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Hi, Neighbors!

Recycling villages in the City

1st year project
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Tutor: Pol Esteve Castelló

The phenomenon of 城中村 (villages in the city) is the residue of a rapid urban progression. Shenzhen transitioned itself from a fishing village to one of the major metropolis in China in just a short approximation of 40 years. For the goal of greater maximum efficiency, the previously established settlements were overlooked during the mass development, resulting in pockets of vernacular housing blocks surrounded by high-rises. The housing blocks are often segregated into smaller units accommodating low-income immigrants, causing danger by exposed structure and unorganised wires.

The project proposes an alternative future for the “villages in the city” in Shenzhen, china. Not through the brutal act of demolition, but instead through careful removal of the internal core of each block, and redistributing the circulation by constructing external staircases; through such operation, the segregated blocks are instantaneously transformed into a linked community. The additional spaces liberated by the extraction of previous core provide new possibility of shared programs, such as communal kitchen, cinema, living room, daycare… opened for the inhabitants to interpret.