Beijing: Urbanism

After Marco Polo finishes his stories about Venice, Kublai Khan, in return, offers his version of invisible cities:City of Walls, Introverted City, City of Horizon, City of Labyrinth, City of Wind or really Sand Storm, City of Moving Retail, City without Intra-structure, City with Temporal Structure, City of Landscape, City of Uniformity, Gray City, City without Park, City of Enclosures, City of Cardinal Directions, City of Paradox, City of Bicycle, City of Highways, City of Rings, Open City, City of Mini-cities, City of Cars with perpetuated traffic jam. City of changes, City of Construction Sites. . . .While the historic scenario can only be fictional, all the monikers of city, despite the apparent contradiction among some of them, describe collectively the urban conditions of one real metropolis – Beijing. However, besides being multi-faceted, Beijing eludes definition or comprehension: Is Beijing\’s density high or low? Is the basic urban pattern in Beijing a grid or not? To what extent do the enclosed compounds disrupt the overall fabric of Beijing? Does the bicycle ever affect the city planning and urban design of Beijing? Can people walk in Beijing? These questions are fundamental yet similar ones are abundant.The task of the studio is to investigate some of the above-mentioned issues, which will hopefully lead to the discovery of Beijing Urbanism.Pedagogic Objectives:This is an urban research project which will help the students to develop an understanding of the complexity of city phenomenon and its relationship with architecture. The studio is also about the use of analytical tools, which include both conceptual and physical ones, with the introduction on the notion that analysis and design are not separate stages in the process but rather interchangeable methods.Completion Requirements:Digitized urban/architectural maps/plans of various scales will be produced as the basic research outcome along with sections, diagrams, and 3-D models. In addition, the process of the research should also be documented. The possibility of having a field trip to Beijing will be discussed.