Xiaoyan Dong

Document Type





Spring 5-2016


architecture, construction, china, urban, context, labor, social




Architectural Engineering | Architectural History and Criticism | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Ever since 1960s, European situationist and Japanese metabolist architects constantly reject the uniformity and totalitarian of modern architecture/urban design, seeking parasitic and dynamic approaches to post-war urbanization. Projects such as the Plug-In City and the Tokyo Bay dream of alternative urban scenarios by reversing traditional perceptions of infrastructure’s role in the city, combining architecture, technology and society together. However, these megastructure projects not only neglect the existing urban context but also lack political and economic driving force. As a result, they are considered utopian by many contemporary critics.

Fifty years later in China, fast urbanization process creates problems for both cities and people live in them. On one hand, massive construction sites create urban voids, disrupting the city’s identity. On the other hand, migrant workers get excluded from city’s social life, living a dystopian lifestyle. However, China’s centralized government and booming construction market provide strong political and economic support for a revolutionary urban experimentation, while the omnipresent construction sites and migrant workers offer appropriate location, labor and social requirement for an alternative architectural implementation. It is time to have a retrospective view at the idea of parasitic urbanism back in the 60s, readjusting it and applying it to current situation in China.

The thesis re-imagines the operation and impact of construction sites under fast urbanization in China, by studying the live + work practices of migrant construction workers. The thesis criticizes the existing introverted “W all + Hut” construction paradigm, proposing an adaptable architectural structure around construction sites, which provides spatially an alternativ e urban nomad lifestyle for Chinese construction workers, and in return reconstruct the urban experience in China based on the increasing demand for migrant-dwellings and omnipresent construction sites.


local input

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.