The Language of Design Is an International Language 


Shanghai/Milano/Adelaide International Design Studio 

International Teaching

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Tectvs Director Tony Giannone believes that design is about relationships. 

As part of his role as an Adjunct Associate Professor within the School of Architecture and Built Environment (SABE) at the University of Adelaide - and with the support and active co-operation of the Head of School George Zillante - Tony has embarked on an ambitious design workshop spanning 3 years and 3 continents. Representing SABE, Tony has collaborated with the Politecnico Milan (Mantova, Milan, Italy) and Tongji University (Shanghai, China) to organise an International Studio and design workshop that involves 3 groups of students visiting 3 different cities over 3 years.

Participating institutions:

- College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University (TJU)
- School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide (UofA)
- Politecnico di Milan (POLIMI)


Workshop 1: Tongji University - Shanghai (July 2014)

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Lilong Housing Unit Regeneration (Eco-Integration and Preservation of Historic values) 

Worldwide, there is an increasing trend towards urbanisation led by ever growing populations and the residual effects of climate change. In 1960, 34% of people lived in cities. In 2014, 54% lived in cities and by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Cities are growing. Cities are networks. Design is a language that helps cities become communities. 

More and more, people with different nationalities are living together, sharing cultures, experiences and learning the lessons of the people that inhabit the spaces between the streets and under the ceilings. 

  Workshop Site:  Lilong residencies were prevalent during the end of the 19th century until the 1930's, combing the traits of southern Chinese dwellings and the Western row house

Workshop Site: Lilong residencies were prevalent during the end of the 19th century until the 1930's, combing the traits of southern Chinese dwellings and the Western row house

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and this explosive growth has - and continues still - to change the face of the landscape profoundly. China is presently undergoing a process of cultural and economic transformation; especially in industrial cities where the development is dynamic, large scale and wholly transformative. 

The changes of districts, streets, bridges and large buildings have notably influenced the urban landscape and its usage. A clear distinction is emerging between Old and New China. Buildings have been growing rapidly without any reference to the location and the climate. Often, inappropriate approaches to the built environment are applied. For that reason, the 2014 Shanghai-Milano-Adelaide International Design Workshop was created by Tongji University (College of Architecture and Urban Planning) and the University of Adelaide (School of Architecture and Built Environment) and Polytechnic University of Milan (Mantova). 


Tony believes that cities can be revitilised by the adaptation of existing buildings, that in turn increase the architectural expression and changing cultural values of the city itself


The students from three countries will work together on eco-integration and exemplary housing unit concepts, with the aim of researching residential prototype and traditional energy saving methods. The goal of the concepts is to design visionary living spaces whilst answering the desire of nuclear families and mankind in the hope for improved quality of living in the traditional block environment of the future. By working together across cultures and nationalities, the workshop seeks to protect cultures through adaptation and application. 

The project should answer the environmental and economic demands and also fulfil the sociocultural claims of the traditional block and its habitants.

  A student from the workshop sketches at the West Bund Museum from the Shanghai leg of the International Studio

A student from the workshop sketches at the West Bund Museum from the Shanghai leg of the International Studio

The Site
Lilong residencies were prevalent during the end of the 19th century until the 1930's, combing the traits of southern Chinese dwellings and the Western row house. They are most representative of modern Shanghai residential architecture. They are the brick-timber structured and household-dense Lilong house. They are gradually disappearing from our sight with the city’s planning and transformation.

The site is located in Hongkou district, Shanghai. It encompasses the Lanwei Li neighbourhood from the 1910's, the Changle Li neighbourhood from 1930's and the former Shanghai Ice Cold Storage Company shops and warehouse (from 1913). Presently, 504 families are living in these Lilong houses, with the site having a total area of 1.27 Hectares and floor area of 16,222 square meters.

Workshop
During a workshop in Shanghai, the students are familiarised with the necessary knowledge to work on the project. An exchange of ideas is sought on an intercultural level. This is supported by lectures, seminars and student presentations. The students are asked to analyse and to work intensively on the chosen site and to develop their own design ideas. The students will focus on the following points:
1. Strategy and analysis
Strategy and analysis of social relationship between original inhabitants and new residents Strategy and analysis of economic, e.g. jobs creating, income increasing
Strategy and analysis of context, e.g. historical streets, lost space
Planning of block space, e.g. housing, streets, open space
Architectural design (typical housing unit) considering low cost, low energy consumption, low tech and practical construction.
2. Residential prototype research and new house design
Choose a typical residential unit and the site from the compound. The new house design should form the basis of maintaining the residential prototype,  adapting the original 2-3 storeys brick and timber house to a 3-5 storey incorporating new materials and structures, with courtyard, balcony and terrace included for the provision of housing more nuclear families to the area.

The goal of the International studios is to create relationships across cultures and institutions to develop 'live' research models into the development of cities. By working across 3 universities (Milano, Tongji and Adelaide) the studio aims to share experiences that reflect design attitudes towards cultural expectations

Program

Workshop 2: Mantova, Politecnico di Milan (POLIMI), July 2015

Workshop 3: Adelaide, School of Architecture and Built Environment (SABE), July 2016