Monthly Archives: January 2012

i dear,

早前在柏林有位朋友聽了IDEA Project後,便邀請我為一意大利NGO Youth Action for Peace Italia的雜誌寫稿。要寫三千字的英文稿是第一次,現在滿是頭痛的。雜誌主題是和平,我的朋友曾經也是一位建築師,所以他相信好的建築與城市的設計會影響該區的和平。他相信和平是共同參與從而找出新方法,所以他對IDEA Project的參與式設計甚感與趣。但同時曾為不同NGO策劃項目的他對旅行式義工存在種種質疑。

聽完我分享IDEA Project後,他第一個問題是項目的費用是多少。因為他在意大利籌劃不同的義工項目時看著帳面上的數目,往往義工的旅遊費用佔大數,有時甚至比真正捐給當地的錢還要多,在資源分配他認為是不合乎效益。例如他認識一個意大利的建校義工組織到了非洲一個星期後在當地研究出用牛的排泄物去造磚。義工們得著良多,並為自己做了有意義的事而感到高興。他認為這種自以為幫助了別人的心態甚愚蠢,因為義工們在旅遊式義工的得著幾乎比當地人還要多。但當中究竟有多少人會反省這資源的不善用,他認為這種義工是不值得支持的。

他給我的感覺是他把自己抽離並放在一個較高的角度去看待整件事情,所以聽畢後的第一下子心裡甚憤怒。IDEA Project之所以出現是出於對一己信念的堅信,即使未有一百分的知識、十分的把握。我們眼前的IDEA School不就是開初建築師學會不相信能建成的哪所學校嗎?我們的圑隊雖然有不少的建築師,工程師和設計師,但大家在柬埔寨建校上都是新手。老實說,每一天在當地的五金鋪和地盤都是一個學習過程。

建築的腳步往往走得比我們的腦袋快。上年的IDEA School 2地盤進度甚慢,以致義工工作甚趕急。IDEA School在不夠幾天內如魔術般變了出來,過程快得令人卻步。記得有天看到操場水井上未妥善處理好的廢水和一堆未知有否機會再用的建築廢料,看著IDEA School 2很漂亮但我心裡難過,覺得我們對當地造成了擾攘太大了。作為一個以建築為媒介去改變世界的義工組織,責任甚多;建築世界是個不斷改進的過程,幸運的話我們的世界會變得更好。

共勉之,暑假再見!=) Gela

20120119 WordPress Top Post


A super great thank you to Amy Chan for writing a beautiful poem for my favorite project in Berlin, Pret A Diner Berlin 2012.

<<應不應該>> – 陳雅妍


English version of the article 柏林彈起 for a friend Claudia. (中文版 Chinese Version)

My studio is busying for the pop-up restaurant in Munich these few days, I am not in the stress as I am preparing the concept for the Berlin “pop-up”.

Pop Up Restaurant means to transform any possible space into a temporary restuarant by using a quick and efficient way. The word “Pop-up” implies the from nothing to something, like pop-up books  that we can see something amazing when we open the book; and underneath the book there are lots of thinking and design. Pop Up Restaurants usually takes several months on planning and design, and we only got one weeks for on-site construction. The restaurant pop-up for two to threes months, then it disappears. And appear later in another city. It is one of my most exciting projects beside IDEA School

Our Pret A Diner Pop Up Restaurant has been travelled to several cities in Europe including London, Frankfurt and Munich. The pop-up restaurant in London was built in an old tunnel, it took lots effort on transportation of material and reception. I felt lucky on participating in PAD Berlin 2012, having the chance of designing it and to see it “pop-up” are really excited. The word “temporary restaurant” seems not so elegant, however this “temporary restaurant” provides high-class fine dining. The food just look like pieces of artworks made by professional chefs.

我一月就是要在柏林的這地方彈起餐廳了。 Photo Credit :
[ P1 : This is going to be a nice pop-up restaurant in Jan 2012.
Photo Credit : ]

Before the restuarant pop-up in Munich, our designers found a lot of fun stuffs in second-hand shops and the flea markets, making us a “studio pop-up”. Our studio is full of stuffs like old cameras, plastic legs and stuffed animals.

[ P2 : Pop-up Studio. Stuffs to be transported to Munich! ]Designers今早臨出車前到Flea Market找到這個!70年代動畫的舊菲林!
[ P3 : In the very last minute our designers found these in the flea market, the old film old of 70s’ animation! ]

For an magazine <<Cittadino Globale>> of an italian NGO Youth Action for Peace Italia.
Thanks Bruno for inviting and thanks Luana Miriti for translating into italian


Since my little brother was born I had conflicts with him on different issues like fighting over our preferred TV channel, the music we want to play, food or even toilet. The first time my brother fighted with my father, my brother hit his leg on a glass cupboard .It broke and cut him. This bleeding experience reminded us how small our home was and that we couldn’t fight inside.

In history, wars have always been caused by the competition over natural resources like land. In the city where I was born there was always competition over space due to the large number of Chinese migrants from mainland China in the 1980s. I moved to Berlin for an internship. With the very limited salaries I could only afford any expensive houses in the city. However by paid one-fourth of the rent I used to pay in Hong Kong, the size of my room in Berlin is already bigger than a typical public housing unit in Hong Kong. One night I was having dinner with a German architect in her home. When we were having dinner in her kitchen, she said she couldn’t imagine how can she live in a 40 sqm. house. It is too small for her. But for me, I realized that even I were given a 20 sqm. room, I used to put all my things into a corner and squeezed them into a 6 sqm. space. I hadn’t realized this before. Yes, space changes people’s inner behaviors unconsciously.

Space is super limited in Hong Kong. Luckily there are no space wars among general public in Hong Kong. What we are flighting for is money. The crazy housing price have made the city pessimistic : “What? I have been working super hard for 30 years, but it goes to the down payment of a 40 sqm. Flat? So what is going on for my next 30 years?” Under this stressful city, communities and members of the media always try to protest against the developers. Protests and discussions on city planning always happen. However, the hot discussions have scared the planners and no one dares to draw a single line on the map.

I met an italian friend who was born in Naples ,in a district called Scampia. There is a famous housing development called The Vele of Scampia, which was hated by the locals and was regarded as horrible architecture. The Vele was filled up during 1980 by a large group of poor people when there was an earthquake. The district started to settle with people in crowded spaces. And due to the planning of the housing development there is a lack of public facilities in the district. There are no shops, no markets, no hospital. The district is terrible and has a high crime rate.

“It is a question of building which is at the root of the social unrest of today” This is a famous quote of the architect Le Corbusier who believes bad buildings affect society. I have long felt this way too, and last year I went to Cambodia with IDEA project team to build schools. The schools in Cambodia also have poor ventilation and lighting. We deserve a nice living environment and it should be the mission of an architect.

However, are architects doing a good job? We all see the example of the Vele which was built in 1980 and now let’s look to what we have now. My city is filled with high chopsticks and everyone is living in a flat which you might not find big enough for a kitchen. Architects might not be stupid but sometimes, or most of the time they don’t have the power to draw the line. The line is the result of a complex struggle between forces from the government, developer, the society and individuals.

My city is still trapped in the struggle and we haven’t seen the right lines yet. However even though we haven’t seen the right line, I still see harmony in our society. Restaurants put tables and chairs on the streets outside the restaurant so people eat and gather there. We all go to the courtyard to hang our clothes so I got to know my neighbor very quickly. Space is limited but creativity is unlimited. In order to see a harmonic society, it is a question of whether people feel free to use and create the space they like.


Italian version

在到訪柏林達利美術館時順道在Potsdamer Platz一帶遊走,最吸引我的是Potsdamer Strasse 和Stressemann Strasse的交界,在這個角落見到一場保育精神的生存鬥爭。

Potsdamer Strasse是一條繁忙大街,車水馬龍的。(當然,比起我們的彌敦道絕對是小毛見大毛)交界豎立著的是德國建築師Hans Kollhoff設計的Kollhoff Tower和已有一百年歷史的Haus Huth,而近年冒起的新地標Sony Centre默守在後。加上這裡是屬於柏林圍牆路段的其中一段,很多遊客都會來這三角交滙處拍照,好不熱鬧。

左邊的Kollhoff Tower我十分喜歡


不得不承認Sony Centre的設計甚強,當晚寒風凜烈,天氣十分寒冷,但當你一踏入Sony Cente的大帳篷裡你感覺不到半滴寒風:它是個既天然又節能的大帳篷。在Sony Centre的各區域你都會看到不同的資訊版,介紹著整個發展項目的歷史、保育、環保設計等等,一塊又一塊像廣告版。整個發展項目看似是很有規劃,並關注到該地該的歷史和保育。

Sony Centre


如此硬銷的手法看似是在討好著某種勢力。Sony Centre一帶地段十分敏感,有著不同的歷史痕跡,整個Potsdamer Platz一帶在二戰前曾經是全歐洲最旺的一區。保護著這塊地的是一鼓當地的「惡勢力」,一種公營的發展商。我們引象中的香港發展商大都是張牙舞爪跟本地居民鬥個你死我活的大惡霸,而建築師就常淪為發展商底下的一隊兵。德國這裡有一種公營的發展商,這公營的發展商由公眾或建築師組成。跟私營發展商的結構相比,建築師的力量在這個制度下大得多了。

在這勢力底下整個城市都浸著濃厚的保育氣氛,在Alexander Platz一帶正進行迅速的U Bahn鐵路發展,在挖地的時候發現了地底的一舊城痕跡,整個U Bahn發展馬上要停頓。發展商馬上要把U Bahn站移到另一個位置,市內更熱烈的討論該如何處置該區。


我喜歡這粉紅色的管,令我想起IDEA Project