白云庭院Cloud in gutter
The council of Shanghai North Bund commissioned YU TING, the community planner and his team Wutopia Lab to construct a “Cloud in gutter”, the most beautiful micro courtyard, completed on National Day 2019. And the project is also a demonstration case of the “Urban Humble Space Revival Plan” hosted by Yu Ting.
The courtyard area is 380 cm2and consists of a large public green space and three small private green spaces. For functional requirements, expect the aisle and plants, we also need to design the residents’ drying racks, fences and flower racks. The courtyard is located in a miniature public space surrounded by residential buildings in Lane 138, Changyang Road, Hongkou District, a historical block. Originally the largest Jewish refugee shelter in Shanghai during World War II, the community has now become an autonomous residential area of Zhoushan neighborhood committee. Despite the efforts of the residents to maintain the decency, the communities of 100 years are still dilapidated and dilapidated. The government hopes to transform the public space through the way of “Urban Humble Space Revival Plan”, as the first step to Improve people’s livelihood, thus improve the quality of life of residents, make the old district rejuvenate.
At the first time at the scene, the architect can feel intense anxiety and uneasinessarchitect of the residents. The public green space was overgrown with weeds and nobody cares. However, the biggest problem is that the underground pipeline was in disrepair and blocked all the year round. The inspection wells accumulate water and return to the stink which envelops the whole community when it rains. At that time, the residents did not care about the ugly, as long as the road can walk, the sewage can discharge, and no smell.
The residents’ anxiety prompted architects to put the first step of work on site design, dredge and replace the underground pipeline, so that the site is no longer stinking. And the second step is to make landscape transformation, thus create a small and beautiful courtyard. And the concealed work is an unplanned work. Considering about the complexity of the underground pipeline, through the discussions between the neighborhood committee and architect, the new pipeline was rebuilt without increasing the budget. After the consent of residents, construction of the project started in May, 2019.
可以阅读的庭院：白云和山Readable courtyard: Clouds and Mountains
Wutopia Lab tried to express through the symbols other than abstract in practice, form a readable design. The “Cloud in gutter” is just an available and readable courtyard.
The courtyard can’t be a large “Potted plant”, that’s the mean of available. So we designed the pavilion, the winding path, and planted some ornamental and easy-to-care plants. Make the irrelevant drying racks and fences become part of the landscape. It can gather people to chat and rest, and children can play. It should be an outdoor public living room, to become the center of a deteriorating community, only with the laughter of neighbors.
所谓可阅读就是要以可以理解的故事性把可用的空间组织起来便于使用者的理解和诠释。所以在这个设计中，我使用了Wutopia Lab最常用的两个符号形式白云和山。白云这个始于我女儿堂堂四岁诗歌，第一次在古北一号图书馆使用，象征着飘渺不定但美好事物。这次是将其建筑化变成用于公共空间休憩之用的亭子的屋盖轮廓线。和绿化相得益彰。山，与之联系的就是山水，和云一样，是中国传统的基本符号。Wutopia Lab的山的符号经过六合院，5周年微展到嘉里中心的青绿山水已经形成了基本规制。这次通过对Wutopia Lab的山形符号的调整，统一了围栏，晾衣架和置物架的形式。一组连绵不断但厚度和透明度不同的装置既满足了功能又实际上变成了一个层层叠叠屏障的隐喻，形成一个可以理解的寓言，新建的公共绿地就是白云笼罩下的仙山背后的秘境，它是周围日渐老去社区的一个希望。
Organize the available space with a comprehensible stories, and make it easy to understand and interpret. So in this project, we used the two symbol of “Clouds” and “Mountain”, the most commonly used symbol of Wutopia Lab. The symbol “Clouds” began in my daughter ‘s poems, the first use is in the project “Underground Forest”, which symbolizes the uncertain but beautiful things.And this time, it was built into the roof outline of a pavilion used for public space rest, complement each other with greening. The “Mountain” is relating to the mountains and rivers, like “Clouds”, they are the basic symbols of Chinese tradition. After the practice in“6X Yard”、“Wutopia Lab the 5th Anniversary Exhibition”, “Blue Hill-scape Under the Red Clouds”in Kerry Center, the used of symbol “Mountain” by Wutopia Lab has formed the basic regulations. And this time, through the adjustment of symbol “Mountain” , we unified the form of fences, clothes hangers and shelves. A continuous set of installation with different thicknesses and transparency that not only fulfills the basic function, but becomes a metaphor for layers of barriers, thus formed an comprehensible fable. The new public space is just the mystery behind the fairy mountain covered by white clouds, and it’s a hope for the surrounding aging community.
符号是一种不被专业看好的尝试Symbol is an attempt not favored by profession
I used to despise symbols. However, in the reconstruction of the “Urban Humble Space”, I find that abstract architectural expression is easy to be ignored because the residents are confused. The residents in old district of Shanghai have an identity anxiety, they feel like they are outsiders in the deep heart, because they are in the declining old city in the magnificent new city. The expressions that designers liked are irrelevant to them, and even seem to hurt them. Creating a refined and readable symbol system that they can be proud of, for me, it’s a risk that may not be favored by the professional but is worth taking.
Proof of fact, symbol can help us express without words. The construction process is boring and messy. At first the construction was smooth and the residents were delighted to see the reconstruction of the underground waterway. But the residents were constantly obstructing when the foundation is rebuilt, the Pavilion, clothes hangers and the fence started construction, because they haven’t seen a clear look of this transformation yet, and couldn’t stand the mess, they showed no understanding. Some residents thought pavilions cover their windows, some think clothes hangers and fences were in a mess, and some residents who don’t like plants were not allowed to plant trees in front of their own doors. At that time, various complaints came one after another, the architect was accused, and the construction team was struggling. After that, it was negotiated and adjusted by the neighborhood committee, residents, designers and construction teams, hoped to balance the demands and achieve the design effect. Finally, when the courtyard appears in front of the residents, they can easily read the story and the symbolic meaning, and identify with the real dream created by the symbols.
The cloud yard reinforces a unique memory of pride and superiority as a resident, to enable people to confirm NO.138, Changyang Road through the symbols, and establishing a new identity in similar residence. So in the envy of other community residents, they exclaimed, “although we live in a small place, we have a large and beautiful garden living room.” On the 70th anniversary of the National Day, the living room gathered all residents to celebrate the National Day, which turn into a happy ending.
城市微空间复兴计划的意义Urban Humble Space Revival Plan
“Urban Humble Space Revival Plan” means add up, gradually influence a larger area through case by case, so as to activate the vitality of communities and even the whole city. Revival of the urban humble space is not to create a good-looking scene, but to create a place, solving practical problems and creating narrative space, make it become a vitality point of some small area and loved by people. The value of symbols is to clearly convey that architecture can inspire wisdom and enthusiasm, expose facts and promote ideas.
Project name：Reconstruction of No.138, Changyang Road
Design company：Wutopia Lab
Chief architect：Yu Ting; Min Erni
Project architect：Zhilin MU
Construction drawing team：Win Design
Photograph: CreatAR Images
Material：Burning black granite, White pebble, Perforated aluminum sheet, Perforated sheet, Stainless steel, Plant