Living in the Clouds: Exploring Multi-Dimensional Space in Chinese High-Rise Communities

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A floating multi-dimensional space 'cloud' built between high-rise residences

In China, with the rapid increase in urban population, residential construction is a large part of the urban development landscape. However, rapid urbanization has resulted in a cookie-cutter sameness of typology that lacks a connection to its Chinese context. The "Gated Community" and urban renewal demolition goes against the traditional Chinese conception of space and the Chinese conception of society.

In this thesis, I wanted to conjecture through different dimensions, creating a multi-dimensional parasitic architecture rich in Chinese context to effectively improve people's experience in high-rise residential buildings.

(Keywords: Urban Regeneration, Urban Design, Residential, Adaptive Reuse, Collage)

In China, with the rapid increase in urban populations, residential construction is a large part of the urban development landscape. However, though rapid urbanisation brings convenience and more opportunities to people's lives, it also creates problems. In the sheer scale of delivery, Chinese residential buildings present a cookie-cutter sameness of typology that lacks a connection to its Chinese context. In high-rise residential buildings, there is a lack of personalised choices for the residents because of the nature of the buildings' construction; residents' living activities are limited to the interior and communication between people is blocked by cubicle after cubicle. Most towers, by the literal nature of their design, become a "Gated Community" which goes against the traditional Chinese conception of society. It also goes against the Chinese conception of space that takes the invisible as a metaphor for the visible, as a discourse between being and non-being.


Exacerbating this loss of community, the "Design Service Life of Building Structure" in China, decrees that residential buildings built before the 1970s have reached the end of their service life. This means that most houses will be demolished forcing the people who used to live here to move out, to meet urban renewal and development needs. This goes against the "Concept of Family" in Chinese society and erases the memories of these buildings from the long history of urban development.


In this thesis, I wanted to explore if there was a different approach. Could we create spaces that transform the living experience of these bland residential buildings that many people have to live in? Could we create spaces that allow another dimension to live in from a cellular apartment space? Creating space for the expansion of another dimension without affecting the existing dimension becomes this thesis's leading research direction. I will explore Zaha Hadid's early painting and paper architecture with traditional Chinese contexts for another way of looking at architectural space. I will combine my childhood memories with the film narrative to design and establish a utopian conjecture through different dimensions, creating a multi-dimensional parasitic architecture to see how I might improve people's experience in high-rise residential buildings.

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Interior landscape of existing building shows the cave serves as an entrance connecting the "Cloud" to the high-rise residence
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Replacing the traditional urban public space with a new perspective
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In the process of design “Cloud” not only integrates into the Chinese context, but also retains the original style
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The purpose of the “Cloud” design is to construct a certain missing area in a community, the neglected space between buildings is utilized to expand the community public space
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To preserve the value of the old buildings in the process of modern development, giving the city both a memory and a glimpse into the future
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The multi-dimensional space established by "Cloud" is not only internal but also external, so that residents can feel the richness of space
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The overall feeling and atmosphere of the "Cloud" seen by residents from inside the residential building at night
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To improve the quality of life for high-rise residential residents and provide a better atmosphere for community cohesion and interpersonal communication
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Breaking the "gated community" model to gradually attract more residents from outside and continuously improve the vitality of the community