Experimental wooden structures in Shanghai
EXPERIMENTAL WOODEN STRUCTURES IN SHANGHAI 2019
Experimental Wooden Structure in Shanghai is a collaboration project between Tongji University college of design and innovation, professor of Art, Music, and Design department of University of Bergen - Petter Bergerud, and Northing. Professor Petter Bergerud was invited to have a two-week-long course under the framework of his research project Experimental Wooden Structures with the environmental design students of Tongji University on the campus in Shanghai. The period of the workshop was from 6th to 19th of May, 2019. During his stay in Shanghai, Professor Bergerud also gave a series of lectures both in the University and other places, including PSA - Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum.
Pr. Bergerud arrived at the Pudong airport around 10 o’clock in the morning 6th of May. He went right off the bat to the classroom 41km away from the airport, to give the 34 students waiting there an introduction lecture about what they were going to work on in the next two weeks. Most of them had never touched a drill before. But soon they would be building wooden structures taller than themselves.
The students, mostly girls, were divided into 6 groups. They gave themselves romantic or weird names like: Woodpecker, Aurora, or Done. Petter encouraged them to sketch with hand and build physical models, and to use computer as little as possible in the beginning, despite the fact that some of them really knew how to create fabulous forms with parametric program. Besides the sketching and building courses during the day, Petter gave additional lectures on different topics almost every evening, and the lectures were open for students from other departments too.
It was an intensive and mind-blowing course, both for the students and for Petter and us. The delivery of the materials was delayed half a week, the building site was narrow and crowded, the security on campus was tight and strict, and the calendars of the students were always filled with other courses and activities, but every and each group managed to deliver one quite unique structure by the end of the course. The presentations in the project room were also impressive. Click the titles of the structures to find out more about the concepts and processes. they are: CIRCLOUD, VORTEX, KUNPENG, FOLD, BAOZI, and CFAN
After having a chic tea ceremony in the tea house Time Therapy, which was deeply hidden in a newly gentrified historical residential area. Petter decided to visit the architect office that designed this place, which turned out to be one of the most well-known Chinese multi-discipline design studio - Neri&Hu.
Hei Di is a young carpenter/designer living and working in the coast town, Jin Shan, 60 km away from Shanghai. We visited his annual exhibition in Shanghai 7th May. Although the official period of the exhibition had already passed, he took the time to travel from his studio back to the venue just to meet us. His works were overwhelmingly crafted and made by hand, with such a precision and ingeniousness. Petter was touched by Hei Di’s passion in traditional Chinese woodcraft and the way he applied the tradition innovatively to his new design. He sighed a Chinese edition of his book Learning by Doing - Experimental Wooden Structures and gave it to him as a gift.
Petter was also invited to give lecture at Shanghai University Of Engineering Science and a gallery space named MuseU&M. He accepted all the invitations and performed with passion and professionalism every time, no matter how far the venue is (1.5hr by metro one way) or how moderate the number of listeners is (15).
On 18th May, Petter held a 3 hour long lecture at the Power Station of Art, which is the most important contemporary art museum in Shanghai. There were around 300 listeners in the audience. In the 3 hours they learned Petter’s projects of wooden structures, the ice music festival, the light festival in Bergen, the small architectures in the grand nature of Norway, and last but not least, why we need to think more with our hands - to learn by doing.