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Urban Design + Architecture Portfolio Kaitao Wu


Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning (Expected May 2018) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign +1 217-778-5519 608 East Chalmers, Champaign, IL 61820

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Planning Internship | Guangdong Golden Horse Tourism Group Stock Co., Ltd May 2017 – August 2017 - Guangzhou, China Planning Internship | Guangzhou City Planning, Design & Research Institute May 2016 – August 2016 - Guangzhou, China Architectural Internship | Architectural Design and Research Institute of Guangdong Province May 2015 – August 2015 - Guangzhou, China

As an urban planner, my goal is to provide environments to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of communities and neighborhoods at human dimension through design and strategic planning. In cities, public space functions as transition and connection between properties. I believe planners should focus on the design quality of public urban space to make the best use of them providing complete infrastructure and public services to all neighbors.



A Renovation Plan for Downtown Champaign, Illinois



800 sq. ft. Dwelling



301 House



Personal Artworks




This Project contains two sections: an urban analysis of downtown Champaign and a proposal to improve existing issues and problems. The purpose of the analysis is to talk about when, how and why the downtown Champaign becomes the way it is. The proposal is to talk about what can it be in the future by analyzing its connections, land use, neighborhood development, infrastructure and to provide a design proposal. Lynch’s analyzing method will provide the basis for renovation plan, together with other study report, a more health-developed heart of Champaign could be created. The study area lies in Champaign-Urbana, a twin city in eastern Illinois. The oldest street in this neighborhood is over 60 years old while the youngest about 30 years. Here lives about 1505 people according to the U.S. census Bureau, The zip code they commonly use is 61820. When defining the study area, the team intentionally included all important buildings and landmarks that are closely related to the traditional civic functioning of downtown Champaign, as well as the residential and commercial units that are two blocks within the core area in order to dig into the interaction of different land usages and the effect of natural and artificial traffic obstructions (Healey Street detention basin and the rail) Course: UP 426 - Urban Design Principles Instructor: Devin Lavigne, Kai Tarum Collaborator: Nibing Peng, Claudlene Saint Vil





Downtown Champaign sits at the intersection of south-north and east-west railroads. It also locates at the center of Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan. The strong connection to different directions, leading to some larger major urban centers such as Chicago in the north, St. Louis in the south, Springfield in the south-west, and Indianapolis in the east, make downtown Champaign potential for high concentration of commercial and service industry. With the campus town i.e. University of Illinois-Green street corridor, and downtown Urbana, several major employer centers are defined in the region: University of Illinois campus (for education); Carle and Presence Covenant Medical Center (for health services); Downtown Urbana and Savoy (for services and recreation); Market place (for retails and recreation); U of I research park (for research and innovation). For a long time, downtown Champaign had played a role mostly in civic service. It stays connected with it surrounding area mainly through bus and roads. East-west bound roads are more important regarding the layout of Champaign-Urbana is also east-west.





Urban mixed use and multi-family residential occupy a high proportion of area of downtown. Commercial and urban mixed use develop along Neil Street and University Avenue, with parking lots surrounding the center. Public open spaces locate at the edges of downtown area and are attached to residential. Community facilities also massively locate in downtown area. Currently, the several industrial businesses still remain in downtown area along the rail road, reflecting the old rail-oriented pattern of industry. Referring to general context, Downtown Champaign is sparsely developed. Building sizes and location diverse a lot, commercial, mixed use, institutional and civic building are in relatively bigger sizes, tend to locate in central downtown and have bigger gaps in between due to vacant lot, parking lots or green space. Some gaps such as Boneyard Creek serves important environmental roles and should be well preserved, while some vacant lots have only negative effect to either traffic condition or neighborhood density. Surface parking also massively sits in downtown area which reduce the building density significantly.





Most signal lights gather in main area; Too many one-ways (1 out of 2 arterials, 2 out of 3 collectors, plus 2 out of 5 paths) adds difficulty to route choosing; Number of collectors equals that of major arterial, thus collectors are not enough; Road width of is too narrow prevent traffic congestion during peak time. Take the only two arterials as example, Neil St. has 2 lanes for two directions and one spare lane, and Kirby Ave. has 2 lanes for two directions, no spare lane. There are two different shapes of street lights, one of them does not provide enough downward light for road. Currently these parking spot serve for banks, restaurants, car dealers, maintenance and interior decorating; Rich potential truck parking area could support further commercial development; There could be more truck parking spots in southeastern area if the density is to be improved. Compared to the area defined by the boundary, the 5 bike trails are far from enough; Sustainability of the neighborhood could be improved if there is an integrated net of bike lane, however currently these lanes are not fully connected; More bike lanes should be added to path, especially in eastern and northern part of the area.



Bike Path

Truck Spot

Signal Light & One-way




This section analyzes the main elements of downtown area with Lynch Element Analysis. Nodes: three nodes clusters in central part, the buses around Illinois terminal could aggravate the traffic burden of Neil. St. Edges: Railroad and Healey Street detention basin in southeast are two edges that could not be bridged, west side park could only be accessed by pedestrians, other than that, transferring vacant land to buildings can strengthen the interconnection of different land parcels. Districts: in recent 20 years the major change of the neighborhood is the renovation of Neil St. Which tightens the connection of the neighborhood by improved traffic condition. Paths: the sidewalk width and railroad problem has been mentioned in last page. Landmarks: Although there is considerable portion of commercial land use, nearly all nodes marked belongs to civic service, partly due to the civic service role that the downtown has long been playing. Most nodes lie in west of the railway, which shows the railway barrier has hindered the spreading of civic service spot.


Landmark - Champaign City Hall Locates at the center of Downtown Champaign, surrounded by commercial and offices.

Major Path - University Avenue Provides recreation and retail attracting customers from Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area

District - Center of Downtown Some of the largest employers settle along Neil street including Christie Clinic.



Existing Surface Parking


The building density in downtown area remains relatively low due to the surface parking occupying space between buildings which shapes the fragmented pattern. The parking is design for more than actual demand regarding the number of parking. Up to thirty percent of parking is wasted. Moreover, the paved hard surface increase surface run-off during storm weather, and therefore, it creates significant stress on the drainage system and increases possibility of flood hazard. The renovation plan provides strategies to improve the exiting conditions. Currently, downtown Champaign has fifty-eight surface parking. Forty-two of them can provide less than forty percent of the total parking, 1500 space, which indicates that most of the surface parking can be integrated to a larger parking, Parking building is a feasible option for downtown. Two parking buildings are in use currently, providing seven hundred parking space. To utilize space most efficiently, the plan proposes to build a parking building with capacity of five hundred parking space at Walnut and Washington to replace surface parking at the north-east corner of downtown area. It also proposes to build a parking building at University and Neil with capacity of five hundred parking spaces to replace surface parking in the south-west of downtown area. The proposed south-east parking building at Illini Terminal providing four hundred parking space can serve as the parking center for Illini Terminal and the surrounding area. After the reconstruction, the city of Champaign can either change the land use of the original surface parking for new development or for open space and green infrastructure. This movement can beautify the downtown area and can create a walkable community for all.

Existing Condition Example

The surfacing parking on Neil Street occupies a land entire land parcel, with most p


parking space empty.

Proposed Changes

Reconstruction Example The parking building on Neil Street as an annex of Hyatt Champaign provides five hundred parking space.





Walking is encouraged in downtown area to reduce stress on the traffic system. Streetfront area for stores are enlarged to create more space for walking.

Current traffic condition in downtown Champaign is not satisfied. Speed limits on Neil Street is 35 mph. However, drivers report that when passing through downtown area, speed can hardly reach 25 mph. Moreover, the downtown area is not friendly for neither pedestrian nor bikers. Due to the one-way setting of Neil Street, bike lanes


are not provided on it which cause difficulties for bikers to enter and transit in downtown area. Sidewalks occu-

The complete street plan includes adding

pied by street parking remain only eight feet wide in some

bike paths for both direction on Neil Street,

sections. People and vehicles scramble for space to pass.

replacing one original car lane, to provide

This plan proposes complete street to create more space

convenient bike transit downtown area.

for pedestrian with minimum influence to road traffic by reducing street parking. A complete street plan is generated for Neil Street from University Avenue to Washington Street in this chapter. Existing Neil Street is made up of two one-way (southward) lanes and lanes for street parking on both side of the


road. It is proposed that the street parking lane in the east

Buses are transportation which can effi-

side is replaced with bike lanes of both direction, separat-

ciently provide transportation for a large

ed with median strip integrated with the green infrastruc-

number of passenger in downtown area.

ture (see next chapter). One car lane remains with sidewalks enlarged from eight feet to up to twenty feet. A part of the space can be used as store-front sitting and green infrastructure. Most of surface parking and street parking will be removed, resulting the reduce of car traffic in downtown area, air quality, safety of passing street, walking, and


biking will be improved. Noise will be also reduced, and

Private vehicles are not encouraged to drive

the street will be less crowded. Beginning with Neil Street,

through downtown. To pass through down-

more complete streets should be provided in downtown

town, private vehicles should take alterna-

area including University Avenue and Walnut Street.

Neil Street


tive routes.

University Avenue

Walnut Street

Neil Street Section (from south) - Existing Condition

Neil Street Section (from south) - Reconstruction



STRATEGY - GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE 2022 In the first five-year period, green roofs are installed on Downtown Champaign currently has low intensity of

public buildings.

buildings. Urban gaps are filled with surface parking and therefore, the utilization rate of the area also remains low. Instead of filling the gaps with buildings, another ideal plan is to introduce a green infrastructure system and low impact development. Regarding to the climate conditions of Central Illinois, where storms usually bring short and heavy precipitation and causing flood hazards in urban area, the green infrastructure system helps to hold water respectively and pro-


vide water when in need. The system includes green roof

In the second five-year peri-

systems, water storage parks, and basins.

od, green roofs are installed on

Green roof systems absorbing heat in hot-dry weather, re-

new urban mixed-use build-

ducing electricity usage by air conditioning, can also ab-

ings with flat roof.

sorb water on the roof during storms and transfer water to the filter installed in buildings. The part of the water will be transferred to detention basins, while the remaining can fulfill the water consumption of the green roof in dry weather. The installation of green roof system requires a strong structural intensity of the roof and building itself. About forty percent of commercial and urban mixed-use buildings are qualified for this renovation. A twenty-year plan is made for this movement, with public buildings being the first, then the commercial and mixed-use buildings, lastly, a part of residential. The water storage parks are designed to integrated with

2032 In the third five-year period, green roofs are installed on more urban mixed-use and commercial buildings.

the green roof systems. This equipment can be set under a normal park, or under the median strip. The parks should be under set below roads or sidewalks to receive run-off from hard surfaces. Similarly, to green roofs, the water is stored in the underground water storage when receiving precipitation. The water will be transferred to detention basins or remained for water consumption. Detention basins can receive run-off from green roofs and

In the fourth five-year period,

storage parks. Basins also beautify the environment, pro-

green roofs are encouraged to

viding open space for human and wildlife. The Boneyard

installed on residential build-

Creek Detention Basin has been in use and has reduced


the flood hazard on Green Street and of University of Illinois campus significantly.



Green Infrastructure - During Storm Weather During storms, run-off on hard surfaces including paved roads, sidewalks, and elevations of buildings, flows to either green roofs or water storages

Green Infrastructure - During Dry Weather In dry weather, water stored in storages will be pumped up to the vegetations on surface.


Isometric View From South-East of Neil Street and Hill Street


1/32’”= 1’-0”



800 SQ. FT. DWELLING Architectural Design, 2018

The building locates on a ten-degree slope inclination, with a northwest-southeast creek running through. To adapt the dry climate, also to make the best use of exterior space, the stairway is installed inside the wall, instead of in the building. And therefore, the vertical circulation is implanted to the wall. The building is built with concrete and giving a sense of heaviness. The thick outer wall can be as thick as two feet to bear the stair and structure upon it. The inner wall, is set to be four inches to increase heat exchange. Several openings are set on the building to promote light and circulation of fresh air. In total of four floors, the first floor and the third floor are defined as double height to create a comfortable space for the living room and the study, while the kitchen / dining room, and the bedroom keep to height of nine feet to generate private experience.

Course: ARCH 274 - Architectural Design Strategies



Potential Site Area

Site Area

The site locates at a 100 slope inclination with good interaction with a creek running across the site

Connecting two flat area with a stair cutting into the slope, forming the site

Extruding Cuboid

Dividing Floors

Creating the entity for the project - a cuboid concrete structure, on the larger flat area

The cuboid being divided into four floors

Pushing to Form Stairway

Circulation Complete

Pushing the stairway into the wall to create a in-wall stair serving as circulation for the building vertically

Stairway being set in wall with openings for door and windows on the inner surface of the stairway

Development Diagram


Site Plan


Living Room


Guest Bathroom

Kitchen + Dining Room

First Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

Entrance facing south, first floor including an entrance, a guest bathroom and the living room

Kitchen and dinning room sharing half of the floor space, leaving the rest open to the third floor


Private Bathroom


Third Floor Plan

Fourth Floor Plan

A private bathroom and study set at third floor, utilizing the whole floor

The bedroom locating at the fourth floor to make sure the best view belonging to the resident

Floor Plan


East Section


Model Representation


Facade Detail



THE 301 HOUSE Architecture Design, 2018

The 301 House is a dwelling for a young couple in Kyoto, Japan. Commissioned in a 4 x 10 m site, this building rises to three floors allowing a total area of 120 sq. m to fits living room, kitchen, bedroom, recreation room, and an art studio. Due to the restriction of the site, the project starts with stacking cuboid. With pushing, offsets are set at each floor. Pushed walls are filled with concrete. The un-pushed sides are installed frosted glass. The whole building stresses a combination of heaviness and lightness. Major components are frosted glass and concrete. Walls and floors are built with solid, plain concrete without any cover on the surface. Frosted glass surrounds the exterior of the entity of building without touching the walls. The glass is hung on the large concrete support which is also supporting the floors. The frosted glass material is set to allow lighter coming in to the building which is closed in three elevations and surrounded by houses from three directions. The facade is open to street. To provide better privacy, arrayed concrete sticks rise in behind glass, preventing direct penetration of light and unexpected view from outside. A concrete gate in front of the building is a abstract version of the Torii (鳥居) reflecting the couple’s Japanese identification. The gate does not provide real security. Instead, it helps create an extra cover for the living room and stair up to the bedroom.




VILLA FARNESE GIACOMO BAROZZI, 1559 Architectural Analysis, 2018

Villa Farnese (Palazzo Farnese) was built by the grandson of Pope Paul III and designed by Giacomo Barozzi in 1559. The regular-pentagonal building stands at the key point of the town of Caprarola. At each of the vertex of the pentagon, there is a observatory. A tower standing at the top vertex is the highest point of the complex even in the town. The regular-pentagonal floor plan makes all the vertexes of the five observatories touch the boundary of a perfect circle which includes the whole building. Squares and circles are most commonly used to manage space. Pentagonal arrangement of space creates a structure with thick walls at every direction and therefore these walls provide complete protection to the delicate courtyard and the interior of the fortress. The designer utilized space maximumly through creating rectangular floor plans for rooms and setting spiral staircases at the corners. Spiral staircases can make the best use of space and more importantly, well connection to all directions, where lookout windows are usually set. Structures facing inward to the courtyard are fabricated with less solid materials such as wood and veneer masonry.

Individual Project




Tool: SketchUp + Vray + Adobe Photoshop



Tool: SketchUp + Vray + Adobe Photoshop 35



Tool: SketchUp + Vray + Adobe Photoshop 37

Wu, kaitao portfolio  
Wu, kaitao portfolio