STORY FORMS: A POP-UP BOOK OF ARCHITECTURE IDEAS
Crossover Collaboration between
Architect Grace Cheung and Paper Artist Hung Hsin Fu
Architect Grace Sukching Cheung, the first overseas-Chinese woman architect to win the AIA International Architecture Design Awards in 2021, collaborates with Taiwan’s paper art master, Hung Hsin Fu, in a cross-disciplinary book project entitled STORY FORMS. Through this first-ever, unique collaboration, 11 architectural ideas by Cheung and her office XRANGE Architects are translated into pop-up paper forms specially created for this purpose. STORY FORMS is a two-volume box set, comprising of ‘FORM UNFOLD,’ a book of pop-up paper sculptures, and ‘XRANGE ARCHITECTURE,’ the companion book which details the selected projects’ final realizations and as completed works.
In FORM UNFOLD, the pop-up paper sculptures are representations of the “story form” concepts of Cheung’s architecture works, holding true the same logic and structure as her architecture projects despite the radical difference in medium and scale. These are not only paper concept models of real architecture, they are also paper sculptures, art works in their own right. These hand assembled pop-ups sit on Hung’s patented “folded loose-leaf” design, where the pages can be unfolded and extended out into a straight line, enabling the paper sculptures to stand in an impressive array as if they are real buildings.
According to Cheung, architecture begins with an idea about experience, movement and space, an idea which also embodies the architectures ambition, intent and purpose. The compounding of all the above creates the conceptual formwork or organizing principles of architecture that excites her the most. Cheung called this conceptual framework “Story Form,” which brackets the essence of the building endeavor, making it architecture. “From “Story Form,” the entire framework of complex building systems germinate, aspects such as structure, light and shadow, materials, circulation patterns, mechanical services etc.;” and “ at this very beginning of idea development, form can be unfolded into the simplest, purest, clearest expression of desire, enclosure and the building systems it embodies. In other words, at its earliest concept stage, form can be distilled into a gesture.” said Cheung.
Renowned international architecture critic Aaron Betsky remarked “Xrange opens up Taiwanese architecture” in the upcoming XRANGE monograph to be published by ORO Publishing, available early 2024. Cheung selected 11 of her ground breaking works to be featured in STORY FORMS, including Penghu House which won the AIA International Design Award; Ant Farm House that is built over an old stone house; Beetle House which is protected by a hard outer shell and a soft inner membrane; the environmentally responsive installation Cloud; Urban Scope which interprets the surrounding skyline as structure; House of Music designed as a musical instrument; Urban Code Building which rewired urban housing typology; the Wandering Walls retreat where walls “wander,” Winbond Electronics tower of green pockets and its auditorium where the ancient dougong is reinvented as an airy latticework structure; and Petals, a visitor center inspired by plum blossom petals. Each work demonstrates design innovation, spatial experience, the soul of craft, and the firm’s unwavering commitment to purpose and performance.
Paper artist Hung muses on the collaboration as when “an artistic fool encounters a creative maniac,” and the crossing of minds between “an architect who doesn’t follow the norm, …and a brave, challenge-loving paper sculpture designer.” For Hung, converting Cheung’s architectural work of such imaginative and diverse forms into pieces of pop-up art that can be collapsed and presented in three dimensions entailed an enormous amount of planning and calculations, an intense mental and physical challenge requiring considerable stamina.
At this point when we are ever more drowned by infinite images of architecture on social media, with AI generating some of the most fantastic images of architecture out there these days, Cheung indicates that “architecture can never be understood with mediums of flatness, it is ultimately about the experience of space and its stories.” Cheung hopes the two-volume STORY FORMS will initiate readers to visualize the multi-dimensional process of architecture, and to be inspired by the power of an idea. Reading both volumes side by side, readers can glimpse the beginning sparks of architecture, when form emerges as an aspiration, a gesture of intention.