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Inspiration and Process in His Architecture

Bin Zhang M.Arch 2015 The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor




02 PORTFOLIO Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning | 2013-2015 01 Urban Dichotomy: American Splendor Thesis in Cleveland 02 Water Urbanization: Belle Isle Urban Transformation 03 Breathing Space: Housing for Migrant Workers in Shanghai *with Mark Knutson and Yao Yao 04 In-between: Architecture of Blackness

Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology | 2008-2013 05 The Museum of Mist: A Museum Design for a Photographer 06 The Bridge of Cloud: Vertical Cinema of Wenyi Avenue 07 Life of Pi: The 10th Space Building Competition



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EDUCATION The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Master of Architecture Sept. 2013 to May 2015 Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi’an, China College of Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture Sept. 2008 to June 2013 EXPERIENCE Research Assistant, The University of Michigan Project: Restoring, Retrofitting, Recoupling Michigan’s Great Lakes Shorelands July 2015 to Present Architectural Intern, Beyer Blinder Belle Project: Waterville Main Street Renovation Mar. 2015 Architectural Intern, Gluckman Mayner Architects Project: Riggio Carriage House Mar. 2014 Architectural Intern, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design Project 1: Mosha East Office Building, Beijing, China Project 2: Wanda Sales Office,Qiqihar, China July 2012 to Oct. 2012 Architectural Intern, Jianxue Architecture and Engineering Design Institute, CO. LTD Project: Rewake Buddhist Museum, Xinjiang, China July 2011 to Aug. 2011 SKILLS English (Fluent), Mandarin Chinese (Native), Japanese (Preliminary) Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Fireworks, Premiere, Muse AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Rhinoceres, Grasshopper, SketchUp, Revit Microsoft Office Suite, eQUEST, Climate Consultant, Dr. Frame, V-Ray, Atlantis Laser Cutting, Hand modeling AWARDS First Prize,10th Space Building Competition Awarded by Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology May 2013 Honorable Mention International Student Competition on Open Building Awarded by International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction, China National Engineering Research Center for Human Settlement, The University of Hong Kong Nov. 2012 Innovation Scholarship Awarded by Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology Oct. 2011 Scholarship Awarded by Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology Oct. 2011 Scholarship Awarded by Xi'an Aircraft Industry Aluminum Shares Co. LTD Oct. 2010 Scholarship Awarded by Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology 2010 and 2009 EXTRACURRICULAR Member of Organizing Committee of the 8th Space Building Competition Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology May 2011 Member of the Secretary Department of Students' Union Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology Sept. 2008 to June 2010

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01 Urban Dichotomy: American Splendor Thesis in Cleveland | Winter 2015 The thesis is looking at American cities as an entity of networks and systems, which sprawl with no limits or boundaries. Looking back on the cities in the medieval times or even earlier, a city started firstly from being limited-- from erecting walls. Carl Schmitt also wrote that the demarcation of a limit through walls is the primary legal status that underlies any subsequent law. However, today's cities serving capital flows and speculations, are going too far towards a condition of sameness and the generic. The idea of urban wall is reintroduced to resist the city’s propensity towards the generic, cultivating distinct urban difference and maintaining the possibility of a heterogeneous urban public. Urban Dichotomy is sited in Cleveland. The city is currently at a crossroads. It features heterogeneous urban patches of institutions, financial centers, industry, vacancy and more. However, emergent urban development threatens to erase this heterogeneity. Urban Dichotomy deploys new urban walls to limit and redirect development, resisting the tendency towards the generic. New walled-ness. Learning from the precedents of walls in the history, the power of walls can be categorized into three: First, walls as storage structures to confront excesses of commodities, residential demands and others; Second, walls exist as perceptual device; third, walls preserve the voids and amplify differences. The location of these walls is based on a study of urban species in the city, and discover the moment when a marker is legible to exist.





Poverty Gap



Wall of Excess: Burn Your Energy! First wall is a wall of excess, located along the periphery of the downtown of Cleveland. The wall isolates the financial center from the other urban species, like the institutional, the industrial and the residential. As the title explains itself, the wall here is storing the excessive energy from the center. To do with such excesses, the linear wall of exceptional length aggregates the infinite gym facilities. The gym space is very condensed and only 4.5 meter wide, with gym facilities side arranged. It is used as the parking space where the thickness of the wall is doubled. Huge populations, either drives or walks away from the downtown. Such flows are buffered and taken into the wall. The facade of the wall is differentiated into two languages: the standard grids represent the nature of repetition and aggregation; and the reflective mirror gives the wall the role as a perceptual device. The cubes containing large and extruding from the mirror interface, are connected to the office buildings. They leave the office building and walk into the wall to burn their energy. They are leaving from one condition and walking into the mirage of the condition, which means, you never leave this side.


Walls as Accumulation The wall of accumulation stands on the periphery of the suburban neighborhood, and it confronts with the residential expansion. The wall is a stack of the various kinds of house units that are derived from the American suburban houses. The construction of the wall starts from erecting the giant columns that serve structurally and mechanically, and the beams that support the prefabricated house units. The openings on the houses face only towards the neighborhood, none on the other side. The wall is an absolute restrictions of suburban development. The horizontal expansion of suburban residence is stopped here and starts to grow vertically, ideally forever.


Walls of Endlessness: Never Ever Leave! The walls of endlessness enclose the industrial area in Cleveland, which isolate the industry from the Downtown on one side and the suburban neighborhood on the other side. The walls themselves are structures for extra industrial storing and the suburban self-storage demands. The two mirror faces of the wall are differentiated into a straight one and a curved one. The straight ones face the industrial area and the curved ones face the downtown or the suburban. The double giant mirrors create the repetitive reflections of the industrial phenomena. Thus, when you are driving towards the wall, you feel this industrial phenomena goes forever and you will never leave it. Yet once you get across the wall, you exist in totally otherness. The curved mirror twists the reflection which bring the sky lower on the wall. The background where used to be the industrial becomes the sky. Different urban conditions are purified.


Walls of Semantics The walls of semantics is a different approach to manipulate the powers of wall. The walls here are to preserve voids, the wild and even the religious symbols in the city. The walls themselves are markers to mark blankness, a territory belonging to everyone and no one.


02 Water Urbanization: Belle Isle Urban Transformation | Fall 2013 Belle Isle is the last and best chance Detroit has of getting connected to its estuary, one of the driving forces of the city, which is almost unfelt in the daily life of its inhabitants. By changing the focus of the Belle Isle Park experience from the automobile to the boat, this project aims to proliferate and privilege a naval culture at multiple scales accessible to all the city’s citizens. In history, Belle Isle was developed firstly into a natural park for the citizens of Detroit. As Belle Isle thrived with the rise of industrialization in the motor town, Belle Isle was turned into a drive-thru park for citizens to enjoy the recreation and the leisure. However, as the deindustrialization failed the economy of Detroit, Belle Isle was deserted by the city. Now the island should cut off from the problem. The "car" island is transformed into a "boat" island.


Belle Isle is sited on the bed of Detroit River at the border of the United States and Canada. Shipping, yachting and cargoing are already happening here. Water urbanization is making new orders on the future development. New canals of different width are exceptionally invited to the island. Each canal is for different water activity. The widest arch canal is for the industrial shipment across Detroit River and the Great Lakes area. The second widest one is the one for tourism steamers going between Detroit and Winsor. Other narrow, serpentine ones and lakes are for canoeing and aquatic agriculture. The canals cut the island into pieces. Each piece is programmed differently, like industrial port, free zone, amusement park, industrial port, natural reserve and so on. An island of only recreation in the past is being transformed into an island of production, recreation and speculations.


Belle Isle is only connected with Detroit by a bridge. The new canals set up restrictions on how visitors experience the island. A new tourism station is proposed to sit across the second widest canal. The station, a giant linear structure is in charge of transportation, custom and shopping malls, which makes Belle Isle legible as a free zone for the residents in Winsor, Canada.


03 Breathing Space: Housing for Migrant Workers in Shanghai | Winter 2014 *with Mark Knutson and Yao Yao The housing aims to accommodate large amount of migrant workers in Shanghai. In this way, the unit planning and construction methods deployed are intended to be simple, universal and adaptable; considered specifically for the unique social and economic context of Chinese worker housing. Followed the concept of creating "breathing space" for migrant worker the project divests the individual dwellings of nonessential private space and personal amenities, and larger community oriented facilities are able to be developed, occurring as voids at the intersections of the dense housing program. These spaces provide essential program elements to the project as a whole: Laundry facilities, dining halls, classrooms and gathering spaces serve to anchor the community at its knuckles.

*The design is a group work by three persons, each one equally contributing to the concept and schematics, modeling and visualizations.


A 3.6-meter bay is used to compose the dormitory unit types. Such modular development allows for the maximum usage of space and also the adaptions. By developing these different types of housing units, workers have options to find the most suitable unit for themselves. For example, single bay can accommodate young couples that come to city together and work in the factory. Double bays can accommodate twogeneration families with soft partitions within the units. Three or four bays accommodate more young men or women together. Each unit has the enough toilets which are vital in improving the quality of migrant workers' life. The units are aligned to form a single loaded bar with the hallway outdoor. The bars are interconnected by the "knuckles" in between. The knuckles contain the communal programs and circulations, like laundry, library, cafeteria and public kitchen.



04 In-between: Architecture of Blackness | Fall 2014 The Pavilion explores the in-between transitional space to play out a space of confusion in terms of time and location. The pavilion consists of the solid and the void sapce. The solid space are the rotating systems that operate at different speed and the circulation is constantly changing. The void, the seasonal gaeden are connected by these rotating systems. In the pavilion exists no invariability.


New construction as solid attached to the existing History Museum



New construction as void attached to the existing History Museum

NEW construction performs the other way compared to the existing solid History Museum

Ten Photos Love themed and chronologically organized

05 The Museum of Mist: A Museum Design for a Photographer Starting from the idea of "Walking in the mist",the museum of mist is to obscure the boundaries between the existing history museum and the museum, also as is less disturbing the natural landscape (especially the trees of years on site). This new museum exists differently together with the existing history museum: the new& the old, the big& the small, the solid & the transparent.



06 The Bridge of Cloud: Ungrounded Cinema of Wenyi Avenue To challenge the regualr type of cinemas, the idea starts from "Walking in the sky" by combining the mega tube structure with vertical circulation, the cinema and visitors are raised up, leaving the ground open for residents to gather and meet. Also, the cloud-like skin creates a new urban landscape and a fantastic experience of walking inside.




07 Life of Pi: the 10th Space Building Competition *with Qingsong Han, Yuping Yang, Xuran Yang, Fan Yang, Peishu Han, Han Liu, Yang Xiang Life of Pi was a tectonic practice on the relationship between human and nature. To depict a communal space shared by persons at all age, the project, as depicted by its name, wears a double-helix structure. Such structure coalesces the sections of multi-scale for kids, youth and the elderly, to gather and to meet. To achieve such structure , PVC pipes are the optimized material that are plastic enough to be bent and for each two to interconnect . With the threads going through these pipes, the site was less disturbed by such transparent structure. *The design is a group work by eight persons, each one equally contributing to the concept, schematics and construction.


Profile for Bin Zhang

Portfolio of Bin Zhang  

Portfolio of Bin Zhang