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Container Block in Haojiacun Urban Village / Bounds Plan + BA Studio

Container Block in Haojiacun Urban Village / Bounds Plan + BA Studio

North Aerial. Image Courtesy of Bounds PlanInterface on Yanta West Road. Image Courtesy of Bounds PlanCourtesy of l_atelier de LEONStreet view in rain. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan+ 28

Xi'an, China
  • Project Manager:Chao Chen
  • Design Team:Cheng Zhang, Peng Li, Zhe Chen, Siqi Ma, Jiajin Li
  • Client:Huijing Industrial Corporation Ltd.
  • Engineering:Jiwen Pan, Chao Zhang
  • Landscape:Jianyong Zhang, Jianyong Li
  • City:Xi'an
  • Country:China
More SpecsLess Specs
Interface on Yanta West Road. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
Interface on Yanta West Road. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

Text description provided by the architects. Container Block in Haojiacun Urban Village is a project carried out on the premise of “Low-Res Completion”— primitive commercial plan, limited investigation and low controllability on appearance. We had to give up the dependence on “completeness”, and rethink the multiple meanings of our design pursuit — “order”. “Design” still finds its entry points under such circumstances.

North Aerial. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
North Aerial. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

The project site lies beside Haojiacun— one of the “urban villages” formed during Xi’an’s urban sprawl. In 2010, an interrupted removal action left the 13 mu (0.86 ha) of blank land between the village and Yanta West Road. Spatially and temporally, the project sits right on the frontline of the City-Village confrontation. Orders of the two sides are distinct, while an effective synthesis is crucial to establish the project. The design needs to setup a base structure that allocates spaces with efficiency like the city, while embraces informalities like the village. 

Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON
Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON

The Material
Used 40-feet containers (12m L/2.4m W /2.9m H) are selected as main material for construction. We try to familiarize the unusual material through several handling acts, in order to facilitate people’s reading on space and structure.

Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON
Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON

The Unit
A unit is a 12m×12m square block formed by 5 aligned containers on ground level and 2-3 on upper level. It resembles the house-scale, and acts as an operable tool between the site and single containers. The rooftop and terrace are easy to construct add-ons.

Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON
Courtesy of l_atelier de LEON

The Layout
A Height difference of up to 2 meters with Yanta Road is the key problem on section, and we redistribute it with three elevated terraces. On plan, the main strategy is to form three playgrounds by setting back from the street. Three more yards are enclosed on the south side, forming a checker board layout. Second-floor terraces are linked to ground-floor open spaces by six staircases and a corridor. As a design result, the block offers definite base-structure, readable construction logic and rich adjustment spaces. These features allow it to accommodate “orders” from both the city and the village side, and incubate a new form of settlement.

Functional scheme
Functional scheme
Construction_interior. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
Construction_interior. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

Between City and Village
Soon after construction completes, the first batch of tenants— mostly from Haojiacun— moved in. Along with their business, they brought in signboards, ornaments, furniture, add-ons, life habits and neighborhood activities, which quickly “village-lize” the block’s picture with their strong style. Before long, customers and tenants from the city side started to bring in different commercial forms, sceneries and social connections. The space hard to be classified or tagged, so people starts to use and occupy it by virtue of their own readings. Stores, corridors, terraces, steps, yards… spaces are reshaped by people’s activities and vice versa. A new kind of everyday life is cultivated there.

The block becomes gathering place. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
The block becomes gathering place. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
People get involved in space. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
People get involved in space. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

This unique project emerges from the lasting war between city and urban village, which used to lean to one side. Arguments for the other side— views that concerns urban fabrics, social rights, cultural diversity and others— have gained public recognition only in recent years.

Northwest corner. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
Northwest corner. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

Short or long, the block will exist for a certain period. It aims to fulfil its potential as a commercial development, but moreover, to vacillate the dualism of “city verses village” with its synthetic order. It explores the way toward a long-term conciliation.

Street view in rain. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan
Street view in rain. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

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Project location

Address:Haojiacun, Yanta West Road, Yanta District, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Container Block in Haojiacun Urban Village / Bounds Plan + BA Studio" 18 Jul 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/943174/container-block-in-haojiacun-urban-village-bounds-plan-plus-ba-studio> ISSN 0719-8884
Tenants_ additional construction. Image Courtesy of Bounds Plan

郝家村集装箱街区 / 行止计画 + 北央设计

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