Tuan Jie Hu
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As a contrast to their failure in the United States, Modernist slab apartments have shown great urban dynamics in Beijing. Tuan Jie Hu is an epitome of old residential area located by the East 3rd Ring Road in Beijing. Good location and relatively reasonable rent make it a primary destination for people who work in the CBD and want to find a place to live nearby. Despite of its poor planning and outdated architectural design, this area has self-generated a diverse urban ecological system. Here the positive relationship between the design quality and urban dynamics has been challenged. Consistent with the exceptionally detailed signature style of DAS’ urban panoramic drawings, Tuan Jie Hu Panorama vividly depicts the views from the daily life in this local community. As the same time, the piece also shows some new exploration in architectural drawing techniques. Some 45-degree axes from different directions allow the viewers to constantly change their viewpoints, which is like a Cubism painting. Here it involves DAS’ subjective understanding on Colin Rowe’s transparency theory. Rowe extracted his concept of “phenomenal transparency” from Cubism paintings and built it into the understanding of architecture. It is briefly about tensions resulted from conflicts among different spatial systems. While in axonometric projection, the coexistence of orthogonal system and 45-degree axial system naturally presents interesting conflicts, both two- and three-dimensional. If using this unique feature from architectural drawing to depict cities, a Cubism artwork with “phenomenal transparency” will naturally come into being. In Tuan Jie Hu Panorama, opposite to Rowe, DAS uses axonometric drawing techniques from architectural practice to reinterpret Cubism art.