Blurry Wall


Blurry Wall

Project Team: Yaohua Wang, Scott Chung, Qing Cao, & Lennard Ong
Location: Nanjing, China
Site: An area in between the historical Nanjing city wall and contemporary district
Program: Cultural complex- Theater, Creative Studios, Parking, Market, Sports, etc
Size: 8000 m²
Completion: 2011


A wall is a binary condition: in/out, old/new, here/there. Blurry Wall, a proposal for a culture complex in Nanjing, China is a project that confuses these distinctions through conflicting bodily sensations. The intention of team members, Yaohua Wang, Scott Chung, Qing Cao, and Lennard Ong, is to tune the architecture into an instrument that channels the different urban energies flowing through it, blurring the boundaries between them.

Relating to the historical Nanjing city wall, more and more walls are strewn on site. They tilt and cant into each other to form the blurry wall. Their placement adapts to the site: each blurry wall starts from the perimeter but converges upon point intensities of defined program (theatre, apartments, etc) or large chambers. Their orientation is a nod to the original wall, blurring the distinction between old and new.

Distinctions between static and fluid program are also blurred: some walls droop to form circulatory scoops, creating shortcuts between the different programs while maintaining formal consistency of the blurred wall. Along one axis, strong perspective visual corridors suggests blurry strips differentiated use. In the other, the visual logic reverses and one is bombarded with free perspective of activities overlayed over each other. The intention is to create a visual environment reflecting the complexity of the urban orchestra.

This idea of the urban orchestra is reinforced by the acoustic treatment of the blurry walls: some corridors are echo tunnels, multiplying the acoustic energy of the activities within. Thus, it is possible to hear the activities on the other end of the chamber even without being able to see it. Others are muffled, creating more intimate acoustic environments.

Our intention, thus, is to imagine architecture as an urban instrument played in the key of walls. By playing with the various meanings of walls, we wanted to blur together the different performances and activities of the urban stage. However, like any other instrument, it is inert until the public embraces and plays with it with glee and gusto.

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