Prototypes and Materials | The Plan
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Prototypes and Materials

Atelier Zhang Lei Architects

Any analysis of Zhang Lei’s practice must consider his educational background. While 90% of the members of contemporary Chinese architecture practices studied in the US, Zhang Lei is one of the few who trained in Europe, at Zürich’s Polytechnic (ETH). Some of his early work - the students’ dormitory in Nanking University and the teacher’s dormitory at the Dongguan University of Technology - display features typical of the detached rational architectural tradition of both ETH and German-speaking Switzerland: a single material, a single color and one prototype. In contrast, his most recent work while tending towards minimalism reflects his own highly poetic language and personal vision.

Zhang Lei’s first project to blend prototype and architectural narrative by means of a building’s materiality is a brick residential construction on...

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