The Object and Daily Life

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Axonometric, Render, Students

The Object and Daily Life

Ethan Liu

This project on the speculative management for the design and construction of “a new mall,” which is intended to create a new business model incorporating traditional street markets. It explores the evolving role of the architect and the relationships with the different stakeholders.

Croydon is acknowledged as a new city business centre, called a “vision of the future” by Croydon Vision 2020 and Croydon‘s Supplementary planning document 2016. This town has been designated for development as a new commercial area to attract large investors and developers, such as Stanhope, Westfield and Hammersfield. Although both projects have played a key role in the shaping of the town, as well as the urban social fabric and context, it is not widely acknowledged that these diverse and traditional local street stalls and shops can be poorly integrated. This project endeavours to embrace this diversity, as well as value the past.


By focusing on the traditional street-market culture in Croydon, this project is both locally contextual and globally relevant due to the diverse international cultural background of Croydon, London. Understanding and developing a model by which anyone can make a contribution to street-market culture, while retaining local heritage and traditions, is becoming increasingly important in today’s society.
In creating a hub that facilitates cultural exchange, the proposal looks to build upon Croydon’s existing diverse community, and regenerate and celebrate the commercial context that makes a traditional street market possible.

This project aims to alter the current plan for Ruskin Square in East Croydon for one to three floors of offices and restaurants to a 24 hours open local market as a micro-circular economy world.. This will provide the local communities with a space for trade and leisure over time. This market will be a public space that encourages local residents to buy local products and goods. This is a strategy intended to reduce the demand for food from outside Croydon, further encouraging the establishment of small local enterprises.

This project allows for a social value a social value in Ruskin Square whereby organizations meet the needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole-life basis, generating benefits to society and the economy while minimizing idle space.



Who influences you graphically?

For this scheme, I am inspired by American realist painter, Edward Hopper and a Chinese ancient painting – Along the River During the Qingming Festival (清明上河图) by Zhang Zeduan.

In my mind, I would like to use a long drawing to tell whole design story without speaking but it was really difficult. Therefore, I did some researches of drawing styles as well as my supervisor’s recommendations. When I saw Nighthawks drawn by Edward Hopper, his drawing tended to include sharp lines, large pieces of the block and strange lights. Besides, using non-normal daylight and mostly artificial lighting such as fluorescent is also one of the features. In addition, by looking for more appropriate inspiration from the Chinese ancient paintings is able to complete my drawing in terms of being a storyteller. However, I am still new to the long drawing aesthetic.

What is your take on the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?

In the Along the River During the Qingming Festival (清明上河图), it captures the daily life of people living and the landscape. Successive scenes reveal the lifestyle of hierarchical social classes from rich to poor as well as different economic activities in rural areas and the city, and offer glimpses of clothing and architecture in that period. That image was my intending of concept; therefore, I learnt to use the way of the axonometric to present my story in Ruskin square.

Additionally to the scheme, it is related with local market and people’s daily-life in Corydon, so I would like to show that as a similar way as axonometric projection. Thus, the axonometric as unique and the most apposite form of drawing is the best way to represent my notion of design.


What is your work process in terms of programs used?

My work process is divided into three levels and each one develops different styles. Firstly, sketching by pen is a very important process before starting to draw these digital drawings. It could help to peruse my notion over and over. Detail research is a mainly premier step because you are able to draw as detail as you can into the design for convincing people. Secondly, I use some 3D software to build models up such as 3D Max, Rhinoceros and Sketch up. Before drawing into digital, the geographic information has to be understood because the relation between the locations of sunlight effect on the amount of available light. I often switch different software during my drawings; because I found some software has different strength when you meet some issues.  Finally, the main software used was Photoshop to collage repesent images for the story and spatial phenomena.


How does the perspective view help in including the viewer and revealing the project at a more intimate level?

The Object and Daily Life. In fact, in the process of drawing perspective, it is my ultimate goal to string all the perspective into a series of stories because I think being an architect is also a storyteller, and we need to use images to complete a story to the audience. Since starting drawing, I have investigated into several street markets in London and wholesale markets to observe and explore their common ground and objects in order to more understand the local market’s operation and dairy-life, then put it into my drawings. Details of the object in fact are able to represent the local life. Thanks my supervisor and tutor for helping me a lot during my research and painting process. They also gave me a lot of feedbacks to make my picture more convincing.


What and where do you see the future of Croydon as?

I know the future of Croydon will become different, perhaps become more ” modern “? Before planning this scheme, for an international student, Croydon is an unfamiliar city, but by this opportunity to see different culture. I contacted with a lot of local residents because of this project; in fact, their awareness of their land is strong. Therefore, I wish to be able to encourage the direction of the local economy to alter urban development by building to affect people’s lives. Also, I would like to bring a kind of metaphor as a reflection of capitalism. I used the combination of the marketplace and the office as a metaphor for the business model. Who can be served?Who is able to contribute for this society? Can commercial transactions be divided into upper and lower classes?



KUO-HUI (Ethan), LIU graduated in MArch (Part 2) Architecture from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2016. He had worked between Mainland China and Taiwan over 5 years in architectural field before he decided to study in the UK. He is currently based in London.



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