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How Are Public Washrooms Shaping Places in China?

Public Toilets in Zuzhai Village / cnS. Image © Siming Wu
Public Toilets in Zuzhai Village / cnS. Image © Siming Wu

In recent years, with the accelerated urban development of public spaces in China, public washrooms have been assigned numerous new roles. Designers have come up with a variety of proposals which suggest turning public washrooms into a place where social gathering can be redefined, and temporary stay can be more engaging. Although the scale of public washrooms is significantly smaller than that of any other type of architecture, Chinese architects have been working innovatively on fitting the public washrooms into the changing social contexts. Below are a few examples that demonstrate some current architectural experiments with public washroom design in China.

Public Toilets in Zuzhai Village / cnS. Image © Siming WuNantou Public Toilet / Edge Studio. Image © Zhuoheng FuPP Garden / People’s Architecture Office. Image Courtesy of People’s Architecture OfficeToilets with a View / guó bàn ér. Image © Shu He+ 35

Why Don’t We Teach Chinese Architecture in the United States?

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Why Don’t We Teach Chinese Architecture?"

How many U.S. architecture professors know that there is a Chinese treatise equivalent to Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture? Very few, I suspect. I taught architectural history for more than 20 years before I discovered the marvelous Yingsao Fashi, a Song Dynasty book by a prominent court official who, as far as we know, was not an architect or builder. In fact, prior to the Ming Dynasty no prominent temple, palace, or shrine in China was designed by an architect because the concept of a single mastermind in charge of a building project was foreign to the East Asian way of designing environments of any kind.

Micro Living in China: Tiny Houses as an Innovative Design Solution

According to the United Nation’s “The World’s Cities in 2018”, it is estimated that, “by 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.” Also, between 2018 and 2030, it is estimated that the number of cities with 500,000 inhabitants or more is expected to grow by 23 percent in Asia. China, as the largest economy in Asia, with a GDP (PPP) of $25.27 trillion, is expanding rapidly, both economically and demographically.

With more and more migrant workers coming into the bigger cities in China, it has become increasingly difficult for workers to find an affordable place to live. Some people decide to move away from urban centers and bear with the lengthy commute time, while others are seeking creative design solutions to transform their home into a tiny, functional space to meet their daily needs.

Suli House / Luo Xiuda. Image © Weiqi JinYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studioYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studioYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studio+ 18

Best Modern Examples of Ancient Courtyard Renovations in China

Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."

Micro-Yuan’er / ZAO/standardarchitecture. Image © Mingming ZhangCave House in Loess Plateau / hyperSity Architects. Image Courtesy of hyperSity ArchitectsFuchun Kosa Zou Ma Lou / Atelier Archmixing. Image Courtesy of Atelier ArchmixingTwisting Courtyard / ARCHSTUDIO. Image © Weiqi Jin + Ning Wang+ 18

The MaoHaus / AntiStatics Architecture

MaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia Zhi
MaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia Zhi

MaoHaus Night. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Detail. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Site. Image © Xia Zhi+ 52

Beijing, China

Life and Aesthetics Experience in Phoenix Mansion / gad

© Yi Fan© Yi Fan© Yi Fan© Yi Fan+ 22

  • Architects: gad
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  2127
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Nanjing Museum / CCTN Design

Gallery of special exhibitions. Image Courtesy of CCTN Design
Gallery of special exhibitions. Image Courtesy of CCTN Design

Original Wood Stairs At the Junction. Image © Guangyuan ZhangAtrium of Gallery of Special Exhibtions. Image Courtesy of CCTN DesignFacade Detail. Image Courtesy of CCTN DesignJunction area between the reserved old main hall and the newly built gallery of history. Image © Guangyuan Zhang+ 28

  • Architects: CCTN Design
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  84500
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013

Wang Jing Memorial Hall / DnA

© Ziling Wang
© Ziling Wang

© Ziling Wang© Ziling Wang© Ziling Wang© Ziling Wang+ 26

  • Architects: DnA
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  406
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

What It’s Like to be an Architect who Doesn’t Design Buildings

There's an old, weary tune that people sing to caution against being an architect: the long years of academic training, the studio work that takes away from sleep, and the small job market in which too many people are vying for the same positions. When you finally get going, the work is trying as well. Many spend months or even years working on the computer and doing models before seeing any of the designs become concrete. If you're talking about the grind, architects know this well enough from their training, and this time of ceaseless endeavor in the workplace only adds to that despair.

Which is why more and more architects are branching out. Better hours, more interesting opportunities, and a chance to do more than just build models. Furthermore, the skills you learn as an architect, such as being sensitive to space, and being able to grasp the cultural and societal demands of a place, can be put to use in rather interesting ways. Here, 3 editors at ArchDaily talk about being an architect, why they stopped designing buildings, and what they do in their work now. 

Wuyuan Skywells Hotel / anySCALE

Exterior. Image © Marc GoodwinPublic space. Image © Marc GoodwinSurroundings. Image © Marc GoodwinExterior. Image © Marc Goodwin+ 40

  • Architects: anySCALE
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1385
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Ecquality, Ecquality & Oak

Lijiang Back and Forward Boutique Hotel / NTYPE

Central Yard Day View. Image © Joao LemosFacade Screen Casting Light and Shadow into the Room. Image © Joao LemosLocal Naxi Lady Walking Through the Corridor Connecting the Front and Back. Image © Joao LemosLobby. Image © Joao Lemos+ 20

Lijiang, China
  • Architects: NTYPE
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  703
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Renovation of Xi’an South Gate Plaza / China Northwest Architecture Design and Research Institute

huacheng park. Image © Chen Su
huacheng park. Image © Chen Su

miao garden east details. Image © Chen Sumiao garden sunken plaza. Image © Chen Susong garden. Image © Chen Susong garden sunrise view. Image © Chen Su+ 23

Spring Whispers Book Club / FON STUDIO

Courtesy of FON STUDIO
Courtesy of FON STUDIO

Courtesy of FON STUDIOCourtesy of FON STUDIOCourtesy of FON STUDIOCourtesy of FON STUDIO+ 27

  • Interior Designers: FON STUDIO
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  70
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: 千年舟板材, 科定木饰面板, 黄氏木业

Space Renovation of 69 Beishan St. / The Design Institute of Landscape and Architecture China Academy of Art

Vestibule. Image © Aoguan Performance of ArchitectureCourtyard and entrances. Image © Aoguan Performance of ArchitectureBrick pattern. Image © Aoguan Performance of ArchitectureCourtyard facing living area. Image © Aoguan Performance of Architecture+ 36

Hangzhou Shi, China

Beijing ‘Tsuo’ / Wonder Architects

Collecting’ views. Image © Haiting SunInteraction between the rocks and our living space. Image © Haiting SunThe views corresponding with the space. Image © Haiting SunThe views corresponding with the space. Image © Haiting Sun+ 32

Xicheng Qu, China
  • Architects: Wonder Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  100
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Tongling Recluse / RSAA/Büro Ziyu Zhuang

© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su+ 59

Wuyishan Bamboo Raft Factory / TAO - Trace Architecture Office

© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su© Shengliang Su+ 66