Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 13: Aura
Gu Yu put down the pencil, turned his computer screen towards Zhang Siyi, and then opened a picture folder and showed him some examples of layouts with special specifications.
For example, the long-shaped water feature in the corridor wall of the ramen noodle shop, the bathroom in the triangular area below the small residential staircase, and the dining table that can be folded and hidden on the wall. Almost every design is so ingenious, but also so logical, like it was meant to be there.
Looking at the screen, Zhang Siyi doesn’t really know what to make of this new information. After all, his education is relatively conservative and nearly all his professors disapproved of students being too crazy with their designs. On one hand, as an architect, he feels he must adhere to the rules and regulations when planning a project. On the other hand, as a designer, he is meant to challenge the rules and think of things in a different way.
Just as Zhang Siyi was looking confused, Gu Yu pointed to the screen: “The designs you just saw are mostly mature architects. They know what the rules are, know where the bottom line is, and can guarantee basic use. They know what limits to challenge to still maintain comfort.” He used a pencil to click on Zhang Siyi’s drawings and said, “But obviously, you don’t have that kind of know-how right now, even if you take on the problem, you won’t be able to execute it properly.
Clenching his teeth, Zhang Siyi feels his anger rising and thinks: Since you know that I don’t have the skills set yet to finish the assignment, why give it to me? To deliberately fail?
Gu Yu took a cup of tea and took a sip, and then he said: “You must lay down a good foundation in order to understand the details of architecture. Don’t think about what shortcuts to take and templates to use. You will gradually lose the most important thing for architects. A sense of scale.”
Zhang Siyi is speechless. It turns out that Gu Yu just wants me to realize that applying a template is wrong? But why is he going in such a big circle to just say no?
This form of persuasion is undeniably more effective and will make a lasting impression on Zhang Siyi. After all, it is only human nature to spend the least amount of energy to accomplish goals. Who doesn’t want to be lazy and take shortcuts?
However, Du Rui also uses templates and Gu Yu is obviously aware so why is he only targeting himself? This is too unfair!
Knowing what Zhang Siyi is thinking, Gu Yu smiled and said: “Don’t think about comparing this situation with Du Rui. She can hand draw pictures, and it doesn’t matter if it is a template or not.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Gu Yu set aside the stack of unfished floor plans on his desk for another time. “When you think you can complete them, come back to me. Now, I have something else for you to do.”
As if he had been ready for a long time, Gu Yu picked up another stack of information, handed it to Zhang Siyi and like a general commanding his troops said, “draw the core functions of this plan and give it to me this evening.”
Zhang Siyi hurriedly said: “but the work day is nearly over.”
Gu Yu raised his eyebrow and looked at Zhang Siyi intently. It was impossible to ignore the ‘so-what’ expression the opposite party was giving him. “Hmm? You wasted a whole day not drawing, but still want to leave work? Companies don’t pay employees for nothing.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Disgraced, Zhang Siyi returned to his desk with a new task. He now feels that the ‘good, kind, and generous’ Boss is simply not good at all!
With the time nearly five o’clock, it will be impossible to get dinner out before 8 in the evening, so Zhang Siyi prepared himself to work overtime. He went downstairs to buy something to eat instead.
It just so happened that Du Rui also worked overtime today. They bumped into each other at the elevator and happily chatted together. Having experienced the director’s criticism together, he had a good impression of her and developed a rapport with her.
He bought a meal and went upstairs. The two walked along the landscape frame to the main entrance. As the words “Borderless” gradually became clear in his view, for the first time, Zhang Siyi was not excited. What of “The Pursuit is Endless”? It is clearly “Hardship is Never Going to End”!
Du Rui suddenly asked: “I heard that Gu Yu gave you his little cactus?”
Zhang Siyi felt embarrassed.
Du Rui smiled and inexplicably said: “It’s good.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Walking through the dining area, Zhang Siyi was reminded of his question. He asked Du Rui, “We only have an hour for lunch so why are there lounges all around. Is there time to take a nap?”
Du Rui: “Rarely, maybe fifteen minutes or so…”
Zhang Siyi: “Then what are these large couches for?”
Du Rui: “Oh, That. They are used when you must stay up all night in the company. When a project has a short deadline, people will have to stay over until the job is completed. They will use them to sleep a few hours.”
L…live in the company!? Zhang Siyi’s mouth was twitching. He finally understood the meaning behind the information about the company’s 24-hour power supply and water supply.
Du Rui said again: “But this situation is very rare in our group. The directors’ preference is for us to go home. So even when we are very busy, they let us go back home on the last subway, especially girls.”
After sitting down, Zhang Siyi continued to ask: “You have been employed for a few years… Have you ever spent the night?”
“I have been here for less than a year, and I have stayed over twice. The two time were urgent, and the entire group was mobilized for a week. When Du Rui said this sentence, she had a happy expression on her face.
Zhang Siyi felt that staying over one or two times a year wouldn’t be so horrible. At school, it was common to spend all night and day in a classroom finishing projects.
Du Rui was two years older than Zhang Siyi. Before coming to Borderless, she drew construction plans for over a year with a medium sized design company. Every day she stayed late. It was a miracle to be home by 9 at night. With the constant requirement for overtime and late nights, she became exhausted and her body couldn’t stand it anymore. As a last resort she chooses to quit and find something with better working hours.
With De Rui diligence and introverted personality, the situation must have been dire for her to decide to quit. The last job left her with a deep psychological shadow.
“I went to several companies when I changed jobs. When I sent in a resume to Borderless, I didn’t think I would get a position because this company is based mainly on design and that isn’t one of my strong points.” Du Rui smiled modestly. “But I am glad I had the courage to challenge myself and make a change otherwise I would still be in a black abyss.”
Zhang Siyi persuaded Du Rui to realize her value: “No matter what happened, the previous work did help you improve.”
“Well, with twelve hours of work every day, it’s hard not to improve.” Du Rui shrugged. “At that time, I never saw the outside and I thought that it was the same for everyone else. But now I feel like I wasted my life during that time because all I was doing was repetitive assembly work, drawing the same thing repeatedly in a daze. I was modifying values that I felt were completely meaningless. It made me feel like I wasn’t a graduate student of architecture, but a fragile CAD drawing migrant worker.
Zhang Siyi thought: “No wonder Gu Yu said his painting details are far worse than Du Rui. It turns out that Du Rui has suffered so much.”
Du Rui sighed and said: “I also broke up with my ex-boyfriend that year. It was a difficult time”
Zhang Siyi was more sensitive to the word “breakup” recently. The gossip cells in his mind immediately became active and could not help but ask: “Why? Because you are too busy?”
Du Rui frankly said: “Well, there was a lot of work pressure at that time. Even if I had time outside of work, I just wanted to stay at home and have a good night’s sleep. Going out for a date was too troublesome. It would take too long to get ready so, without much time together its natural to break up.”
“I understand!” Zhang Siyi nodded desperately, although he is not a girl, this experience completely feels the same!
“Do you?” Du Rui looked wide-eyed at Zhang Siyi with a funny smile. She thought his temperament was more like a kind little brother. Harmless. There were many in the office that wanted to know more about Zhang Siyi. Du Rui can’t help but say, “Do you especially like girls to like it? Let’s talk about your girlfriends!”
Zhang Siyi couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “I’ve only had one, and I just broke up with her a few days ago for the same reasons. Like you, it was because of the pressure to find a job and I couldn’t spend time with her for two months, so we split.”
Du Rui “ha-ha” and smiled: “the same situation, coincidentally”
“I explained it to her several times, but she couldn’t understand it. She wanted to go out every day but when I did, she didn’t have anything pleasant to say. It was the last straw.” Zhang Siyi sighed.
Du Rui spread her hand: “Mutual understanding is really important. If the other person can’t understand your needs, then you aren’t suited for each other.”
Zhang Siyi: “Yes! I don’t know if you already have heard this joke. If a person disappears from your world, there are only two possibilities. The first one: the person is dead. The second one: they are Building.”
Du Rui: “Ha-ha. When we say we are working, we are buy doing work. When we have overtime, we are busy doing work. When there is a business trip, we are busy doing work. Saying that we don’t have time to message literally means there is no time to reply to messages!”
Zhang Siyi went on to say: “Even if the person is dazed, they don’t want to talk to anyone. Being dazed, is like a state of rest and they don’t want to interrupt their power recoupment.”
Du Rui: “Ha-ha too funny.” ……
The two sat together conversing happily with each other. The more they talked, the more they wanted to share and the more familiar they became. It really was like love and affection!
Looking at Du Rui’s laughter, Zhang Siyi, who was single for less than a week, was a little bit eager to move on. He didn’t know if it was just loneliness or if he felt moved by the girl in front of him. Anyway, he now feels that the mature and motivated Du Rui is much friendlier than the former ex-girlfriend.
He couldn’t help but say: “Don’t regret your ex-boyfriend. You are so good, you will definitely meet a better person.”
Du Rui startled, and blushed. This reaction let Zhang Siyi’s imagination run away. He wondered if Du Rui was interested in him. After all, their combined skills make for a good working relationship. They would be able to help each other out. How can he think otherwise, when Du Rui just asked him if he had a girlfriend?
“Since I came to Borderless, there is such a perfect person in the world.” Du Rui says with a blushing face full of a little girl’s unique vision and obsession.
Zhang Siyi’s heart started pounding: “Oh, who?”
Du Rui Xuan smiled and looked at Zhang Siyi, she said: “I hope that I can find a boyfriend like Director Gu.””
“Pfft–!”Zhang Siyi’s coffee all sprayed out. His hopes for a second spring, which had not yet sprouted, were brutally smothered by Gu Yu aura.