Penda Architecture (Penda), was founded in 2013. Penda China is currently chaired by its founding partner, Sun Dayong, and partner, Ms. Wan Shuyan. Penda China manages projects widely distributed across the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and several countries overseas. Projects often involve planning, architecture, interior design, landscaping, and artistic installations for cultural, residential, hotel, office, traffic, commercial, exhibition functions, and more.
Consisting of design talent from around the world, the Penda China team is based in central Beijing within close proximity to the Palace Museum and National Art Museum of China. Inspired by the collision of profound traditional culture and contemporary artistic concept, it has created many experimental and groundbreaking works. Focused on green design research and practices, it has received attention from the broader industry, both at home and abroad, accompanied by numerous national and international awards alongside frequent mainstream media coverage. In 2016, Penda was awarded Architizer A + Awards of Emerging Firm of the Year. The news was covered in a report, “Chinese Architect Makes Reputation by the Recently-released Architizer A + Awards” published by the Beijing Youth Daily. Penda was included twice into AD100’s list of Most Influential Chinese Architects in 2015、2017 and 2019 respectively. Dayong, the chief architect, was quickly thrust into the spotlight of the industry as a representative architect of his generation. He received the cross-disciplinary Award of Modern Attitude Figure (2018) from Netease Home, and the honorable title of Popular Architect of 2018 from Tencent Home. He was also one of ten architects invited to the first China House Vision 2018 Beijing Exhibition curated by world-renowned designer and curator, Kenya Hara, triggering positive responses from both within and without the industry. Penda China also partners with many world famous brands, such as BMW and MINI. Its modern, green, creative designs not only push the limits of traditional approaches to architecture but also inspire people to imagine and create bold architectural designs of their own.
Penda China’s philosophy centers on “yong,” which means “use” and “moderation” in Chinese. The intended “use” serves as the fundamental purpose of architecture. As Lao Tzu put it, “we make doors and windows when building a house, but it is actually the void spaces in the doors and windows, surrounded by walls, that bear the true use of the house.” So it is the “use” that turns space into architecture in its most real sense. Though Louis Sullivan proposed that “form follows function,” rigid functionalism should be avoided. According to Aldo Rossi, “architecture is not only a place to live, but also a part of life.” Life is continually changing, as is architecture. Form and function constitute two important aspects of architecture. If function embodies the space value of architecture and the result of the architectural force on people, then form represents the time value of architecture and the consequences of human forces on architecture because it is rational thought, emotion, and abilities that shape the form. The fundamental purpose of all creations is for life. The ultimate goal of both science and art is to deepen our understanding of life. That’s also true of architecture, which never serves as the end in itself, but instead serves as a medium connecting life with the broader world, just as Lao Tzu said, “therefore, what has a (positive) existence services for profitable adaptation, and what has not that for (actual) usefulness” (The positive elements serve to create the setting or context, but the negative elements are what make it useful.). Architecture is a tool for us to communicate with the outside world. By connecting humanity, culture, and nature, architecture is uniting humanity and the world.
“Moderation”, on the other hand, refers to the Chinese philosophical culture of temperance. It pursues the artistic concept of “external art from internal creation”, and the ecology-centered value of harmonious coexistence between man and nature to eventually strike a sustainable balance and symbiosis of the two. The modernization process in the 20th century brought about not only material abundance but also severe environmental issues. Mies Van der Rohe’s philosophy “less is more” reveals the ultimate pursuit of aesthetics, at the same time, it reflects people’s desire for “more”. The desire for more as a showcase of people's greed and lust, eventually resulted in a self-interested, irresponsible development path. “Less is more” gave meaning to the social responsibility of architects, who also had no other way out. From a green and ecological perspective, “less” means less time, space, material, energy, and time, yet more practical benefits and opportunities for people and other life forms. This demonstrates a much higher love and, as explained by humanistic philosopher Eric Fromm, “all love forms are based on universal love, and the basis of universal love is to know that all are equal.” The earth is an organic system where we share all resources with all other forms of life. We should cherish all life forms because they exist and constitute an indispensable part of our home. We have to rid ourselves of selfish desires and this predatory way of life before we can return to nature. So, that’s why “less” is also love.Therefore, in this sense, we also can say “less is love”.
“Yong Architecture” is an open-ended, syntactical structure with which everyone can create something of their own. Architecture connects past and future, links heart to heart, and creates exciting possibilities and inspirations for generations to come. Let architecture be an inspiring light for the future.