‘social theatre housing’ by standardarchitecture, beijing, china ke zhang of standardarchitecture portrait © designboom

the ‘social theatre housing’, a residential district to be realized in beijing, china by beijing-based standardarchitecture was presented at the exhibition ‘housing with a mission, dutch and chinese architects’ designs for the ants tribe’, curated by ole bouman and co-curated by jorn konijn at the shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of urbanism \ architecture in shenzhen, china. the netherlands architecture institute (NAi) curated ten firms, five dutch and five chinese offices, to generate a high quality proposal to be later executed by vanke real estate developing. displayed at the netherlands pavilion, the exhibited projects by netherland-based practices NL architects, arons & gelauff architects, NEXT architects, barcode architects, KCAP and china-based URBANUS, NODE, o-office and CAFA university are intended to house low-income graduates, a sector which typically lives in low quality conditions.

held in conjunction with the exhibition within the shenzhen library, the symposium ‘housing an affordable city: chinese and dutch perspectives’ featured speakers huang weiwen (director of the shenzhen biennale organizers committee), yung ho chang of atelier FCJZ, ying chun hseih of hsieh architect & associates and ma qingyun of MADA spam with moderation by ole bouman and du juan. the group discussed relevant issues regarding issues facing social housing today.

standardarchitecture: social theatre housing model by standardarchitecture alongside 2 other proposals image © designboom

the design combines many small housing units with an outdoor, sheltered area which may serve as an amphitheater space while also serving as an outdoor living room to the entire community. within the apartments, a shared wall contains the functional elements of the dwelling, including infrastructure for services and appliances which remain concealed until they are needed. this integrated element maximizes the usable floor space within the 14 or 22 square meter units. the variation between the smaller and larger arrangement is additional depth determined by the placement of the main corridor.

standardarchitecture: social theatre housing open-air amphitheater below residences image © designboom

a 2.8 by 3 meter module determines the width and height of the interiors and becomes expressed as balconies on the exterior along the eastern and western facades. the contrast of solid and void creates a rhythm while also minimizes the presence of necessary components. commercial spaces are placed at the lower three levels to allow flexibility for double height shops while the upper three floors are reserved for residences.

standardarchitecture: social theatre housingamphitheater image © designboom

standardarchitecture: social theatre housing exterior renderings images courtesy of standardarchitecture

standardarchitecture: social theatre housing symposium ‘housing an affordable city: chinese and dutch perspectives’ image © designboom

video © designboom

the 2011 SZHK biennale in shenzhen, china ran from december 8th through december 11th 2011. the scale of certain projects is such that the architect becomes not only a designer of buildings but also city planner and landscape architect and the shenzhen & hong kong bi-city biennale of urbanism \ architecture reflects this in its theme: architecture creates cities – cities create architecture. the SZHK biennale is the first to focus on urbanism as an ongoing theme to explore issues of the city as an active agent in contemporary culture. the program included more than 30 exhibitions, symposiums, panel discussions and performances. terence riley has been appointed chief curator (he is the first international curator for the event). the hong kong edition will work to complement the shenzhen biennale in an integrative way and is curated by gene king and anderson lee currently under preparation and due to open in february 2012. designboom is the principal international media partner of the SZHK biennale.