American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2007 Student Awards
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Dream Balloons
Tang Xiaolu, Student Affiliate ASLA, Han Xiaoxi, Student Affiliate ASLA and Cao Yiyun, Student Affiliate ASLA
Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Faculty Advisor: Dong Nannan

"Delightful and inventive! We need thinkers like this in our profession. It's beautifully rendered and displays strong conceptual ideas. It brings life, diversity, and fun to a neighborhood."

— 2007 Student Awards Jury Comments

Project Statement
High residential density and decaying life quality are ubiquitous among historic quarters in metropolis of China. This project aims at improving Lilong residents’ lifestyle and life quality by presenting inspiring landscape in dense residential environment in an ingenious way.

Project Location, Scope and Size
The site covers 21,000 square meters area of Lilong settlements in the heart of Shanghai.

Site and Context
The site is the Lilong settlement of Shanghai. "Li" means neighborhoods, "Long" means lanes. These two words combine to describe an urban housing form which characterizes the city of Shanghai. Indissociable from the growth of Shanghai from 1840s to 1949, Lilong settlements still comprise the majority of housing stock in the city center today. As a low-rise, ground-related housing pattern, Lilong settlement has many advantageous features: hierarchical spatial organization network, separation of public and private zones, high degree of safety control, strong sense of neighborly interaction and social cohesiveness, and so on.

However, most Lilong settlements are facing the demolishment or the transformation into commercial block so as to bring more commercial benefits for the government due to the lack of the necessary protection of Lilong settlements during the past 50 to 100 years, the surprisingly high residential density accompanying the occupation and destruction of the public space, and the gradual degradation of the life quality.

So is the site for landscape design. The majority of Lilong residential constructions in the site is dated from 1910~1930 years, and still suitable for living after many rounds of maintenance. Under the living condition of which the average living space is 8.6 m2 per person (the average living space in urban area of Shanghai is 15.5 m2 per person ), 1400~1500 people are living in such a place of Lilong settlement without open space and green, including 30% of renters. Since the site is near the most bustling commercial blocks of Shanghai, rapid construction and development is in process around it such as a large number of five-star hotels, upscale shopping centers and apartments. The site is a concentrated expression of the social culture shock, the oppression of modern skyscrapers imposed on the historic blocks, and a strong contrast in urban life and landscape.

Design Intent
The final purpose of this design is the upgrading of Lilong residents’ life quality. This intention is based on the following two points:

First, for the essence of the residence landscape, it is residents’ life that should genuinely be concerned and protected, and it can serve as the original intention of understanding and designing.

Second, although the complexity of the design object has included various conflicts such as urban life, social benefits, and scenery, the two sides are equal and should be treated as the same. It should not be ignored to strive for the extending space and increasing influence of the jeopardized Lilong life.

Concept and Main Issues
Lilong, an area with special culture and different lifestyle, shapes the unique view of the city. Our reconstruction is to improve the life quality and the living style. This reconstruction will extend into more Lilong settlements properly reconstruction, bring the historic quarters Sustainable Development and healthy vitality.

First, our suggestion is that upon the roof of the Lilong settlement, the space, enveloped by the outline and the shadow of skyscrapers, can replace the public space to accommodate stuff. In this way, the space upon the roof of the Lilong settlements can be transformed into unique view, and also the design will restore the public space for residents by putting all the sundries into different quantities of spherical settings, according to the residents’ different needs, and lifting these settings up to the ideal height along vertical bars.

Second, Lilong settlements need some new sorts of energy. To the Lilong residents who gain low income and suffer gradually degrading life quality, some new sorts of energy are useful and essential, for instance, solar energy. Solar energy can be collected by the solar energy panel set on the top of the vertical bar through which the energy will be transmitted to the storage box that is buried underground at the end of the bar so as to provide energy for the residential lighting and the mechanical movement of the spherical settings and the vertical bars.

Third, we are trying our best to help Lilong residents to realize their dreams about residence. Lilong residents hold a lot of expectations for living, such as beautiful gardens, crowded parties and tranquil relaxation. All these expectations are natural, but they cannot be realized because of the gap between these expectations and the real living condition. Besides accomodating stuff, the spherical settings can be designed into containers for plants, flowers, and fish, totally up to the residents’ liking. Being lifted high, the spherical settings will leave the courtyard and the terrace spared. Based on the limited space, intensive usage should be applied, and facilities require occupying minimum space. A series of facilities—free bending tube bar with various functions—are installed in the courtyard, the terrace, and some other space for activities, which guarantees the compound of multiple functions: courtyard lighting, clothes airing, climbing vine and so on, by means of only occupying a small amount of space. Meanwhile, this design will help local residents create new courtyard life through choosing other alterations.


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