Document Type

Thesis, Senior




Spring 2019


urbanization, capitalism, Sinoconn, China, architecture, labor, socio-economic, recession, crisis






The project is situated in the context of contemporary China, where tremendous production power and a huge labor force have been accumulated through decades of rapid economic growth. In recent years, China's persistent growth has begun to slow, which challenges the administration with an imminent socio-economic crisis and the potential for a massive scale of surplus capital and its consequences. This conflict emerges out of the complementary "inner connection...between the developments of capitalism and urbanization" identified by British-born Marxist scholar David Harvey. Such a problem and its resolution can be seen in France in the mid-19th century right after an economic recession, as well as in pre-WWII United States suffering from the Great Depression. Urbanization was adopted by the two countries to absorb the surplus products capitalism constantly produces. However, according to Engels, urbanization is merely a process of replacement and displacement of the problem rather than its elimination.

Inspired by the radical architecture conceived in the midst of social unrest and political activism of the 1960s through 1970s, this thesis intends to be a provocative revelation of the innate cruelty of this very reality. This proposal speculates on the present status based on historical precedents and imagines the establishment of a state-funded corporation, Sinoconn, whose business model is built upon the concept of an architectural apparatus that promises social accommodations and well-being to China's marginalized cheap labor, while also providing them jobs. This device becomes a neo-socialist commune but functions as a de facto corporate campus guided by the capitalist ideology of humanitarianism. The sale of the labor and its physical container as a bundled kit for production would revolutionize the current mode of profitable capitalist activities and would once again blow global capitalism sky high. This thesis presents itself as a liberal answer to a current crisis but in fact, unveils the geopolitical exploitation and expansion of capitalism's productive system.

Additional Information

Thesis Advisors:

Lawrence Chua

The summary of the thesis attached here is derived from the 2019 Thesis book


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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