OPEN Architecture’s Li Hu speaks about the office’s recent cultural projects in China, Architect's Newspaper, Dec. 21, 2022.
Stephen Zacks: Can you tell me about your approach to design and place?
Li Hu: I find myself working more and more intuitively. Intuition is fundamentally important in design. Often there’s something invisible you need to capture, some kind of energy. Maybe energy is also not quite the right word. In Chinese philosophy, there is the word chi. Chi is invisible energy.
In physics, the world is made of energy instead of matter. There’s energy behind everything. In every place, in every work, particularly public cultural work, the question is how to discover those invisible energies and synthesize them in a piece of architecture. Architecture not as object but as a kind of magnetism or device that synthesizes and expresses these energies, and in turn starts to give its own energy and influence—that’s something we’re trying to achieve. Buildings that can touch you, move people in a deeper way, touch the soul, touch your feelings.