Tulou Collective Housing
Nanhai, Guangdong, China
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A pioneering prototype for affordable housing in China.

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Category:
housing
Phase:
in use
Design:
URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc.
Updated:
17 May 2013
introduction

Low-income housing apartment is a general concern in the Chinese modern cities. For Guangzhou and its neighbouring areas, the influx of migrant labors has triggered the rise of real estate price but yet the question that was rarely asked is: how are these cities going to accommodate the people who have given them their wealth? Teaming up with China Vanke, one of the country's leading real estate developers, the Chinese architecture practise URBANUS came up with a creative solution of China’s contemporary collective housing, “The urban Tulou”, which is located on the border between Guangzhou and its neighboring city of Foshan and is targeted for low-income workers. "We were designing a rental apartment building for people whose monthly income is below 1,500 yuan (USD 219) and who would be very reluctant to spend more than 200 yuan to stay at any place," Liu Xiaodu, founder and director of URBANUS said.

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cultural and social context

Since the beginning of the millennium, the architects of the globe have not only brought their cutting-edge designs to China, but also drew the whole world's attention to what can be built in China. Many domestic architects are opposed to the fact that some well-known foreign architects have taken advantage of China's eagerness to build dazzling modern cityscapes, thus some have became the advocates to call to rediscover the traditional Chinese architecture.

urban village - urban proposal

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Tulou in the city - urban proposal

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Hakka Chengqi Lou, Fujian, China

image: Fon ZHOU | © all rights reserved
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courtyard_Hakka Chengqi Lou, Fujian, China

image: Fon ZHOU | © all rights reserved
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materials and building techniques

The entire structure is wrapped in a perforated concrete shell punctuated by wooden lattices that shade the balconies, giving each unit a secondary living space. The design translates the visual monotony inherent to an "e-shaped loop" with richly textured inner and outer facade.

earth and climate

In the south China, where there is a much longer summer season and a relatively warm winter, it is necessary to prevent the penetration of the sun by using few windows, smaller courtyard together with thick walls. Those are the technically sophisticated features of the traditional Fujian Tulou.

Like the thick walls of pounded earth that functions as the insulation from summer heat, Urbanus designed extra living spaces by adding balconies to each unit. The balconies with wooden lattices build a protective outer layer to foil direct sunshine in the summer, while the open interior of the structure creates a sense of space and light, as well as provides plenty of natural ventilation.

image gallery
Tulou with adjacent apartments

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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location bird's view

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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street view

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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facade

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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The main entrance

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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the inbetween courtyard

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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A living room in the unit

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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A bedroom in the unit

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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technical drawings
siteplan

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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isometrie

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Floorplan_ 2-4 floors

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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North-southern section

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Types of the housing units

image: URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. | © all rights reserved
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Location
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Keyword:
bricks (16)
low income (24)
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