled all of my design goals by relying on the proprietors' high level of trust and the government’s strong support. From the islands, deserts, wetlands, the Yellow River, the water towns, and the cities, for every landform that has been destroyed by human beings, I selectively produce a typical creative work. After several decades of work, I suddenly thought of the cultural heritage and protection of the Grand Canal. I was very concerned about it, and spent more than ten years collecting historical data on the Grand Canal. Manuscripts piled up. That is to say, when I discovered the state of the Shengli River, with its heaps of garbage, I was already quite familiar with the situation and had many ideas in mind. Ten years ago, at the time of the transformation of Xiawan Park in front of Fuyi Warehouse, I had already designed the circular complex on my own accord, because there was no other way to harmoniously solve the problem of the three rivers crossing right in front of Fuyi Warehouse. There is no better way to deal with the problem of sharp angles than to make them round.  This plan was conceived while waiting for the development of the canal protection project, so when the government began to transform the Shengli River, my plan came into being. It was also looked on favorably by the main leader of the Municipal Party Committee. “Great minds think alike.” Therefore my design was promoted thanks to luck.  Designers should have sensitivity for one’s own era, as well as a love for nature. They should cultivate long-term focus and consider things carefully. Once one has a project of one’s own, this will lead to a high level of proficiency with great confidence. 

 

Q: Why did you develop such an interest in the canal so early?  Why do the proprietors approve of your design ideas? 

A: I’m not just interested in the canal. I'm interested in all the landforms of China. In recent decades, I’ve almost finished doing all the typical landscapes in the country. The canal came later, because it involves a lot of issues. The proprietors were actually thinking about the same problem as I was: how to transform and protect the Grand Canal. It’s just that they never figured out a satisfactory idea or means to achieve it.  When I had the opportunity to tell them about the imbalance between the current cultural state of the Hangzhou section and its historical status, along with the amount of work I had already done, they were very touched. 

 

Q: Teacher Zhu, why do you particularly like the architecture of the ancient canal?

A: Chinese architecture and Western architecture are the same in this regard: architecture always clearly expresses the cultural context and historical heritage of a given era.  It’s only that Westerners are used to stone culture, whereas we are fond of wood culture.  Our ancestors possessed extremely advanced carving techniques, however, due to our historical culture’s consistent neglect of craftsmanship, along with the natural fragility of wood culture, as well as the destruction caused by wars, it has been very difficult to preserve our culture’s architecture in good condition. In contrast, Western stone culture reveals its strong advantage with regards to preservation. 

As we search for the Grand Canal's lost culture, its water has been a constant presence for a thousand years, and its trees have remained unchanged for a hundred years. Only the buildings and bridges carry the historical significance of the Grand Canal.  Fortunately, I experienced the former days of the period of reform and opening up. In my mind, that era evokes a scene replete with peasant culture and wood culture.  Besides people’s clothing and their long braids, the Grand Canal that I saw at an early age---- the buildings, boats, bridges, retaining walls, and local conditions and customs on both sides of the river-- remained largely the same as during the Golden Age of the Qing Dynasty.  I close my eyes and imagine while the hairs on my paintbrush sweep the paint down in one stroke, conjuring a scene from a century ago. 

All Chinese architecture can withstand historical critique and investigation, due to its unity and harmonious relationship with heaven and earth.  When these relationships unfolded on the opposing banks of the Grand Canal, the ancients did their best to add a variety of historical and cultural stories to the architecture, guided by customary propriety as well as faith in the gods. Brimming with the Chinese nation’s cultural orientation and creative ability, these stories permeate the architecture: one finds such stories on the building’s midline, on its brackets and corbels, beams and columns, on the inscribed horizontal board above a doorway, and in all other places that can express themselves through architectural style. Chinese architecture is actually a national philosophy, debated in a public forum. Our people asked: Teacher Zhu, why do you especially like the architecture of the ancient canal? Generation after generation of children grew up in courtyards and under the door eaves.  Because of this, the architecture has become exquisite, enduring, and elegant, fully constituting an artwork and cultural artifact. The buildings along the Grand Canal include a variety of ancient architectural structures. The wealthy Jiangnan region possesses an even richer variety of architectural forms. On the basis of their respective functional needs, all kinds of people spread out along both banks of the thousand-mile-long canal: the wealthy and the high status, bureaucrats, the public, along with the impoverished and low status. All around, the contrast is striking: uneven and irregular, noisy and sorrowful, ever-changing yet essentially the same. How can traditional architecture work without black tiles and white walls, wood and stone? These essential colors of black, white and gray-- a color scheme that is as natural in my heart as ink wash painting. 

 

Q: Teacher Zhu, how did you make the drafts of the canal plans into a reality? 

A: Like many other designers worldwide, I started excitedly from a blank draft, and almost instantly, envisioned the completed project. Working on such a task is especially powerful.  From the historical materials of the canal, we see similar types of historical scenes. Actually, these don’t differ much from the scenes I saw on the canal when I was a child, especially the architecture.  Relying on my own sketching abilities and understanding of history, I am able to create any rich historical scene.  Because we are designers, we need to possess knowledge of functional architecture, landscapes and history. For example, the scale of the canal, the actual space of the buildings, the specific stylistic features, the flow of traffic, the consideration of the quality of the materials-- these all must be sufficiently accounted for and reflected in this draft. Because at this time I was not a pure and romantic artist; I was an engineer first. Secondly, it was only in the creative process that I was able to bring into play the expressive ability and individual style of the painting, and even show off. 

First of all, I used a large number of conceptual manuscripts as creative material, and, just like symphonic works of music and the notes that comprise them, I incorporated them into the general tone of the project. According to the general needs of the symphony as a whole, each one of these materials expressed their own cadences and rhythms.

The draft of the design is usually made by computer. For me, the best current software for this design phase is Sketch Up. It is quick, intuitive, and easy to adjust. After completing the basic rendering, the material components are added. Even the dimensions of the materials are in the image. After the figure is completely rendered in Sketch Up, it’s given watercolor effects in Photoshop, and the designers have a much clearer indicator of the draft stage of construction. This method can be used for all the buildings, landscapes and bridges of the entire project. Its speed is very fast. In half a year, I independently completed all the architectural designs for more than three kilometers of the canal’s buildings, bridges and water discharge stations.

While working on a project, I tend to “trust the process”-- from the creative development of the manuscript to the early stages of implementing the plan, and to the site supervision. Finally, as the final step in the process, photography, I will take a picture of the completed work. 

Apart from the basic requirements for light and shadow, photography is even more important as a means with which to examine whether the project has met my original requirements as set out in the manuscripts. This overall process is one that reflects the value of my life. It makes me feel cheerful and inspired. 

 

Why did you embellish the canal buildings you designed with so many boxwood carvings? 

When I restored the present-day canal to its ancient appearance, I was conflicted.  Is it completely antique? Or completely modern? Or is it drawing on the elements of ancient times to become a present-day neoclassicism? This is an old, difficult problem that all architects have faced. Because I wanted to give the city a memory and highlight the canal, I prioritized its function above all else. First, it must be a multi-use site. If it doesn't have uses, the canal will not be protected. Protection and use are in conflict.  In this case, I hope that all architecture will both have ancient spiritual elements and meet modern functional requirements. In the early stage of fulfilling such functions as firefighting, sewage, heating and ventilation, distribution, and so on, I hoped to make the canal’s architecture into a work of art and restore the site’s lost culture. After the functional aspects of the building are completed, its decorative color scheme, coordination of materials, and spatial relationships are quite important.  Coupled with these meticulously etched boxwood carvings, the building appears especially literary, elegant and coherent. Of course the price is very expensive. Authentic boxwood is worth more than ten thousand RMB per meter. But the proprietors support this entirely. At a high temperature of around 50 degrees (122 degrees Fahrenheit), I took out a group of tenacious workers and led them to complete wood carvings based on the “Eight Scenes of Hushu.” I understand these works to be cultural artifacts of the future, that is, history. 


 

1 9 6 6年,文革大串连,我去八达岭爬长城,留下一个很沉重的印象,灰灰的、沉沉的,就像长安街上涌动着的灰色人流。长城以其体量征服了我。说是中华民族的众志成城的象征,我不明白,那分明是中国劳动人民血泪和枯骨的堆垒物,它彰显着中华民族强大的构筑力量,只要是暴君都造得成长城。几千年来在这条界定线内打来杀去,死了多少中国农民的儿子。一直没有明白长城的伟大,站在八达岭我很压抑,长城莫不作声,扭动着伸向远方,没有尽头。

而运河则不同,尽管历代帝王开掘运河手段也并不怎么文明,但毕竟是给中华文明带来深远的发展。隋炀帝也不仅是为了下江南游玩而大动干戈。在没有汽车、火车现代交通工具的中华历史中,运河成了这一民族和国家的最大交通动脉。科学、经济、文化、政治,中华最先进的事情哪一件离得开这条奔流不息的大运河。我一直耿耿于怀为运河不平。当然,从哲学文化的角度说,长城、运河一阴一阳、一刚一柔搅拌出这个苦难民族伟大而复杂的个性。

上世纪末,我开始关注杭州的立市动因,跑遍了杭州的各个山头以西湖为主体的士大夫文化、以凤凰山为主体的南宋皇朝文化、以灵隐为主体的禅宗文化,杭州的西湖一带每块石头都折射着历史的光芒。杭州的文化板块及其的倾斜、不平衡,我将目光注视城北,关注运河。

康乾年间,杭城大半的酒肆、茶楼、戏文、商贾集中于拱墅运河一带,米市鱼市、漕运府晌生发于此。我将十多年来收集整理的运河旧事予以串联,开始动笔创作《大运河·银湖墅河上徒稿》。将杭城的晚清拱墅运河场景,鱼市、米市、北关夜市、十里水街昼夜灯火通明的康乾盛世历史场景逐一恢复展现。成千的舟楫,上万的人物,鳞次的建筑,一条嘈嘈戚戚古水街,百年错错综综河上事,表达在1 5米的历史长卷之中。这是杭州城北及其强大的一块世俗文化,一块可以申遗的文化。

我习惯于将创意传达文化,将文化变成产业,画出来的绘画作品,就把它打造成建筑作品。再将建筑艺术作品开发成旅游文化产品。最后,我以书法诗词作品作以记载。我想做的是能看又能用的、能进象牙塔的也能给民众享用的、能创造造产值和纳税的、能观赏学习历史永恒的时代作品。所以我做任何建筑作品,总希望将功能或业态作率先的考虑。运河的建筑的设计并不如我绘画中那么倜傥潇洒,鳞次栉比、参差不齐、大小不一的河道民居,是不适合现代商贸旅游的业态所用。我只能在民间的个私建筑形态和现代商贸功能中取得吻合点。将古水街民居建筑强烈的韵律感、色彩感,用于能观赏、能旅游、能营业、有交通、有消防、有暖通、有排污的现代旅游运河地标这是古水街创作的终极目标。

于是,我又以水墨长卷《大运河·银湖墅河上徒稿》为母本作建筑设计,在杭州的酷暑中悬梁刺股、挑灯奋战,创作的理念思想、手绘的长卷选段和建筑设计的图册,在大跃进式的无奈中出台,一口气将国画演化成古水街建筑。

古水街承载着大运河文化和现代的艺术,将永远展示在杭州的拱墅运河段。给子孙一个遐想,给城市一个记忆,为申遗作个摇旗。

2008年朱仁民于杭州

环楼戏说

望 海 潮

湖墅漫想,天开环楼,上塘运河聚首。群英咸集,青灯百昼,心汗无迹万笔走。栉比叠廛舍,桥廊衔日月,大园略瘦。京杭句断,拱墅地标,南作头。

戊子浪回百秋,戏说环楼,作千笔万触,疏通千辐,密骈万货。碎琼屑墨满溇,北关正丰穰,漕纲村郭浮,春戏龙舟,醉辩郎牙趋市,小红正湔袖。

朱仁民

2008年12月于拱墅运河桥头



 

我在胜利河、运河、红建河三条河的交汇处画了个圆,将三条河流圆束在一个点上,中和了三河交叉的轴线尖角对冲的混乱关系,将市气、人气拢合在几十米视觉的对景关系之中,成为京杭大运河中唯一的一个圆形建筑群,也是胜利河古水街的起首亮点。大地艺术的创意。中华运河历史上没有这个圆圈符号,但是我认为时代和场地需要这个符号,一个时代做一个时代的事情。杭州段的大运河需要这个标志,一个个性化市气十足的环楼。

“一条嘈嘈戚戚的古水街,百年万万千千的错综事”。我以此作题将大运河的构想以图文并茂的策划提交政府,得到了杭州市政府特别是市委书记的赞同。“群英毕至青灯百昼,我挑灯奋战悬梁刺股”,半年间将水墨长卷变成了建筑景观设计图。一年后,一条城北最热闹的餐饮古水街出现在拱墅胜利河上。“给城市一个记忆,给子孙一笔财富,给运河申遗一个佐鉴”。令人困惑的是没多久古水街引入了强大的商业机制,我苦心设计的这些运河建筑很快面目全非,每米上万元的黄杨木雕荡然无存,都变成了大落玻,令我心痛不已。保护和利用两个对立的矛盾总是那么令人纠结。好在沿河一带无法作为饭店的门面,尚基本保留下我原始的设计面貌。

我按我的创作惯例,从一幅中国画到建筑、景观施工图再到雕塑构建的景观艺术处理,一手完成最后给每个项目刻上一段历史性的记忆文字。这是国内外设计史上难得出现的一种艺术传达方式。

 

问:朱老师,作为设计师您是如何进入杭州胜利河设计这一项目的?

答:从国外到国内几十年设计生涯,我几乎没有参加过任何的大型项目投标,而是选择性的依仗着业主的高度信任和政府的强大支持完成了人生中所有的设计目标。从海岛、沙漠、湿地、黄河、水乡、都市,凡是被人类破坏过的地貌我都选择性的做一典型的创作。几十年下来,做完了,突然想到大运河的申遗和保护,我很关注大运河,十几年收集大运河的历史资料,手稿一大堆。也就是说当我发现胜利河这条垃圾和的时候,我已经成竹于胸。十年前还是富义仓前的霞湾公园改造时我已经自说自话的设计了环楼,因为富义仓前的运河、上塘河、红建河三河交叉与此,没有办法很和谐的解决这一对冲锐利的堪舆问题,除了打个圆中和这一矛盾之外没有更好的办法。等待着有一天运河综保工程的开展呈献上这一构思策划,所以当政府对胜利河开始改造时,我的方案应运而生,也是市委主要领导的慧眼,“英雄所见略同”,我有幸进入这一项目的设计。设计师应该有一个对时代和大自然的天生对话爱好,长期关注于心,深思熟虑,一但有项目你才会得心应手,胸中自有雄狮百万。

 

问:您为何那么早就对运河有如此的兴趣?业主凭什么会认同您的设计思想?

答:我并非单纯对运河感兴趣,我对中国的所有地貌都感兴趣,几十年来,我几乎做完了国内所有的典型地貌,运河排在后面,因为它牵涉的问题非常多。业主其实都和我一样在思索同一个问题,如何改造保护大运河,只是他们没碰到满意的思想和方法。当我有机会告诉他们杭州文化板块的不平衡和大运河在杭州的历史地位,以及我已经完成的工作量时,他们被我感动的。

 

问:朱老师,您为什么特别喜欢古运河的建筑?

答:中国的建筑与西方建筑一样,在历史的传承中总是将时代的记印和文化脉络清晰地表述在建筑之上。只是西方惯于石头文化,我们热衷木头文化。我们的先人具备了极度高超的雕刻技艺,但是由于我们的历史文化历来对工匠技艺的冷落,木头文化在大自然中的脆弱性,以及兵火战乱使我们的建筑很难得以完好的保存。相对而言,西方的石头文化显示出它们强大的优越性。

当我们在寻找失落的大运河文化时,水是千年不变的水,树是百年不变的树,唯独建筑、桥梁才是承载大运河历史的最佳载体。好在我经历了改革开放的过去日子,在我的脑海中,满满的饱塞着所有的农耕文化、木头文化的景象。幼小时所见的大运河,除了人的服饰和那长长的辫子之外,其他建筑、舟楫、桥梁、驳岸以及两岸的风土人情、生活习俗与康乾年间大宗不变。我闭着眼睛悬根毛笔,擦擦擦一口气画下去,基本上都是百年前的景象。



 

所有的中国建筑能够在历史上经得起推敲和考究的,是它与天地人之间的合一关系、和谐关系。当这些关系以臣服于天地之间的形式展现在运河两岸时,古人们均尽自己的所有能力,在建筑中添加了各种历史人文的故事,风俗礼教的驯导以及对天地神灵的崇仰,各类故事在建筑的腰线、牛腿、梁柱、门额所有能表述的地方都充满了中华民族的文化导向和创造力。中国的建筑其实是一个民族的哲学大讲堂,我们的族问:朱老师,您为什么特别喜欢古运河的建筑?人、孩子一代又一代从小在这一天井中、门檐下成长。建筑也由此变得精细、耐读、考究,完全是一个艺术品、文物。大运河边的建筑囊括了古代的各种建筑形体,富庶的江南更有着丰富多彩的建筑形式。有钱的、有地位的、官衙的、公众的以及穷困的卑微的,按功能的需要以各自需要的形式在运河两岸绵延千里。参参差差、嘈嘈戚戚、错错落落、变化无尽,但是万变不离其宗,传统的建筑怎么也离不开青瓦白墙、原木块石这一黑白灰基本色调,这一黑白灰的色调如同水墨画一样在我心中天生的热爱。



 

问:朱老师您是如何将运河的策划稿变成现实?

答:我与世上许多设计师一样,从一块毛地开始激动眼睛一闭满是建成后的成像,干活就特别的有力量。从运河的史料中,见到过类似的历史场景,其实和我小时候见到的运河场景没有大的区别,尤其是建筑。凭着自己的速写默写能力和对历史的了解,可以创作出任何丰富的史料性场景。因为我们是设计师,所以要求对功能性建筑、景观和历史的认知。如运河的尺度、建筑的虚实空间、风格的把握、交通的流向、材质的思考,在这幅稿图上都应该谙熟于心,有所体现。因为这时候我不是一个天真浪漫的纯艺术家,我首先是个工程师,其次我才在创作过程中将绘画的表达能力和个性风格得以尽可能的发挥,甚至卖弄。

我首先将大量的构思手稿作为创作的素材犹如交响乐中的乐章和音符,将它们纳入工程的总平面,根据总平面这一总体交响曲的需求,发挥它们的抑扬顿挫和轻重节奏。

设计图通常用电脑制作,对我来说,目前方案阶段的最佳软件是S k e t c h U p,快速直观、调整方便,基本成型后倒上材质,连尺寸材料都在了,本图就是SketchUp完成后用Photoshop水彩处理效果,使设计师在施工图阶段有个更加明确的指示。整个项目的所有建筑、景观、桥梁都可用这一方法,速度极快,半年间我独立完成了该运河三公里多建筑、桥梁、放水站的全部建筑设计。

我习惯于一个项目所有工作的托拉斯流程,从创意手稿到方案扩初再到现场监督,最后我会自己拍下这一个作品的照片作为整个大地艺术作品的最后一道程序——摄影。

这张摄影除了对光影的基本要求之外,更重要的是我必须审视它是否达到了我原初在手稿上的要求。这一总体过程就是我人生的价值体现过程,它令我愉悦、振奋。

 

问:您为什么在自己设计的运河建筑上点缀那么多的黄杨木雕?

答:当我在现时的背景条件下恢复一条运河的古貌时,我是矛盾的。完全仿古呢?还是完全现代?还是吸取古代的元素成为现时的新古典主义?这是所有建筑师都面临过的老问题,难问题。因为我想给城市一个记忆,给运河一个亮点,所以我选择的是功能第一,首先做液态,没有利用就没有保护,保护和利用是矛盾的对立。既然这样,我希望所有的建筑要有古代的精神元素,又要有现代的功能要求。在消防、排污、暖通、集散等功能满足前期下,我想将建筑做成艺术品,恢复场地佚失的文化。功能性建筑完成之后,它的饰面色彩、材质搭配、疏密关系就显得相当的重要。再加上这些精雕细刻的黄杨木雕,建筑就显得格外的文气、考究和耐读。当然价格很贵,正宗的黄杨木每米都上万元,但业主非常支持。我在5 0度左右的高温下,带着斗志高昂的民工们,硬将湖墅八景创作出来,制成木雕。我很明白这些作品今后就是文物,就是历史