Studio Yuxin Wu
*is not an architectural office.     *constructs physical architectural ideas with independence from the physical construction of their realities.
Everything is Transformation

Nomination for Architect’s Journal Student Prize 2020
Winner of Florian Beigel Architecture as City Award 2020

2019/20 M.Arch Architecture RIBA2

Teaching: Prof. Peter St John, with James Hand, Fabienne Sommer and Ben Speltz

London Metropolitan University, School of Art, Architecture and Design

In his 1989 essay “Transformation” the Viennese architect Hermann Czech reflects on the architectural importance of renovations in the European city. In a situation where almost everything already exist, it is mainly the transformation of existing buildings that allows urban life to develop. Renovation allows us to live in and use buildings differently from how they were used when they were built. Transformation is a reinterpretation of the existing building, calling its intention into question while still exposing it, which has as much architectural potential in the contemporary world as making something new.

Old-New: A Study on Hermann Czech’ s Winter Loggia

“It involves not merely introducing layer of materials as veneer, but rather a three-dimensional layer that enters into a dialogue with the remaining space”

—Hermann Czech

Five neo-renaissance arches frame the open loggia on the first floor of the Vienna State Opera. This Loggia is the site for Hermann Czech’s intervention, closing off the bays during winter months, and opening them back up during the summer. Herman’s Czech refers to the temporary enclosure of an archaeological excavation site in connection with its temporary glazing, the effect is reminiscent of that of the opera loggia and accentuates the idea of different periods of time. During the winter months, the loggia of the Vienna State Opera is completed through Czech’s glass and steel construction. The three-dimensional glazing for the loggia interacts with space inside whilst embracing the statues in the front and offering a coherence of language with the facade on the outside.

In collaboration with Cosmin Chirpac.

A School of Potentiality In the European city, everything involves changing what already exists, every architectural project is a form of rebuilding. In an attempt to look more thoughtfully at ourselves and what we represent in this unstable time. The transformation of the existing Architecture School for London Metropolitan University at Aldgate was the medium of this exploration. The new building was to represent the idea of what an Architecture School should be today, while also addressing the deficiencies of the existing building from 2001. Reuse, energy conservation, and the efficient use of lightweight materials, was a consistent theme in the years work.

We live in a moment of re-assessment of architectural practice and redefinition of the role of architects in a society which faces a number of economic, social, political and environmental crises. We are now towards a transgressive profession with full of potential. For Giorgio Agamben, to be potential means to be one’s own lack, to be in relation to one’s own incapacity. It means dismissing much of the managerialism that is associated with a notion of ‘training’ for this or that profession or market. Letting go of many of the understandings of ‘school’ as a training ground which only permitted outcomes are a set of concrete objects or practice. It allows for the inclusions of notions of both fallibility and actualisation into a practice of teaching and learning. 

Embodiment: A City Within A City The concept model is a sculpture work made of brass. It is a representation of the city, where the school is surrounded by the street market in the fount, adjacent to the housing blocks and high-rise offices at the background. The shimmering sculpture is also a tribute to Fausto Melotti, whose utopian like Weightless Constructions took inspirations from Italo Calvino’s famous book Invisible Cities.

Layering and Merging  
Sewing Ideas: Needles, Thread and Fabric

Alienation and Contradiction Shimmering Figures in the City

Making Do and Getting By Photo Essay of Things I Encountered

Click on the thumbnail to watch the video.

"Everything is in the condition of a failure. From the moment you get your new phone. It is going wrong. It was true for the Motor Car; It was true for Wright brothers. It is true for everything. It is a metaphor which is who we are, ageing and falling to pieces. We are in the biggest metaphor we ever had, the biggest collective metaphor." 

—Richard Wentworth

Resist to The Mundanity of Everyday Urban Life

The transformation in this project takes an unsettling and ambitious attitude towards old and new, mixing provocation and good sense. The elevation of the building is raised, by constructing a new light floor on the roof of the existing building, to form a long open studio space that overlooks the City to the west. The studio is a working place, where people passing in the street below can see the students at their desks. Light from the studio will lighten the street on winter evenings. The new façade on Goulston Street, which involved cutting vertical strips in the existing brick walls, and stitching this masonry together with new glazing, reflects a lighter and more open idea of a School, where all the spaces have good aspect and daylight. The brass concept model shows how the School is intended to be a constellation of spaces, like a city within a city.

. When Gordon Matt-Clark cut the ellipse at the end wall of Pier 52, he was thinking of the light and shadow inside the Pantheon in Rome, an imaginary voyage and romantic escape from the decadent cityscape of 70s New York. 

Here, the engineering brick wall of existing fabric was cut into pillars standing along the market street in the city. Consciously, I was thinking of the Casa Vittoria by Oscar Tusquets in Pantelleria, Gallaratese Housing by Aldo Rossi in Milan, and giant stone pines leading the path from the train station to Greek temples in Paestum.

A Constellation of Spaces

Long Gallery

“The largest space of the transformed school is the shared studio overlooking Goulston Street, a space of imagination and performance like the trapeze in a circus tent, with the virtuosity and layering that recalls the light Piranesian feel and domesticity of the living room of the Maison de Verre. The design was an experiment in how ideas can be transformed from the inspiration of different resources and times, without fear of voyaging in architectural history.”

—Peter St John

Public Arcade The ground floor of the school is opened up to Civic Life, with the existing atrium on the east side transformed into a public arcade that provides a route through the city block. The arcade is a semi-outdoor space, with a lightweight fabric roof, and opens out onto a public garden space and café at the rear of the building. 

In collaboration with Cosmin Chirpac.

Interior Landscape A continuous dark floor is proposed here like a long carpet going across the whole length of the building, inserts in various geometries like footprints of animals or patches on an open field. 

Birdcage, Chandelier and Ductwork When we settled other parts of the design, the delicacy of the internal facade reminds me of the “Mothers’ House” in Amsterdam by Aldo van Eyck, a joyful play of “birdcages” in various forms and colours. I remember the day I made the mockup of the furniture and put into our 1:30 models. My colleague in the studio asked me where did the idea come from? I said, “they are birdcage-like chandeliers.” They laughed, “they are too large, almost like human cages.” I believed everyone thought the design was a joke initially, like furniture with a different scale placed into a wrong model. It has a cartoon-like impression, almost magical, like the pumpkin carriage of Cinderella.

I was thinking of a particular birdcage drawing by Lucian Freud, the play with scale and line-weight making the structure feels over-scaled, almost like a building by itself. A birdcage/lamp is also a enclosure on one’s own, bringing intimacy from above. In contrast to the bourgeois feeling of birdcage and chandelier, the from of lamps also refers to the ventilation grills and ducts you may find on everyday streets scenes in East London, recalling certain industrial character of Charlotte Posenenske’s sculpture works.

“It feels like walking in a 19th century Cambridge library and an East London industrial warehouse at the same time.”

—Stephanie Macdonald 

“The transformed atrium suggest something delicate and layered with an interestingly ambiguous attitude to history. It was interesting for being unexpected, almost accidental.” 

—Peter St John

Breathing and Rhythm I remember in an afternoon discussion, Peter was asking the idea of the roof, I said, “it is breathing, like a breeze.” In the German language, the breathing is the origin of the “poetry”. Friedrich Hölderlin intuits that the intimate texture of being is breathing, like rest notes in a piece of music. 

Earlier the year, I was reading a book by Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Breathing: Chaos and Poetry. Later, the news of George Floyder’s death with the slogan “I can’t breathe” were everywhere on the press and media around the world. When I reflected this idea of “breathing”, it felt like a general sentiment of our time; physical and psychological breathlessness everywhere. The design wasn’t a statement to address the social and political issue in a wide context. It is doing something rather little, a passage of refuge from your busy everyday life, a secrete place around the street corner where everything and everyone can “breathe” freely.

Generosity and Civic Life

The Architecture of Life
“We discovered that we could leave all formal decisions to equilibrium itself. There was apparently no way to do it better or ‘worse’, just ‘correctly’. ”


Finishing the project in the lockdown situation of the pandemic time, the creative energy was never compromised by the limitation of physical resources. 

I have made a series of “lockdown models” with whatever I had in my flat, some small models made with packages and cardboard boxes, taped and painted like pastries and cakes in Claes Oldenburg’s Store, kitchen implements and vegetables kept in perfect balance like Fischli/Weiss’ Equilibres.

The theme of ‘transformation’ plays as an allegory of this interesting time, spontaneously reflects what is happening in a society where every individual was asked to take action in response to the immediate change of everyday life. 

This project may also later provide a device for a wider discussion of the Architecture of life, in which everything is also transformation.

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