Shanghai, Zhang Yuan Project (part 1)

Our first architecture project at Nanjing University is a big one. We are to visit, research, and redesign a district of 100 year old homes in Shanghai’s Zhang Yuan (张园). It’s a really interesting place and has a lot of different dynamics to consider. It’s also a massive area with a lot of potential spaces to create and work with.


The project itself is a group conceptual design with three main parts. First, we had to visit Zhang Yuan and take video footage of the area then edit it into a 3-5 minute movie that showed how we felt while we were there. Then we needed to research the history of the location, what it was like 100 years ago, how that changed overtime, how the space has developed and using all that come up with a creative visual way to show that information to the class. We are still working on this section of the project but have a good idea of what we are going to do and how we are doing to present it. The final part of the project is to create a conceptual design for the area which protects the current “small town” atmosphere yet links it better with the surrounding modern city. We have lots of idea for this final part but have yet to make and solid decision about what we are going to do.

A few weeks back my group took a day off and went to Shanghai. We spent a whole day at Zhang Yuan and when we came back we made our movie. I made a separate movie for myself, simply because I had never uses the video editing software (Corel Video Studio Pro X6) and wanted to get some practice. All the shots are taken on a little digital Cannon 800is so film quality may be lacking somewhat. Once I can figure out how to upload it online I will post it for all of you to see!

The following image is a step that we have taken to develop our ideas of how to use the space within the project, mapping out areas we want to change or protect.


We have also done stacks of sketches to give ourselves ideas about what things may have looked like in the past along with what they may look like in the future. I am only including the work that I have done simply because I don’t have permission to share that which my group members have drawn.


These last pictures are cell photos of an unfinished Styrofoam model that depicts the project area. Grey represents what we are trying to leave in its original state, yellow is what we are changing (there will be a lot more yellow before this model is done) and the trace overlay is a conceptual idea for a rooftop “green” park.


As we do more on this project I will update the blog with more info and pictures, call it a blog in progress. There is a lot left to do and I am guessing that will mean at least two more post about this project. So tune in next time to this same URL and see what we’ve been up to!


2 responses to “Shanghai, Zhang Yuan Project (part 1)

  1. I love the scope of the assignment. Good challenges, imaginative, open thinking Have fun with this and dream big. Can’t wait for future updates. 🙂 joy

  2. Pingback: Shanghai, Zhang Yuan Project (part 2) | "Living with all one's soul"·

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