UNStudio 于1988年在荷兰阿姆斯特丹创办，是一家国际知名的建筑设计事务所，致力于建筑、室内、产品、城市发展和基础设施等领域。拥有30多年的国际项目经验，在国际建筑界受到广泛关注。和其他事务所不同，UNStudio 遵循网络式联合办公理念，建立了高度灵活的工作方式。为了深入了解UNStudio，我们特邀专访了创始人、首席建筑师Ben van Berkel 先生及合伙人、亚洲区负责人Hannes Pfau先生，从不同的角度为大家诠释UNStudio整合有机、可持续设计的经营发展理念。
As one of the most influential architecture firms in the world, UNStudio has continually expanded its business to the various fields, including urbanization, infrastructure and public buildings etc.. As a team leader, would you like to share with us on how do you value your brand reputation? Furthermore, what its impact on the overall industry, marketing and value to the client, please?
Ben van Berkel：我其实并没有特别的关注“品牌”这个词。对我来说，它代表了一种先入为主的营销策略，而在设计行业，品牌定位会随着时间的推移而改变，这是你项目设计产出的必然结果：包含与建筑设计的关联、刊登的出版物等。品牌就是你的身份象征。因此，它也表达了你公司的价值观和如何看待建筑师不断演化发展的角色。也就是说，拥有清晰的品牌定位很重要。客户需要了解你是否能够满足他们的期望值，包含设计和服务质量。在你所传递的信息中，清晰地阐述品牌定位和价值是你作为一个企业进行沟通的正确方式，近年来，我们不断地提升品牌定位从而支持我们的事务所在未来持续扩大的愿景。
I have never actually liked the word ‘branding’ very much. To me, it suggests a kind of preconceived strategy, whereas, in the design industry, your brand is something that evolves over time and is the direct result of your output: your buildings, your monograph publications etc. Your brand is your identity. As such, it also expresses your values and how you perceive the ever evolving role of the architect. That said, having a clear brand identity is important. Clients need to know what they can expect from you, both in terms of design and the quality of your services. Clearly expressing your identity and values in your messaging is how you communicate as a practice and in recent years we have evolved this messaging to highlight the practice that we want to continue to grow in the years to come.
From its very inception, UNStudio was founded on the idea that we are a ‘united network’ and that collaboration is imperative to our practice. For over 30 years of practice, we have continually expanded our capabilities through prolonged collaboration with an extended network of international consultants, partners, and advisors across the globe. We believe that this network model has always been essential for the successful delivery of our projects.
We also often talk about future-proofing the future. This of course means having a thorough understanding of how to design and deliver highly sustainable projects, but we also want to design a resilient built environment that creates value for all of the stakeholders. Central to this idea is a holistic understanding of health. Architecture has a tremendous effect on people, so from the moment we begin a project, we think about the people that will use the buildings. We are very interested in ‘active design’ and how you can encourage physical health, but also in psychological and social health, so we try to create architecture that encourages or enables users to interact with each other in ways they may not have otherwise. Creating value for your clients is an essential facet of any design. We see the end user as our client’s client, so we look to how architecture and urban design can create valuable experiences for people and for the city as whole. These are some of the values that we incorporate in our messaging. Or in our branding, if you will.
Architectural design is an ancient and young discipline, as the development of the society, economic growth and the progress of our thought, what is your vision for the architecture industry’s future development, especially the work mode of the design team, likewise how does the future architecture design principle positively bring impacts to the whole industry?
Ben van Berkel：可持续性和设计解决方案在未来的项目实践中发挥着重要作用。在 UNStudio，我们一直寻求创造兼具未来使用者的需求且灵活的设计，以打造更健康的建筑环境——因此可持续性在我们的设计中发挥着重要作用。我们不断调整策略以应对气候变化背景下新兴绿色转型的挑战与机遇，并在设计初始阶段就积极的应对这些挑战并寻求解决方案。然而，我们不仅需要达到以上这些要求，还需兼顾审美和品质的保证。我认为通过整体设计的方法来实现这种平衡是未来建筑行业发展的方向。
Sustainability and sustainable design solutions, play an important role in the future of the practice. At UNStudio, we have always sought to create designs that are both adaptive and resilient in order to craft a healthier built environment – and this is where sustainability plays an instrumental role in how we design. We are continuously developing strategies that respond to – and anticipate – future challenges that climate change may present, and to incorporate these in our designs from the outset. However, we have to do this in such a way that we also retain aesthetic and experiential qualities. Striking this balance through a holistic approach to design is where I believe the industry is headed.
要做到这一点，我们还需要将科技作为推动建立更加可持续发展、创新和平等社会的一种方式。在 UNStudio，我们的体验设计团队UNSx，其中一个重要的工作就是探索如何应用新科技让建筑改造更加可持续发展。通过欧盟资助项目BIM-SPEED，我们的团队作为这个公司联盟的一部分，通过研究如何使用建筑信息模型 (BIM)，以创造出建筑数字模型，从中提供可能是最智能、最有效的改造现有建筑结构的方法。这仅是科技、可持续性及建筑交集的其中一种形式。我们需要设计出更绿色环保的城市，同时以造福人类健康——在身体、心灵和社会上处于良好的状态——考虑在内。我们相信科技会帮助我们输出更由说服力的策略以改善人们的生活。
To do this, however, we also need to embrace technology as a way to design a more sustainable, innovative and equitable society. At UNStudio, we have UNSx, our experience design team, which, among other things, is exploring how to apply technology to make renovating existing buildings a more sustainable process. Through an EU-funded project called BIM-SPEED, our team is part of a consortium of companies researching how through building information modelling (BIM), in which a digital representation of a building is created, it could be possible to determine the smartest and most efficient ways to renovate existing structures. This is just one of many ways that technology, sustainability and architecture intersect. We know that we need to design greener cities that also take human health - from the physical to the mental and social - into account. We believe technology helps us to make more impactful decisions that will improve life for all.
What has UNStudio accomplished in 2021 on the brand development, industrial communication, technology development, or scientific innovation?
Ben van Berkel：对于我们在阿姆斯特丹的总部而言，2021 年是不平凡的一年，在经历了欧洲新冠大流行之后，我们慢慢恢复了新的常态。我们时常提醒自己日常环境对我们身体舒适度的影响，它们也会对我们的生理和心理健康造成一定的影响。这让我们更加专注于促进社区建设、场所营造和灵活性设计中。在场所营造设计策略中我们充分考虑其物理、文化和社交属性去定义场所并促进其不断演变。他们可以依靠科技进步来促进建筑环境的发展。
For our head office in Amsterdam, 2021 was an interesting year in which we slowly returned to a new sense of normal, following the pandemic here in Europe. We were reminded how much our everyday environments impact our physical wellbeing, as much as they affect our physiological and mental health. This gave us a renewed interest in the importance of community building, placemaking and designing for flexibility.
The placemaking strategies that we incorporate intertwine the physical, cultural and social identities that define a place and support its continuous evolution. They can incorporate technology to enhance the built environment even more.
一个重要的例子是我们为位于意大利米兰市北部Bruzzano提出的规划方案。这是米兰市郊的一个新的跨代一体化健康社区，近期被Unipol 选中进行下一步设计推进。通过这个项目，我们希望打造一个以健康、自然和人为中心的城市设计新社区。科技是 Bruzzano 设计中不可分割的一部分。它将帮助我们实现目标、施行、检测、改善人们的居住环境，实现营造一个具有包容性和便捷性的社区。
A key example of this is the concept proposal we developed for the Bruzzano masterplan in Italy. This is a new intergenerational health-themed urban district in Milan, and was recently selected by Unipol for further design development. With this project, we wanted to form a new community where health, nature and people are at the centre of the urban design. Technology also plays an integral role in the design for Bruzzano. It will help us target, execute, monitor and enhance the environment for the residents, with the aim to achieve neighbourhood-level inclusivity and accessibility to healthcare-related services.
新冠疫情的反复引导我们对设计适应性进行新的思考，但它并不是我们专注设计灵活性的唯一驱动力。日益严重的环境问题和科技进步也是推动影响的主要因素。以我们最近新建成的项目荷兰代尔夫特理工大学“Echo”教学楼为例。这座新的跨学科产能大楼将容纳多种教学和学习空间。由于它将被不同的学院使用，所以我们在设计中充分考虑到不同的教学和学习方法的需求去进行空间布局，满足了当前和未来更多灵活教学空间的需求——无论是今天、明天还是 10 年后。楼内最大的两个报告厅所安装的活动墙，可在15分钟内灵活组装成为独立的空间。这样可以根据不同学院的需求将这些空间划分为更小的房间，并根据课表安排对过渡空间有效利用。整个建筑还采用高科技地板装置，集通风管口和电源插座为一体。我们特地安装这个系统，因为这些砖板可以被轻松抬起并重新安放，以便代尔夫特理工大学将来需要改变建筑物的布局。此外，我们在顶层使用了模块化墙体系统，为未来灵活变化的空间布局提供可能。
While the pandemic has acted as an impetus for this renewed focus on adaptability, it is not the only driving force behind our focus on flexibility. Increasingly urgent environmental concerns and advancements in technology are also principal factors. Take our recently completed building ‘Echo’, at the Technical University in Delft. This new inter-faculty building will house numerous kinds of teaching and studying rooms. But because it will be used by different departments, it’s designed with features that allow for the space to be reconfigured when needed for different teaching and learning approaches – whether today, tomorrow or in 10 years time. The two largest lecture halls, for instance, have fully retractable dividing walls, which can be put in place in just 15 minutes. This allows for these spaces to be divided into smaller rooms as needed for the different departments and to make the most efficient use possible of the spaces in the class scheduling. The entire building also features a high-tech, tiled flooring system, in which the ventilation ducts and power sockets are also incorporated. We specifically chose this system, because the tiles can simply be lifted up and rearranged if TU Delft want to change the layout of the building in the future. Additionally, we used modular walls on the top floor for easier reconfiguration.
These are just two examples of specific approaches we are taking in order to maintain our mission of designing for lasting impact.
Facing the new infrastructure and urban development opportunities and the new upgrades of technologies in China, how does a company take its own advantages to strategically plan out for the future? What outstanding projects that you'd like to share with us on the focus of UNStudio Asia market?
China has changed dramatically over the last decades, and the speed and progress has directly impacted the design and construction industries. Recently, based on the "14th Five-Year Plan for Building Energy Conservation and Green Building Development," and focus on adaptive reuse and carbon neutrality by 2060, we must design smart- combining the use of sensor-based user integrated technology with equally important low-maintenance, passive systems. Sometimes the smartest solutions are the intuitive ones, and knowing when to use technical advancements is essential.
A future in China means constantly striving to surpass what you’ve already achieved, and evolving with the needs of the latest stages of urbanization and environmental impact. When we approach design in China, we consistently aim to create better sustainable, healthy spaces to work, live, and play that respect local environments and societal cultures. With the uncompromising advancement of technology and leading global industries that have arisen from China, we appreciate that the ambitious goals we often have for projects mirror the ambitions of our Clients.
While technological development provides a key facet in our design process, and contributes greatly to how we integrate workflows. UNStudio continues to reach for better solutions on defining each series of design parameters, targeting user needs and functionality. Designing for the user experience means crafting architectural opportunities that the never-ending future potential of China allows us to achieve.
With the global rise of urbanization and a growing focus on TOD, in the design of Raffles City Hangzhou, we connected the combined programs in one seamless flow that accommodates retail, F+B, work, living, and leisure facilities, to parking and underground public transport. As such, we were able to create a sustainable and dynamic urban environment for people to live, work and play. While Raffles City was not our first completed project in Asia, it has become such an iconic project and clearly marked our commitment to the region. Since opening our Shanghai office twelve years ago, we have added an office in Hong Kong and together they oversee the Asia market, while also being able to service projects in South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. Being located within the region means that we have a much greater understanding of local culture and regulations, and can build long-term, committed relationships with our clients in Asia.
@UNStudio Published renders
Our design proposal for the Nanjing KWah G72 Mixed-use development sets out to capture the essence of future-oriented adaptive design. With this on-going project, which is approximately 500,000sm, we have integrated an ambitious new commercial and cultural community within a larger urban fabric, creating an identity that highlights the roles nature and culture can play in developments of this kind. In the future, the Nanjing KWah G72 will serve as a one-stop service destination that fulfills residents' ever-changing needs and brings a diverse, future-oriented, adaptive development to the public.
UNStudio, in collaboration with Nihon Sekkei, completed the Shanghai Jiuguang Center in 2021. The design was informed by the numerous ways visitors can engage with the various spaces and creates curated shopping experiences for different users. This creates a synergy between the architectural and the interior design; the building scale and the human scale; the geometry and the materials, and the inside-outside relationship.
UNStudio was also awarded the contract for the Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong, a very prestigious project and another reason to extend UNStudio Asia's presence to Hong Kong in 2014. The Lyric Theater Complex, currently under construction, will be a world-class multi-theatre venue for dance and theatrical arts in the city's long anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District. Through a curated architectural dialog, the project unites in one choreographed building the general public with theatre-goers and performing arts communities through both formal venues and semi-public spaces to enhance culture in the city.
There are both opportunities and challenges, opportunities is often accompanied with crisis. For now we are facing a more severe competition, the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic may already have changed the young designers’ working environment, their thought and market demands. Also as a leading design team in Asia, how do you face these new challenges to implement on the differential management, detailed design, and market segmentation?
Over the last half year in both the Hong Kong and the Shanghai offices, we have had periods where we needed to switch from working in the office to online overnight. Many companies have started to experiment with different kinds of working environments in order to create lively, interactive and social spaces for their employees. In architectural practice, in-person teamwork is invaluable, as design is such a collaborative process. But recent challenges have demonstrated the importance of flexibility in how we manage design, development, and communication of ideas. As different working environments cultivate creativity, hybrid-working models can bring about new potentials and opportunities in terms of the future of work and office development.
A good business reputation needs to grow steadily and need to look ahead and aim high, for the future Chinese design market, what is your hope and expectation?
Since we started UNS Asia, we recognized the importance of designing locally, so that we could draw from both our international expertise with our local design resources to develop designs that are customized to the local Chinese and Asian markets. Our offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong have grown steadily so that we could build up a solid reputation with a strong body of built work. We are proud of the projects we have completed in Asia over the years that have really pushed the boundaries of quality design. As an international office, being involved from design stage until the project is completed is key to ensure that the result achieves the highest quality. And while the current trend is the pigeonholing of design firms, we have been fortunate enough to have Clients who recognized the importance of that holistic approach.
Looking to the future, we will continue to strive for forward-thinking designs that can weather changing market strategies and evolving user requirements. This is now more necessary than ever. Technological developments have also influenced the way we live and work and this area of design is one in which we will always need to outpace in order to remain relevant in an ever-changing environment.
UNStudio 由 Ben van Berkel 和 Caroline Bos 于1988年创立，是一家国际知名的建筑设计事务所。我们致力于建筑、室内、产品、城市发展和基础设施等领域，在阿姆斯特丹、上海、香港、迪拜、法兰克福和墨尔本设有工作室，为全球客户提供全方位的设计服务。我们拥有来自超过27个国家的300多位员工，以精简的团队结构遍布世界各地，可根据需求迅速组织分配工作，以更多时间专注于设计和聆听客户需要。UNStudio Asia 于2010年成立，由合伙人 Hannes Pfau 领导和带领上海和香港办公室团队。
UNStudio, founded in 1988 by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, is an international network specialising in architecture, interior architecture, product design, urban development and infrastructural projects. With six full-service international offices in Amsterdam, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Dubai and Melbourne and over 300 employees from 27 countries, our streamlined structure enables us to spend less time organising and more time designing and collaborating with our clients. UNStudio Asia was founded in 2010, with Hannes Pfau leading the Shanghai and Hong Kong offices.