- House for the Future Project Brief Second Term:
Current Condition: The location of the project is set in Shenzhen, one of the major metropolis in China. Couple of decades ago, Shenzhen was only a small fishing village, but due to its strategic location and its adjacency to Hong Kong, the city of Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the years, in a way it is a living example of instant city. The rapid development of Shenzhen is credited to migrant workers, people were attracted to the city by its resources and settled down. So that if trace back two generations, there are rarely any 'local' Shenzhen people. Since almost 99% of the population are migrants, many of them were farmers living in small villages. They contributed the most to the rise of Shenzhen, working at construction, service and manufacture. The manufacture industry is one of the major economic contributor, as many western hi-tech companies established their factories there, such as Apple and Sony. However, despite of the significant contribution from the migrant workers, they are often treated with low income and high working pressure, also lack of recognition from the society. Differ to the way conventional city grows, fast developed city like Shenzhen expand outwards much quicker to accommodate more people, absorbs lands which were farmlands and villages to its own territory. However sometime not all land parcels were developed evenly, and this results in the land price to rise dramatically even for undeveloped land parcels. As a result many pieces of the city are still in their 'village' form but the developers can not afford to demolish and relocate the people to make new developments. These left out pieces of land remain their original condition and became urban villages that surrounded by high end developments and sky scrapers. The urban villages maintained the form of rural architecture, but often associated with poor living conditions and social problems. These areas became undesirable for higher income groups thus migrant workers lives there because of the low rent and similarity to their neighbourhood at their home town. Although physically the developed land and urban village are next to each other, the isolation between different social class, and between city residence and migrant workers are becoming more apparent.
Hypothesis: Currently Shenzhen is one of the provider of hi-tech manufacture of the country, but there are evidences indicates many of the companies are moving out of China to other countries such as India, Mexico and South East Asia. One of the reasons is that the Chinese currency is increasing its value and the labour cost is becoming less competitive, also the government is slowly transforming the economy from manufacture based to service based. Thus the project predicts in the future till 2050, the factories in Shenzhen will move out of the city and this will leave the current workers to be unemployed. If this happens the empty factories, migrant workers and urban villages will become more unstable factor in the city than they already are. Another challenge for the future of Shenzhen is the environmental crisis, energy shortage, food safety and pollution are all likely to get worse. China has its root as an agricultural country, both in terms of culture and production, to solve the problems there is an opportunity to take inspirations from the heritage. Most of the
migrant workers were farmers before come to the city, and their knowledge and experience can be a benefit to the future of Shenzhen. Based on the hypothesis the project targets at the urban village communities, transform them to a new kind of community that promote the value of farming, and the lost cultural value (every Chinese festival and important dates are derived from agricultural activities, but now these festivals lost their true meanings). The residents in the new urban village produce food, education, and in charge of the celebration of traditional festivals. This transformation will not only provide solutions to the crisis, but also bridging the gap between different society members, making the urban village a more integrated part of the urban fabric instead of an unwanted part of the city.
Project Programme: - Residential building to accommodate new urban villagers (House of the four seasons) - Temples for festival and celebrations - Market place for exchange - education centre - Urban farm plots - Water system for collection and storage, linked with existing inner city canal system - Vertical farm attached to the existing surrounding buildings
Reflection on the First Term: Achieved: - The narrative - User and community - Design principle/driver - Diagrammatic design
To be Achieved: - The complexity of actual architecture - Materiality and human lives - Link with context - The project should be less homogeneous and generic - Experimental aspect of architecture
Targets for the Second Term: The project at this stage sets out the general picture of the design, including current condition analysis, narrative/hypothesis, targeted user/community, site location, design principle and preliminary vision and form. However the project is very vague and generic at the moment, it has not taking the advantage of the unit which is to create architecture through experiment and really looking into details. The project is looking at the large strategic level but not yet into the complexity of architecture required, and lacking in what really happen in reality or how people actually living in these environments. In the second term the emphasis will be on the areas that have not been addressed, through exploring beyond diagrams with more detailed plans, sections and 3d with more materiality and evidence of human inhabitation. Also making detailed models to demonstrate these properties, with the experience learned from the workshop. Furthermore the proper investigation to architecture will be integrated into the urban context with more appropriate considerations. By looking at the detailed side, the project will become more balanced and convincing. In the second term the thesis will also become a factor to help the design to develop, after meeting with the thesis tutor the thesis will be focusing on the technical aspect, which will prove the feasibilities to the design decisions. The thesis tutor is specialised in environmental studies with architectural background, she can provide advice on the performance of the urban village such as the urban farming, harvest energy, water collection etc. These will then tie in with the cultural aspect of the project.