Throughout history, Beijing’s underground has been the location of solitude and seperation from the world above; from providing protection from a nuclear threat in the past, to housing a second society of migrant workers today. A solution to bringing together the two classes in Beijing of public inhabitant and migrant lies in the threshold between the public surface and the latent underground. In bringing the two locations together, there will be exploration in the potentials of development in the ground plane.
In an effort of protection from a potential nuclear attack during the Cold War era, Chairman Mao Zedong issued the construction of an underground tunnel system beneath the homes of Beijing's citizens. Though the attacks never happened, the infrastructure has remained active since its construction.
Redevelopment during the 1980's brought about change to Beijing's surface. What was once a city of single-story vernacular courtyards is continually becoming a city of high-rises.
Farmers from the western regions of China have been migrating to urban areas in search of work in these plans for the city's reconstruction. However, their residence in urban areas has been considered illegal because their individual status categorizes them as rural citizens only. Because of this injustice, they have chosen to live in the abandoned tunnels of the Cold War.
Though they have found ways to live invisibly in Beijing, it is not without sacrifice of natural daylight and healthy air ventilation.
The goal of this project is to develop that threshold into spaces that reflect a Beijing from the past and bring together the people of today. Through a process of researching the urban typology of the past in the site of the present, the underground was map and developed inside out to design spaces for both the migrant and local occupants of the area.
The goals of this thesis are:
To design spaces that benefit and bring together both the migrant and public inhabitants of Beijing.
To unearth lost traditions and culturally related program and architecture of China.
To benefit the area and interpret the plans of redevelopment.
Silk farm, factory, and store
Gallery and leisure spaces
Influences/methodology of traditional Chinese architecture:
The communal courtyard
The emphasis of horizontal over vertical
The gabled roof
The siheyuan, hutong, and yaodong
Status: School Project
Location: Beijing, CN