Currently the team I am working with in China is exploring the idea of dwelling within Shanghai and the rapidly changing cultural and economic forces that impact these conditions. We started our design by studying the vernacular housing in Shanghai. These small dwelling units are clustered behind walls and have been slowly modified by the occupants. Although we acknowledge there are negative aspects to these units such as overcrowding and sanitation; there are redeeming qualities of these neighborhoods that define the cultural identity of the Shanghainese.
Shanghai is changing, and changing rapidly. Horizontal expansion is not feasible or sustainable, leaving few options to remedy rapid growth. We decided to design vertically. In the past vernacular housing has been destroyed to make way for new residential towers. Our team is researching the possibilities of integrating vertical towers into the existing neighborhoods. With this criteria in mind we conceived of multiple vertical shafts to accommodate circulation, agriculture and open air. Surrounding the vertical shafts are dwelling units that are diagrammatically derived from the existing vernacular housing.