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Northeastern University School of Architecture Dialogue of Civilization. China 2010

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China 2010. Northeastern University

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China 2010

A Comparative Study of Contemporary Chinese and Western Models for Architecture, Urban Design, and Development

EDITOR Kyle Jonasen

FACULTY George Thrush Suzanne Ogden Ma Yuanxi Š2010 Northeastern University School of Architecture

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Š2010 Northeastern University School of Architecture CONTENT The work contained within this publication is drawn from the Spring 2010 Northeastern University School of Architecture Dialogue of Civilization course in China. FACULTY George Thrush, Suzanne Ogden, & Ma Yuanxi

STUDENTS Dan Adams Bryan Allen Dan Artiges Daniel Belknap Alex Brownell Drew Brydon Sam Clement Meghan Doran Dennis Greenwood Kyle Jonasen Diana Lattari Erica LeLievre

For additional copies: lulu.com/spotlight/nuarch China 2010. Northeastern University

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Contents Dialogue of Civilization Course at Northeastern University

6-9

Shanghai World Expo

90-95

Chineseness

10-29

China

96-97

Transportation Infrastructure

30-39

Chile

98-99

Street Types

40-55

Denmark

100-101

Courtyard Housing

56-71

Germany

102-103

Retail

72-81

Italy

104-105

Soho Communities

82-87

Republic of Korea

106-107

Mexico

108-109

Switzerland

110-111

United Kingdom

112-113

George Thrush

Bryan Allen, Drew Brydon, & Sam Clement

Dennis Greenwood & Diana Lattari

Dan Artiges & Kyle Jonasen

Meghan Doran & Erica Lelievre

Daniel Belknap & Alex Brownell

Dan Adams

George Thrush

Bryan Allen, Drew Brydon, & Sam Clement

Dan Adams

Bryan Allen & Sam Clement

Alex Brownell

Diana Lattari

Kyle Jonasen

Dan Belknap

Dan Artiges

Dennis Greenwood

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The Forbidden City as seen from Coal Hill, Beijing. China 2010. Northeastern University

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to balance the effects of so much construction and alteration of the surface of the planet with the many improvements to the lives of many Chinese, and to the financial and political strength of this nation– all on the fly. But they try. And it was to observe, discuss, analyze, and document a tiny part of this transformation that Northeastern University sent over twelve students and two faculty members to Beijing and Shanghai for 26 days in May, 2010. Suzanne Ogden, Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, and an expert on China, led the group. She has published four books on China since the dramatic market-oriented changes of 1978, and she has visited China nearly every other year since then. Her sense of the political, cultural, and economic evolution of the country over time was an invaluable resource for the students. In addition to Professor Ogden, Ma Yuanxi , a Chinese educator, helped the group navigate what is still an infinitely complex place. Her own background, having lived through the new nation’s founding and later the Cultural Revolution, provided a human context against which to better understand the enormity of change that China has undergone.

George Thrush

Dialogue of Civilization Course at Northeastern University

As all of the students were architecture students (current or former), the trip focused on the changes to the built environment. But in order to understand change, it is essential to get some understanding of what preceded the change, and that provided the perfect argument (excuse?) for combing both historical and contemporary design into a single agenda for the trip.

It is difficult to imagine anywhere on earth where mankind’s relationship to its environment is undergoing more change than in China today. Massive stress on water resources, unprecedented new housing construction, extensive new transportation networks, and a dramatically changing landscape of public expectation and demand all add up to a country like no other. The rapid urbanization of a country of 1.3 billion people is, by now, a welldocumented phenomenon, but nonetheless one whose ultimate consequences remain a mystery.

Beginning in Beijing, the group saw important traditional masterpieces like the Summer Palace, The Forbidden City, The Lama Temple, The Bell and Drum Towers, and many others. But they also met with important Chinese and Chinese-American firms like Urbanus, MAD Architects, and Yu Kongjian of Turenscape. They were able to visualize the massive scale of the city’s transformation at the Museum of Planning, where the translucent,

Architects, designers, planners, landscape architects, as well as bankers and public officials, are all trying to manage this “massive change.” On the one hand, it is impossible. It is impossible

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ditional interesting architects. Students met with Ben Wood and saw his wildly successful– and controversial– Xiantandi district, that has served as a model for so many other places that want to tie their historical character to retail and economic development. They also met with western firms like Gensler, which is designing the latest (and second tallest in the world) new building in Pudong, a 2,073 foot tall tower to sit astride the existing behemoths designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, and Kohn Pedersen Fox. They also looked at work in the offices of Zerolab Architects, SURV, Urbanmatics, and Cannon Design– and established contacts with principals in each office! All of this was woven in with two days at the World Expo (more on that in the second section of the book), and a visit the historic district city of Hangzhou.

Plexiglas model of the living city was at least fifty feet square, and one could walk over large parts of it. If one were ever to get the sense of understanding the city as a singular entity, this is where one would do it. They visited Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV, Herzog & DeMeuron’s Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium, and they attended the official opening of Steven Holl’s “Linked Hybrid” project. After leaving Beijing, the group moved on to Shanghai, a very different city. This much younger place is also much more cosmopolitan. Here the pace of change seemed, if anything, even faster. The transformation of the area known as Pudong, from a rice paddy to a potential rival for Hong Kong in less than 20 years is almost unimaginable. And Shanghai is also home to ad-

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But the students’ experience of China needed to go beyond that of the tourist, so they embarked on a comparative analysis of different aspects of the built environment in China, and the results of their work are what you will find in the small book. It represents an attempt to learn more about China by understanding it in the context of what one already knows. So, you will find comparative analysis of courtyard houses, urban street types, transportation networks, branded mixed-use development, and retail. In each of these categories, you will see students trying to identify specific ways in which these different design elements were distinct from their western (or U.S.) counterparts, and also ways in which they were similar. This kind of close inspection is beneficial in its own right, but also leads, I think, to more attentive observation in general. When students know that they need to frame an argument, they are constantly seeking evidence. The final object of study in this process is the one you’ll find in the first section of this book. Three students opted not to study a particular type, but rather to focus on the larger question of identity. What choices that architects make say the most about China’s sense of itself today? It sounds like a daunting question, but the students simply called their subject, “Chineseness.” How, they wondered, do architects express the important quality of national, or cultural, identity in the work? The results of both their observations and their approach, are fascinating, and leave us with a sense that the battle between modernity and tradition is far from over. Please enjoy these brief observations about a giant country. This was the first visit by Northeastern architecture students, but it will surely not be the last. George Thrush, FAIA Professor and Director, School of Architecture

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The Jin Mao Tower (SOM) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (KPF) seen towering aboe the Yu Garden district, Shanghai.


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CHINESENESS

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INSTANT REINVENTION

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

CHINESE ARCHITECTURAL IDENTITY IN BEIJING AND SHANGHAI

As China moves into a new, modern era and grows into it’s market-driven economy, its architects must consider the relevance of their buildings to their history and culture. At the same time, the country is struggling to define its role in a fast moving ‘global village’, and does not want to come across focused solely on its past. Caught between a rich past and a promising future, has China’s architectural identity changed, been lost, been found or even been reinvented?

To start, we created a chart of our predictions, based on early experiences and initial reactions to China. For this we have defined four building typologies to help distribute our case studies more evenly, which you see at the top of the chart (on the next opposite page).

Of the two cities we visited, Beijing is older, and more traditionally ‘Chinese’. We looked at seven case studies there, from it’s ancient city center to newly-opened periphery housing projects.

Before we begin these case studies, we also define more categories of investigation and suggest our anticipated trends relative to building typology.

We defined two genres of inherently Chinese architectural moves: Spatial Moves and Aesthetic Moves. We then singled out five examples from each genre to more specifically analyze our case studies. Ultimately, this research should help to develop a hypothesis.

We visited Shanghai second. Here we study four examples of architecture in China’s most ‘international’ city, both today and in it’s past.

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CATEGORIES

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

HOW WE COMPARE AND ANALYZE EACH CASE STUDY

The Chinese concepts that most Westerners think about actually came about during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Different elements of architecture have been split up into two sets: Aesthetic and Spatial. These have then been divided up into five separate categories that will be analyzed relative to specific sites.

Courtyard - The courtyard is one of the most important spatial elements within Chinese architecture. Courtyards create a space where it is possible to be outdoors, yet still within the security of the home. This organization also affected conventions in family life, and neighborhood relationships.

Symbols - Just like every other nation and culture, the Chinese have used many different symbols in their architecture. In China, Buddhist symbols and Chinese writing has adorned various parts of buildings since the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, for instance.

Circulation - While moving through a Qing Dynasty building, there is a highly controlled path through the structure. Occupants are guided through a specific series of spaces before they arrive at their final destination, and the journey there is very deliberate.

Motifs - While similar to symbols, motifs actually refer to larger parts of how Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture worked. This can refer to anything from the dragon forms adorning walls in temple buildings, to specific functions of parts of the building which often affect how the building will act as a whole.

Hierarchy - In the Confucian society of Qing China, everyone had their place. One of the many translations of this Confucian concept into Chinese architecture is the placement of a buildings private spaces at the very rear of the property, where guests would never reach. Axis - Typical Chinese buildings were oriented to cardinal directions, and featured a main axis. Old Beijing is centered around the Forbidden City for instance, which set up the North-South axis for the capital city and beyond.

Color - Ming and Qing Dynasties each used specific color schemes in their designs, however, they were often similar. They both used bold, even primary colors because that was what they could make at the time. Material - As with many other ancient cultures, stone was the material of choice when it came to designing buildings during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Wood was also used, often for some decoration, as well as for roof structures.

Form - Classically Chinese buildings have an immediately distinguishable silhouette often as the sum of the components we have listed here. Massing, for instance is often a product of the courtyard aggregation and hierarchal issues therein.

Roofing - During the Qing Dynasty, the Chinese were famous for their specific style of roofing. This roof system included ceramic tiles that would create a gutter like system, shooting rain off the edge of the roof and away from the building.

Opposite page: Early reactions/predictions and sample chart to be revisited once more information is collected.

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GOVERNMENT OR INSTITUTIONAL TYPES, TEMPLES

TM PL /H M

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AES T HE TI C

1. SYMBOLS 2. MOTIFS 3. COLOR 4. MATERIAL 5. ROOF

1. COURTYARD SPATI AL

MODERN HOUSING ESTATES, OFFICE BUILDINGS

CONTEMPORARY CELEBRATIVE BUILDINGS

BAS I C T Y P O LO G I E S

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LOW-LYING TEMPLES, FAMILY HOUSING TYPES

2. CIRCULATION 3. HIERARCHY 4. AXIS 5. FORM

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TH E F O R B ID D EN C ITY

AESTH ETIC

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

1 . SYM BOLS 2 . M OTIFS 3 . COLOR 4 . M ATERIAL 5 . ROOF

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5 . FORM

The For bidden Cit y is t he pa la c e c omplex in which t he M ing and Qing emper or s li ved dur ing t heir reigns. It is one o f t he olde s t examples o f Chine s e Imper ia l Archit e c t ure and is t here f ore t he epit ome o f cla s s ic a l Chine s e Archit e cure

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IJI

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SUMMER PAL AC E 1. SYMB OLS 2. MOTIFS 3. C OLOR 4. MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

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1. C OURTYAR D 2. C IR C ULATION 3. HIE R AR C HY 4. AXIS

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A s one o f t he la s t and mos t no t able examples o f Qing D yna s t y Archit e c t ure, t he pa la c e exemplif ies C hina’s po wer and a es t he t ic r ichnes s. The c omplex includes many lavis h buildings and a mar ble bo a t. B r ight c olor s and c ons t r uc t ional pol ychr ome domina t e t hr oughout.

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(BE

H U TO N G

AESTH ETIC

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

1 . SYM BOLS 2 . M OTIFS 3 . COLOR 4 . M ATERIAL 5 . ROOF

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M any old hut ong neighbor ho ods are undergoing gent r if ic a t ion. While t his is happening, t he neighbor ho ods are a ls o rega ining s ome o f t heir f or mer glor y. While t he s t r ong a xis rem a ins, t he r o o f s o f buildings are c oncre t e ins t e a d o f s t one t iles, and t he s t re e t s are o f t en clogged by m o t or vehicle s.

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IJI

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C O U RT YAR D HOUSES 1 . SYMB OLS 2 . MOTIFS 3 . C OLOR 4 . MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

NG

5 . R OOF

1 . C OURTYAR D 2 . C IR C ULATION 3 . HIE R AR C HY 4 . AXIS

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IJI

5 . FOR M

R e f ur bis hed c our t yard hous es are be c oming t he nor m in old B ei jing hut ongs. Their owner s are cle ar ing out t he c our t yards o f t he a ddit ions, and t r ying t o re cre a t e t he circula t ion pa t t er ns o f old. However, many are re s or t ing t o us ing che aper m a t er ia ls s uch a s c oncre t e in t he r o o f s ins t e ad o f t he t iles.

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S U MMARY

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CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

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China 2010. Northeastern University 20 IJI NG )


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BEIJING MDRN BLDG 1. SYMB OLS 2. MOTIFS 3. C OLOR 4. MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

NG

5. R OOF

1. C OURTYAR D 2. C IR C ULATION 3. HIE R AR C HY 4. AXIS

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5. FOR M

The s olut ion t o t he moder n building in B eijing s e ems t o be a c ombina t ion o f applied t r a di t ion or cre a t i ve moder n int er pre t a t ion o f t r adit ion. B o t h me t hods cre a t e a moder n building envir onment domina t ed by t r a di t ional a es t he t ics.

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S U MMARY

(BE


(BE

U RBAN IS: BAI YU N G UAN

AESTH ETIC

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

1 . SYM BOLS 2 . M OTIFS 3 . COLOR 4 . M ATERIAL 5 . ROOF

1 . COURTYAR D

S PAT I AL

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S U MMARY

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Fr aming t he Whit e Cloud Temple, Ur banis f o cus ed on s haping spa c e, and imbued t he c omplex wit h a s ens e o f pla c e by repe a t ing t he Ta ois t s y mbol o f t he o c t agon. The no t able t r ansparent f a c a de highlight s t he red spir i t w a ll a t t he t emple’s ent r anc e.

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IJI

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LINKED HYBRID 1. SYMB OLS 2. MOTIFS 3. C OLOR 4. MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

NG

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5. FOR M

B ey ond t he r igid int er na t ional a e s t he t ics, t his c omplex o f buildings re c alls t he t r adit ional c our t y ar d hous e, c onne c t ed by a s inuous br idge s y s t em ar ound a c ent r a l la k e. This br idge s y s t em a long w i t h t he f or m and height o f e a ch building es t ablish a subt le hier ar chy t ha t dis t inguishes per m anent re s idenc e f r om ho t el and re cre a t ional pr ogr am s imilar t o t he f a mily hier archy o f t he t r a di t ional c our t yard hous e. 23

S UMM ARY

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SH AN GH AI TRAD ITIO NAL

AESTH ETIC

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

1 . SYM BOLS 2 . M OTIFS 3 . COLOR 4 . M ATERIAL 5 . ROOF

1 . COURTYAR D

S PAT I AL

2 . CIRCULATIO N 3 . HIE RARCH Y 4 . AXIS

S U MMARY

5 . FORM

For Shangha i chine s ene s s do e s no t ent er int o t he c onver s a t ion be c aus e it is a cit y r o o t ed in wes t er n t r a dit ion. The archit e c t ure o f t he Int er na t iona l Se t t lement is impor t ed f r om t he wes t er n t r adit ion o f Br it a in and Fr anc e a s s e en in t he s e im age s t a ken along t he Bund.

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S H AN G H AI MODERN 1. SYMB OLS 2. MOTIFS 3. C OLOR 4. MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

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Wi t h a his t or y o f wes t er n inf luenc e and t r adit ional wes t er n ar chi t e c t ure, Shanghai’s moder n ident i t y is de void o f any C hines e ident i t y. The s t re amline gla s s f a c a de s de f ine an archit e c t ure pa la t e t ha t c ould ident if y wit h any ci t y in t he wor ld. This m oder n language o f archit e c t ure dis t inguis he s Shanghai a s a t r uly int er na t ional ci t y.

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YU G AR D EN

AESTH ETIC

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

1 . SYM BOLS 2 . M OTIFS 3 . COLOR 4 . M ATERIAL 5 . ROOF

1 . COURTYAR D

S PAT I AL

2 . CIRCULATIO N 3 . HIE RARCH Y 4 . AXIS

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Slight ly dif f erent in appe ar anc e f r om t he t r adit iona l ar chit e c t ure o f Beijing t he Yu Gar den is a gre a t example o f Suzhou t r adit ional s t y le o f ar chit e c t ure. This is t he language f r om which t he ar chit e c t ure o f t he region is der i ved ho we ver in t he c os m opolit an cit y o f Shangha i t he s t yle s e em s lik e jus t ano t her impor t alt hough it preda t e s a ll f oreign development.

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CHINESE PAV I L I O N 1. SYMB OLS 2. MOTIFS 3. C OLOR 4. MATE R IAL

AESTH ETIC

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I n t he c ont ex t o f t he Wor ld E xpo t his pavilion is unmis t a k ably t he C hine s e Pavilion. As shown t hr ough our res e arch C hina, f or t he s a k e o f na t ional pr ide, made a c ons cious e f f or t t o pres er ve a cul t ur a l ident it y wit hin it s ar chi t e c t ure. The pavilion is a ver y s uc c e s s f ul moder n example o f t his e f f or t.

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CONCLUSION

CHINESENESS BRYAN ALLEN, DREW BRYDON & SAM CLEMENT

How has ‘Chineseness’ changed, will it change it again?

We also visited Urbanis’ Bai Yung Uan project. Here, preservation attempts to ‘frame’ a relic of antiquity. The firm went about researching and absorbing translatable components, notably symbols, into a more ‘international’ style. Hui Wang, a partner at the firm, expresses his desire to relate to ancient ideals and accomplishment without creating a caricature of the past. Other architects have pointed out the project’s inability to adapt to typical Chinese modes of retail, potentially due to an over abstraction of form or an overwhelming desire to relate the project more to western modes of shopping and leisure.

We realize now that there are many issues China must consider regarding history and ‘Chineseness.’ Looking back at out typologies, we have begun to understand the changing circumstances informing China’s identity and interest therein. Small, effectively single-family homes, (such as Beijing’s Hutongs) often exhibited ‘Chineseness’ via their culture at the time. Their roofs and spatial organization, for instance, are genuine externalities of building technologies and social norms of the era. To the same extent, there was often little effort to ‘go out of the way’ to exhibit ‘Chineseness’ in places where it was not useful.

In many cases, arguments against projects might just as easily be championing them. Amidst roaring currents of change, ‘Chineseness’ seems to become a question of intention. Does China want to be Chinese? Is becoming more ‘international’ actually the most Chinese thing to do? What is best for China seems to be the ‘right’ choice, but no one seems to know what that is, at least not yet.

At the same time, huge monuments to raw ‘Chineseness’ were being built, sparing no expense in their desire to ‘Be Chinese’. The Forbidden City for instance, successfully imparts the power and refinement of Chinese culture. At times these monuments would even mimic typical modes of living, (such as the faux ‘shopping district’ in the Summer Palace) to reassert Chinese ideals. Here architectural outcroppings of ‘Chineseness’ are pervasive.

Our research would suggest that ‘Chineseness,’ as we understand it, is slowly, somewhat dissolving. Some aspects linger in recent building. Some have all but completely disappeared. We do just begin to see, however, some desire to at least acknowledge ‘Chineseness.’

Today, often directly adjacent to these ancient buildings, we find huge tracts of land which are developed into high-rise office and apartment buildings. It would appear that sentiment has wavered over time, making it hard to determine who values what, and for what reason. Some buildings exhibit some inherently Chinese imagery and spatial signatures, but it is by no means everywhere.

For the most part the ‘spatial moves’ seem to have been lost, probably due to changes in lifestyle. People no longer live in processional courtyard houses with spirit walls and their grandparents. On the other hand, China seems to have a conflicted relationship with it’s ‘aesthetic moves’. Sometimes, such as in the new Expo Pavilion, symbols adorn modern forms. In Beijing, traditional roofs often cap the tops of office buildings.

And of course there are exuberant ‘celebrity’ buildings scattered throughout each city. Sentiments waver here as well. Whether or not architects acknowledge and engage China’s rich history is very much an issue architects deal with today.

Is this a weight they bear or a crown they gladly support? Without a real perspective, without a truly personal understanding of their history’s pride and pain, maybe we’ll never quite understand.

We visited, for instance, Shanghai’s Xintiandi - a prime example of one sort of preservation. Surv’s Alex Moh was shocked and offended by the ‘micky-mouseness’ of the development. Many others point to Xintiandi’s success and arguably useful preservation of both space and lifestyle.

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SPATIAL

AE S T H E T I C

BEIJING

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5. ROOF

1. COURTYARD

2. CIRCULATION

3. HIERARCHY

4. AXIS

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TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

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ousing

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE Transportation infrastructure is the key to any successful major city. Understanding how people move and what modes they use to get around is crucial to weaving infrastructure into the urban fabric. In comparing examples of this infrastructure from China to the United States, we focused on the major hubs where multiple modes of transportation come together. We analyzed routes taken by subways/trains, cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. In both Beijing and Boston, we noted that the infrastructure works in two ways. It provides means of separation between the methods of movement, allowing each to function independently from one another without BUS TERMINAL interference. The infrastructure also then brings these modes together at certain points, displayed in a collaboration of coordinated chaos. These points are the hubs we focused our BUS TERMINAL analysis on. We studied how the flow of people in and around these areas shape the spaces. Additionally, we looked at how the infrastructure has influenced the surrounding urbanism or has had consequences on surrounding development.

Xizhimen and Dongzhimen Stations in Beijing, China (above) South Station in Boston, Massachusetts (below)

PUBLIC TRANSPORT vs DEVELOPMENT

LOCAL BUS Local Bus

Our conclusions are summed up in the chart to the right. South Station, our US example, serves exclusively as a transportation hub. In contrast, Xizhimen and Dongzhimen Stations in Beijing incorporate additional development. This makes the hub a destination as opposed to merely a transition. The result is an area that has a steady occupancy throughout the day, as opposed to the commuter-based fluctuations of South Station. The additional development also increases the value of the construction investment as the commercial spaces can be leased or sold. streettypes

China 2010. Northeastern University

Long Distance L. DISTANCE BUS Bus

SUBWAY

Subway

L. DISTANCE TRAIN Long Distance Train SHOPPING CENTER Shopping Center COMMERCIAL CommercialOFFICES Offices RESIDENTIAL Residential

inf rastru cture

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Public Transport VS Development XXi

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE DENNIS GREENWOOD & DIANA LATTARI

CHINA VS US


Beijing, China

SUBWAY lines run underground directly below major vehicular roads. CAR lanes are separated by low fences. BUS routes occupy the far right lane of roads for efficient travel. BICYCLE paths are isolated by permeable barriers or elevation changes. PEDESTRIAN walkways bridge over traffic or tunnel under streets.

PEDESTRIAN

BICYCLE

BUS

CAR

SUBWAY

Modes of Transportation Methods of Separation

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PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS


XIZHIMEN STATION TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE DENNIS GREENWOOD & DIANA LATTARI

CHINESE EXAMPLE

above ground

Xizhimen Station serves as a terminal for subway Line 2 and Line 4 and the western terminus for Line 13. As one of the Line 2 stops, it is located along Beijing’s Second Ring Road. Xizhimen Station is positioned next to the Beijing North Railway Station, one of the three intercity train stations in Beijing, making it a large transportation hub and travel destination. The trains from Beijing North primarily run to destinations in Northern China and Inner Mongolia. Additionally, bicycle lanes and local bus routes are woven into the infrastructure of this hub, creating a chaotic but organized point of convergence for all of the modes of public transit. The station building located on top of the subway terminals speaks to the elaborate collaborative event that occurs at this hub. Subway Line 13 is raised above the ground and actually penetrates through a neighboring office building. Three parabolic structures arch over entrances into the infrastructure web that is below. Covered queue lines filter people in from one mode of transport to another and open public waiting areas are vehicle prohibited. Similar to other Beijing station examples, Xizhimen Station does not serve exclusively as a transportation hub. The buildings above the station house a shopping mall and commercial office space. The subway leads directly to the first floor of the mall, a move that capitalizes on the value of available public transportation. Furthermore, the additional development makes Xizhimen Station a destination as well as a transit hub.

China 2010. Northeastern University

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underground

starting point

ending point


Shopping Mall Line 2 (Subway) Offices Line 13 (Subway) Beijing North Rail Station Line 4 (Subway)

Clockwise from above: Exterior of Xizhimen Station; Site section through the station, transportation infrastructure, and development; Shopping mall above infrastructure; The neighboring building accommodates the path of the subway line; Shape of spaces is influenced by the movement of people.

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DONGZHIMEN STATION TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE DENNIS GREENWOOD & DIANA LATTARI

CHINESE EXAMPLE

above ground

Dongzhimen Station, named after a gate of the old city wall, is one of the largest transportation hubs in Beijing. It includes a terminal for the subway Lines 2 and 13 and an airport express line, as well as local and long distance buses. The hub includes the eastern terminus of subway Line 13, which runs to the north of the city center. Subway Line 2 follows Beijing’s Second Ring Road, encircling the center of the city and placing Dongzhimen along one of Beijing’s most trafficked streets. The building that marks this destination includes a variety of uses. To accommodate this infrastructure, the modes of transport are kept underground (the subway and airport lines) or at ground level (local and long distance bus routes). Therefore, the program of the building is raised above the ground to the upper floors. This allows visitors and those traveling to have as little interference as possible, only interacting with each other in the public gathering zones outside of the building. As is the case with most of Beijing, bicycle lanes and local bus routes also serve the area. Typical of China’s transportation hubs (as seen at Xizhimen Station), Dongzhimen includes additional development to capitalize on the land value and public transit. Offices above the bus terminal are utilized by transportation related entities as well as unaffiliated organizations. There is also a pedestrian connection to a shopping center, above which is residential development. This creates an established destination at the transportation hub and makes the area occupied throughout the entire day.

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underground

starting point

ending point


Residential Shopping Mall Line 13 (Subway) and Airport Express Line 2 (Subway) Offices Bus Terminal

Clockwise from above: Exterior of Dongzhimen Station; Site section through the station, transportation infrastructure, and commercial development; Shopping mall above infrastructure; Building is raised above ground to accommodate transportation; Shape of spaces is influenced by the movement of people.

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SOUTH STATION TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE DENNIS GREENWOOD & DIANA LATTARI

US EXAMPLE

above ground

South Station is the primary transportation hub in Boston, Massachusetts. It is located at a busy intersection in the Financial District of the city along the Fort Point Channel. Originally built in 1899, the hub has now become the largest transportation center in New England (next to Logan Airport, also located in Boston). South Station includes a subway terminal (Red Line), airport shuttles (Silver Line), and commuter rail lines. It is also a station stop for local and long distance bus routes. As Boston’s primary transportation hub, the station plays an integral role in the city’s urban fabric, acting as the main destination and point of departure for all of the accommodating modes of transportation. To best serve the city, all of these modes can be accessed in the station building that serves an an important city landmark. With the subway and airport shuttles running underground, the bus terminal is elevated above the commuter rail lines in a facility that also includes parking and connects directly to highways I-93 and I-90 MassPike. Unlike the Beijing transportation hubs, South Station is not typically used as a destination, as the majority of visitors use the hub merely in transition between modes of transport. Only transportation related facilities are located on site, including offices, ticket sales, waiting areas, and a food court. The Financial District stands as the only major destination at the station itself, creating a very commuter based traffic pattern in which the area is nearly unoccupied during the hours of the standard business day.

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underground

starting point

ending point


Bus Terminal Station Red Line (Subway) Silver Line (Subway)

Clockwise from above: Exterior of South Station; Site section through the station and transportation infrastructure; Open waiting areas above infrastructure; Building is designed to accommodate multiple modes of transportation; Shape of spaces is influenced by the movement of people.

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China 2010. Northeastern University

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STREET TYPES

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STREET TYPES STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORMS

In order to compare the streets of major cities in the US to those of Beijing and Shanghai, we considerd the following street types: alleyways, the suburban side street, pedestrian oriented retail streets, major avenues within a city, state highways, and interstate highways. When comparing these street types to those in China, it is important to consider dimension, adjacent program, and location within the city.

1 Alley

Streets in the US and China have different names but share many characteristics. The key differences lie in the space between the street and the buildings and the program of those buildings. Sidewalks in the US are used a means for pedestrians to safely travel from one destination to another. In China, sidewalks are used not only for transportation, but also for commerce and dining, a spectacle uncommon on American roadsides.

2 Side Street

3 Retail Street

Another reason for the discrepancy between Chinese and American street types is zoning. Zoning in the US is often very specific, resulting in neighborhoods with uniform building programs and typologies. China lacks this rigid zoning resulting in city blocks with mixed building programs and typologies such as the layers of retail and residential found on all but the largest street type.

4 Major Avenue

5 State Highway

6 Interstate Highway China 2010. Northeastern University

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STREET TYPES CHINESE EXAMPLES

During our studies in China, we noticed six distinct street types. They are, from smallest to largest: alleys, hutong streets, pedestrian dominated retail streets, side streets, major north/south roads, and “ring roads.� 1 Alley

In general, the streets themselves bear close resemblance to streets in the US. There is, however, a great deal of variation in the space between the street edge and building front in the US and in China. The dimension of this zone varies greatly in China from what we in the US would consider a standard sidewalk width to widths large enough to support portable outdoor dining and street merchants. The differing sidewalk widths say a lot about how the Chinese use their roads and walkways.

2 Hutong Street

3 Retail Street

The amount of bicycle traffic in China also plays a large role in defining street types. There is much more bicycle traffic in China than in the US, resulting in bike lanes that are as wide as a standard traffic lane.

4 Side Street

In the US, we are used to streets being reserved for automobiles and bicycles, sidewalks for pedestrians, and buildings for commerce and dining. In China, much of the dining and retail that takes place indoors spills out onto generously dimensioned sidewalks creating a much more interactive streetscape than is typically found in the US.

5 Major North/South Street

6 Ring Road 43


ALLEYWAYS STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

Alleyways in the US are characterized by their small size and utilitarian function as an area of storage. American buildings adjacent to alleyways typically have back entrances that open onto the alleys for easy access to the storage of automobiles and trash. In some settings, the alley can take on a more social role, being a place of public gathering. In either case, whether used for storage or social gathering, the primary function of the American alley is not to facilitate vehicular transport.

detailed section of an American alley China 2010. Northeastern University

an alley in Boston’s North End 44


ALLEYWAYS CHINESE EXAMPLES

Alleyways in China share a similar function to their counterparts in the US. Alleys in both countries serve as areas of storage with adjacent secondary building entrances. One importance difference between Chinese and American Alleys is that Chinese alleys are not always adjacent to building entrances. The smallest of Chinese alleys are walled on two sides, transforming them into narrow canyons for vehicular storage.

two alleys from hutongs in Beijing

detailed section of a Chinese alley 45


SIDE STREET STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

The side street is the second smallest street type in the US. Side streets, which exist in both one-way and two-way traffic variations, are characterized by light traffic. Fewer traffic lights are used on side streets than on larger roads in exchange for more stop signs. Side streets exist between major avenues as well as in residential neighborhoods. Because side streets exist in many settings, adjacent program includes commercial and residential uses. The sidewalk along side streets is used solely as a zone of transportation and is often lined with trees or grass.

detailed section of an American side street China 2010. Northeastern University

two examples of side streets in Boston’s South End 46


HUTONG STREET CHINESE EXAMPLES

While the Chinese hutong street is not an exact counterpart to the American side street, both street types are similar in scale of street and sidewalk. The sidewalk zone on hutong streets lacks the definition found in the sidewalks of American side streets. Instead of a curb, rows of trees create a barrier between the pedestrian and vehicular zones of the street. Program along hutong streets consists of retail, dining, and residential.

hutong streets in Beijing: sidewalks are not clearly defined.

detailed section of a hutong street 47


PEDESTRIAN ORIENTED RETAIL STREET STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

Within every major US city, there is sure to be at least one pedestrian oriented retail street. The pedestrian oriented retail street is characterized by the small, often boutique style shops along the sides of the road. As a result of the heavy pedestrian activity, vehicular traffic is kept at a safe, slow pace. Parking on these retail streets is limited to the roadside, and spaces fill up quickly.

detailed section of a pedestrian oriented retail street China 2010. Northeastern University

Boston’s Downtown Crossing, a popular shopping destination 48


PEDESTRIAN DOMINATED RETAIL STREET CHINESE EXAMPLES

The Chinese version of the retail street shares the same principles as the American version; small shops line both sides of a pedestrian oriented street. Unlike in the US, however, the Chinese retail street does not allow automobiles. Instead, bicycles and rickshaws are the only alternative to walking on the retail streets.

entrance to Beijing’s Qianmen street

outside of Shanghai’s Yu Garden shopping district. no cars are allowed inside.

detailed section of a pedestrian dominated retail street 49


MAJOR AVENUE STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

those on interstate highways but still high enough to make major avenues a faster option than smaller street types that have less traffic.

Major avenues in the US contain the heaviest amounts of traffic within a city. Major avenues are the quickest form of transportation within a city whereas state and interstate highways are the quickest from of transportation outside of cities.

A variety of building programs reside adjacent to major avenues. It is common for the ground floors of buildings on major avenues to be used for commercial purposes while the floors above are used as residential or office space.

In order to provide pedestrian safe cities, the speed on major avenues is slowed by speed limits and traffic lights. The speed limits imposed on major avenues are much lower than

detailed section of an American major avenue China 2010. Northeastern University

Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA 50


SIDE STREET CHINESE EXAMPLES

Chinese side streets are not as large nor do they accommodate as much traffic as major avenues in the US. Chinese side streets coexist with and occupy the tier below major north/south running streets in terms of size and traffic capacity. While the ground floor program of buildings adjacent to Chinese side streets is similar to that of buildings alone American avenues, the scale of buildings directly along Chinese side streets is comparably small. In China large office and residential buildings are located along the major north/south roads.

two side streets in Beijing

detailed section of a Chinese side street 51


STATE HIGHWAY STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

State highways in the US serve as a means of rapid transportation between two destinations. They are similar to American interstate highways with two important distinctions. State highways often have fewer lanes than interstate roads meaning they carry less traffic. Because they carry less traffic and are smaller than interstate roads, state highway can exist within cities.

Route 9 in Massachusetts

detailed section of an American State Highway China 2010. Northeastern University

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MAJOR N/S STREET CHINESE EXAMPLES

Major north/south running streets in China are similar in scale to American interstates but the pace of traffic is more consistent with the American avenue. The north/south roads are up to eight lanes wide. Additionally, bike lanes the size of a single lane of traffic line each side. Because of their large scale and location within the city center, pedestrian bridges and tunnels are built to give pedestrians a safe place to cross the north/south roads. Another feature that sets Chinese north/south roads apart from any street type in the US is the large sidewalks adjacent to them. The enormous sidewalk space allows space for subway entrances, bicycle parking, street vendors, and even outdoor dining.

Zhongguancun Road in Beijing as seen from a pedestrian bridge

detailed section of Zhongguancun Road, Beijing 53


INTERSTATE HIGHWAY STREET TYPES DAN ARTIGES & KYLE JONASEN

US NORM

Interstate highways are the largest from of road in the US. They serve as a convenient means to travel from one destination to another at the highest possible speed with the fewest possible stops. Because of the high speed of travel, there is little desire for buildings to be built directly next to interstate roads. A buffer zone between the road and any buildings is needed to keep out the noise and danger presented by fast moving vehicles. Because of their size, ability to support heavy traffic, and high levels of noise and danger, interstate highways are not found within the heart of large cities. Instead, they connect large cities with one another and their surrounding suburbs.

I-287 in New Jersey

detailed section of an interstate highway China 2010. Northeastern University

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RING ROAD CHINESE EXAMPLES

The ring roads of Beijing are analogous to American interstate roads. The ring roads are the largest of Beijing’s street types and allow large amounts of traffic to traverse the city at high speeds. As in the US, ring roads are used only for transportation. No retail, dining, or residential line the ring roads. As their name suggests, Beijing’s ring roads form concentric rings around the city. The system of rings creates an efficient mode of transportation from the city center all the way to the outskirts of the city.

a ring road in Beijing

detailed section of a ring road 55


China 2010. Northeastern University

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COURTYARD HOUSING

(BIG IMAGE HERE)

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COURTYARD HOUSING COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

SPATIAL, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL ELEMENTS

The courtyard house is also known as a Siheyuan in Chinese which literally translates into “courtyard surounded by four buildings.� This building type is most famously found in Beijing residences, but the pattern can also be found in temples, monasteries, and government buildings. The design of the typical courtyard house reflect a series of spatial, social, and cultural values.

INWARD PLANNING

Courtyard houses face inward toward the center courtyard which may also hold a garden. It is along these interior facades where all the windows occur and the natural light is allowed into the house. The exterior of the house very rarely has windows facing the street, which allows the interior to become a garden closed off to the outside world.

SPIRIT WALL & ENTRANCE

The entrance to the courtyard house is located in the southeast corner. When entering the house one has to step over a raised wooden threshold held up by stone which serves to raise the door off the ground to prevent rot. This raised threshold also has a cultural significance for the Chinese as the physical barrier between the home and the outside world. The Chinese people believe that it is there to be crossed over, but not tread on. Directly on axis with this entrance would be a spirit wall or a screen wall called the yi bi. This spirit wall is a device used to give the inhabitants privacy, but also to protect the house from evil spirits. China 2010. Northeastern University

inward planning 58

spirit wall and entrance


4

N

BUILDING HIERARCHY four buildings follow a strict hierarchy depending on their NNThe location in the complex. The north building which faces south,

or the zheng-fang, is the most important building in the complex and would house the eldest member of the family and sometimes a shrine. This building would also house the main living space. The buildings to the east and west, or the xiang-fang are typically used to house the sons and his families. The building that sits on the south side and faces north is called the doa-zuo-fang which literally translates to the opposite house, and receives the least amount of light. This building would have housed the servants and the kitchen spaces for the complex. The backside building, located behind the north house is called the hou-zuo-fang and was traditionally used to house the unmarried daughters. This building was the only one on the complex that was allowed to be two-stories tall and housed the daughters because they were not allowed direct exposure to the public.

1 2

2 3

building hierarchy

COURTYARD CONFIGURATION HIERARCHY

axial planning

Some wealthy families had multiple courtyards to house their extended families, there are multiple configurations where the courtyards serve different functions. In some, the front courtyard serves as the main living space and the back courtyard is a servant space. In others the front courtyard becomes a transition space from the outdoors, and the back courtyard becomes the main living space.

AXIAL PLANNING

The siheyuan consists of four buildings that followed a north, south, east, west configuration. This axial plan was an organized method that gave the Chinese home a sense of order and balance. courtyard configuration hierarchy 59


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COURTYARD HOUSING COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

CHINA: MAO DUN TRADITIONAL HOME

Mao Dun also known as Shen Dehong spent the last 8 years of his Life living in a courtyard house in Beijing. This courtyard house is in typical Chinese style, and still today has all of the spatial, social, and cultural elements that are included in the courtyard houses of Beijing. 4

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inward planning 44

spirit wall

Mao Dun’s home has two courtyards. The front courtyard is the larger of the two and was used as the central courtyard and living space for the family. This courtyard is designed in the typical fashion with a garden with two cypress trees that “guard over the peacefulness of the house.”

building hierarchy

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axial3planning

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courtyard configuration

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The smaller rear courtyard would have been used by the servants or daughters of the house, so as to be kept out of the public eye.


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centrally and axially planned courtyard house with four inward and garden facing main buildings

1 2

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spirit wall and south east corner entrance

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eastern facing building looking into the courtyard


In the traditional Chinese courtyard houses the interior space becomes a void in which the inhabitants can occupy. This space in most cases becomes a garden and central living and gathering space.

COURTYARD HOUSING

COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

US: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S USONIAN HOUSES

Throughout his career Frank Lloyd Wright built hundreds of homes in his famous usonian style. While it is believed that most of his inspiration is taken from the Japanese, similarities can also be seen with the Chinese courtyard style of housing. These similiarities can be seen in the creation of the central core, exterior looking gardens, and the pinwheel axiality.

4 1 2

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In Frank Lloyd Wright’s house he almost completely inverts this relationship where the house becomes an outward looking building. The central void of the courtyard house becomes the solid fireplace core of the usonian house. In both cases, this void or solid becomes the central gathering space for the family. Also, the usonian houses are typically surrounded by gardens and greenery, so while the courtyard house looks in to a garden, the usonian house looks out to a garden.

In the traditional Chinese courtyard houses the four main buildings are placed in an axial pattern surrounding the courtyard to focus the attention to the interior garden.

4 1 2

Frank Lloyd Wright also uses an axial pattern in his usonian houses, but in a pinwheel design so as to focus the attention outward to the exterior gardens.

2 3

China 2010. Northeastern University

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solid fireplace core as center of living space

outward looking gardens

pinwheel axiality and outward looking gardens

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pinwheel axiality


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COURTYARD HOUSING

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COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

CHINA: SANLITUN VILLAGE & THE OPPOSITE HOUSE HOTEL

Tokyo based architect Kengo Kuma and an international team of architects designed the Saniltun Village to be a place where people can gather to drink, eat, and shop. The village is a compilation of 19 individual buildings that work together to create a modern complex that comments on the typical Beijing courtyard type.

3

4

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The Village follows the typical axial orientation of the traditional courtyard houses with four main buildings. These buildings come together and create an inner space that is used for multiple functions. However, unlike the traditional Beijing courtyard house the Sanlitun Village also looks outward towards the city.

4

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The Opposite House

1 3

2

4

The four main buildings in the Village are appropriately named the North Tower, East Tower, West Tower, and the Opposite House. The name of the Opposite House comes directly from the traditional Beijing courtyard house. Traditionally the southern building in the complex was used to house guests and sits directly opposite the main building. In the Sanlitun Village the Opposite House is the south building and serves as a hotel. 65


COURTYARD HOUSING COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

CHINA: HUTONG BUBBLE

The Hutong Bubble was created by MAD Architects during the renovation of a traditional courtyard house into a wine shop. The actual bubble is a sculptural object in the northeast corner of the courtyard . A bathroom and stair to an upper deck are concealed within the bubble, helping to keep the courtyard unobstructed. The architects thought of this project as the prototype for future bubbles across Beijing. The use if the bubble is an example of how to reuse existing structures and update their program while keeping the integrity of the urban fabric intact. N

4 1 2

The bubble replaces the traditional spirit wall in the entry of the courtyard. The traditional wall was an opaque object that blocked the visitor’s view of the interior giving the occupants more privacy. The mirrored surface of the bubble reflects the space of the interior courtyard allowing the visitor to see inside. The new function of the spirit wall is fitting for a business that wants to draw people inside.

3 China 2010. Northeastern University

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4 1 2

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The glass wall of the wine room is juxtaposed against the more tangible northern wall across the courtyard helping draw in patrons. N bubble standout The glass wall and reflective against the more traditional elements elsewhere in the courtyard establishing the wine room as the most important space. glass wall of the main wine shop blurs in the interior and exterior

The stair inside the bubble leads to a deck on the roof of the wine shop, expanding on the use of the building and increasing the area of usable space for patrons. The creation of the deck follows the hierarchy of the courtyard system by adding to the succession of exterior gathering spaces. the bubble gives access to the deck above the wine shop

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ENTRANCE

COURTYARD HOUSING COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

CHINA: STEVEN HOLL - LINKED HYBRID

Designed by Steven Holl, Linked Hybrid is a group of residential towers connected by a series of bridges. In reality the bridges are a single, publicly accessible elevated pedestrian tube that creates a continuous link through all of the towers. The tube serves as a community 4space for residents to gather featuring a range of amenities, creating a neighborhood within the highrise tower . Although the 1 tower forms are a modern urban housing typology, the project evokes some of the strategies inherent in Chinese courtyard housing. 2 2

3

Unlike a traditional courtyard house the Linked Hybrid does not have a single entrance. On the ground the space between the towers creates a permeability not found in traditional scheme. The porous ground floor makes having a single entry point difficult. However, the overall site plan and program of the towers helps denote the more significant entrance. Located on the northeast corner of the site, the entrance is marked by the only break in the loop of towers. The traditional spirit wall is replaced by the hotel tower. As in the traditional home, the view into the courtyard is obstructed to give the residents more privacy and help script the path of the visitor.

spirit wall and entrance China 2010. Northeastern University

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COURTYARD CONFIGURATION HIERARCHY

1

INWARD PLANNING

4 1 2

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2 2 The traditional courtyard house the is completely internalized with the focus on the courtyard and no windows on the 3 facing the street. Despite the modernity of the towers and windows on all sides, the focus is still on the courtyard. The towers encircle a landscape feature also found in a traditional home. The center space is programmed with a theater for residents and a projection screen on its exterior to create another focal point in the center. To further the inward focus, portions of the pedestrian tube only look into the courtyard.

The exterior space encompassed by the towers can be broken down into two zones or courtyards. The first is on the east side of the site, adjacent to the entry and hotel/ spirit wall. This area becomes the transition zone between public street and the private social space, functioning in the same way as a courtyard house. The second space then becomes the dominant more important zone where activities occurr. The projection screen on the exterior of the theater can be viewed from this space.

courtyard configuration hierarchy

inward planning 69


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COURTYARD HOUSING COURTYARD HOUSING MEGHAN DORAN & ERICA LELIEVRE

CHINA: DAVID CHU COURTYARD HOUSE

David Chu’s home is a courtyard house that was renovated using traditional building methods and decorations. The house is an example of how an old building typology is still viable today. On the interior old and new styles are combined through 4 the minimalist modern decor and the intricate carvings and bright colors on the ceiling. The motifs of the traditional paintings and carvings incorporated throughout the 1 house encompass multiple styles from different dynasties, a showcase of the owner’s favorite works. This is especially true of the ceiling in the main living are. There are 1,000 2 2 dragons on the ceiling and rafters from different periods throughout Chinese history. 3

China 2010. Northeastern University

the restored spirit wall in the entry courtyard

Traditional elements like the spirit wall were kept when the house was renovated. The wall still functions as a barrier to protect the privacy of residents as well as guide the movement of visitors entering the front courtyard.

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In many traditional courtyard houses the courtyards are not fully enclose spaces. The buildings are separated based on hierarchy and to allow access to the second courtyard without passing through the house.

dragon carvings and bold colors on the ceiling of the living room

modern living space contrasted by the elaborate ceiling

In the case of David Chu’s house both courtyards are fully enclosed. This could be for a number of reasons. One possibility is modern convienience. The space that once existed between the buildings may have been filled in to accomodate a kitchen, bathrooms and other menities that did not exist when the house was originally built. If that was not the case, the enclosure could have been for social reasons. Perhaps the middle living space was a part of the hierarchy of courtyards and the guest’s status determined how far they could enter the home

the second courtyard, the larger of the two, serves as a gathering and entertaining space 71


China 2010. Northeastern University

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RETAIL

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RETAIL

RETAIL ALEX BROWNELL & DANIEL BELKNAP

TRADITIONAL RETAIL STREET

The traditional retail street is the condition in which there is retail on the ground level with specific pedestrian access as well as vehicular access. The traditional retail streets also either incorporate residential units or are dictated by residential streets. For Beijing as well as Boston this type of retail is related to the historical nature of the areas. For Beijing this retail type exists in the hutongs, alleys formed by traditional courtyard residences. The term hutong is commonly used to refer to these types of neighborhoods. The hutongs all connect to one another so that residential alleys are connected to alleys consisting of solely small-scale retail buildings. In Boston the traditional retail street is in the North End. The North End, specifically Hanover Street, is mainly ground floor retail with residential units occupying the top 2 or 3 stories. Unlike the hutongs of Beijing, the North End is not organized in a grid pattern. The grid organization of the hutongs makes it easy to move between different streets and make all of the retail easily accessible. Although the organization is different the building scale and density is similar as well as the building to street relationship. One of the main differences in the street condition is the separation of vehicular and pedestrian circulation in Boston. Hanover street is much more frequently used by automobiles and thus wider than the Luogu Alley in Nanluoguxiang so sidewalks separate vehicular and pedestrian circulation. Since Luogu alley is much smaller scale there is no grade change to differentiate between vehicular and pedestrian circulation, instead a change in pavement pattern determines where people are meant to walk and where bikes/ automobiles are supposed to drive. This creates freedom to occupy the entire street, yet it is not a pedestrian retail street like in other parts of Beijing.

China 2010. Northeastern University

NORTH END, BOSTON MA

NANLUOGUXIANG HUTONG, BEIJING CHINA 74


REAL ESTATE VS SIGNAGE

Hanover Street appears to be a much larger scale than the hutongs of Beijing but the scale of the retail itself and area defined for pedestrian use adjacent to the retail space is actually very similar. Grade change separates pedestrian circulation form vehicular circulation like most traditional retail streets in Boston.

Hanover Street in the North End of Boston consists of ground floor retail, mainly restaurants, and commonly has two or more residential stories above. Although the real estate is larger, the amount of signage is much less, given the area of the facade.

45’

15’

HANOVER STREET Although the overall scale of the hutongs

The hutong streets are very dense, with

are much smaller there are clear similari-

each retail building occupying a small

ties between the two examples of tradi-

lot. Even though the lot sizes are small

tional retail streets. Instead of sidewalks,

the amount of signage is a lot more than

materials differentiate between vehicle

that of the traditional retail condition in

and pedestrian circulation. Since the alley

Boston. Since the buildings are so tight-

is less occupied by automobiles there is no

ly packed signage is used to differenti-

real need for sidewalks.

ate each retail building from the next.

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BOSTON

BUILDING AND STREET SCALE

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N/S LUOGU ALLEY 75


RETAIL

BACK BAY STATION

RETAIL ALEX BROWNELL & DANIEL BELKNAP

MOBILE RETAIL

Mobile retail is much more common in Beijing than it is in Boston. Mobile, or street vendor retail is a retail type characterized by the absence of a store front, and the ability for the “store” to be moved to another location. One reason for the disparity in the amount of street vendors in Boston and Beijing could be due to population. Since the population of Beijing is much greater, more people on the street may be the cause for more street vendors. Mobile retail can include small self made boutiques, food being sold off of a small grill and table, food being sold from the back of a truck or bicycle, or products sold off of a table, blanket or suitcase on the ground. In Beijing, whether this type of retail is always permitted or not is unknown, but interestingly the same locations were consistent on a day to day basis. To best gage this we focused on where we lived and walked everyday to see a pattern in the type of retail and where it was located. Another key thing to note was the location of the vendors in relation to public transportation, in this case the bus stop, and location in relation to pedestrian bridges, used to cross the main road. Since these were high density areas of people it makes sense that this is where street vendors would set up their shops on an everyday basis. People grow accustomed to where they can pick up a product on their daily walk so a pattern and consistency in the location of these mobile retail “stores” is important to notice. Boston, unlike Beijing, has very few locations where there is consistent street vendor retail. Similarly, the main locations in Boston where there is consistent mobile retail is in close proximity to public transportation, in this case the subway. The examples that follow this same pattern are Brigham Circle and Back Bay Station.

China 2010. Northeastern University

BRIGHAM CIRCLE

BOSTON, MA PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

VENDOR LOCATION

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE ZHONGGUANCUN STREET

DONG’ANMEN STREET

WANGFUJING STREET

DONG’ANMEN STREET, BEIJING ZHONGGUANCUN STREET, BEIJING 76


BOSTON RELATIONSHIP TO STREET & SIDEWALK

PLANTINGS SEPARATE STREET AND SIDEWALK FROM RETAIL AREA

OPEN AREA TO SHOP AND SIT COLUMNS ACT AS A BUFFER BETWEEN THE RETAIL, SIDEWALK AND STREET

LOCATION AT ENTRY/EXIT OF SUBWAY STATION INCREASES PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC

BRIGHAM CIRCLE

BACK BAY STATION

STREET AND SIDEWALK ARE SEPARATED BY BARRIER AND GRADE CHANGE

FOOD VENDORS/SEATING MOTORIZED BICYCLE LANE USED BOUND BY GRADE FOR STORAGE/SUPPLY CHANGE ON EITHER SIDE

ONLY MEANS OF PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION IS THROUGH RETAIL AREA

DONG’ANMEN STREET, BEIJING

ZHONGGUANCUN STREET, BEIJING 77

PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION IS BOUND BY VENDORS AND FENCE

PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC IS VERY DENSE DUE TO LOCATION AT THE END OF POPULAR SHOPPING STREET

BEIJING

RELATIONSHIP TO STREET & SIDEWALK

RETAIL IS BELOW CANTILEVER TO FUNCTION DURING ALL WEATHER


Relative Urban Location

LANDMARK RETAIL RETAIL ALEX BROWNELL & DANIEL BELKNAP

QUINCY MARKET, BOSTON QIANMEN, BEIJING

Government

The term “landmark” in this case refers to a class of retail that is known throughout the city, by both locals and tourists, for either its extreme popularity, historical significance, or any other factor that renders it exceptional. Within Boston, Quincy Market in Fanieull Hall is easily one of the most recognizable shopping destinations in the city. However, in Beijing, the sheer quantity of these significant shopping centers is so large that the criteria had to be refined. With Quincy Market as a model, for retail in Beijing to be considered “landmark,” it must be wildly popular, a pedestrian only zone, and its relative urban location must exemplify it in some way. Qianmen, directly south of Tiananmen Square, was a commercially successful street as early as the 13th century, and has recently been redeveloped into a landmark shopping plaza for countless visitors to Beijing.

Retail

Government

There are obvious differences in the scale of each shopping area, but the more interesting patterns arise when conducting a deeper analysis of how the plazas are organized. In Beijing, there is a recurring relationship between the corporate brands that place franchises in Landmark Retail centers, and the vernacular bargain shopping that is so prevalent in China. Essentially, more expensive, international brands are situated along the main axis, and smaller, cheaper shops, operating out of shacks, are condensed into the twisting side alleys flanking the main street. This money and brand allocation is very telling about the way Beijing treats the “face” of retail vs. the chaotic reality of what is actually happening.

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Government Center 1968 Opening of City Hall Plaza

Retail

N

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Quincy Market 1824 Initial construction 1976 Renovation into current state

Tiananmen Square 1651 Initial construction of square 1958 Enlargement of square to current size 2002 Refacing of square to granite

Qianmen 1200 Initial development of commercial street 2002 Redevelopment and restoration to early 20th century streetscape


BOSTON ORGANIZATION

N

200’

Orientation Quincy Market was organized around existing site constrictions, not cardinal direction.

Vernacular Brand

Corporate Brand

Corporate Brand

Vernacular Brand

N

BEIJING

ORGANIZATION

Orientation The major axis of Qianmen runs North-South. This emphasis on orientation is a recurring organizational principle in Beijing, and is typical in other retail streets like Wangfujing.

200’

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Permeability Crosswalk Bridge Median

TYPICAL RETAIL RETAIL ALEX BROWNELL & DANIEL BELKNAP

MASS AVE, BOSTON ZHONGGUANCUN JIA, BEIJING

With two cities as morphologically rich as Boston and Beijing, boiling down a single, “typical” retail street is nearly impossible, but Massachusetts Avenue and Zhongguancun Jia can be classified as a common and recurring example of a retail street. In order to justify a comparison and analysis, certain alignments had to be established to minimize variables: Mass Ave and Zhongguancun are–relatively–wide and high traffic streets; both streets accommodate throughtraffic, meaning not all cars on the road are stopping to shop; and both streets house retail of similar scale. Because of these factors, the street life and character of Mass Ave and Zhongguancun Jia are comparable, but there are some key differences. The most glaring difference is the dimension of each street. While both Mass Ave and Zhongguancun fulfill similar roles in their respective cities as important through-streets with successful street level retail, the proportions of Boston compared to Beijing are reflected in the length and width of the streets. The increase in the number of lanes, the additional barriers between the sidewalks and the street, as well as the necessity of medians and pedestrian bridges, all drastically affect the walkability of Zhongguancun Jia, which in turn affects the way a street is used.

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Mass Ave, Boston Aerial Photo

Zhongguancun Jia, Beijing Aerial Photo


BOSTON STREET RELATIONSHIPS

Storefront/Street Relationship The storefronts along the majority of Mass Ave have a high level of interaction with street activity. Cars can park along the street and curbs are comfortably dimensioned for pedestrian traffic

Pedestrian/Vehicle Relationship While Mass Ave through street with heavy vehicle traffic and major bus lines, intersections are frequent enough to slow down traffic, create crosswalks and makes the retail street more walkable

BEIJING

STREET RELATIONSHIPS

Mass Ave Street Section

Pedestrian/Vehicle Relationship Zhongguancun Jia runs 8 lanes wide with 4 additional lanes for bikes and taxi traffic. This extremely wide and complex street system requires a median to discourage J walking and forces walkers to cross at infrequent bridges.

Storefront/Street Relationship Additional curb interfaces between the street and storefront decrease foot traffic, but provide a buffer between shopping and vehicle traffic

Zhongguancun Jia Street Section

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SOHO COMMUNITIES

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COMMUNITY - MAINSTREET OFFICE BUILDINGS DAN ADAMS

US NORM

Newbury Street

In the United States, the most successful style of residential development has been the “Mainstreet” suburban paradigm. “Mainstreet” is both the center of a suburban community and is integrated within a section of a main transportation artery. It has offered many advantages to a way of life which is centered around the automobile. Connections to highways, interstates, and major routes all serve as ideal locations for the creation of a mainstreet suburban town. For example, Rt. 9 in Massachusetts is host to a number of suburban communities. This route connects these communities not only to each other, but also to downtown Boston and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

5 MINUTE WALK 50 0 FEET

This planning strategy translates into an urban context quite well. Newbury St. in the Beacon Hill area of Boston borders a main road of the city (Boylston St.) and also has a direct connection to the Massachusetts turnpike. This area also has very clear zoning. Commercial, retail, recreational, and residential zones are all separated by main roads which provide excellent access to the area. Fairfield St. to Darthmouth St. (Left to Right) China 2010. Northeastern University

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Section of Newbury St. from Boylston St. to Commonwealth Ave.

Rt. 9 Framingham to Boston (Left to Right)

Commonwealth Ave. to Boylston St. (Top to Bottom) 85


COMMUNITY - URBAN VILLAGE OFFICE BUILDINGS DAN ADAMS

CHINESE EXAMPLE

Jainwai SOHO East

Chinese life outside of the city consists mostly of villages. These are self-sufficient communities, capable of giving residents everything they need to survive. Not all, but many of these villages are extremely old and are located sporadically throughout the landscape of China. They will typically border a highway or river and their proximity to these transportation routes varies from village to village. The natural development of these self-sufficient communities minimizes the impact on the environment as they do not require a vast amount of infrastructure in order for them to survive. Most of these villages are planned in a way that automobiles are not necessary for basic survival.

5 MINUTE WALK 50 0 FEET

In an urban context, SOHO’s have been wildly successful. They function in a way that can be best described as an urban village. Residents have access to food, shops, schools, health care, entertainment, and office space all within a single city block accessible by foot. These communities (or urban villages) have developed throughout the business district in Beijing, similar to villages outside of the city. Jainwai SOHO East (Center) China 2010. Northeastern University

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SOHO SOHO

SOHO SOHO

SOHO

Gubeikouzhen, NE Beijing

SOHO

Dongdaqiao Rd. to Guanghua Rd. (Left to Right) 87


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2010 World Expo Shanghai China

A collection of pavilions selected by students of Northeastern University

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Chinese pavilion, Shanghai World Expo 2010. China 2010. Northeastern University

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But now? As I traversed the expansive grounds of the Shanghai World Expo in late May, I exchanged texts, photos, and emails with friends and colleagues in Europe, Asia, and North America– all while walking among the many pavilions and exhibits. How is it that we still need to come together physically, and show each other our wares, our technologies, and our plans for the future? Couldn’t this all just be done online? The Shanghai World Expo 2010 does indeed offer a whole bunch of experiences and information that could be had online. But by turning so many small individual interactions into a single giant one, the Expo does, inevitably, gain something that can’t be duplicated any other way. Because while there is certainly a great deal of product introduction and marketing here, (as there was in early world expositions), there is also another element which has grown to dwarf that initial aspect. The World Expo offers nations an opportunity to brand themselves before the world in a manner of their own choosing– largely absent crises and wars and other distractions. It provides a way for a country to present itself as it wants to be perceived by others. Thus we see Canada, for example, as a country that is singular–but multi-faceted; a modern nation–but one that remains rooted in nature as well. We understand the nation through its pavilion. In fact, one of the design criteria for the pavilions is that we must be able to process their message without going inside to see the more detailed exhibits, because the Expo site is so crowded with people, and the lines for the pavilions are so long, that one can only visit a handful of the hundreds available in a single day. Canada accomplishes this task by presenting an angular, modern, faceted pavilion, composed of unfinished, rustic lumber.

George Thrush

Shanghai World Expo 2010 After spending 17 days of touring and making architectural observations, comparisons, and analysis in Beijing, the Northeastern Architecture group made its way to Shanghai, and the World Expo. Building on a long tradition of world expositions, China assembled an incredible event. But at this late date, it is hard to understand why we still put on these World Expositions. In 1851, the first one was held in London, where it showcased Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, and many other industrial novelties. But there was no internet, and mail service was spotty and slow. Understanding a changing global scene depended on face-to-face, real-time, hands-on exposure if one were even to begin to comprehend it.

The role of the pavilion at the modern expo is either to supply a reductive iconic representation of its nation’s people, government, or worldview– or to provide a venue for the showcasing 91


of wares. And at Shanghai, these two, quite different, roles are met on opposite sides of the Huangpu River. The Expo is divided into five sections, three on one side of the river, and two on the other. The two sections represent the smaller portion of the Expo that is dedicated to the older, more traditional, trade-show-onsteroids form of pavilions. These are hosted by the many different regions of China, and also many larger nations and industries. Hence on that side of the river one finds the SAIC/ GM auto pavilion, The Korean Business pavilion, and pavilions dedicated to information and communication, aviation, and many sustainability themes. This side of the Expo is much more content-based. And while it offers the visitor much more in the manner of historic technological introduction, it lacks a topic sentence. The Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life,” certainly makes sense; as China moves millions of people from rural areas to urban ones, it has certainly acted with this theme in mind. And there are several examples of technologies to practically improve urban living. New smart transit technologies, for example, are on display at the Korean Business Pavilion. But when you think about previous expos, and how they changed our notion of life as we then knew it, this one falls somewhat short.

New roads constructed for the expo.

In 1876 in Philadelphia, Bell exhibited the telephone. In 1889, Benz formally introduced the automobile in Paris, and in 1893, there was the massive Ferris Wheel in Chicago ‘s White City. As they waited in another interminable line at this expo, the students wondered aloud what culture-changing product this one would produce. A slightly longer lasting cell phone battery? In any case, it didn’t seem that promising. This isn’t to say that this is a small Expo. China has invested more in the Shanghai Expo than in the 2008 Olympics. Though real figures are hard to come by, estimates were that they spent roughly $45 billion. And there is much to show for it. There are People wait in line before entering the Chinese pavilion. China 2010. Northeastern University

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Spanish pavilion exterior.

Spanish pavilion interior.

obvious and some less obvious infrastructure investments necessary to make the site accessible to the millions of visitors expected over the six-month run of the Expo. Major highways were added to the city, which have dramatically improved traffic in the entire metropolis. New subway lines were added, including a partial one consisting of three stops that lies within the confines of the Expo grounds. And the site’s formerly industrial character will be replaced by much higher quality development after the Expo is over.

their stories are what we might call the Expo’s “decorated sheds. “ The problem for the decorated sheds is that, while they might make better cities, they don’t make good Expo pavilions because it is essential to go inside them, if one is to glean the intended message, and the grounds are simply too jammed with people to make that possible in most cases. So we are left to read them from the outside, and there are many good an interesting stories for us to revel in! What, for example, is modern Spain? What captures its essence? (Let’s leave out “economic basket-case,” as that hadn’t yet occurred when the pavilion was designed.) Spain is a particularly gifted nation in design. And following its own splashy reentry into the world (completing the radical transformation of its culture after the long Franco years) during the 1992-93 combination of Olympics and World Expo in Barcelona and Seville, Spain has developed a remarkably textured position at the intersection of high-tech

But what most people are there to see are the national pavilions. These three sections account for roughly 60% of the entire Expo and all lie on the south side of the river. The best of these pavilions articulate a particular quality of the host nation and express it simply and easily from any perspective. These might be called the “duck” pavilions (in the manner of Robert Venturi), while those that rely on museum-style interior exhibits to tell 93


The World Expo Grounds seen from across the Huangpu River. Note the Japanese pavilion (pink) and the Chinese pavilion (red).

industry and traditional culture and quality. And its pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 captures this perfectly. Inside there is a message about linking generations that includes a model of a giant baby, but outside, there is a stunning structure of undulating steel space frame cloaked in traditional hand-woven mats. The pavilion offers a perfect mixture of old and new. The Northeastern students have assessed many of the major international pavilions in the following pages. The pavilions of China, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are each analyzed here. The students’ reviews stand on their own, but during our exChina 2010. Northeastern University

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tended visit to China, we were also exposed to the perspectives of others in the field. There were several architects who complained to us about both the China pavilion and the USA pavilion, and each merits mention here. We visited the China pavilion as a group, and I can therefore comment on how it works both as an object, seen from the outside, and also when understood from the inside, as an exhibit. I only viewed the USA pavilion from the outside, but for my purposes, that’s enough. The USA pavilion was seen as being much less interesting than most of those by other major economic powers. And the design establishment hates the idea that there is no poetic equivalent of the Spanish pavilion for the USA. But the USA doesn’t choose


to be understood as “Chinese” from a thousand paces. And it needed to be read the same way from any angle. And that’s what it is. A three-dimensional logo, that also functions as a building. It is ironic, of course, that with the effort expended to make the exterior of the China pavilion appear to be timelessly “Chinese,” the slick historical video shown inside, highlighting China’s progress, begins– not 5000 years ago– but in 1978! I guess we all edit our pasts.

to use public funds for these things, relying instead on corporate sponsorship. Obviously this means that the pavilion is actually much more like the ones on the other side of the river; the ones that are about product, economy, and marketing, rather than cultural identity (or perhaps it is simply that in the United States there is much less distance between these two, and that bothers us). The USA pavilion is a well-built vaguely aerodynamic box, with a big electronic television on the outside running a continuous program that points out that the USA is a diverse society and lots of people succeed there. That it doesn’t have a single aesthetic theme on which to base a pavilion is not necessarily a bad thing, and on its terms, it succeeds.

One final thought about the Shanghai World Expo 2010: No matter how much the Chinese government spent on it, and no matter how spectacular the pavilions, the Expo is doomed in an important way. Even though it is more impressive than any Expo in many, many years, it has the unique circumstance of being surrounded by something infinitely more amazing, more overpowering, and more unbelievable than any exhibit. And that is Shanghai, and China itself.

One can make a similar assessment of the China pavilion. What if it had been another piece of groovy, but culturally indeterminate, contemporary design (like Denmark’s pavilion, for example)? This might have made young Chinese architects happier, but it would have been a disaster for the host of this giant affair. The China pavilion had to meet entirely different criteria. It needed to be not merely an icon, but an actual logo. It needed

Shanghai as seen from the top of the Shanghai Wolr Financial Center. 95


CHINA

by Bryan Allen, Drew Brydon, Sam Clement

The China Pavilion has probably the hardest job of any pavilion in the Expo. The China Pavilion needs to be the most impressive, and at the same time needs to be reducible to function as ‘logo’, both for the Expo and for China. The ‘simplicity’ of the China Pavilion helps it navigate it’s numerous important roles. Each elevation, for instance, is effectively the same, with two massive columns (hiding elevators and staircases) that support the cantilevering exhibit space. The dimensions of the ‘dougong’ style bracket-like members quickly confuse a viewer’s sense of scale, helping to abstract and ‘logoize’ the pavilion. Apparently, the Pavilion sports 56 such brackets. Each bracket serves to represent one of the 56 minority groups comprising China’s population, now upwards of 1.3 billion.

rendering of the China Pavilion, (as seen on everything from taxis to takeout)

To get into the pavilion, visitors take elevators or escalators up to the top floor and circulate down through a series of exhibits. First, visitors watch a short film heralding China’s recent breath-taking strides in economy and technology. From the large theatre we head down a ramp, catching a glimpse of the expo from nearly 60 meters off the ground. Next, visitors walk along a long gallery of projectors to admire a 12’ high animated version of Zhang Zeduan’s “Along the River During Qingming Festival”. The actual painting, painted in the early 12 century, can also be seen in an adjacent gallery. Many ancient relics can be found in the pavilion, but visitors get a glimpse of the future, too. Electric cars, solar cells and energy-saving demonstrations flank the exit of the Pavilion. Down a large escalator, visitors spill out into a sculpture garden, ready to explore the park. the pavilion as seen from the Expo Axis China 2010. Northeastern University

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Circulating through the exhibits...

walking through the exhibit space

students getting onto one of the interactive exhibits inside the massive pavilion

exiting the pavilion via its flying multi-story escalator, visitors are ushered into the rest of the park by way of this sculpture garden.

the ‘logo’ is easily recognized, seen here as a garden folly 97


CHILE by Dan Adams

Chile’s pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo is themed for their understanding of what a new city should be. Visitors follow the lives of a few individuals to get a glimpse into Chilean daily life. They also encounter dreams of what new cities should be as well as the “seed”. This seed can be seen from almost every angle within the pavilion. It is a beautiful wooden egg shape that warps the ceiling and the floor. Inside the seed there are projections of the aforementioned individuals speaking about their lives in Chile. The Chilean pavilion holds significance for a variety of reasons. Both political and economic relations between Chile and Shanghai have been strengthened as a result of participation in the expo. Construction of the pavilion created an opportunity for Chilean entrepreneurs to partner with Chinese businessman. As this pavilion continues to stand, it serves as a symbol for the growth of their future partnerships.

Photo by Dan Artiges

Entrance and exit are found on the side of the pavilion.

Architecturally speaking, this pavilion is comprised of both beautiful details and sustainable construction technologies. The channel glass used for the exterior is made of used/recycled glass materials reducing the pavilion’s carbon footprint. Its translucent appearance helps to control the amount of sunlight entering the interior while simultaneously adding an element of mystery as onlookers cannot see into the building leaving them to guess what lay beyond. The pavilion is capped with a green roof that naturally regulates temperature reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable environment. Photo by Dan Artiges

Front of the pavilion faces onto a public courtyard. China 2010. Northeastern University

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Seed (Top)

Sprout of a New City

The top of the seed warps the thin wooden ceiling.

Images from Chilean life (left) and a view of the seed from the exit (right).

Seed (Base)

Interior Details

The base of the “seed� is lit from the floor that is warped by its shape.

Heavy timber wall (left) and unfinished plywood stairs (right). 99


DENMARK by Bryan Allen, Sam Clement

For Denmark, the expression of their country in pavilion form is limited to a fixed national icon and viewing experience that subtly suggests their response to the Expo theme of better city better life. Like some of the other pavilions at the expo the architectural form expresses a path. Many of the these other pavilions lead you on a path that winds through exhibits of the said country’s heritage or a series of live action performances. Such is the case for Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. Unique to the Denmark pavilion is a path with a central focus. The focus being on the original Little Mermaid brought from the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark’s most iconic statue. Unlike some of the other pavilions at the expo, Denmark’s pavilion is without materials, motifs, and styles specific to the country’s architectural heritage. The tasteful white form justly expresses the visitor’s path while leaving the focus of the experience hidden. The subtle answer for a better city life is only realized while moving through the pavilion, taking in each beautiful perspective of the statue or the surrounding expo scenery, whether on foot or bike.

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the pavilion’s sectional complexity, seen in the left image, is more easily understood via the architect’s diagram, seen at the right, (from a promotional video by the office).


A Winding Journey ...

... ‘Turns’ into a Remarkable Experience

the circulation is complex, but intuitive

The Little Mermaid Statue, symbol of Denmark, center of the pavilion experience

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GERMANY by Alex Brownell

The German Pavilion at the 2010 Expo was one of the more publicized pavilions on display, boasting a several hour wait to get in at any time. Despite this, the design of the pavilion and message relayed was worth the wait. The pavilion, termed “balancity”, focuses on the idea of a city in balance. Each thematic area in the pavilion represents a different urban space. The use of different means of circulation, on foot, escalators, and moving walkways, is meant to give the visitor the feel of moving through a real city. Throughout the thematic areas there are many interactive displays that stimulate the visitor while still relaying a message. This message is that there needs to be a balance between renewal and preservation, innovation and tradition, urban and nature, community and individual development, and work and leisure for a city to be a good place to live. The building itself is more of a three-dimensional, walk-through sculpture with no defined interior or exterior. The structure is meant to create the impression of a futuristic city with three “floating” cubes, interlinked, and holding each other in place. Each individual structure is out of balance when isolated, but when they all interact, balance and stability occurs. This reflects the overall theme of “balancity” in the architecture as well as the interior spaces. The surface uses transparency to give the idea of openness and lightness and connect the interior to the exterior. A fascinating alternation between interior and exterior, light and dark, and natural and constructed is achieved by the crude forms and surface treatment.

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ENERGY SOURCE

CITY CENTER

OPERA

DEPOT

GARDEN

PLANNING OFFICE

5 6

1

ORGANIZATION

3

4

2

ENTRANCE

BEHIND THE SCENES

3

PARK

2 1 FACTORY LANDSCAPE HARBOUR

4

5

6

TRANSPARENCY

FLOATING

The rear facade opens up to reveal the circulation exiting the pavilion. The void in the facade creates a condition where there is no clear definition of interior or exterior.

The treatment of the facade creates a feeling of openness and lightness even though the structure itself is massive, and heavy. Transparency on the surface reveals different aspects of the interior; structural and program

By angling the separate forms into each other, they are able to “float” above the ground. Columns act as support but penetrate the facade to add another layer of transparency. This floating effect lightens the massive structure and creates unusual light conditions and relationships between the interior and exterior.

STRUCTURE

INTERIOR VS EXTERIOR

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ITALY

by Diana Lattari

The Italy Pavilion was a personal favorite at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. After spending a semester studying in Rome last year, we were eager to walk down memory lane as we visited the pavilion. We found, however, that the pavilion exhibited more innovative exhibits and technologies than we had expected, making us feel like we had never even been to Italy before. Tucked away in the corners is where we found the spaces with the familiar characteristic Italian elements that allowed us to reminisce of our home away from home. The pavilion is inspired by the children’s game “pick-up sticks,” which is known as “Shanghai” in Italy. The intersecting lines that break up the volume represent the sticks, dividing the pavilion into 20 modules to represent the 20 regions of Italy. The interior is designed to feel like a mini Italian city, incorporating tight spaces of alleyways and open courtyards of piazzas. The structure focuses on energy efficiency and includes means of air purification, antibacterial ceramic tiles, and energy storing devices. The pavilion also contains a photoelectronic glass curtain wall as well as transparent concrete exterior walls. The beams of light glowing between the modules act as the main light source for both the interior and exterior. Inside, the two main exhibits display both award-winning inventions and innovative crafts from Italian thinkers and designers. The pavilion has three floors, also containing historic artwork, models of well-known structures, and a restaurant. (Top) Italy is located in Zone C of the Expo. (Middle) The gaps between the modules represent Italian alleyways, while other spaces are designed to feel like piazzas. (Bottom): An exterior rendering of the pavilion at night, courtesy of en.expo2010.cn. China 2010. Northeastern University

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The entry vestibule to the pavilion is enclosed by a glass curtain wall that contains photoelectronic elements geared toward isolating emissions.

A triple-height atrium at the center provides access to other floors.

The pavilion employs the use of a new construction material on the exterior: transparent concrete.

INVENTIONS Among the inventions on display are the hinges from the mobile dams of the Mose Project, designed to protect Venice against rising water levels. CRAFTS The pavilion featured clothing lines from Italy’s top designers, including the uniforms worn by the pavilion’s staff, which were designed by Prada.

The Italian Pavilion was voted one of the top ten most romantic pavilions at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. 105


REPUBLIC OF KOREA by Kyle Jonasen

The Korean peninsula lies between China and Japan. Over the course of time, these two nations have helped shape contemporary Korean culture. The convergence of traditional Korean culture with China’s terrestrial culture and Japan’s nautical culture is the theme of the Republic of Korea’s 2010 World Expo pavilion. This convergence manifests itself in the Korean pavilion in the form of symbols that become spaces and spaces that become symbols. The pavilion consists of a large exhibition hall elevated 23.5’-6” above the ground with a performance stage and line cueing area below. Keeping with the theme of signs becoming space, the footprint of the pavilion resembles the map of an abstracted Korean city. The open area of the pavilion base represents the Han River while the raised performance stage represents mountains. The exterior of the pavilion is clad in two types of Han-geul, characters of the Korean alphabet. The outermost walls are covered in metal panels with cut-outs of Han-geul characters in three sizes. The variations in cut-out scale create areas of light and dark on the pavilion’s exterior that read as characters from a distance. The panels are back-lit at night to create an effect similar to a computer screen or text message. The remainder of the Korean pavilion’s exterior surfaces are covered in 1.5’X1.5’ tiles decorated with colorful Han-geul characters. By covering the entire façade of the pavilion with Korean characters, the pavilion literally becomes a space made out of symbols.

Panels with cut-out Han-geul characters are illuminated at night.

An example of three sizes of Han-geul characters cut out of metal panels. China 2010. Northeastern University

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Korean Pavilion Exterior

Inside the Exhibition Hall

The juxtaposition of metal panel Han-geul characters and painted tile characters emphasizes the two-dimensionality of the metal façade, making it appear as a large Han-geul character from a distance.

The exhibition hall of the pavilion displays elements of contemporary Korean culture and technology. Traditional elements of Korea’s past are located on the ground floor.

Rooftop Terrace

The roof of the Korean pavilion houses a small restaurant and acts as an observation deck to view the expo grounds and the Shanghai skyline. 107


MEXICO by Daniel Belknap

Amidst the playground of absurd and soulless structures that compose the 2010 World Expo, there exists a gem representing an entirely different interpretation of what a pavilion is supposed to “do.” The Mexico pavilion does not stand out in its scale or expense–for impractical facade experimentation and offensively large televisions, look elsewhere; Mexico instead created an oasis for tired and defeated Expo-ers. The parti is satisfyingly clear and executed with childlike imagination. Out of the Expo’s desert of endless hardscape, the gently sloped grass lawn invites all wanderers with a flush transition and fenceless entry. The lawn provides shelter from the sun with a healthy forest of playfully colored, kite shaped shading devices, resembling a canopy of lofty palms. The feeling of walking up a hill of solid earth is only interrupted by the clerestory windows that punctuate and sculpt the landscape. They also create small observation decks and provide a small peek into what is happening underneath you. Signage

The lawn was a place for my companions and I to relieve our sore feet of sweaty socks and enjoy the tickling sensation of cool grass between bare toes. And possibly the greatest triumph of the Mexico pavilion, is the fact that there was no line at all to ascend it’s roof. It acts as a parklike extension of the landscape, on which all are welcome. To anybody who spent any time at the Expo, I need not recount the torturous experience of standing in a line for four or five hours, only to be marginally impressed by each country’s attempt to one-up each other’s “greenliness.” So sombreros off to Mexico, for creating an overwhelmingly positive and memorable experience for a weary traveler who didn’t need to set a foot inside to decide it was by far his favorite pavilion.

Exterior China 2010. Northeastern University

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Sleep

Shade

Cool and comfortable grass

Kite shaped shading devices

Look

Eat

Observation deck

Interior panorama 109


SWITZERLAND by Daniel Artiges

The Swiss Pavilion is a product of a two stage competition won by a team of Buchner Bründler Architects and Element GmbH. The pavilion building upon the Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life,” is a combination of town and country embodied in the hybrid construction consisting of technology and nature creating the sub-theme of “rural-urban interaction.” The pavilion is constructed to show the contrast between urban and rural spaces. The two cylinder structure supports an undulating natural topography on the roof of the pavilion representing the rural and contrasting the hard and rough characteristics of the urban housed under the roof. Visitors flow around and through the cylinders along a continuous ramp traversing the pavilion on different levels terminating at a chairlift. This chairlift carries visitors away from the pressures of the urban element up and through the light and airy natural element and back. The urban symbolizes the Chinese “yin,” with a prevalence of noise, shade, and constant movement. The rural stands for the Chinese “yang,” with openness, brightness, and peacefulness.

roof landscape

In addition to the chairlift ride is a breathtaking large screen movie that tours the alps that surround the country. The pavilion also has a restaurant, a store and a multifunctional stage all located on the ground floor. The pavilion boasts an intelligent and interactive facade that reacts to sunlight, wind, or camera flashes by accumulating and dispersing energy in the form of white flashes of light meant to show visitors “environmental influences” around the pavilion. China 2010. Northeastern University

exterior view 110


Intelligent & Interactive Facade

Tour the Alps

wire mesh with red circular accumulators

visitors watching video

Urban “Yin”

Rural “Yang”

view from ground floor

view from chairlift 111


UNITED KINGDOM by Dennis Greenwood

The UK Pavilion has quickly become recognized as one of the fan favorites at the World Expo, and for good reason. Located in Zone C, the pavilion is a 6,000 square meter exhibit that rejects the hard surfaces and cheap facades incorporated in other designs. Aluminum sleeves and a wooden diaphragm support over 60,000 acrylic rods (each 7.5 m in length) that come together to form what some chinese describe as the “Pu Gong Ying,” or “Dandelion Pavilion.” With the acrylic rods swaying in the wind, it is fitting that the pavilion would take the form a plant known for its seed spreading. Heatherwick Studio, the architecture firm responsible for the design, created the pavilion to contribute to the Expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life.” In doing so, they wanted to reveal how the United Kingdom, particularly London, is contributing to a healthy future for the world. Each of the rods contains a seed at its interior tip. Each seed is from a different plant and the concept was created to spread awareness for the Millennium Seed Bank Project. Conducted at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, the project is seeking to collect seeds from across the world to prevent the extinction of threatened species and to research innovative and useful plant hybrids.

Section thru UK Pavilion

The Seed Cathedral as it is called, sits at the center of the pavilion within a small city park referred to as the “wrapping paper” for its sloped surfaces. The entrance and exit to the cathedral are lined with both real and fake plants that invite visitors to see the future in botanical hybrids. The pavilion also features “green maps” composed of living plants that display several cities and the Olympic Park, designed for the 2012 London Olympics. China 2010. Northeastern University

Acrylic rods act as fiber optics, illuminating the exterior at dusk. 112


Child tries to determine the real from fake plants.

Visitors enjoy the inside of the “Dandelion�

Thousands of seeds adorn the interior.

By night, lights from within the rods illuminate the interior of Cathedral; during the day natural light filters in through the rods. 113


Š2010 Northeastern University School of Architecture China 2010. Northeastern University

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Dialogue of Civilization. China 2010  

A Comparative Study of Contemporary Chinese and Western Models for Architecture, Urban Design, and Development

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