一个事务所的演化 Evolution of an Office

  • 来源:建筑创作
  • 关键字:事务所,演化,竞争力
  • 发布时间:2013-08-22 14:20

  2011年到2012年,我有幸以一个毕业生的身份加入理查德迈耶事务所,工作时间虽然不长,但也正因为这种类似“局外人”的身份,可以用清晰冷静的眼光来看待一个运营了近50年的事务所,体会它是如何根据自身的特点和时代的变化进行适应性的演化。

  From 2011 to 2012 I worked at Richard Meier & Partners (RMP) as a fresh graduate for one year. Despite of the short period of time, I was able to observe the adaptive evolution, as an “outsider”, of the office according to its own character and to the social changes as it continues to thrive for nearly five decades.

  扩张与控制

  EXPANSION VS MODERATION

  虽然经过了很多年的发展,事务所本身的规模却并未扩大。在我工作的这一年,纽约事务所的总人数为55人,其中建筑师45人左右,这在美国属于中型事务所。而在其发展最鼎盛的20世纪90年代,其总人数也并未超过60人(洛杉矶事务所除外)。

  为什么迈耶没有像OMA,Herzog & Demeuron 等许多明星事务所一样,在成名后不断扩大其规模?我认为并不取决于公司的项目来源,迈耶事务所一直以来都有很多的项目委托,但却没有进行盲目扩张,而是拒绝掉了很多可以带来收入的商业项目,我认为其取决于公司的核心竞争力,像 OMA等公司以理念致胜,理念的产生不需要严格的控制,不需要对项目的类型进行谨慎的筛选,需要“多多益善”;而迈耶基本没有创新的概念,是靠细节与语言取胜,需要的是对建筑技艺的长期积累和对形态构成的严谨控制,需要对项目类型进行把控,需要“宁缺毋滥”。“做大做强”固然具有吸引力,但同时也有失去细节把控的风险。所以迈耶选择了控制,这是根据自身特点的精明选择,使得近十年的作品仍然能保持很高的完成度。

  Having been through many years of development, the size of the office had no dramatic variations. The New York office has a total number of 55 people when I was working, which makes itself as a middle-sized office. Even in the most early dates back to 1990s, the total number didn‘t surpass 60.(LA Office excluded)

  Why RMP didn’t expand like normal star offices such as OMA and Herzog & Demeuron? I think it depends not on the project numbers admitted, but on its core competencies. Unlike offices which win projects by ideas and concepts, such as OMA, which also welcomes more people to bring more ideas, RMP wins projects by its detailing and formal languages, which requires a long term accumulation of knowledge and experience, and also a careful selection of project types, all of which makes the moderation of office size less risky than losing control.

  匠人与商人

  CRAFTSMAN AND SALESMAN

  在这样一个信息飞速发展和资本主导一切的时代,客户在建筑层面的追求已经越来越倾向于概念和功能,而并不过多重视建筑的艺术价值与美学价值。这使得师承欧洲现代主义流派,以图纸与实体模型推敲工作的“匠人”迈耶也不免有了“过气”之嫌;而娴熟运用拼贴,图示,渲染等快速交流传递信息的新媒介,精明如商人般的公司诸如OMA、BIG、JDS等则如雨后春笋般涌现出来。他们顺应着时代和社会的需求,更多的从社会文化以及功能层面研究建筑的构成和造型,以更激进和直接,甚至有些粗鲁的方式推演建筑形态,使得比例、细部、对齐等种种需要耗费大量时间和经验的工作以极其聪明的方式予以淡化。而客户和学校的学生也往往被种种眩目新奇的造型和理念所吸引,从而像商人一样顺理成章的成功推销出他们的建筑。

  面对社会需求的转变,事务所在客户的市场定位上也进行着自己的调整,在保证造型语言一以贯之的前提下,在我看来,事务所在设计时间的投入上、文化研究、功能和流线的效率研究占了越来越大的比例,而面向客户的交流汇报也越来越频繁。而这些研究和交流也反过来影响着造型本身,我参与的多个作品如Hyundai、OCT、ENI等其建筑原型在很大程度上不仅仅取决于建筑师原发性的灵感,而更多倾向于针对客户需求的创造性回应。这种工作重心的偏移,使得迈耶在近几年赢得了许多客户需求度高的大型商业项目(酒店,办公,综合体等)。

  Considering the rapid evolution of information and capital social development, clients are more and more inclined to fancy concepts and delicate programs, with neglect of artistic value and aesthetical value in architecture. This trend would allow good salesman-like offices who follow the clients rationale with fluently use of collages, diagrams and renderings, to boldly and more directly communicate and tactically present, such as OMA, BIG and JDS, to succeed in an uncommon fast way. On the other hand, with the conventional procedure of drawings and physical models, and the time-consuming study of proportions, details and alignments, RMP seems to be as a draftsman and be unable to compete in a way the society urgently needs, in a way the astonishing Broadway-show like images continually appealing.

  Nevertheless, RMP is embracing the social and economic changes, and evolving its marketing strategies with respect to its design procedures, in recent years. Apart from keeping its unique architectural languages, it seems to me that the office is spending more and more time on study and research on culture context, program efficiency and circulation and more and more presentations and communications with the clients, than ever. The formal typologies of most of the projects I was involved, including Hyundai Hotel, OCT clubhouse, ENI completion, etc, have been derived from not only the inspirations from architects, but also creative responsive analysis of clients ‘requirements. The bias of design procedure has brought result in more large scale commercial projects (hotels, offices apartments and mixed-use) in the last decade.

  作坊与流水线

  WORKSHOP VS ASSEMBLY LINE

  事务所从本质上还是保留着欧洲作坊式的工作模式,毕业生进入公司后先进模型室工作,熟悉公司的各个项目,也在潜移默化中进入迈耶的语言体系,几个月或几年后便会转移至工作室,由项目建筑师指导开始接触项目的各个阶段,并没有像许多商业公司一样,流水线一般的定位于自己最擅长的工作。虽然在效率上不如工厂流水线式公司,但对于每个个体来说,尤其是初始工作的新手来说,可以全面的了解项目流程,迅速成长。而在每一个项目的人员配置上,会安排一个合伙人、至少一个项目建筑师、几个高级建筑师和多个初级建筑设计人员。所有的设计均在图纸和实体模型中完成,几乎没有三维建模软件的造型推敲,建模软件只为后期效果图而存在。这种看似原始的手段其实是在训练每一个员工的空间尺度感和真实感,这是一个建筑师赖以生存的根本。

  谈到对这种能力的训练,给我印象最深的是公司至今为止没有一台3D打印机,甚至没有一台激光切割机,我询问了一些老员工,他们告诉我虽然公司反复向迈耶提出购买这些机器的要求,但迈耶坚持让员工用双手做模型,即使效率低。很多人当时也很不解,但经过多年的训练,他们一致认为眼睛和手变得更敏锐,对尺度的把握更加准确了。

  可以说,迈耶整个公司的工作模式上并没有进行太多的演化,但这种不变是否也应对了建筑的本质?在当今多媒体表达手段日新月异的今天,也许并不是一个坏事。

  The office work mode still maintains the European workshop style, with new graduate working at model shop for couple months or years before moving into studio, where one can familiarize all the projects done in the office, as well as train oneself with Meier-language skill. After joined in the studio project team, there will be one supervisor directly in charge of design works and one can start engage oneself in all phases of the projects. Although this way of work won’t be able to utilize employee‘s best skill for the office efficiency, which most of the corporate firm will arrange as an assembly line in a factory, it will benefit the employee in a way to quickly understand the whole process of becoming an architect. For every project, there will be a partner in charge, at least one project architect, several senior staff and couple juniors, making the team balanced. All design decisions are made through drawings and physical models. Barely are design solutions made in 3d modeling software, which only serve the purpose of final rendering. To me this old-school way of training is essential for ones most basic and most important skill, the knowing of scale.

  To speak of the skill training, one of the most impressive thing office had to me is up till now, there is not a single 3-d print machine in the office, not even a laser cut machine. Though so many staffs have suggested the efficiency trade-offs that will bring up to the office by introducing those machines, Richard is still insisting training staffs with their own eyes and hands. Most people told me later on that they actually appreciate what we don’t have because the hand making has trained them better.

  In general, the way of working didn‘t change too much, and maybe it is not a bad thing, considering with the result of too many technical experts and too few architectural-skilled professionals.

  变异与创新

  MUTATION VS INNOVATION

  一个公司作品的风格决定了公司的一切。

  世界上知名建筑事务所鳞次栉比,其风格大致可分为两类:一种靠宣言,一种靠语言。靠宣言的大多没有固定的建筑样式,而投机式的针对每一个项目,提出一个理念,一个战略,甚至一个图示,来解决客户的需求,并为自己树立公司的形象。最明显的要数OMA、以及从它分化出的诸多如BIG 等公司。另一种则拥有鲜明的建筑语言,通过极其有识别性和美感的形象设计,给人以深刻印象,对这种语言着迷的客户则会主动投怀送抱。如迈耶、Zaha、妹岛等。

  从进化论的角度来看,似乎第一类更容易演化。因为没有明确的招数,往往能够灵活的适应各种变化。而第二类则在发展阶段更容易遇到瓶颈,因为审美的潮流像一切时尚一样,往往更易改变。迈耶作为现代主义白色构成派的代表,也必然面临着这个问题。宣言的演化很容易被认为是创新,而语言的演化则通常被认为是变异。这是人们固有的思维模式,但从根本上来说,二者的演化都是为了生存。所以,当语言的创新发生在迈耶身上时,我们大可不必大惊小怪或唏嘘不已。最近的威尼斯双年展上,使用白色混凝土创造的双曲剖物面墙体试验,以及OCT出现的大面积非正交的斜墙,宣告着它的变异演化。而在公司内部,参数化建模软件的引进,参数化脚本语言在最新项目中立面百叶上的探索,也都表明了公司在不丢弃本质的前提下,对新事物包容的态度。

  The work of the office determines everything of the office.

  Nowadays, there are too many famous architects in the world, to me they can be categorized into two types: one is famous for his/her manifesto, one is famous for his/her architectural language. The first one doesn’t have clear style, on the contrary, based on every project, one can pick the best strategy, an idea, even a diagram to figure out the critical problem, as well as set up an agenda for the office. The most obvious one is OMA, and all its recent grads such as BIG. The other one has its distinguish formal language, with highly recognizable aesthetical way of design attract clients with the same taste. Of course RMP belongs to this, and Zaha Hadid, and SANNA, etc.

  From the evolution point of view, the first category seems more easily to evolve with the environmental changes, thanks to its lack of formal impression. Paradoxically, the second one is more fragile of changes due to its signature-like recognition. Evolution of the first category most of time will be treated as innovation while the second will be judged as mutation. But to me both of them are for survival purpose. Thus when we saw the recent hyperbolic mutated panels at Milan and the angulated wall at OCT Clubhouse, we won‘t be too much surprise about its effort of evolving.

  黄峥Huang Zheng

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