Sketch of Archilife Study Tour, April 2021
For the study tour of April 11, 2021, Ms. Lu Ming-yun led 13 ARF interns and their parents on a tour to learn about water and soil conservation in Guizikeng and the aesthetics of glass art. It was clear and sunny on the day of the tour, and the interns and their parents were on time for the departure. At the start of the day's activities, team leader Ms. Lu Ming-yun reminded everyone about things to note and what to observe, and gave the interns some background knowledge.
The morning's itinerary took everyone to Glastory Arts Center. It is the mission of the center to combine arts with nature and culture, and integrate arts into everyday life, bringing designer art glass closer to the masses. The tour guide began by explaining that art glass is a type of glass; the difference between them is like the difference between haute couture and mass-market apparel. Besides the use of costly materials, each piece of art glass is also the result of the designer's creative concept and idea, making it significantly more expensive than mass produced glass. There are basically four skills of shaping glass, including hot sculpting, lost-wax casting, fusing and blowing. The tour guide showed a video of how the blowing technique is applied. When making a vase, the glass has to be repeatedly heated in the furnace during the blowing process to prevent the vase from cracking due to the difference in temperature outside and inside the vase. When completed, it has to be cooled slowly as well to prevent cracking. Glass vase, plates and lamp shades are mostly made using this technique. To review the content of the video and deepen everyone's impression, there was a quiz with prizes to be won at the end of the video which got everyone excited and involved.
The afternoon's itinerary was a visit to Guizikeng Water and Soil Conservation Education Park. Guizikeng is part of Taipei's oldest stratum "Wuchishan Formation", which is rich in raw materials used in the ceramics industry, including kaolin and quartz sand. Its discovery during the Japanese Occupation led to intensive excavation, resulting in severe landslide in the downstream area years after as environmental conservation was not a known concept at the time. In recent years, efforts have been made by the government to improve water and soil conservation, and the education park has been established. Led by the park's volunteer tour guide, everyone learned the common techniques used to prevent landslide and improve rivers. Through the display of slope stabilizing and drainage facilities, and interactive devices, interns were able to understand the principles behind these designs easily. The park also displays exposed areas of the stratum, which has a whitish appearance because of its kaolin content. Due to its smooth texture, and high adhesive strength, it is an important raw material used to make ceramics. Folded strata can also be seen on top of the exposed area, leaving everyone awestruck by the power of nature. Next, everyone proceeded to observe an artificial rainfall simulator, which shows rainfall over shrubs, a lawn and an exposed soil surface. The simulator shows that the shrubs can gradually diminish the force of rainfall, protecting the soil from erosion and is best of the three in soil conservation. At this point, the day's itinerary came to an end. Everyone took a group photo before heading back and looked forward to the next study tour.