"Atrium type" collective housing in Suzhou: : applying bioclimatic principles in open building design
iDuring the past twenty years, China has been making dramatic progress in both the quality and the quantity of collective housing construction. However, many old problems still exist, and many more new problems have emerged, especially in some historical and compact but now fastgrowing cities, such as Suzhou, a 2500-year historic city with more than one million people.The objective of this study is to explore a design strategy to improve the collective dwelling environment --- the most popular dwelling type in China today --- in such a fast growing context. In order to provide an improvement in urban dwelling environments for residents, it is necessary to rethink the interaction between the individual resident and his or her dwelling. "Because building a house is a cultural phenomenon, its form and organization are greatly influenced by the cultural milieu to which it belongs."' In concurrence with this statement, this study examines not only the contemporary urban situation and typical residential environment but also the traditional urban fabric and housing settlement.Based on the principle that a harmonious environment results from "a whole range of sociocultural factors"Z, this study seeks several equilibriums: between the urban tissue and the building, between the building and the dwelling, between nature and the human being. The author's longterm goal is to apply the knowledge gained in this study in future practice.In the first part of this report, theoretical research is presented concerning the evolution of Chinese housing. Narrowing its geographical focus, this study selects Suzhou, a medium-size city at Yangtze Delta --- one of the most rapidly growing and developing plains in China --- as the site for the study. The historical dwelling pattern and current public housing style have been studied. Drawing on extensive research and field observation, the scope of the study is confined to rebuilding the harmony between human beings in all their diversity and common needs, and the morphological, functional and environmental aspects of residential environments.In the second part, a design model is proposed. Inspired by traditional interdisciplinary design strategies, as well as by a brief study of contemporary social needs, the author has proposed a new housing type: bio-climatic "atrium type" collective housing. This type links bioclimatic design principles to the framework of Open Building. On this basis, an experimental design proposal is next presented. In a specific site, it examines a way to help people exercise control of their immediate living environment, with both individual and social sustainable perspectives in mind.