Organically-formed residential garden towers provide living islands for dislocated rural population
The client being the local government required a housing project that would be able to resolve the complexity of a mixed demographic, including rural migration and providing a living environment accessible to all age groups. The design responds to the context of a cultural precinct, a river park to the south, and a linear recreation corridor to the north.
The west edge provides an active edge to interface with the commercial street frontage. The key issue for the client was to address the issue of China’s policy for increasing urbanisation, with the rural population migrating to high density city housing, and to provide them with a sense of their former lifestyle. The urban design is about utilising the natural water on the site and developing a water and landscape environment as green corridors providing opportunity for urban agriculture and recreation.
The apartment towers are 'living islands' in this environment which are sleeved on the perimeter with the lower rise apartments fragmenting in form to the edges as they encroach towards the cultural landscape axis. The tower form, heights and positioning is a response to maximising sunlight access, allowing natural air flow, reducing the feeling being closed in by directly adjoining neighbours and enhanced view corridors both within the site and beyond.
The architectural character is developed through the extended organic balcony profiles, as layered patches of farmland, which provide a sense of openness for the occupants and opportunity for vertical gardens / agriculture. The development functions in a mixed use mode having multiple housing types from single floor plate to 2 level lofts, commercial activity, seniors / community club, kindergarten and recreation.
For the government, the design achieves social sustainability, provides a high level of environmental sustainability, and in response to the occupants and context is based on an ecological concept of natural design elements and organic forms, providing a living environment in which they can relate to from the former rural environment.