"Maximizing your property value by design; Delivering your permit by expert knowledge of local code; Helping you to achieve your goal by truly understanding your need"
Z Feng Architect and Company was established in 2003 to offer residential and commercial design and engineering in the State of Illinois. Its founder, Zisong Feng, holds a degree of Bachelor of Architecture from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and a Master of Science from MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to setting up his own firm, he had gained diverse design and engineering experience from Anthony Belluschi Architects, Lohan Associates, and Loewenberg Associates and John Hanna Architects. He is committed to building his firm and professional reputation by providing personalized attention to each client and attracting associates who share the same vision.
To our clients, I say that Z Feng Architect will listen to your problems, your dreams and inspirations. We will have the patience and stamina to test the material evidence for your benefit and advantage. We will maximize your property value with thoughtful design and close attention to detail; we will minimize your building permit time with our expert knowledge of building code and zoning ordinance. When you call on us, we will take care of you.
To our partners and investors, I say that Z Feng Architect will maximize your money's worth by continued improvement of our professional competency and a relentless focus on the purpose of our service and a constant vigilance over the means with which to achieve that purpose. To our associates, I say that Z Feng Architect will welcome you as a good old friend. We will have so many things to tell you, and we will be equally eager and anxious to learn from you too. In Z Feng’s office, there is no boss and there are no employees either. There are only friends and comrades. So what architects are we? “We are artists, poets, and pirates” to quote from a recent movie of “Ratatouille”. So come join us, for business or for friendship or both!
For almost 8 months of misery, 5 months of unrelenting snow, cold night, damp morning, plus another 3 months of unstoppable downpour, dense fog, and drenched soil, we have Acadia National Park, sunbaked dry, the last speck of dust purged away. Through the superabundant light, one sees the vibrant color and shape in all all beings in its brilliant verdancy. Everything seemed to shine by internal combustion, and one thing corroded another. It is impressionism live. It is not surprising to learn that associated with such pristine landscape is Calvinism. Man, due to his selfish interest and /or sheer stupidity, cannot, would not and will not follow God by his own volition, but since God does not reject man, therefore the pursuit of one's own interest, working hard at one's own profession and excel at it becomes the vehicle to appreciate God's immense grace, power and wisdom. I take much comfort and pleasure with the landscape and the knowledge.
Brain washed twice
Twice brain washed I was, first by Chinese school and second by American school. The difference between the two schools is fundamental, the Chinese allows you to have only ONE kind of knowledge whereas the American allows you to have access to multiple source of information, but since nobody can have access to ALL knowledge at any given time, it is still a biased knowledge you are learning at the time. Anybody who had spent 5 minutes watching Fox News or CNN news would be able to testify to this.
What prompted me to write this was a debate we had at a symposium for new urbanism. A Chinese delegate presented what to an American mind unprecedented or unimaginable development across the land of China, not only in mega cities, in the 2nd and 3rd tier cities, but also in rural areas, in remote mountain areas. Upon remote villages where a bus route barely existed will be imposed a fast-speed train track whose concrete pillars will be 5-story high and occupy an area of 300 square meters, which the proud lecturer mercifully reminded the audience is equivalent to the size of a single-family lot in Chicago … What appears to the Chinese great human achievement is environmental disaster to the American. The root of the difference is epistemology. It is nobody's fault. It is just the nature of human knowledge. One cannot escape one’s own experience to acquire a totally different form of knowledge. What we know is what and who we are and vice versa. This is why I shudder when client requests I certify the safety of their real estate investment by our design; this is also why I was unable to speak at the symposium other than murmuring some questions about certain storm drains of the monument ...
Chimney 3/8/2011 There are no nations, only individuals; There are no theories; only examples; This is of course my opinion. If one abandons the concept of competition, science, profit or efficiency; it does not matter who is first/last, rich/poor, better/worse. I still remember the beginning days of my career. I was an intern architect in a prestigious firm working on the high rise building in downtown Chicago; In the construction field one contractor pulled me away and told me that the fireplace and chimney in his house did not work. The following two weeks found me burning the midnight oil studying the masonry construction of the combustion chamber, air intake, the flue, the air pressure and wind direction around neighboring building... Finally the contractor told me the solution worked, he and his family had a great night around the fireplace. This news gave me more satisfaction and joy than all the other illustrious work I participated in of the firm. The happy voice from a client, to me, is the highest award.
Being Green 9/18/2010 I told my client, it should not cost you arm and leg to be green and sustainable. In fact there are things one may do without any additional cost and the benefit is immediate; you do not have to wait for 3 or 5 years to see the advantage. One such thing is the orientation of the building. In our northern hemisphere, if you orient the building facing south (assuming the plan is rectangular), you would have already achieved most desirable sunshine in winter and minimum solar heat gain in summer; deciduous trees to the south and east; and evergreen trees to the west and north would further enhance the thermal properties. Of course I was duely reminded of my obtuseness. Charlie Carter mused about celebrating the next SteelDay anniversary on St Patrick's Day when the Chicago river would be dyed green. Well, did we choose steel for the design because it was green or because of its strength and ductility?
The green movement, or the sustainability movement have been with us for quite some time; councils were established to add authority, conferences were held to give regularity and vigor, certificate of platinum were created to honor the highest achievement ... Again my advise remains the same: zero upfront cost and immediate benefit upon completion. You do not need all that machine power to pursue it. I used the orientation of the building as one such example, it sounds too elementary. But the point is that green technology should not replace hard thinking. This is one of the core values of our practice, thoughtful design is always precisous regardless of its being green or not. So Charlie, no need to dye the water green.
ROCKET 6/8/2010 Always eat hot sauce Always expect a short life Never get air-sick Always enjoy life Call the atomic bomb God Never get loaded onto a plane Never touch water And always love flames Rumble Grumble Bang By Weillin Feng, 2nd grader
CAMP FIRE 1/15/10 I enjoy the camp fires. No camping is complete without the camp fire. It takes time to start a fire in the woods, especially in deep wooded area. My favorite material to start the fire is not the commecial oil soaked wood chips. It is the newspaper. You need lots of it. You must tear the paper to pieces; while you are tearing, the printed headlines flashes by: the economy, the unemployment, the stock market decline, the financial collapse, the wall street bonuses, the default of various companies or municipalities, the foreclosure of homes, the outsourcing of jobs, the greening of the world, the warming of the world, ... With a strike of matches, all would be in flame and soon in ashes. After the fire, a new life starts again. All those bad news are gone, together with the paper on which they were printed; you hope.
I like the camp fire. It glows bright when the day is dark It gives warmth when the night is cold
Recession 6/8/09 This is our 9th month into recession. But I must say I like this recession. We worked a lot harder on our jobs even though we made much less money.We spent much longer time in the field with the builders, much longer conversation with the clients, much more time on the drawing details, much leisure to talk to each other, much more patience in our research, much more time to eat lunch to savor the food, …
Time has been a luxury for us for the past years. We can make more money. But we cannot make more time. Now we have time. Which enabled us to look back to really examine the good and bad in a peaceful mind. I should say this recession has changed our practice and state of mind.
We are able to look at things with laughter, humor and ease. What was previously considered a “screwed up” situation was really confusion in our own mind under time pressure. The design, the drawing, the problem, and the half-baked solution was really a reflection of that state of mind.
When we prepare our work peacefully, whether sharpening a pencil, or reading a code section, or rearranging things in cyber space, we instill care into our work. And that care will shine through the work. And any person who had gone through the same process will be able to feel it.
We are still struggling at a philosophical level. That is the hardest thing about architecture. You cannot learn it in a book. You cannot examine it as a thing. You must live with it and through it. Ultimately I think it is not the raw intellegence, but the patience, the care and our value system that determines the quality of our work.