Adapting Here

Adopting Here

Yu-Ching Peng

As an international student, I am experiencing the process of adapting here. As time goes by, I gradually compose my another hometown here.

How long do I get familiar with the site? How long do I get familiar with this new city? Adaptation shows a city and an individual exchange each other’s experiences to achieve a balanced living perspective. When people walking around in an unfamiliar environment, our memories would activate the embodied experience to make us attuned, recalled or sensitivity of the specific elements during exploring. As a consequence, people often manipulate their memories at the subconscious level, aiming to change the unfamiliar atmosphere to the familiar one, feeling like hometown scenes. I aim to visualize this charming adapting process which based on my subjective experience in site11 of Glasgow city, to open the discussion on how the associated activities would change the city’s original performance, re-forming the multiple functions and appearances inside. Thus, every visitor is one of the collective memories to keep forming the whole city.

Take Chinatown for example, the immigrants who come from China re-built their hometown in San Francisco. In this Chinatown, all the things we saw the pagoda roofs, dragon gates, flourishes that to us signal China and Chinese-ness. But, actually these things we hadn’t seen back in China for years and years, and they were not used in that architectural vernacular back there. This fact shows people would miss the hometown elements which they ignored before, and they even zoom out its scale to emphasize the importance of their original culture. In this case, people adapt to the new city while the city adapting to the new immigrants too. Thus, the adaptation means a city and a person exchange their experience, aiming to achieve a balanced form or atmosphere for residents’ current lifestyle.

 How does a city preform its experience to a person?

 In “ Delirious New York ”, Rem Koolhaas indicates that architecture could be pursued as a collective experiment in which the entire city became a factory of man-made experience. From this theory, I find out that architecture could be formed as the blocks which shaped the appearance of the cities, covered with several layers of past occupancies, aborted projects, and popular fantasies. It means the cities have a variety of possibilities to provide alternative images to a current that exists. The blocks shaped by a various culture of congestion, which becomes “City within a City”, consisting of the texture of the composition. In this book, it shows cultural congestion impacts on the performance of blocks, which resulted in the city within a city, providing the multiple appearances and lifestyles in our surrounding. But, the activities and the movements of beings could not be limited in the blocks or structure, they keep communicating with each other in between of city. Thus, we could find out, each block not only keeps their independence with their cultural elements, but also be permeated by other individuals moving, reforming the vision of the city.

City within city resulted in the city within a city, which made me re-define the theory of the city in a city : are these small scale cities separated from the urban environment or it could be reconnected with other blocks in multiple ways? What is the connection between the blocks, cities and cultures? Thus, I intend to do further interpretation in this field. Maybe, the structure of the blocks could be shaped by different cultures and functions, displaying themselves in multiple appearances.

The experiment of “Add ”

I recorded my walking via photos around the site, and then extracting my interesting elements into a computer and then manipulating its scale and colour: this fact based on our initial stunning feeling would be connected to our previous experience in an emotional way. And then, I operated these elements to re-built the perspective, the process of re-building the image only depended on my walking memory: this research shows our original cognition would influence our way of understanding space. Ultimately, in this perspective, I add some memorial elements and feeling which comes from my association of hometown:

it shows my embodied experience could activate my emotional engaging in a new city, to make it more familiar and show the process of adapting in here.

*The Experience was documented four times.

After experiment

After testing the models, I gradually comprehend the relationship between the adaptive spaces and associated scenes, provide different possibilities to imagine the use of spaces. This associated activities would change the city’s original performance, re-forming the multiple functions and appearances inside. Thus, every visitor is one of the collective memories to keep forming the whole city.


To sum up my studies, adaptation shows swapping experiences of a city and individual to achieve a well-balanced perspective. Once a person starts to embodied experience the unfamiliar surrounding here, it would change the atmosphere of the whole city, to blend and realise the balanced environment. So, our experiences provide the ability to piece the various opportunities of cities, such as Rem Koolhaas said, “The city is a collective experiment of man-made experience .”



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