The swift urbanization of megacities in China is widely known. Less well-known is that the rural areas in China are urbanizing at lightning speed as well. MORE Architecture made a plan for a residential area in Anji, a municipality in Zhejiang province (west of Shanghai). The district offers a sustainable alternative to the rapid urbanization of the countryside and is part of a larger development for which MORE made a vision. Construction of the residential area started last week.
The starting point of the plan was to preserve the rural DNA of the location, and to combine it with the conveniences and comforts of urban living. That is why MORE’s urban plan focuses on the human dimension and the relationship between inside and outside. This ‘small-scale urban development’ is based on a healthy and sustainable living environment with a strong connection with nature. Sustainability and vitality are the core values that are embraced by the client.
One hundred homes per hectare
The plan consists of sixteen urban villas varying in height from four to eight storeys. The residential blocks accommodate a total of 25,000 m2 of housing, which leads to a density of approximately 100 homes per hectare. As a result, with a height of up to 24 meters, considerable density and urbanity can be achieved.
The residential buildings measure 16 by 16 meters and have a central core and an all-sided orientation – an exception in Chinese mass housing construction, which is mainly based on houses oriented from the north side. The central core makes the layout of the houses very flexible: one, two or even four houses can be realized per floor. The constructive system allows these changes easily.
Ground level car-free
The entire plan has been developed as a sustainable and healthy living environment, with landscape being an integral part of the plan. The ground level is completely car-free. A parking garage will be built below ground level, equipped with shared mobility and electric charging stations. As a result, the space between the blocks is intimate and fine-grained, and offers space for children’s playgrounds and vegetable gardens. By integrating these gardens and urban agriculture into the plan, there is an opportunity for new residents to learn about the origin and cultivation of food.
Shared facilities in the plinth
The plan features shared amenities for residents in the ground floor plinth – including a shared dining room and nursery. Sports facilities for residents have been integrated into the plan, which fit in seamlessly with the idea of a vital residential area.
With a broad level of facilities and a medium density, the plan is an alternative to the rapid suburbanization of the Chinese countryside.
Client: Huazhang Real Estate Ltd
Architect: MORE Architecture Shanghai / Amsterdam
Program: 25,000 m2 of residential construction
Design: 2018 – 2020
Execution: 2021 – 2023