Assistant Architect - Chapter 155

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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling


Chapter 155: Osaka Part I



Not long after, the flight attendant walked through thecabin and started distributing meals. Since Tao Fei was napping, Lu Qiao gavehim a few nudges to wake him and eventually, Tao Fei raised the corner of hisblindfold to see what was the matter. He said: "I\'m not hungry, you can eatmine."


Lu Qiao:“…”


In order tohave enough extra money to send home each month to his family, Lu Qiao oftenate very simply. The only opportunity he had to eat well balanced meals withmeat were at the department dinners the company had each month. Seated in economyclass, Lu Qiao didn\'t think the food selection would be so luxurious. Seeingthe tray of food before him, Lu Qiao was very surprised. There was a dish ofcold Japanese-style noodles, sushi, fried chicken and a small cup of yogurt.Being able to eat two meals, Lu Qiao thought he won the lottery. Finally, hismood started to improve just a bit.


Aftereating, the flight attendant walked through the cabin to pick up the lunchtrays and other garbage. As theirdestination approached, the flight attendants once again walked through thecabin and gave each passenger an immigration card and baggage declaration form.The total voyage was less then three hours. The two countries were really quiteclose to one another.


The islandthat was the Kansai International Airport** was the work of the internationallyrenowned architect Renzo piano. The people at the window seats watched thesmall island in the distance become a thriving airport as the plane got readyon its approach to land.


Beforeleaving China, Gu Yu gave each group member a simplified version of Zhang Siyi\'sitinerary that included all the names of the buildings that they expected tovisit and Kansai Airport was the first.


Almosteveryone in attendance was familiar with the airport as it was a building thatarchitectural students would learn about in their coursework. Even so, seeingthe island from above first hand was a totally different experience thenlearning about it in school and as a result, the group members couldn\'t containtheir excitement. The volume inside the cabin slowly rose as delighted gasps couldbe heard throughout the large group of passengers. The other passengers andstaff members weren\'t sure what all the ruckus was about.


Even thoughZhang Siyi has traveled abroad many times, he was influenced by his peers and likea contagion, he also let out a few \'AHs and OHs\' in his excitement.


Walking outof the plane and into the airport after a smooth landing, the group surveyed theirsurroundings and thought the Japanese environment felt both modern and strange.


Built in1994, utilizing new materials and construction techniques, the Kansai Airport wasdeemed a technological masterpiece of the time. Twenty years later, althoughthe steel structure and large glass panes have lost its innovation anduniqueness, the airport continues to be an impressive site.


Now that everyoneat Borderless has arrived, the members were eager to express themselves:


“RenzoPiano is like a God!"


"I\'ve readabout this airport in university and finally I\'m able to see the master\'s workin my lifetime!"


“Great!I’m in Japan!"


"To behonest, I was upset at hearing our business tour this time was to visit Japan."


No one knewwho voiced their opinion, but once the remark was made, suddenly everyone quieteddown in remembrance of the dreadful war of the past.


“Ifeel the same. I don’t like Japan very much."


“DamnJaps, they bullied us so badly……"


"For theNanjing people! We are all family!"


“Thecountry can\'t forget!"


The morethe group taunted and ridiculed, the worse the mood and attitudes of the peoplewere becoming. Gu Yu stopped them and said: "We are here visiting Japan to lookat various architectural sites for the purpose of education, not because of politics.Everyone should be mindful of history but also think about it rationally."


Tong Heyiechoed Gu Yu and advised everyone: “I agree with Director Gu. Ifarchitecture is regarded as pure art, then art has no national boundaries. Ifyou don’t like Japan, don’t buy Japanese goods, especially the Japanese toilet.By all means, you can return to China right now.”


As the crowdlaughed Child Labor\'s joke, the moment of resentment passed as bother groupleaders redirected the group\'s emotions. The gloom that enveloped them hadlifted.


"We came to"little Japan" with the mindset that it would be a bad place, but reality provedcontradictory. Since no one had the heart to admit it, instead we mocked andmade up reasons to convince ourselves otherwise. Heh."


All sortsof chuckles, snorts, and laughter could be heard from the large group. Someoneraised their voice above the commotion: "If that’s the case, what’s thedifference between fake news in the media and self-deception? Let\'s berealistic and seek the truth. What is good, is good. What is not good, is bad."


“Yes.That\'s right. We have to be tolerant Chinese.”


"To be anenlightened architect!"


Gu Yu laughedand interrupted everyone: “Ok, stop thinking about it. We only need tolook at the buildings. Let\'s take a picture. Where is Zhang Siyi?"


Everyone inthe group looked around and realized that Zhang Siyi wasn\'t with them.


Frowning inworry, Gu Yu looked beyond the group of company members and easily saw ZhangSiyi wearing the company\'s red T-shirt not far away. He was holding out ameasuring tape up to the large glass pane.


Everyone:“…”


Gu Yuthought the predicament was rather ironic. He left the group to themselves andwent over to him.


A colleaguelamented: “Auntie Four really works hard."


Grabbing thestrap of his bag, Zhu Hongzhen lifted his bag onto his shoulder and said:“I have never seen him work so hard before!”


YuanZhicheng: “Is that the tape measure Director Gu gave him?"


Bi Lele:“Yeah, I remember Ji Feiyu spoke about it briefly. It was a tape measurethat Gu Yu used as a student for many years."


ZhuHongzhen: “Aunt Four mentioned it once. He said the Boss gave it to himfor his birthday."


In fact,what everyone found surprising wasn\'t the tape measure itself as it held novalue, but the key point was because it was given as a birthday present. Theycouldn\'t imagine Gu Yu would ever give a birthday present to a subordinate.Zhang Siyi\'s special treatment strikes again!


Many in thegroup expressed feelings of jealousy and envy. Du Rui suddenly spoke out: "Isit just me, or does it seem like Aunt Four has been greatly influenced by Gu Yu\'sshadow at work?"


Deep in contemplation,the group remained silent. Yes. From when was it? Zhang Siyi has improved tremendously,especially in these last few months when he and Tao Fei worked together on the resortproject. His temperament has also matured and calmed down as compared to whenhe first started working at the company last year.


Even now,when everyone else was still thinking about having fun in Japan, Zhang Siyi wasalready invested in the real task of the business trip; to learn.


In order togain Zhang Siyi\'s attention to come back to the group, Gu Yu walked closer and signaledto him. When he rejoined the group, he took a photograph of them and then continuedwalking alongside Gu Yu.


Zhang Siyi openeda discussion: "After graduation last year, I went to France with Heartless Hanand visited the Pompidou Center**. Renzo Piano also had a part in its design. Withall of the exposed steel tubing, when I first saw the building, I thought itwas really ugly. It\'s no wonder why some critics called it a steel monster or arefinery. Contrary to its exterior, the building is actually a famous museum. Ialso told Heartless Han that Renzo Piano is definitely a non-mainstreampioneer. Heh."


Smiling, GuYu pointed to him: “You can\'t evaluate a building from the outside alone. Youalso have to consider the time frame it was built. In 1969 when the PompidouCenter was conceptualized, what was going on during that time? Europe was stillrecovering from World War II when the world was still in a state of doubt. Thearchitectural style of Paris was the same gothic and rococo styles. Why did thedecision-makers pick the design from Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers out of the sevenhundred from all over he globe? In my opinion, it is not so much a design maverickflaunting an alternative, but a design that represents the future development ofParis. By leaving the past behind and moving forward, the decision-makerswanted to make a statement that brings hope to the people with a symbol ofinclusion. Therefore, it is certainly unreasonable to say that architecture iscompletely separate from politics and history."


Listeningthoughtfully, Zhang Siyi realized in school, he hadn\'t normally considered thetime frame in which buildings were built. Mostly, he simply memorized thingsfor his exams. Now with Gu Yu\'s explanation, he became aware of the need toconsider the relevant politics and events during the period that something wasbuilt.


It was no wonderthat Tao Fei and Gu Yu read so many books during their undergraduate studies. Evenif the reason behind reading those topics weren\'t understood at the time, itwas necessary to read a variety of philosophy and history books in order togain insight about the different views and ideas that people had across theworld. With maturity, one could break through boundaries and surpass ordinarypeople. There are those on the internet that say the best architects wereeither crazy or Zen Masters.


At this time in the Kansai International Airport, Zhang Siyi looked up at the masterpiece from twenty years ago and felt his own lack of ability and knowledge.



T/N: KansaiInt Airport: https://www.avionews.it/resources/800×800/dc899b6cc53e2dd71fd70eadea61a292.jpg.jpg


Pompidou Center: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/w/images/a/ad/Centre-pompidou-paris-france.jpg


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