Reestablishing identity of individual homes in high-rise residential towers

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Liu, Peng
Kendall, Stephen
Issue Date
Thesis (M. Arch.)
Department of Architecture
Other Identifiers

High-rise residential tower is an inevitable and prevalent building type in high-density areas such as China. Because of the large population such buildings accommodate, improving the quality of people's lives in these towers has significant meaning. One of the important problems in such environments is the loss of identity of individual homes. This occurs because living spaces cannot fit individual families' unique and changing physical and spiritual needs. People can identify their lives and express their individual values in their homes in only the most meager ways. Consequently, people and their communities suffer deeply for the loss of identity of individual homes.The first focus of this thesis is to bring the question of individual control into light with the issue of identity of individual homes. Identity of any built environment results from the interplay of both shared values and individual values. In an identifiable and accommodating environment, both value sets should be in balance, over time. In high-rise residential towers, individual values are hardly presented because of the lack of individual control. So the radical way to establish identity of individual homes is to enable individual control in the building process.The second focus of this thesis is a study in architectural design of the distribution of control in such high-rise environments. Two kinds of individual controls are assumed and distributed: the control of the dwelling layouts and the control of dwelling unit facades. To enable these tow configurations of parts to be subject to individual control, propositions for setting up a new balance between centrally controlled parts and individually controlled parts in high-rise residential towers are put forward.To demonstrate these propositions, a specific high-rise residential tower in Beijing is redesigned to the solution of technical problems, regulatory issues and conventions when control is distributed. Individual control of both the dwelling layouts and the facades are simulated in a methodical way.Finally, notes about supportive products and management techniques, broader developments in other types of high-rise buildings, and the cultivation of shared values out of individual values are offered.