永續的綻放

2018台中世界花卉博覽會
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2018 / 12月

文‧蘇俐穎 圖‧莊坤儒


2014年,台中世界花卉博覽會(簡稱「台中花博」)還在孕育的初期,劃定為博覽會用地的后里園區,卻在預定地調查的過程中,發現保育類動物石虎的蹤跡。故此,台中市府果斷地放棄與野生動物活動交疊的範疇,另納入外埔、豐原葫蘆墩公園等區塊,展區一分為三,生態保育、環境永續的核心,也就此確立。


秋日向晚,夜幕籠罩,點起暈黃燈光的「四口之家」,巧妙地掩映在大樹的林蔭底下,站遠一看,這幢木造平房,前院坐擁一畦園圃,出現在綠蔭叢叢的森林,不僅沒有半分突兀,甚至讓人一時忘記,這是一個博覽會的現場。

素人起家:劉德輔的生存之道

寧謐的四口之家,有股難以言說的魔力,讓人紛紛留步。不過,這個使人留連忘返的空間,兩年以前,當策展人劉德輔選定它時,還是一片荒地,四周是高低起伏劇烈的壕溝與土堤,以及一株株拔地而起的大樹,破碎的空間條件,並不受多數策展團隊的青睞。

然而,劉德輔並不是什麼專業的建築師或景觀設計師。過去以攝影為職的他,也曾以時尚攝影在業界大鳴大放,只不過,無形間也在鼓吹消費的攝影工作,與長年關注環保議題、茹素的他,理念相違。2009年是重要的轉捩點,因為聽見臭氧層破洞的消息,他毅然收起自己的攝影棚,從燈紅酒綠的台北,搬到東岸,想在台灣最後的淨土,尋找一種人與自然長久共存的生活方式。

重視農作物與生態環境平衡的有機農業,為劉德輔指引出一條新路,此後,他又投入學習自然農法、生物動力(BD)農法,甚至是自然建築、樸門永續設計等建築工法,種種門道,都環繞著環境永續展開。久而久之,他的身邊也群聚起一批以身作則、積極倡議環保的人。

因此,當劉德輔與2位好友,以「永續家園」的概念向公部門提案,缺乏專業建築師背景,形象更像公民團體的他們,屢屢遭人質疑:這群素人,真的有辦法蓋出一棟房子?

雖然劉德輔信誓旦旦地宣稱:「永續家園是很理性的。」但好比不採用傳統的磚瓦,而想以木料、稻稈、黏土取代,種種創舉均遠超一般人對於公共工程的想像,因為這個緣故,四口之家的案子兩度被砍,幸而許多設計師大力支持,終於被保留下。

「如果沒有這群人,那花博就沒有靈魂。」台中世界花博設計團隊設計長吳漢中說,「因為,花博裡最珍貴的,不是花花草草,而是有一群為土地努力的人。」

經過劉德輔的號召,四口之家整合8個公民團體與2個合作社,約70人的力量投入,建材上,唯有地基使用到傳統的鋼筋水泥,結構體則採用柳杉木,牆面則以農業廢棄物的稻稈做成的「稻稈捆填充牆」組裝,同時融入能源再生系統、雨水回收系統、綠屋頂等設計,95%都是源於天然,可再回收的材料,由於沒有經過一般鋼筋混凝土建築耗能的鍛燒程序,排碳量降低38%。

說四口之家是台灣最前衛的一幢建築,並不為過,後來獲得「鑽石級建築碳足跡認證」、「倫敦設計大獎銀獎」等榮譽,應證了劉德輔的願景。不過,對他來說,這些榮譽不過是錦上添花,更重要的是,藉此實證了,確實有一種人與自然可以長久共存的生活方式。

「彷彿這10年,就在等著做這件事。」坐在廊前簷下,他發出滿足的輕嘆。

美學治理大躍進

承接公部門的案子,最後做出來的成品,常常不如原初的預期,這樣的刻板印象,長年流傳在設計圈之中。不過,這一次台中市政府對於專業所展現的誠意與尊重,打破了許多設計師的成見。

有別以往的大型公共工程,市府首先別開生面,在招標前舉辦公開說明會,廣發邀請函,吸引到80幾組團隊前來聆聽,且由設計界頗具聲望的台創設計中心董事張基義擔任評審,更象徵了公信力。

過去的大型公共工程,除了展覽會設立策展人,但好比外圍景觀,多由景觀工程廠商處理,因此常見整體美感良莠不齊。首次全面導入策展人制度也是台中花博的創舉,所有的展區、展館、景觀設計、裝置藝術,都由設計師、策展人、藝術家負責;換言之,小至警衛亭、醫療站,大至造價最高的建物,都有專業把關。

2017年5月,團隊終於全部到位,由設計長吳漢中、設計總監羅文晟等人組成的設計團隊,開始發揮作用,從中斡旋、催化,為執行團隊與公部門作雙向溝通,並且疏通層層關節。由於期程緊迫,所有團隊無不備感挑戰,「不過,雖然困難,有『難』卻沒有『困』;因為碰到『困』,就是在解決『困』,讓所有人可以向前走。」吳漢中這樣說。

設計的仿生學

當專業獲得充分授權,設計師、藝術家的創意就可以被全面性實踐,而本於環境保育、生態永續的初衷,在初期由石虎保育行動就奠定下來的良好基底,持續在各樣的設計中擴大發酵。

后里森林園區策展人吳書原與團隊,跟著自然科學博物館的兩位研究員,走入荒野,挑選台灣的原生植物,依據等高線位置,經過馴化、培育,種植在園區土地上。

發現館建築師潘天壹,由博覽會結束之後反推使用的設計元素,決定採用可回收的新型建材「再生塑化磚」,而非會製造大量水泥廢料的鋼筋混凝土。

原生秘境策展人尤瑪‧達陸,貢獻台灣原住民在民俗植物所累積的各項知識,展場就如同部落的共享教室。

花舞館建築師陳玉霖,運用自然界常見的曲線,構成場館的空間、動線,貼近地表的建築,靜靜地降落在空曠的大草坪……。

經過台北花博、世大運的鍛鍊,不論是思惟或內容,台中花博都更上一層樓。

而躬逢這一場千載難逢的盛會,無獨有偶,不少人紛紛表示,大自然,才是這博覽會的主角。

豐原葫蘆墩戶外景觀建築師陳宣誠說得絕對:「作品本身並不需要太多論述,因為它會消失、會不見,它常常不是最重要的一件事。重要的是,我該用什麼方式,重新看見它;並且透過它,看見什麼樣的事情。」

也像樂農館策展執行總監鍾秉宏說的:「自然不能被設計,只能被設計師模仿。」關於設計,所有人都有了新的收穫。

天時、地利、人和,機械花開

走在森林園區,如同吳漢中說:「我們是瘋狂的設計控。」從展櫃、變電箱,甚至階梯的防滑條,都經過美學統合,以低彩度的材料,融入仿擬野地的自然環境,在整個園區,唯獨豪華朗機工的作品「聆聽花開的聲音」,一朵巨大的紅色花球,從樹海中躍然浮升。

曾因世大運聖火台引起話題的豪華朗機工,這一次,再度挑戰宏觀繁複的極致,創造出直徑高15公尺的巨大球型,結合機械、光電、音樂、影像等元素,以75種零件,697朵花苞,構成了地表最大的一朵機械花。

團隊之一的張耿華,回憶著前一年,由於時間緊湊,不斷遲疑著是否要參與的他們,因著一場與市府的會議,才決定進場。

會議現場,過去總是坐在後排的設計師、策展人,改坐到最前方,後面則是參與協力的建設、營造廠商,台中建設局局長黃玉霖果斷地向標案評審委員說:「這次我們聽策展人的!」

公部門展現的魄力與對專業的支持,成為豪華朗機工接下挑戰的主因。不過,想在短短8個月內,做出一件巨大的藝術創作,仍是艱鉅的任務,尤其博覽會展出的作品必需具有的實驗性與獨特性,更意味所存在的高風險。

在構思的階段,豪華朗機工便跳脫預算的框架,以博覽會的高度來思考。不過,這也讓對一般公共藝術來說,已綽綽有餘的1,000萬預算,離初步粗估,還有一大段距離,團隊因此動了向企業募款的念頭。

張耿華回憶:「我們把作品提案、估價跟想法向黃局長提,局長卻說,募款不算困難,只是,為了節省成本,都使用大陸產品,不如找台中的企業來贊助。」這個提議,讓講究「共感」的藝術品,落實成實質的「共創」。

台中精密機械產業聚落成了最強靠山。龍頭公司上銀科技率先出手,總經理蔡惠卿一句話:「要幫年輕人完成夢想。」利茗機械針對作品的需求,設計出新款式的馬達減速機,大大減少其他不必要的零件開發。

「贊助商通常都是給現成有的東西,但他們甚至在很短的時間內,開發出prototype(原型),讓我們測試。」張耿華說:「台中,就是有一種很熱情的感覺!」

而在各家企業的支援之下,隨著品質三級跳,造價也節節攀升,最後造價高達7,000萬,是豪華朗機工成軍以來,最奢豪的一件創作。

許多人不約而同都說,「這朵花要不是種在台中,不然不會開。」台中獨特的製造產業與濃厚的人情味,甚至晴朗穩定的天候,都成為強大的奧援,讓這件需要步步為營、不容任何差池的作品,竟就此一步步順利通過考驗,在戶外施作完成。

巨大的機械花,經過程式與人工智慧的接通,就像長出了靈魂,經過多點控制的花朵,時而含苞,時而綻放,依隨著當下的日照、風動,甚至是人聲,猶如一體地和諧互動。

團隊說:「花開,是植物生長的時候,細胞分裂最繁複的狀態。這種複多的整合,就像藝術家、政府與企業的關係。」

而經歷過複多整合的台中,正是花開時節。 

相關文章

近期文章

英文

Sustainability in Bloom

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Geof Aberhart

In 2014, when planning for the Tai­chung World Flora Exposition was still in its embryonic stage, the intention was to host the event at ­Houli Park. However, surveys of the area revealed the presence of the protected leopard cat, and so the Tai­chung City Government abandoned their original plans as they would have encroached on the animal’s habitat. Instead, they chose a three-pronged approach, reducing the space they would use at ­Houli and adding venues at ­Waipu and at Feng­yuan’s Hu­lu­dun Park. It was through these actions that the organ­izers established that environmental sustainability and conservation would be at the core of the 2018 event.


As the autumn night settles in over ­Houli, the lights of an “Eco-Friendly Home for Four” flicker on. Nestled among the trees, this one-story wooden home, complete with front yard, appears so much in keeping with its surroundings it can be easy to forget you’re actually looking at part of the ­Houli Forest Park expo site.

Seeking a path for survival

The ineffable charm of the tranquil dwelling can stop guests in their tracks. But two years ago, when curator Liu Te-fu chose the site, it was a nondescript wasteland, surrounded by trenches and embankments, with massive trees jutting out from the earth. Such a rough, broken-up space is hardly what most architects or landscapers would be looking for.

Liu Te-fu, though, is neither. In his old life, Liu was a big name in fashion photography, but over time, the pro-­consumption attitude of his work began to clash with his longtime concern for the environment and his vegetarianism. 2009 was a major turning point for Liu. Hearing news about the hole in the ozone layer, he decided it was time to pack up his tripod and move away from the bright lights of Tai­pei to the East Coast, the last “pure land” in Taiwan, to seek out a way to live sustainably with nature.

Over time, he brought together a group of people who led by example, actively advocating for the protection of the environment. He and two friends put together a proposal for a sustainable home exhibit for the Tai­chung Flora Expo, but since they had no background as architects, they came across more as a civic group, which led people to wonder how these “amateurs” could possibly actually build a house.

While Liu is adamant that “sustainable homes are entirely rational,” their plans included innovations well beyond the average person’s understanding of public works, like trading out traditional brick and tile for wood, straw, and clay. As a result, their “Eco-Friendly Home for Four” plan was struck down twice before finally securing the support of several designers and being accepted.

“Honestly, without that group of people, the Flora Expo would barely have a soul,” says the expo’s chief design officer, Wu Han-­chung. “What’s really valuable about the expo isn’t the flowers and other plants, but all the people who are working for the good of the land.”

At Liu Te-fu’s call, some 70 people from eight civic groups and two cooperatives came together to work on the Eco-Friendly Home. The only part that used the usual reinforced concrete was the foundation, while the main structure was made with Japanese red cedar and the walls with rice straw left over from farms. It incorporates energy and water recycling systems, along with green roofing. Overall, 95% of the home comes from natural, recyclable resources, and the absence of the usual energy-intensive calcination of cement has reduced the home’s carbon footprint by 38%.

“It feels like I’ve been waiting to get this done for a decade,” says Liu as he sits on the front porch, sighing with satisfaction.

One great leap in aesthetic governance

When public projects are undertaken, quite often the final product is not as good as the original plan. Or so goes the common and longstanding stereotype in the design community. This time, though, the Tai­chung City Government showed a sincerity and respect for the profession that shattered that stereotype for a number of designers.

Unlike large-scale public works of the past, this time the city government began with public meetings, holding open briefings ahead of invitations to tender. This attracted some 80 teams to come listen, and the bids were judged by highly respected architect ­Chang Chi-yi, which further spoke to the credibility of the project.

In past exhibition projects, while the exhibition itself has been placed in the hands of curators, the exterior landscaping has often been entrusted to a landscaping contractor, frequently resulting in an inconsistent overall aesthetic. The introduction of a comprehensive curatorial system is a pioneering move by the Tai­chung Flora Expo, with every exhibition area, hall, landscape design, and art installation handled by a unified team of designers, curators, and artists. In other words, every­thing from the guard booths and first aid stations to the most expensive structures has had professional supervision.

The crew was finally fully in place in May 2017, with the design team led by chief design officer Wu Han-­chung and design director Lo Wen-­cheng. The two set to work as mediators and catalyzers, facilitating dialogue between the government and the executive team and making sure things went smoothly.

Biomimetic design

With sufficient power delegated to them, the designers and artists were able to start putting their vision into practice. Building on their original aims of environ­mental protection and ecological sustainability, and on the sound foundation that had been laid down by the actions to ensure the preservation of the leopard cat’s habitat, those intentions and that foundation began to be more fully reflected in their design ideas.

The curator of the ­Houli Forest Park expo site, Wu Shu-yuan, worked with two researchers from the National Museum of Natural Science, heading out into the wilderness to select some native Taiwanese plants to domesticate and cultivate in the expo park, where they are grouped according to their original altitude.

Discovery Pavilion architect Monda Pan opted for materials that could be reused after the expo is finished, choosing recycled wood‡plastic composite bricks rather than traditional reinforced concrete, which tends to generate a substantial amount of waste.

Chen Yu-lin, architect of the Blossom Pavilion, made use of the curved lines commonly seen in nature to create a flowing, approachable space that hugs the ground, seeming to have gently landed on broad, rolling grassland.

Overall, the Tai­chung Flora Expo has learned from the experiences of the 2010 Tai­pei Flora Expo and the 2017 Tai­pei Universiade, and taken them to another level.

Flora ex machina

Walking through the Forest Park, you may be struck by how everything from transformer boxes to show cases to even the anti-slip strips on the steps have been designed to meld into and imitate the natural environment. The only exception is the mechanical installation piece The Sound of Blooming, an eye-catching giant red ball of flowers that seems to float above the sea of trees.

Designed by Luxury­Logico, who also designed the much-talked-about Universiade flame, The Sound of Blooming is another attempt at pushing the envelope of size and complexity. A huge ball 15 meters across, it incorporates machinery, optoelectronics, music, and video, and is composed of 75 segments and 697 “flower buds,” making it the world’s largest mechanical flower bed.

LuxuryLogico agreed to take on the challenge after seeing the support the government was giving to professionals on the project. But even so, turning out a massive art project like that in just eight months was going to be a monumental task.

During the concept development stage, Luxury­Logico thought beyond just budgetary limits, taking a higher perspective on the entire expo. However, even with a budget of NT$10 million, which would be more than generous for most public art projects, they were still a fair way off their initial rough estimate, and so the team turned to private-sector fundraising.

“We put our proposal and cost estimate to [Taichung Construction Bureau] Director-General ­Huang [Yu-lin],” recalls Luxury­Logico’s ­Chang Geng-hua. “He responded that raising that amount from private-­sector donors would not be too difficult, but rather than sourcing components from mainland Chinese companies in order to try to keep costs down, why not get local Taichung firms to sponsor us with products instead?” It was this suggestion and ­Huang’s attention to “togetherness” that helped make the final piece a real “co-creation.”

With the support of several companies, they were able to hit a higher level of quality on the project, which also led to a higher cost—at NT$70 million, The Sound of Blooming is the most extravagant project in Luxury­Logico’s history.

Thanks to the use of computer code and artificial intelligence, the huge mechanical flower seems almost alive. Making use of many points of control, the individual buds are sometimes blooming, sometimes closed, interacting harmoniously with their environment as they respond to light, wind, and even people’s voices.

“When plants grow, the opening of flowers is like the most complex version of cell division,” the team say. “It is a complex coordination, like the relationship between ourselves, the government, and the private sector.”

And through such complex coordinations, Tai­chung is coming into full bloom.                      

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