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Spirit of Spaces - Interview with Gong Dong by Ali Cihan Yıldız

Spirit of Spaces - Interview with Gong Dong by Ali Cihan Yıldız

Intervista Dong

In contemporary times, the spiritual qualities of architecture often follow the prioritization of a building's functionality. During our conversation with Gong Dong, the founder of Vector Architects, a Chinese architectural firm, we delved into the discussion of cultivating spiritual qualities within a space and the enduring values inherent in architecture. The architect's philosophy is deeply rooted in a profound appreciation for the interplay between architecture and its surroundings, guiding the creation of spaces that not only fulfill their intended functions but also seamlessly integrate with the environment and cultural context. 


“An approach to architectural design should encompass a comprehensive understanding of the site and its distinctive characteristics,” says the architect. The designs of the studio consistently demonstrate a dedication to crafting buildings that harmonize with natural elements, leverage natural light, and forge a robust connection between the constructed environment and the surrounding landscape.

“Every piece of architecture is a spiritual anchor for people on Earth.”

Architecture remains irreplaceable in its physicality; each structure serves as both a tangible mark and a spiritual anchor for people on Earth. The physical aspect of our profession possesses resilience, drawing strength from the site, materials, topography, and vegetation. These elements, fundamental to architecture, hold essential value due to their timeless qualities.

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In the pursuit of essence, the architect believes in the enduring spirit found in every well-designed space. Regardless of its construction time or location, the spirit persists. Through good design, this spirit can be transmitted across various generations and cultures. The influence of good design extends not only through time but also manifests in the enduring sense of architecture that lingers beyond its expected lifespan. Even after its intended purpose has been fulfilled, its representational power endures. Architecture doesn’t come to an end because it exists in time; it unfolds in time. It is what remains of man.


“While the end result of architecture is a tangible creation, good architecture consistently transcends this physical manifestation. It goes beyond the tangible boundaries into an intangible dimension, and perhaps that is the spirit.”

In contemplating the lasting impact of architecture, it's essential to recognize the dynamic relationship between the tangible and intangible dimensions of design. Beyond the physical structures that endure as spiritual anchors, the intangible essence of architecture plays a pivotal role. This essence, often shaped by the architect's vision, innovation, and cultural sensitivity, weaves a narrative that resonates across time and space. The enduring spirit of well-designed spaces is not confined to the immediate functionality or temporal constraints; instead, it transcends these boundaries, becoming a timeless testament to human creativity. Just as architecture unfolds in time, so does its intangible spirit, leaving a constant mark on the collective consciousness of societies and cultures. It is in this harmonious interplay of the tangible and intangible that architecture achieves a profound and lasting significance, reaching beyond the confines of its physical form.

Captain’s House Project

The Captain's House stands as a testament to the delicate interplay between history and contemporary design under the guidance of Vector Architects. Renowned for their thoughtful approach to adaptive reuse, the Captain's House renovation represents a harmonious fusion of preservation and innovation. Nestled in a historical context, the site exudes a distinctive charm.Vector Architects' design approach sought to maintain the inherent character of the Captain's House while seamlessly integrating modern aesthetics and functionality. The result is a space that not only pays homage to its historical roots but also serves as a dynamic and relevant structure for present-day use. Through this project, Vector Architects showcases their commitment to architectural storytelling, breathing new life into heritage sites while preserving the rich narratives embedded within them.

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