Ailing Zhang

MArch I

A Comprehensive Shed in Northeast China

Advised by Sergio Lopez-Pineiro

This thesis proposes a socially sustainable Comprehensive Shed as a new type of public realm. This shed simultaneously accommodates urban Western, high-end retail experiences imported into China in the last 20 years along with centuries-old rural Chinese cultural activities, which are about to disappear in the city of Dalian in the Manchuria region of Northeast China.

The investigation starts with three distinctive forces:

A forthcoming global trend of declining interest in physical shopping: Malls are declining globally. Retailers in China are predicting tremendous challenges due to the growth of e-commerce and shoppers’ changing preferences. Customers may visit physical stores for feeling and fitting the products, but prefer to buy them online.

An ongoing crisis of vanishing rural activities and their associated spaces in China: Northeast China is known for its idiosyncratic culture. Yet this regional identity has been displaced due to the disappearance of rural activities and their associated spaces, which are replaced by new constructions with imported Western forms.

A current trend of emerging public spaces within retail spaces in China: Among the new constructions, the imported architectonic forms promote new ways of positive interactions. Western shopping centers, for example, have emerged as popular, multifunctional public spaces. Locals prefer them for their warm interiors and the convenience of walkable distance.

These forces lead to my proposal: Can we design a spatial juxtaposition between modernized culture and traditional culture to revive both of them together with new experience for people to be inspired and socialized?

Ailing Zhang, MArch I.
Provocation. Grid-like skyscraper surrounded by clouds and herons. One floor is built in the style of traditional Asian architecture.
Ailing Zhang, MArch I.
Ailing Zhang, MArch I.
Design Detail.
Ailing Zhang, MArch I.
Atmosphere Rendering.
Ailing Zhang, MArch I.
Site Model.