Program SPARK: Blue Daydream
‘Blue Daydream’ is a ‘singing space' that designed by one take architecture and independent musician Tieyang. In the Summer Camp that organized by non-profit organization Sunners in Xishui County, Hubei Province, One Take Architects, Tieyang and Sunners, together with college volunteers and left-behind children, designed and built this spatial musical installation together, which brought the children their own “The Big Band”.
‘Blue Daydream’ consists of 10 groups of structures divided into 3 scales of parts, and each part includes 3-5 scales. Its main sounding part is the PVC tube with three different diameters, for which the pitch of sound could be adjusted by the blue water supply pipe on the top. This kind of tube is one of the most common and accessible material/tools in the rural areas of China. To save the cost of facilitating installation and maintenance, most of the drainage systems are exposed out of the house in rural areas. Therefore, children here are pretty familiar with it in their daily life. There is a multiple and flexible system of adapters, which allows children to easily understand the assemble principle of the tubes. Thus, they could quickly assemble them, even exploring more different ways of combinations.
The inspiration for using PVC tube as a sounder came from the bamboo percussion instruments created by the locals of Papua New Guinea. They bundle bamboos of different diameters together and hollow them out, so rich and powerful melody and rhythm could be formed by hitting them.
In order to simplify the construction process, the basement of the Blue Daydream is designed to be uniform sized stools that consisted of 100- millimetre-diameter PVC pipes. At the same time, the 110mm diameter PVC pipe is also a "picture scroll" for the children—they created their own painting on the pipes according to their feelings about the music they heard, and assemble them into Daydream Blue after they finished their painting.
The sounding part of ‘Blue Daydream’ is concentrated in the upper part, therefore, the top of the PVC pipe base is filled with a common building material—PU FOAM (Polyurethane foam sealing agent) as sound-absorbing cotton to reduces the transmission of sound in the lower part. Without the disturbance in the lower base part, the adjustment of the pitch of scale is easier to quantify.
If regard the PVC tubes that constituted as a huge "drum", then the "disposable slippers" could be seen as "drumsticks"-cheap and durable, suitable in size, and with good toughness and elasticity, the special ‘drumsticks’ could drive the air to knock out a quite well-textured sound.
The First Daydream: Shelter
The first form of Daydream Blue is one of the most original forms of the living space-shelter.
The small house with a double slope roof is such a familiar image, that it is the very first form for most people when learning to "paint a house. After the structures are joined together, the stool that connected together is exactly the size of a bed: 1600mm * 2000mm.
Ten groups of components can be spliced into five groups of "shelters", scattered in the centre of the playground.
The Second Daydream: Amphitheatre
This was a space designed for children's performances at their carnival. Ten groups of structures formed a circle, the children sat in a row on the periphery, each person taps two tubes, and the musician Tie Yang conducts the performance in the middle: they worked together to complete a performance of "WE WILL ROCK YOU". After that, the children of the theatre camp entered the centre of the circular space, and the rest of the children sat in a circle on the stools of Daydream Blue: made it a typical "Amphitheatre", which is the original prototype of the theatre.
The Third Daydream: Peach Tree Col 24-hour Art Museum
The third form of Daydream Blue was designed by the children in groups. And the final plan, which was used as “Peach Tree Col 24-hour Art Museum" to end the camp at night as a finale, was voted by the architect team and volunteers together
The most recognized plan was formed by a courtyard surrounded by a group of four components and three groups of corridors around the courtyard at the centre. It provides ample display surface and an introverted theme exhibition area.
The exhibition plan of "Peach Tree Col 24-hour Art Museum" was also executed by the children in groups by discussing. They need to synthesize the knowledge they have learned during the fifteen-day study in the camp, and organize the hundreds of works that they created in the camp and display them in a reasonable theme.
The final exhibition was amazing!
The children display "drumsticks"-disposable slippers on the stand solemnly for exhibition, together with the ukulele they made. Both the “drumsticks” and the ukulele were approved as "musical instruments" by them, which means as drumsticks the disposable slippers were given new meaning in the event of "exhibition." Children cut and pasted the Chinese characters of " Peach Tree Col " using the extra mirror paper that left in the workshop, which reflected the sky and clouds; the remaining PVC pipes and connections were sorted and neatly placed in the "interactive area", and they were assembled into a “cannon” by the children; the children drew invitations by themselves, and handed them to the old people and neighbours in the village next to the school; They were both artists and confident guides, proudly introducing their works to the villagers...
Unexpected Dream: A New Ball Game
According to the original plan, during the course, there would be a one-day-course that the architecture camp and music camp should merge and study together. However, there was an unexpected vacancy day due to a temporary adjustment of the schedule. During the study, the children were always interested in the PVC pipes and the connections that they were eager to try to design and assemble them by themselves. So the architect team decided to add a new part in the course-a ball game which they could design and build their own "equipment".
The rules of the game are very simple: each child could use the remaining PVC pipes that have not been assembled into ‘Blue Daydream’ and some spare parts to assemble their own "stick equipment", with no limitation on the assembly form; And a temporarily found red balloon (not full filled with gas so that it will not explode due to knock, while still maintain a certain elasticity) becomes the "red thief" in the special ball game. Any player was only allowed to hit the balloon with their homemade sticks, while any touch of body parts with the billon is foul. The game includes two sides, and both sides can form teams freely. One point will be chalked up as to the corresponding team as the balloon is hit into the opponent's goal.
This unexpected part that contemporarily organized became the happiest afternoon for the children: they were busy studying assembly methods, upgrading equipment, and constantly trying which method could be lighter and more "offensive and defensible" at the same time; and they gradually noticed that the most easily used sticks could not be got by blindly piling up bigger; some children even developed their own "independent shield" that two people use together...
"I want to build houses for the poor so that they can have good houses to live in. Imagine is everyone’s innate wealth and I want to make better use of it. My family does not yet have a brick house, so the rain is always leaking from the roof every time rains heavily. I then determined to give the best house for my grandma and grandparents to live in.” The diary of the child in the camp was tearful. Before the process of choosing camps, he handed us a note: “Please pick me up, Architecture camp!"
New sparks are reignited every year between the field and the stars. May all the grown children always have the courage to open their hearts to this "cold but also tender and warm world".