Sandeli, Wuhan, China
The University of Dundee
The rapid urbanisation of Wuhan is clear in the continuous growth of verticality, causing a generational divide as younger people chase a high-rise lifestyle in search of better conditions, leaving behind the older residents. This can be seen in many parts of the city, but the surrounding context of the site shows just how powerful this impact is. As communities are demolished to make way for these buildings, the remaining residents in between are left wondering how long their community has left. Sandeli is one of many Lilong housing areas that has been left to decay, experiencing this first-hand there is a clear urgency for change. Finding a solution to restore the area rather than destroy it would create a richer community and could have the potential to revive a multi-generational style of living. These areas are vital to maintaining a contrasting landscape and are in danger of being engulfed by high-rise living.
The proposal is for low-cost communal living and flats for young adults/families linked directly with better housing for the existing elderly to create a more enriched community. Young people can learn and interact with the older generation through unique spaces in each scheme. To encourage a younger generation to more here, a busy public space connecting to the main street is created in a disappearing community, bringing potential work and life back to the area.
The key aspect of this design is the three-dimensional feel of the social space. Containing no walled corridors or rooms, everyone can be seen and heard. It encourages strangers to interact with each other and form friendships, an occurring problem in social housing in which rooms come from one big corridor. Using these landings instead of rooms creates freedom for the residents to arrange the space how they would want to use it, and naturally creates both small and large areas. These small areas can be used for partially separating yourself for more private activities, such as reading or working, without the need of retreating to a bedroom. A sense of unity is created between people in the house, eliminating the traditional enclosed corridor eliminates the feeling of exclusion; everyone belongs to the social space.