Pitcrit – Floating Yards


Floating Yards

Junfeng Wang (website)
Zhejiang University
Design Studio
Brief: Residence Design
Faculty: Fan Chen


Site Location & Requirements

Located in the northwest part of Hangzhou City, Zijingang Campus is the largest and newest campus of Zhejiang University. In this project, a proposal of residence for architecture professors is required, which consists of 18 houses and a service centre. The site locates in the west of the campus, east to the basketball court and west to the Zijingang Road, a projected main road of the city.

The special part of this project is that students are free to choose one professor as the hypothetical owner of the houses, and carry out their design based on the ideal living condition from the professor’s perspective. In this way, the students learn how to deal with the relationship between the designer and the owner which will improve their practical architecture design ability and to be well prepared for their future career.

The requirement I got is a peaceful living environment with traditional elements in which the owner can not only relax himself but also enjoy traditional Chinese way of living.


Peaceful Community, How?

Peacefulness is one of the most important quality of a convenient living environment, especially in the site which is surrounded by the noise sources such as the basketball court and city’s main road. How to create a quiet and comfortable living condition is a major issue to be considered.


Peaceful Community with Traditional Elements

Step 1: house arrangement
Arrange the house layout in the form of surrounding each other just like traditional Chinese Siheyuan in order to stimulate interaction among neighbors.

Step 2: road system organization
Organize the road system in traditional Chinese alley form to create an interesting public space full of communication and interaction possibility.

Step 3: dense greenery injection
Add green elements to both private and public sections in order to create a peaceful and harmonious living space.

Step 4: living space escalation
Interference comes not only from surroundings, but also the vehicles inside the residential area, residents may always worried about if they would be hit by cars while they are walking dogs or play with children. In order to decrease this negative physical and mental influence, living space together with the walking paths are escalated to 3.9 meters high, to form a floating residential system. This clear vertical division of human life and vehicle path creates a comfortable living environment, free from conflict between human beings and industrial machines.


Vertical Path

Private and public stairs have been added to the floating platform in order to connect the platform and the ground.


Public Space

Some large scale areas have been added to the floating platform, so that it becomes a space which is not merely a walking path, but also an interesting floating layer for various kinds of activities.

Type 1: Vertical public space
Big scale steps are always fantastic place for different activities to happen, especially concerts and other kinds of performances. It could be nice to listen to the melodic music while sitting on the steps surrounded by the gorgeous greenery.

Type 2: Horizontal public space
Flat areas of the platform serve the same functions as the square, where people can enjoy themselves freely without the interference from the ground below.


House Design

The residence consists of 21 houses, 18 for residence and 3 for service. The houses look modern yet injected with traditional Chinese architecture elements. The final shape is the output after a logical transformation from traditional Chinese courtyard house, in which two large scale courtyards have been subdivided into four smaller ones. This subdivision is not merely a shape change, but also a subdivision of the sunlight and scenery view, as a result, each room in the house could equally enjoy the sunshine and nature beauty.

Because of the escalation, the house has been divided into two parts vertically, the upper part is the main living space, while the below part serves as the garage and stairs to connect the floating platform and the ground.


Respond to the Sunlight

Since the house has four layout directions, correspondingly their yards’ shape will be different in order to create a comfortable sunlight condition. Yard’s facade leans towards north when it faces south and towards west when it faces east in order to get more “pleasant sunlight” into the house. On the contrary, it leans towards west while facing west so that the house will be less affected by “annoying sunlight” during Hangzhou’s summer. The leaning angle of the corridor facade will be smaller than the room facade for its limited space.



Different trees have been planted in different yards formed by the house layout. The soil conditions are suitable for the growth of many southern plants. These different landscape elements shows great diversity, which brings about ever changing scenic attractions during different seasons, so that residents could have the opportunity to get close to different nature beauties all year long. This great landscape diversity also creates the possibility for various kinds of activities due to different plants’ nature.




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