"Noise" is an element of disharmony, which is often a betrayal of a perfect system. This betrayal can be understood as a range of micro-deviations. A small dislocation or deviation is somehow more influential and revolutionary than an overall change. For example, if a slightly buckled tile suddenly appears on a flat pavement, many people will fall there; however, when every piece of the entire pavement becomes uneven, the number of people who fall may become few.
When architecture is used to express political power, such discordant elements are often rejected, and the spatial forms are often unified, harmonious, and monumental. This is most evident in the squares of China's urban centers, which possess several characteristics: first, a geometric form that can only be seen from a bird's eye view on a huge scale, thus creating a monumentality that reflects its grandeur through the smallness of the people in comparison; and second, a morphological and functional barrenness, with few civic activities despite the name civic square. The combination of the two creates a strong visual effect of the finished form, showing an almost totalitarian and suffocating power, expressing its totalitarian consciousness in an illusionary way.
However, based on the reality that only the presence of "noise" can ensure the smooth development of society, should the architectural expression of these squares respond to it? In this context, can the architectural expression of political squares, which are highly symbolic and exemplary, introduce some elements of "noise" while satisfying their political function (grand image and less frequent ritual activities)?
This design is an experimental design for a civic center plaza in shenzhen with the government as the hypothetical owner. The reason for using shenzhen as an example is that this city adjacent to hong kong was and will remain the pioneer of china's reform and opening up. The 600-foot square plaza is backed by a strong symbolic giant government building and surrounded by a neo-totalitarian crystal island designed by oma.
The goal of the design is to define a new architectural expression for the plaza: in its entirety, it retains its original political imagery, fulfilling the function of ritualistic events such as mass gatherings, so that it still appears to be a unified form under a powerful regime, while in its microcosm, it creates spaces to channel speech. These spaces are not violent places of protest, but rather a controlled "release and guidance" of ideas and discourse through increased physical contact and exchange of information between people - in this case, an underground passage between the square, the train station, and the subway. In this case, it is a space located underneath the square, between the train station and the subway, in an underground passage and a flea market. The design attempts to change the self-containment of the power building itself through the relationship between the space above and below the square, creating two spaces that coexist and minimizing the perception of each other through the design.
Inspired by the Captcha and Haha landscapes, the design maximizes the large scale of the plaza by introducing a series of subtle visual and flowing small movements that disturb the surface of the plaza. These perturbations are, as mentioned at the beginning of the paper, "micro-differences", which are difficult to detect at large scales, but can have a great impact at human scales. In order to explore how much disturbance is needed to achieve a balanced mix, a series of "calibrations" were performed.
The first series of perturbations is a redesign of the dialectic between the "official view" and the "unofficial view": the original horizontal plane of the square is transformed into a curved surface with a slight arch at the center and north side. This gesture makes it impossible to see the human activity on the ground in the far side of the square from the platform on the central axis of the square and the area most used for official activities, thus avoiding the conflict of sightlines between the two. The subversive aspect is that if a large gathering or parade were to take place on this new square surface, it would not appear as a three-dimensional square as seen from a bird's eye view of a traditional square, but instead as a surface with a significantly reduced visual volume.
The "surface with depth" is a positive response to the suffocating political imagery of the surrounding government buildings, urban rings and other urban landscapes. The areas with depth are small "pockets" of intimate human scale that gradually fade into the surrounding urban landscape as the depth of the pockets increases. The location of the "pockets" in the design is based on the importance of the surrounding environment in terms of pointing and line of sight calculations, and represents the least exposed areas (dark).
In order to be able to effectively arrange the pocket treatment on the surface of the square where people gather and pass through, the second series of perturbations takes the movement trajectory of various kinds of people as a breakthrough. The design simulates four types of pedestrian flows in the plaza: assembly people, casual visitors, passengers and vendors. The purpose of the simulation is to minimize the disturbance to the surface form of the square while maximizing its impact on the space itself. This simulation reads deeper information from the planar images marked by color shades to obtain effective locations for surface disturbance. Similarly, in order to maximize the physical contact between people, the simulation investigates how to decide the location and number of entrances to the plaza. The entire surface of the plaza is raised to a height flush with the human line of sight in the architectural form, and only the entrance is in contact with the ground.
The design is introspective and introspective, exploring the possibility of a new plaza that subversively changes the cityscape and skyline through subtle shifts, achieving a harmonious coexistence between the surface of a single political plaza and the hidden potential of noise space.