The first social housing project by MAD architectes includes a floating park

a micro-district of social housing in beijing

MAD Architects presents its very first social housing project, baptized Baiziwan, in its hometown of Beijing. The expansive development comprises twelve residential buildings that meander together through the site, all connected by a web-like network of elevated walkways and “floating park”. The book is the culmination of an eight-year research study on social housing by the studio’s founder, Ma Yansong, which particularly focused on the historical development and design of social housing in various countries.

The project is located near the Chinese capital’s central business district and is divided into six blocks, with its divisions informed by the surrounding urban network. This strategy forms a micro-district still integrated into the community.

image by ArchExist

a floating park of common areas

MAD architects organize the Baiziwan social housing project as an open and vertical neighborhood including common outdoor spaces. At street level, the neighborhood is accessible to the public, while the second level reserves park spaces for residents only. This elevated park weaves between the six blocks and incorporates a sports hall, community gardens, badminton court, children’s play area, eco-sanctuary and communal support services.

The development further incorporates staggered half-stories and semi-open gray spaces of varying scales. The team ensures that the ground floor, second-level park, and rooftop all incorporate green coverage so residents can enjoy a strong connection to nature and the outdoors throughout the neighborhood.

Architects crazy about social housingimage by CreatAR Images

the new topography of mad architects: a mountain range in beijing

Accommodating 4,000 apartments – with 3,000 families already moved in – the social housing project by MAD architects takes the form of a Y-shaped set of buildings. Together, the stepped geometries suggest a new mountainous topography in its urban context. Intermediate spaces form intimate, semi-enclosed areas that create a sense of community across the large human-scale site. From afar, the simple white facades and the mountainous profile look like a natural relief in the city’s skyline.

“The 4,000 residential units in the project are made up of six general typologies and three ultra-low energy consumption typologies, covering areas of 40 square meters, 50 square meters and 60 square meters. Lightweight coated panels are used as partitions between rooms, allowing ease of maintenance and flexibility for decoration by residents.

Architects crazy about social housing
Xia Zhi’s photo

sun-drenched living spaces

The Y-shaped footprint of the buildings has been carefully shaped to best ensure the penetration of natural sunlight into each living space. ‘With the plot ratio of 3.5 and the height limit of 80 meters, the high density has led to many restrictions on the general layout for calculating the daylight of each unit,‘ notes the team. The branched building form resulted, incorporating common corridors along the north face of each building to improve sun exposure in the residential units.

Architects crazy about social housingphoto of Zhu Yumeng

prefabrication and durability

MAD Architects’ clients had demanded that more than 80% of the building’s components be prefabricated offsite, resulting in a more environmentally friendly construction. This method of prefabrication proved to be a better quality of housing as each unit was completed in a controlled and systematized process. The architects note that two of the twelve buildings operate with ultra-low energy consumption. These two passive buildings require low heating and cooling loads and experienced a 90% reduction in energy consumption compared to the other ten buildings.

Architects crazy about social housing

image by CreatAR images

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