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The Environmental Enhancement of the Five Dragons Temple Beazley Designs of the Year : Architecture Nominee
Q&A with Urbanus
In this collection of interviews, some of this year's Beazley Designs of the Year nominees share their design stories, challenges and aspirations with the Design Museum.
What was the initial motivation for your design?
I hope a contemporary and innovative method for historic building protection can be explored to make cultural relics become an open venue for the daily lives of local villagers, who indeed are the truthful protectors for the historical heritage. This attempt would be encouraging and inspirational for many of cultural preservation projects in China.
What was the first conversation you had with your team? How did the design develop from there?
We discussed a few points on the directions of the design: First, although the Five Dragons Temple is a precious national treasure, the small scale temple has very limited information for visitors to see. It is necessary to develop a rich content, so that visitors would spend a longer time there. Second, to keep minimal maintenance costs for operation. Based on the thoughts above, we eventually converted the isolated temple into an open museum of ancient Chinese architectural history without any interior exhibits
What obstacles did you face whilst working on your project?
Although we tried our best to reduce the interference with the original cultural relics and its environment to a minimum, still many people did not want to change the original environment and wanted to keep the cultural relics in isolated protection. We constantly had to fight with this point of view.
What is the latest news regarding your project? Has it fulfilled your initial hopes?
In addition to the professional recognition perspective, such as this project has been published in a number of domestic and international media and has won some awards, what makes me really happy is that I often receive phone call from the temple doorman telling me how much general visitors like the space and the design idea.
What’s the one thing you’d like people to remember about your design when they leave the exhibition?
I hope that through this design people can realise how the power of architectural design can be used as a means to solve social problems and create social values.
What does it mean to you to be nominated for this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year?
I am very honoured that the Five Dragons Temple project is nominated, because it is an affirmation of the efforts of the entire "Long Plan" team, and it is also an affirmation of this pioneering research on cultural protection in China.
If you had one piece of advice to a young designer, what would it be?
A design is only good when it can really solve social problems.