Lower the apartment tower - new solution for dwelling blocks in a mid-sized city in China

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Arkkitehtuurin maisteriohjelma
Beginning in 2018, a large-scale demolition and reconstruction process of residential blocks began in Yiwu, a third-tier city in China. Due to aging buildings and insufficient infrastructure, the original blocks were demolished and replaced by new closed high-rise residential blocks. However, these huge closed blocks are like isolated islands in the city, hindering the operation of the urban system. The apartment towers all present a homogeneous appearance, completely abandoning the inheritance of cultural traditions. Moreover, Architects and planners lack caring for people when designing, so the community is separated from the city, and residents cannot get a good living experience in it. Nevertheless, in today's China, for various reasons, medium-sized cities are still building a large number of such high-rise residential blocks, which is irresponsible for the future. So this became the starting point of the thesis research - how to design a residential block that is open to the city, promotes each other and cares more about people in a rapidly developing urban environment. The first part of the thesis starts with the current situation of constructing residential blocks in China's medium-sized cities, and introduces the general history of the development of residential areas in China, as well as the reasons for the formation of today's gated communities. The second part introduces the development of residential area planning theory in the world, how to reflect on the drawbacks brought by urban functionalism since the 1960s, and begin to pay more attention on human. In contrast, China's construction in recent years shows that a large number of dwelling blocks are still under the influence of the neighborhood unit model, focusing on zoning, but lack of consideration on the human scale. This is the result of China's rapid development in pursuit of efficiency over the past two decades, but today architects must pay more attention to finer design considerations. The thesis selects "street" as the point where the city, residential block and people combine, taking this opportunity to explore more possibilities of residential design. In the third part of the thesis, combined with the case study, the requirements for three-point residential design are put forward. 1. Hierarchical design of streets, adding public pedestrian streets to create connection between urban and inhabitants. 2. Drawing on the concept of open building, giving residents more design freedom and avoiding top-down homogeneous design. 3. Combined with the street, the building volume of the block is designed in levels to avoid the oppression of the architecture on the public space. Finally, on the basis of the previous research, the Huangyuan New Village plot in Yiwu, China is selected for residential design, and a dwelling block that integrates with the urban environment and has meticulous care for inhabitants and visitors is design.
Lehto, Antti
Thesis advisor
Lindgren, Tommy
urban design, architecture, residential block, housing, street, China
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