The Cooper Union
School of Architecture
 
 
 
 
 

SOCIAL HOUSING REVISITED

This project, a new town of 10,000 people to be built near Shanghai, proposes a new concept of urban design that is informed by the conditions of its time (the end of the twentieth century), and its place (a modernizing China).

The issue at hand is in many ways a question of mediation: How does one transform the conflicting relationship between the traditional and the modern city into a dynamic and productive dialogue?

Three different conditions are collapsed onto the same site. Different scales and different temporal experiences of space are juxtaposed to create a complex urban condition. To distinguish between the three different conditions, we use the analogy of speed:

  1. A slow city where the pedestrian rules. The slow city of low rise buildings articulated to the local tradition of he traditional Chinese courtyard houses.
  2. A fast city of instantaneous electronic communication, that can be seen from the car on the expressway and the high speed train. This city of buildings as objects is represented by the Towers and the Wall which embodies powerful symbolism in Chinese culture.
  3. An urban realm where the slow and fast cities establish a dialogue. The Z building type allows for both closure and openness, providing some street walls but also reading as building-objects. The Z buildings blur the difference between the ciy of fabric usually identified with the historical city (the city of buildings which lose their identity while deferring to the urban whole), and the modernist city of building objects

DIANA AGREST
Professor, Proportional-Time Faculty