FRINGE CITY 2: Hybridized Low-tech and High-tech Housing Systems
Housing is a key element of the urban environment and a driver for today’s rapid urbanization. In 2016, residential land accounted for one of the largest portions of China’s urban built areas. Through unrelenting spatial transformation over the past several decades, the fringe territory between urban centers and rural landscapes – a collage of regularized urban fabric, productive landscapes, and vernacular village fabric – emerged as the predominant framework for urbanization. The “in-between” fringe is characterized by the uncompromising clashing of systems, architectural typologies, material practices, spatial practices, economies, technologies, and ecologies. The studio will explore the multivalent urban fringe as an incubator for alternate housing models by coupling advanced construction methods and local building practices in rural-urban China. Bottom-up strategies informed by local construction methods and materials will be paired with robotic and digital fabrication processes to create much-needed innovations in mass-customized housing design for rural-urban communities. Paired with technology advancements, the distinct co-existence of local-specific and urban-generic conditions opens the possibility to cultivate novel hybridized housing systems.