XJTLU students win international design award, providing new ideas for old urban neighbourhoods

23 May 2024

At present, China's new urbanisation process is in a critical period of transformation from ‘new town development’ to ‘urban renewal’, and the renovation of old residential communities has become an important approach for urban renewal.

Nevertheless, in high-density urban areas, the ageing of both the built environment and the population pose a double challenge to the relevant work. To achieve the goal of ‘Better city, better life’, it is important and urgent to explore how we can support healthy aging-in-place by improving the comprehensive environment and quality of life and thereby achieve sustainable urban development through age-friendly renovation of existing old residential communities.

In the 2023 Tiantan Academy Award, a global design competition for university students, a team from the Design School at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University won the Excellence Award of for their design for an all-age friendly and livable community, and provides a innovative design attempt for urban regeneration in the context of China's ageing population.

The Tiantan Academy Award is a global design award for university students, established by the TTIA organising committee in collaboration with globally renowned university professors and academic leaders, as well as founders of globally renowned design organisations and design leaders, in the context of the globally renowned ‘TTIA Tiantan International Award’.

The award aims to provide a global annual architectural design award for students of architecture-related disciplines in universities around the world, to discover and promote future architectural design elites, and to provide a global stage for university students to showcase their architectural design talents.

The XJTLU team's design project, titled as ‘Lake Light Ensemble, Cui-Yuan New Sound’, focuses on the ‘double-ageing’ problem of aging communities and the rapid growth of the aging population in China, and selects Cui-Yuan neighbourhood in Gusu District of Suzhou as a case study for design research. The project is based on the research work of a Summer Undergraduate Research Fund at XJTLU ‘Education-led Urban Regeneration’.

The design team researched community residents in the study area through on-site observation, questionnaires, and interviews to discover community issues and residents' needs. After analysing the data collected, the team proposed a design vision of an all-age friendly and livable community through community renovation.

They explored the mode of a multi-generational friendly, all-age livable future community, and carried out spatial integration and renovation of the houses where the elderly live alone, and created a community industry chain by upgrading the community's functionality and mix use through shared spaces for commercial and office activities.

They integrated the existing  garage space in the ground floor and connected it through a corridor system to create a multi-scale and spatially continuous ground floor public space. In addition, public space and green space systems connecting indoor and outdoor were built to create a diversifed community shared space.

The XJTLU design team includes undergraduate students Miss Ziyu Fan from the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and Miss Yinan Huang and Miss Weiyi Wang from the Department of Architecture. They were supervised by Dr Bing Chen, senior associate professor at the Department of Urban Planning and Design and his PhD student Mr. Wenquan Gan.


Story provided by Wenquan Gan and Bing Chen

Translated by Yi Qian

23 May 2024