Well, the last month has been a blur of work and excessive coffee, but I gave my final thesis review yesterday afternoon. The blog has been pretty sad during this production intensive period, so in an attempt to quickly summarize that work I am putting up some of the final images and my project summary:
This thesis project is a housing complex for migrant workers in Shanghai. The objective of the design is to translate the traditional housing typologies of Shanghai’s early 20th century into a mid-density model as a reaction to the effects of the modernization effort in the city’s more recent past. As key players in the modern transformation of the China, rural to urban migrants are the main focus of the design’s program and intentions and the overall objective is to develop a project capable of creating vibrant urban spaces within the monotonous fabric of the city and to aid in the urban integration of these new residents.
These objectives are achieved through the circulation and program distribution on multiple scales and attempts were made at all times to blur the distinction between public and private realms in an effort to encourage community development and overlapping functionality. This can be seen in the overall design which utilizes an integrated street network and circulation paths to draw the street in while also fuctioning as the primary residential public spaces and access points. At the block scale, the design uses a hybrid circulation and service space to achieve the same results and in the facades, the idea is materialized in the form of a louver system capable of hanging laundry. In this way the street is brought inside and the private activies are displayed on the interior facing service lanes and even more blatantly through an endless rotation of residents clothing that will blanket the facade.
Ultimately this design is a new typology into the way an urban environment can be shaped to retain the characteristics of early modern row houses while also being efficient enough for the density of the largest city in China. It presuposes that the Chinese Government’s attitude toward its newest and currently illegal residents will change. It focuses on programmatic objectives over structural or financial considerations. It is a suggestion of what public space and housing complexes can be rather than a packaged solution. And in a city of endless, economically constructed, identical high rises, this type of exploration is vital to retaining the life of this culturally rich community.