The urban ecology in China is under the power of the top down and the bottom up. On one hand, the top down power urbanizes the cities by (1) demolishing the old and underdeveloped neighborhoods and (2) building landmarks and repetitive “modernist” buildings. On the other hand, the bottom up is the informal/pop-up lifestyle people are used to.
Caochangdi is an urban village and renowned arts district located in the Chaoyang District of northeast Beijing at the intersection of the 5th Ring Road and Airport Expressway. Caochangdi is home to a diverse group of residents, including migrant workers, farmers, students and artists including Ai Weiwei.
Sited in Caochangdi Art District, the compound is considered as a dysfunctional space that should be demolished. This project proposes a different approach, adapting the informal compound into an infrastructure that facilitates spontaneous and temporal drama.
This project explores informality in terms of flexibility, multiple uses and program through time. The prototypical design is at 3 different levels:
- By adding a meandering ramp/platform and connecting existing buildings, the spatial experience is altered for different viewing possibilities. Therefore different zones can function as types of theater spaces.
- A “uniform” for the viewers that functions as both a costume and a wearable seating.
- A series of fragments are designed as spontaneous stages and viewing devices. The space is thus programmed flexibly.
After entering the theater, all audience has to put on the A.D.A.P.T. seating costume in the changing room. Different viewing devices/stages are designed for interruption/pop-up performances.