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PORTFOLIO SOPHIA SHENHAN ZHU / application for year-out 2014 / the university of hong kong

Shenhan ZHU (祝沈含)

Education The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

09. 2011 - present

Bachelor of Art (Architecture Study) Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

09. 2010 - 06. 2011

Undergraduate in Architecture Department

The University of Hong Kong


366A, 4F, Chung Ah Mansion, No. 352-366 Des Voeux Road West, Hong Kong 00852-54931302 (Hong Kong) /


0086-13540399936 (Chengdu, China) Intern at Priestman Architects, Chongqing, China

06-08. 2013

Assisted in researching and designing for Bisezhai Renovation Project, Mengzi, Yunan, China Historical Research Project with Tianjin University, Hebei, China

07. 2013

Documented historical Chinese architecture and made innovative analytical drawings Intern at Jiakun Architects, Chengdu, China

06-07. 2012

Assisted in producing diagrams for Leshengyuan Complex, Ningbo, China Assisted in concept design phase and physical model making for Brick Kiln Museum, Suzhou, China

Honors and Awards HKU Entrance Full Scholarship (480,000 HKD)

07. 2010

Degree show of the year 2014

06. 2014

Skills and Languages Rhinoceros (3D Modelling, V-Ray), Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign), Autocad, Autodesk 3ds Max, Sketchup Chinese (First Language), English (Fluent), Cantonese (Fluent)


01 HOUSING 2014 Spring Design Studio

Chongqing Express Mixed-use Residential Tower Design, Chongqing, China Director: Olivier Ottevaere


Public datam


In the existing building, the smartest architectural achievement is the middle level communal corridor.


Carving out


It is not only for circulation, but also used as public space where people share their social life with neighbors. Commencing from that, the new proposal aims at emphasizing on the middle level to create a public datam, which, in an urban point of view, can be considered as an extension of streets and a way to introduce public urban life into the complex so that it could be better linked with the city. Residential units are dissolving into it both above and below.

Semi-public level

Public datam

Public spaces are allocated into different places in the complex based on their different programs and potential users. Public datam: programs such as restaurants, gallery, reading room, majhong room are provided in the public datam to enforce the connection with the city and encourage people outside to come in. It is supposed to be highly public and therefore shared by citizens. Semi-public level: the level right above the public datam would be a semi-public level shared by residents only. There is no fixed program but paths for circulation and open space for neighnors to socialize among themselves. Landscape ground level: Mostly following the topography, the ground level is covered with natural landscape with some pathways to connect both sides and leading people up the slope. It can also be seen as a park shared by citizens. Courtyard around core: A gesture to invite people outside to feel like also involved and people inside to feel like blend in with the context. Courtyard

Landscape ground level

The structural system is composed of cores and shear walls in a radiant configuration, which are continuous from the ground all the way up to the top. Therefore, units are allocated also in a radiant way, following the pattern of shear walls. Typical floor plan upper level

Typical floor plan public datam


Typical floor plan public datam


Upper level

Lower level



Flat types One modular span Bachelor studio

Two modular span Couple

Three modular span Core family

House types

Unit typology arrangement Towards the back: vertical individual living pattern flat types Towards the front: horizontal living pattern house types -- one family occupy one floor In general, every unit is a composition of a certain number of modular span, which provides a great flexibility in terms of how many modular spans are contained in a unit based on how many areas are needed.

Four modular span Core family

Three modular span Duplex with double-height living room Core family

Six modular span Extended family

02 STRUCTURE 2013 Fall Design Studio

A COLUMN-DRIVEN HOUSING DESIGN Director: Olivier Ottevaere

In this slab & column structural prototype, vertical elements and horizontal ones are so smoothly connected that loads can be transferred in a highly efficient and continuous way. Since the distinction between horizontality and verticality is blurred to some extent, this spatial ambiguity will lead to various flexibility and potential for housing.

Geometry study

Apart from structural purpose, the column could also serve as the separation between interior and exterior, or more subtly, the separation among programs demanding for different degree of privacy. These separations can hold some variations such as height, location, orietaion and size of interface with slabs. With these columns, the floor slabs are naturally subdivided into several zones and the peripheries get freed up.

Three layers of separation

1. Structural column with staircases or bathroom inside 2. Programmed column with kitchen, bathroom or storage inside 3. The enclosure of apartment

The study of Solar Energy Rectangular Void

Crisscross Void

Crisscross Void with Wider Openings on the Edges

Crisscross Void with Wider Openings at the Center

Five Openning Void

Five Openning Void Rotated Based on the Sun Path

Five Openning Void Altering the Width of the Opening

Five Openning Void Altering the Depth of the Opening

1000 Plan






An internal void is created as lightwell. The carved-out volume is adjusted based on a series of solar study to control the degree of exposure. By doing so, floor slabs are splitting when it comes to upper levels. They are later connected to the core by bridges.


Triplex 1

Duplex 1

Triplex 2


Duplex 2

Triplex 3

Floor Plan at +33.2m Scale 1:50


Unit Typology Study

Simplex Duplex Triplex Single Floor Apartment

Conventional Programming

One apartment with two columns

Flexible Zoning Programming

Distribution of Units One apartment with one column

03 MIXED-USE 2013 Spring Design Studio

FRAMING THE VIEW Director: Christiane Lange

The design is a mixed-use pier. Assigned programs include a bike terminal, a ferry terminal, a kindergarten and a cafe. The concept of framing the view is inspired by my personal experience of biking. Bikers’ eyes should be fixed to one direction and highly concentrated when riding at a serious speed. In the design, there are two ways to frame the view. One is on the volumetric level, where spaces are cut out to form viewing platforms, providing people with complete view. The other is on the planar level, where a system of pathway is created to penetrate through the entire volume, providing people with fragmental view.


Bike terminal


Ferry terminal


Day care center

Ferry terminal

Day care center

Bike terminal




The relationship between the four programs and four types of potential users

Different places in the building can provide different views or different perspectives towards the surroundings.

Bike Terminal

Ferry Terminal & Cafe


View towards mountain

View towards Hong Kong skyline

View towards village

View towards sky

View towards water & mountain

View towards water

Viewing platform

Bike testing pool

Cafe and viewing steps




2012 Fall Design Studio



Director: Pascal Berger

Motropolis Scale


Tabula Rasa Architecture

District Scale

Neighborhood Scale

Shanghai, being the financial centre of China, is not built on a blank slate, but upon layers of history and still constantly growing at a dramatic rate. The growing pattern is determined by several factors, such as natural topography on motropolis scale, historic heritage on district scale, street culture on neighborhood scale and accessibility on block scale.

Block Scale

Tabula Rasa Architecture

2nd Class Heritage Architecture 3rd Class Heritage Architecture 4th Class Heritage Architecture

It is a growing system. A high-rise hotel and some low-rise programs are proposed as the fixed part of the system. A framework is set up on the top of the low-rise buildings for developing flexible uses as demands change, providing space for new programs to be attracted in. Courtyards are opened as entrances of the community, and also connection between fixed bottom part and flexible upper layer. Paths are attached to the framework. As new programs attracted in, they would occupy the flexible units, which are located in between the framework.

The Fixed


Courtyards and paths

Flexible Units

05 HOUSE 2012 Spring Design Studio

COUNTRY HOUSE Director: Thomas Tsang

It is a family house located on a hilly area. It contains two cantilever sections. The overhang slopes allow maximum light to come into the ground floor, which serves as an open public space. While spaces for family activities are lifted up to upper level.

06 OBJECT 2011 Fall Design Studio

SUPER SHELTER Director: Jean Choi The super shelter is a one cubic meter structure. It is located in the end of a narrow platform enclosed with high railings. Light and shadow are the main forces that the super shelter needs to respond to. Layers of shadow

The super shelter allows for various possibilities of utilization, including both exterior and interior occupation. It also offers a way for people to get out of the enclosed site. Traces of light

Selected Undergraduate Work  
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