Beijing-based Field Conforming Studio architects present their installation for the 2021 East Lake International Ecological Sculpture Biennale, located in Wuhan Shimenfeng Memorial Park.
Field Conforming Studio’s memorial installation, named the Vanished House, is a house covered in sprawling ivies made of corten steel where the main structure has vanished.
A place where the deceased rest peacefully, the venue has a tranquil ambiance suitable for memorial and mourning activities.
The structure is created as an echo of this special attribute of the venue and invites visitors to participate in and experience.
In the beginning, the creators thought about choosing a house type with features specific to Wuhan to present the locality.
After research, however, they found that the city’s old buildings, especially residential ones, didn’t have obvious local features, while public constructions representative of Wuhan were not reasonable choices for such an environment.
The team decided to choose the simplest image that a house could be. Involving neither locality nor extra symbols, it was just a simple house that resembled a child’s sketch.
The form, without many contrivances, adds more simplicity and purity to the work, while the patterns of the sprawling creepers introduce more sophistication.
Field Conforming Studio had to figure out how to convey the sense of a vanished house through the status of the creepers.
To that end, they made a 1:10 miniature of the house with cardboard and sketched ivies on the model to present the growing status of the plants.
In this way, the designers could control the density and size of the vines as well as the turns and connections they present on the walls.
The process of sketching was the most sentimental and exciting part of the creation and has brought a distinctive feature of handicrafts and paintings to the work.
After the vines were sketched on the miniature, the designers converted them into vector files. As the final work would be realized through laser engraving on corten steel, they broke down the model for high-resolution scanning and then manually converted the scanned files into vector files available for laser engraving.
After tedious work and research, the most important procedure was to deal with the connections where the lines turned. It was a step that needed the team to pay much special attention to. They had been modifying and checking the details until manufacturing was started in the factory.
The choice of corten steel was carefully done due to the color and texture changes that the aging process and weather conditions cause since corten steel plates get dark and turn crimson, a color that can well express the texture of the creepers’ vines.
In addition, the plates provide structural stability and strength, providing a durable installation.
Project: The Vanished House
Architects: Field Conforming Studio
Lead Architect: Hu Quanchun
Designer Team: Xiang Yu, and Chen Songlin
Exhibition curator: Sun Zhenhua
Exhibition Art Director: Fu Zhongwang
Exhibition Organizers: Zhi Art Space, Hubei Museum of Art, United Art Museum
Exhibition support units: Wuhan Institute of Design and Sciences / School of Public Art, Wuhan Creative Industry Development Co., Ltd.
Photographers: Jin Weiqi