Project for Dominant Types & the Idea of the City: Housing Beijing / Chris Lee / Graduate School of Design
As the dominant housing type the Quadrangle House remains a permanent element of Beijing. Originally intended for upper class extended families the Quadrangle House had a strict hierarchical arrangement of families, public space, and entry sequences. Over time these hierarchies were lost as the Quadrangle House was further subdivided and slowly in-filled by families in need of low-cost housing. The method of dwelling within the structure has therefore drastically changed. Rather than functioning as a common familial gathering space for the different branches of the family living within the Quadrangle House, the courtyard now functions as an unceremonious corridor to much smaller units. With the continual influx of population Beijing this situation is being replicated in relatively new slums at the outskirts of the city. This leads to the question, can the Quadrangle House transform to meet the pressing need for affordable housing in the city while still maintaining some of its intended communal spaces?
A response to this problem was the mid-century introduction of worker housing in Beijing. These 6 – 10 slab buildings drastically increased the housing supply the fast-growing city which providing better living conditions than most of the Quadrangle Houses in Beijing. The drawback to this housing type, however, is the lack of a unifying communal space found in the Quadrangle Houses.
This project proposes the combination of these two dominant housing types into a new hybrid building. Conceived as a thin slab which is mirrored onto the ground plan, the density and standards of living common in worker housing are present in the project. Rather than mimicking the circulation patterns of worker housing, however, the project utilizes the circulation system of the Hutongs. Common circulation cores lead to semi-private courtyards or terraces which provide access to two to three units.
At an urban scale the repetition of these L-shaped building frame larger changes within the city. While increasing the supply of quality housing in the South of the city, the project also frames both the urbanization of periphery farmland in the area and the demilitarization of the airport adjacent to the site. This is accomplished by capturing elements of these processes between the proposed housing structures. Thus framing the future of the site.
Typical Floor Plans
Section Through Major Terraces and Courtyards
Major / Minor Terraces
Dwelling Unit Variations
Precedent Analysis / Gifu Kitagata by Kazuo Sejima
Comparative Analysis / Gifu Kitagata / Nexus Housing by OMA / Beijing Courtyard House
Some of my classmate’s models.