Shangwei Village Plugin House, Shenzhen, China by PAO

New structure inserted into abandoned houses.

Project Specs

Design Firm:

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Appreciation towards PAO for providing the following description:




▼黄氏插件家鸟瞰,bird view of Huang Family House

▼方氏插件家鸟瞰,bird view of Fang Family House

The Shangwei Plugin Houses are renovated houses that are hundreds of years old, left vacant and in ruins for decades as Shangwei Village suffered from heavy disinvestment. The rapid urban expansion of nearby Shenzhen engulfed villages like Shangwei, turning them into urban villages, or rural islands surrounded by a sea of new development. Half of the properties in Shangwei lay abandoned as villagers fled in search of higher standards of living in neighboring areas.

▼区位图,插件家位于废弃的房屋中,location, the plugin houses are in the abandoned houses




Huang Family Plugin House


▼黄氏插件家,在原始结构中增加新结构,Huang Family House, add a new structure in the original house

The local government, the Shangwei Village Cooperative, was interested in exploring creative ways to rehabilitate and support a budding community of local artists and craftsmen that has recently taken root. The government, with the support of the Leping Foundation and Future Plus (a local non-profit), initiated a pilot in partnership with People’s Architecture Office. The village government is legally bound to renovate uninhabitable properties where the roofs have collapsed. However, such properties are difficult to renovate because any work would affect adjacent structures. To circumvent this problem, the Plugin House leaves the original structure untouched while a new structure is built inside the existing house.

▼黄氏插件家图解,diagram of Huang Family House


The Plugin House uses a modular building system of prefabricated panels. Structural connections are integrated into each panel so that a Plugin House can be built with unskilled labor using one tool in less than a day. Industrial manufacturing allows the use of high quality materials that drastically increase energy efficiency and economies of scale ensure the Plugin House remains inexpensive.

▼黄氏插件家施工过程,construction process of Huang Family House


▼黄氏插件家外观,伸出的角窗增加使用面积,external view of Huang Family House with a corner window cantilevered over the wall

▼起居空间,天窗带来充足采光,living space with sufficient sunlight from the skylight

▼角窗,corner window

▼夜景,night view

Although the Plugin Panels are mass produced, each Plugin House is customized to fit its particular site. The Huang Family Plugin House fits into a tiny 15sqm space. Because part of the original roof still remains, the Plugin House insertion acts as structural reinforcement and as a protective measure against any structural issues the original house may have. To add additional space, the bedroom is placed on a mezzanine level with a corner window that cantilevers over a collapsed wall, offering a panoramic view of the village roofline. A skylight is placed where the original roof has collapsed, inviting natural light into the deep lot.






Fang Family Plugin House


The Fang Family Plugin House is slightly larger at 20sqm. The house features a clerestory window to bring southern light into the bedroom area at the rear of the house. For both locations, the Plugin House System raises living standards by adding efficient mini-split units for heating and cooling, modern kitchens, and off-the-grid composting toilet systems.

▼方氏插件家,同样位于废弃房屋中,Fang Famili House also located in an abandoned house

▼方氏插件家外观,在坍塌的墙壁中植入新的结构,external view of Fang Family House, new structure inserted into the collapsed walls

▼入口庭院,courtyard at the entrance

▼起居空间,living space

▼带有庭院的卧室,bedroom with courtyard

▼天窗让阳光照射到卧室,skylight brings sunlight into the bedroom



客户:龙华区观湖街道办事处/ 未来家城乡营造学院
主要人员:何哲、沈海恩(James Shen)、臧峰

Client: Guanhu Subdistrict / FuturePlus Academy
Location: SHENZHEN
Date of Completion: Jan 2018
Principal: He Zhe, James Shen, Zang Feng
Project Team: Sha Jinghai, Lin Mingkai
Photographer: People’s Architecture Office, Zhan Changheng

More:  PAOPAO on gooood

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