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Pratt Institute 2018 Degree Project Award Jury Top Honor

Archived by Pratt Institute

Shenzhen, China

Spring 2018

Partner Mingxuan Qin

Instructor Karen Bausman and John Szot

Undergraduate Thesis Project

Shenzhen is the pioneer in the urbanization of China. It is a symbolic city of Chairman Deng Xiaoping’s Chinese Economic Reform. In this 30-year rapid development, Shenzhen has become the most innovative and the third-largest city in China with an 11.389 million population. More than 70% of them are immigrants. Urban villages are the first place they live after coming to this new place.

However, the lopsided development causes the villages to become the last places that haven’t been developed. Furthermore, overcrowded population, extremely dense building blocks, a high crime rate, and lots of social issues exposed to the public. Against the existing redevelopment, planning proposes to demolish the entire village, our design pursuing a compromise proposal that preserves the village to provide living spaces for migrants.

On the other hand, the intervention structures comprise point structures and linear structures which provide public facilities, business streets. Three different typologies are designed that able be applied to different areas in the urban village. They can emphasize the functional identities in the small range areas and finally activate the entire village.

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Thesis Book Ming, Jo and Tian

Photos from the website



The buildings in Baishizhou urban village are always mixed-use. The ground floor of most blocks is for commercial space such as restaurants or vegetable vendors. The upper floor is generally residences connected by narrow staircases.

Because the size of each block is based on the traditional division. However, people today build multi-story buildings on the land which was historically used for single-story buildings. The result of this is the narrow alleys and insufficient sunlight in the apartments. Because the buildings are too close together, they also called “hand-shake” buildings, which means people from one building can shake hands with the person in another building.

Composite Drawing and Data_Mingxuan Qin&


The appearances of buildings in the village are homogeneous to the people whom first time visit there. To solve this problem, we visited the site and found several important landmarks such as large restaurants or public programs which helped us reoriented our location. By connecting those points, we are creating a new framework of circulation based on the existing village. Our project pursues to emphasize this oriented process and combines other elements to increase accessibility for the people from outside.

Proposed Mater Plan_Tianyue Xiao&Mingxua
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Map Diagram 1 [转换]-01.jpg


This project proposes a therapy of acupuncture. The design provides convenient circulation and additional public services to the existing village, with the intention to break the boundary between the city and village. Selecting certain potential points in the village, our proposal aims to encourage the local economy and small business by redefined the functions of the small-range spaces. Three different typologies are designed and we apply them to the entire region of the village. Connecting those points, the design restructures the circulation system of the village and encourages the other citizens to go into the village.  The design tries to find a sustainable solution that synthesized the forms of the existing village through the integration of design innovation and its shared historical memory of this migrant city.


Baishizhou Urban Village Model (4’×4‘×2’)



Point A Perspective Section_Mingxuan Qin

In some areas of the village, restaurants are congregated. However, the poor dining environment cannot satisfy the people today. In this condition, the intervened structure provides pleasing dining spaces to profit both the restaurants and residents. The people from outside the village will be more willing to visit the village and better understand life in the village. On the other hand, insufficient public programs will also be added for people gather such as movie place and playground for children.


Point A Model (3’×1‘×2’)

Point A Plan B_Mingxuan Qin&Tianyue Xiao
Point A Plan A_Mingxuan Qin&Tianyue Xiao

Point A  Second Level


Point A  Third Level



Point B Perspective Section_Mingxuan Qin

The markets in the village can activate the surrounding business by attracting people to come to this area. In the past, the food trucks randomly occupied the streets. They not only cause the traffic in the village even worse but also smudge the surrounding areas. In this intervened structure, they can freely access the ground floor to continue their businesses which also easier for local government to manage. On the upper floors, the spaces are less define intentionally to attract different kinds of businesses aggregate to produce larger economic benefits, and residents can buy what they need in a more effective way.


Point B Model (3’×2‘×2’)

Point B Plan A_Mingxuan Qin&Tianyue Xiao
Point B Plan B_Mingxuan Qin&Tianyue Xiao

Point B  Second Level


Point B  Third Level



Point C Perspective Section_Mingxuan Qin

In the redevelopment process, some buildings might be selected and deconstructed for the new structures to intervene. The residents who were originally live in the building will be relocated to this new building. We double the height of the existing building to accommodate more population. The exterior attached structure is providing public spaces such as reading spaces, co-working spaces, and observation decks for the residents in the building and surrounding area.


Point C Model (2’×2‘×3’)

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