gooood would dig into projects which are appropriate for deeper report, in order to present the project in a more comprehensive way. In this episode, we interviewed Atelier GOM for their recently completed Lingang Price-fixed Housing project. gooood had an in-depth conversation with Zhang Jiajing, chief architect of this project. More: Atelier GOM on gooood
出品人：向玲 | Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑：陈诺嘉，武晨曦，李诗蓉 | Editor: Chen Nuojia, Wu Chenxi, Li Shirong
Q&A with Zhang Jiajing
▼临港双限房项目鸟瞰，aerial view of the Lingang Price-fixed Housing Project ©清筑影像
What is the definition of price-fixed Housing? How is it different from other indemnificatory housing launched by the government? What are the specific considerations taken by Atelier GOM in the design of housing types and public facilities?
Price-fixed Housing was launched by the Chinese government of which the price and trade are both limited. It is a kind of middle-low price housing conditionally provided to general public. The difference between Price-fixed Housing and public rental housing is that the former is merchantable. The Price-fixed Housing project in Lin Gang was designed for people who work for the companies that are registered in the district, as well as to improve the investment environment of Lin Gang New City. The target users of the project are young people with high income and good educational backgrounds, and also their families, who are expected to have relatively international perspective. Due to the project’s large scale, we considered about different types of family structures, including unmarried people, couples and families who have children. We also focused on the difference of requirements for temporary and permanent living.
Compared to the proposals by Vanke and Tianhua, what are the advantages of GOM’s proposal? How would the “enclosing” feeling influence the massing and layout of the project and prove its advantages when comparing to a linear plan?
▼三家公司方案对比，design schemes of Vanke, Tianhua and Atelier GOM
Vanke’s proposal was based on the idea of maximizing the theoretical profit of the developer, which was more suitable for common merchandise housing in recent years. Tianhua’s proposal also focused on profit maximization an it followed the concept of an enclosed layout proposed in the masterplan. GOM’s proposal took both of these two factors into consideration, and in the meantime we provided a model for maximizing the comprehensive interest of the development of the city, a plan with the consciousness of future or error correction. Taking stock market for instance, you are never supposed to apply your experience of making a lot of money in the beginning stage of a stock market to a mature one. In the past, you could be acknowledged if you are proficient in one field, but today you have to become an all-round competitor to win the game. The traditional linear layout is based on a flat plan, while the combination of enclosed courtyard with linear buildings and towers uses 3D algorithm. Our intervention of using the large-scale greening was not a universal method but the result of the restrictions of plot ratio and height.
▼顶视图，项目采用中部大花园的围合院落式布局，top view of the project, “enclosing” layout with a large courtyard in the center ©清筑影像
Generally, Chinese dwelling houses are south-north orientated. How did the residents accept this project? How did people’s habits and needs change with the transformation in housing design?
South-oriented housing reflects people’s perspective on dwelling since the agricultural cultivation period. As I mentioned, the design for a residential building should be evaluated in a comprehensive way. Sunlight today is no longer indispensable to hygiene and disease control, while young people care less about whether their house is facing south or not. It is meaningless to sacrifice for a reason that is basically unimportant. It was showed in the feedback from the residents of Longnan Garden (our rental housing project in Shangai) that most of them are satisfied with their living condition with various orientations. The difference in renting rate showed that where could be more than one way to evaluate a residential house. What’s more is that the ratio of south-north oriented housing in Lin Gang project is as high as 77%. Nothing has actually been sacrificed, it’s more appropriate to say that we have provided more choices through the design.
master plan, some of the residential houses are west-east orientation ©Atelier GOM
In the Price-fixed Housing project in Lin Gang, how was the prototypes defined? What is the difference in standard and design strategy among the rental units, the price-fixed units and the merchandising ones?
We defined the house types according to different types of residents. As Lin Gang Price-fixed Housing is a large-scale project and the targeted company staffs are in various ages, we designed to provide diverse products from small-scale rental units, middle-scale units with two bedrooms, large-scale units with three bedrooms and duplex units. All these types are resulted from a market analysis. Rental units are not for purchasing, and their compact size is much more suitable for young people to live temporarily. Their service cores were arranged more intensively, which is easier to manage.
▼临港项目中根据不同需求设置的不同户型，different house types designed according to different requirements ©Atelier GOM
How to combine living spaces in different scales in order to create a cohesive community? How to balance between private realms and public facilities?
Compared to western countries, residential communities in China are usually large scaled and consist of several building clusters, which finally become a huge neighborhood block. Therefore, breaking up the huge block into smaller communities and building an introverted community environment was a key factor in the design. Our methods to achieve this goal included creating independent and open clusters, as well as introducing an enormous central green area. Inside each cluster, privacy and openness were well-balanced according to the specific needs of using.
▼轴测图，中央绿化连接不同组团，axonometric, central green area connecting different clusters ©Atelier GOM
Why did you choose to give the project a white appearance? The building clusters differ from their façades but still harmony with each other. Could you please share more details about your working on deciding the appearance of the project?
the project is in white tone with slight changes ©清筑影像
White is a “safe” color used in modernist architecture because it is relatively easy to control. In this project, we actually used three different tones of white. The first is presented by white washed stones mixed with a few black and red pebbles, while the rest two layers are made of insulation panels with stone-like coating in warm white and pure white. The washed stones were used in the three new commercial units, and the warm white panels were applied to the traditional apartment buildings. Finally, the small –scaled rental units and merchantable units were in pure white. The colors fit the characteristics of different types of residences very well. Interestingly, our original idea was to use a pure-white palette and the appearance of warm white was actually a mistake during construction. Luckily it finally appeared to provide an unexpected diversity to the project. In the beginning I experimented with stone-like coated insulation panels but found it was somehow reddish when it was applied on the wall. Later we found out that we had added too much iron powder in the mixture, which made the color seemed darker. However, when we realized the problem, thousands of square meters of walls had already been finished. We had no choice but to accept the result, and then continued making new samples for the unfinished buildings. Coincidently, what we had finished at that time was exactly the improved traditional buildings so that the use of different colors could distinct them from the more innovative commercial parts, which provided a “reasonable” diversity to the final result.
▼采用水洗石立面的住宅组团，白色中掺杂红色和黑色，building facade of washed stone material mixed with red and black pebbles ©清筑影像
▼暖白色立面的传统公寓住宅，improved traditional apartment with warm white facade ©清筑影像
▼纯白色立面的小户型租赁住宅，small-scaled rental houses with pure white facade ©清筑影像
We usually chose the palette for a project according to the actual users, the geographic environment, the history and the available material. It depends, since I have also used very dark colors. The form of the buildings mainly followed the masterplan and was defined by the product type and adjusted by the daylight analysis.
▼日照分析图，根据日照调整建筑形态，sunlight analysis helped to adjust the architectural form ©Atelier GOM
The semi-transparent perforated panels and the orthometric rails together enrich the layers of the community. How did you decide the materials and textures in the project?
The use of semi-transparent components is a modernism method and it could create satisfactory results in a relatively easy way, regardless of low construction budget. I was pretty likely to use that method during that period of time. Personally, I prefer to combine plastered wall finishing with additional materials and elements, for example, a metal screen. However, Liu Yichun (Atelier Deshaus, more： Atelier Deshaus on gooood) reminded me that the proportion of the corrugated panels could be reduced, after which I had reviewed this issue for several times.
▼立面上采用半透明的格栅，translucent grills used on the facade ©清筑影像
The bridge spaces in between the enclosed residential clusters are very impressive. In Longnan Garden, we could also find this kind of circulation space. Why do you prefer to use such kind of transportation space and what result do you want to accomplish through it?
In Longnan Garden，the bridge was designed to connect different public spaces considering that most social house has more requirements in publicity than in living area. In Lin Gang project, we innovatively created three ground-level layers and the bridge could also be regarded as a ground-floor space. It provided a playground for children who live on the upper floors, and created a shared roaming space for the surrounding high-density neighborhood, which consequently achieved the fair space distribution in the city.
▼高架连廊连接不同住宅，bridges connecting different buildings ©清筑影像
▼高架连廊在上层创造新的类地面空间，bridges create new public spaces on upper levels ©清筑影像
What methods did Atelier GOM take to build up connection between the community and the city?
It is hard to answer this question. Sometimes, it is not the design that could determine the interaction between the community and the city it belongs to. It is much more influenced by the operation mechanism.
What are the advantages of enclosing planning of Lingang project during the pandemic?
In any case, a high-density but low-rise residence is more environmental friendly and more effective in pandemic control than a low-density but high-rise one. It is not a clever way to satisfy one’s appetite by fighting against gravity.
What are the problems in Chinese housing policy?
Though China has a vast territory, there are several problems that different regions have to face together in the context of unification: 1. In the initial state of housing development, we still simply equate dwelling with real estate. 2. The policy and regulation for housing development is unsound and lack a scientific and specialized system to revise the strategies. 3. The residents have a weak consciousness in citizenship and are already used to the unreasonable regulations enforced by the governments. What’s more, in the early stage of housing development, residents seem to benefit from harming the city of their own. However, I believe that the new generation are making some difference. We have been struggling with the regulations in our years of practice and played our part in adjusting the regulations and educating the administrative departments.
▼1、2、3号楼组合平面和断面，在规范之上有所创新，combination of #1, #2, #3 buildings with innovation points in existing regulations ©Atelier GOM
How could we enhance the influence of design in social housing?
I feel deeply that it is not possible to change the situation in a bottom-up way. Most of the time architects are merely waiting for the commission from authority to design. However, I believe that with more projects being completed, the situation will finally be changed.
What is your plan in further study and practice in social housing? What is the future of Chinese social housing in your mind?
Lin Gang price-fixed Housing project is the gem of our practice in housing design for more than 20 years. However, we are still gaining experience from how a project is actually used. We will continue our House Chatting series in sequence of researching, developing, practicing and evaluating. It will be a long-term project by GOM. As for the future, it will be sufficiently satisfying for me to see a future where the excellent architects in China, such as Liu Yichun, Zhang Bin, Zhuang Shen, Dong Gong, Hua Li and Li Hu, are no longer forced to design a house that they are not pleased with.
▼高目社会住宅研究和时间历程，study and practice of Atelier GOM in social housing
More about Lingang Price-fixed Housing Project
The Analects: “It is virtuous manners which constitute the excellence of a neighborhood.” “People” is the most important point of the settlement, and “Benevolence” is the attitude of building. According to the traditional real estate development and design model, relationships of person to person, person-to-street, and person-to-city are limited by the unified paradigm of residential settlements driven by the single value. In this case, the creation of a diversified, community-oriented, private and publicly coexisting, diversified value-oriented residential area is the most important urban special drug in Shanghai and even China. The residential area serves the crowd, not just the individual, and the service population is also relatively clear in this case, that is, the inherent working social groups of the port-based enterprises working in the local area and enjoying the government ’s double-limit (Limit house prices and apartment types) housing treatment, each group in the plan is precisely mapped to a group of people.
If you change the famous saying of “Laozi” : “Surrounding the house to build a courtyard, it is because the middle of it is empty that the purpose of the courtyard is achieved. ” Then the significance of enclosed housing for living can be explained. Although the Chinese have always admired the joy of gardens since ancient times, the determinant is a dogma of Chinese housing in recent decades and has almost become the only one. This is a result based on the resident individual and the maximization of real estate interests, and is a relatively simple and low-level algorithm. The calculation of urban interests and the promotion of group reverse to individual interests are a complex parameter, and transferring some individual interests that are unnecessary and serving a few people to other more important group interests can lead to other forms, such as non-unit plate type like enclosed house, tower house, etc. This is not uncommon in the world, but uniqueness appears in the geographical area with obvious borders in China, which is abnormal in the globalized ecology.
The external cause of traditional determinant residences is based on maximizing real estate inerests, while the internal cause is the strict regulations on sunshine and orientation in the code.
But only for the internal cause of the specification, the architect did not really tap the design potential of it. About the enclosed house and tower house in this case, abandoning the first-in-first priority of traditional residential sunshine, firstly through the volume ratio parameters and control planning parameters for the overall construction of the residential building, and then make full use of the accurate calculation of the sunshine to further plan the part of building, thus creating an unprecedented residential form. This is inconceivable in the era of manual calculation of sunshine, and it is also untouchable in designing directly according to habits without thinking. Therefore, the future of residential design and other types of architectural design, from the overall to the local, the deep mining of algorithms seems to be able to derive a lot of design “newbies”, thus changing the rigid thinking of architects and breaking the shackles.
This project provides an example of professional leadership, excavation norms, and urban construction. It also compromises with the owner Harbour City and agent Construction Vanke in the collision of market positioning and professional demands, providing a small contribution of typology for residential design. Judging from the implementation results, this case is not perfect, and Zhang Feng ’s theoretical article also proposed the phenomenon of “work desert” in the field of Chinese architectural creation, so every small effort to improve is precious, especially this large-scale government guarantee housing. The implementation of the project can provide an evaluation platform for architects, developers, governments and residents, and strive to break the restricted area of residential design and eliminate bad design habits , and can continue to promote the scientificization of norms, and also contribute to the progress of academia.
▼项目外观，external view of the projects ©清筑影像
▼住宅围合成庭院，上层由高架连廊连通，courtyard enclosed by residential buildings with bridges on upper levels ©清筑影像
▼组团内设置高架连廊连接，bridge connection inside the cluster ©清筑影像
▼连廊上的类地面空间，public space on the bridge ©清筑影像
▼面向不同人群的住宅组团，residential clusters facing different groups of people ©清筑影像
▼丰富的立面形态和开窗，building with rich facade forms and openings ©清筑影像
▼1、2、3号楼组团轴测图，axonometric of #1, #2, #3 building cluster ©Atelier GOM
▼4、5、6、7号楼组团组团轴测图，axonometric of #4, #5, #6, #7 building cluster ©Atelier GOM
▼1、2、3号楼标准层平面图，typical floor plan of #1, #2, #3 buildings ©Atelier GOM
▼8、9号楼标准层平面图，typical floor plan of #8, #9 buildings ©Atelier GOM
▼10、11、12号楼标准层平面图，typical floor plan of #10, #11, #12 buildings ©Atelier GOM
▼剖面图，section ©Atelier GOM
details (left: decoration panel with insulation, right: perforate aluminum facade panel) ©Atelier GOM
Architectural design: Atelier GOM
Chief Architect: Zhang Jiajing
Location: Main City Zone of Shanghai Lin-Gang New City
Owner: Shanghai Harbour City Real Estate Development Co.,Ltd
Agent Construction: Shanghai Vanke Co., Ltd
Design Team: Zhang Jiajing, Xu Wenbin, Yi Bowen, Zhang Qicheng, Lin Yang
Cooperative design: Shanghai Tianhua Architectural Design Co., Ltd. (Chen Jiong, Wang Xiaoxue, Wu Yingyu, Li Zhenjie)
Base area: 89313 m2
Gross Floor Area(including basement): 260668 m2
Residential building area: 140351 m2
Total number of households: 1683 households
Photography: CreatAR images