Natural [Urban] Villages Design Workshop@Shenzhen


26 January – 8 February, 2018


Design Workshop

Nantou Old Town, Shenzhen

Turenscape Academy

2017 Bi-City Biennale of

Urbanism/Architecture | Shenzhen

The theme of 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen, (UABB), “Cities, Grow in Difference”, will provide a creative platform for discourse with

the public on pressing urban issues. Through exhibitions, symposiums, workshops, guided tours, and villager participation, the Biennale seeks to inspire reflection,

fresh theories and new discoveries for urban living. Its unique main venue in Shenzhen’s historical Nantou Old Town will bring the discussion to a living reality.

Nantou 01_Aerial drone.jpg

Aerial photo of Nantou Urban Village, both the venue and host for the UABB Shenzhen and this workshop.

The 1,700 year-old Nantou Old Town is located within the Pearl River Delta. In its glory days, it was the administrative centre for Dongguan Prefecture, which

covered present-day Dongguan, She nzhen, Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macau. Unfortunately, Nantou’s rich heritage was greatly destroyed through three different

periods of destruction, starting from the Qing Dynasty to the most recent urbanization of Shenzhen in the 80’s.  

Nantou 02_Aerial drone.jpg

Currently, densely-populated Nantou Old Town is home to countless migrants from China; each pocket of inhabitants maintaining their own dialect, culture and

customs and thus creating 城中村 or a natural urban village. Against this unique ‘co-existence’ backdrop of the new and old, Turenscape Academy has been

invited to host a studio-based Design Workshop in Nantou Old Town during the UABB.

This two-week workshop is led by a teaching team from Turenscape Academy.

The investigations and speculations will focus on these lost legacies and found futures for Shenzhen’s Urban Villages.

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Shenzhen,Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta / Shekou, Qianhai, and Nantou Urban Village / Nantou Urban Village_Google Earth satellite image

Content and objectives of the Workshop:

  • Understand the social and economic history of Shenzhen’s Urban Villages

  • On-site investigation in Nantou Old Town as well as around Shenzhen

  • Examine the housing issues related to ownership and building systems including water systems

  • Explore conservation of historical buildings & infrastructure upgrades

  • Address hydrological issues

  • Discuss the future of urban villages

  • Develop ideas for open/public space use that will encourage community living


AAVS--Xixinan Village, Huangshan, Anhui. New Ruralism, Mary Polites, IgnacioLopez Buson© AAVS Xixinan, Architectural Association, Directed by Tom Verebes.


Hana HUANG Qijin

Workshop Leader

Project Urban Designer, AECOM DP+E
M.A. (Landscape Urbanism), AA, London
B.Arch. Architectural Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

AA Visiting School Beijing, Tutor since 2015

Hana HUANG Qijin’s expertise includes comprehensive master planning, innovative urban design, green infrastructure, and digital data analysis. She has been

involved in many award-winning projects. Hana’s teaching methodologies emphasise design implementation and integration, developing design approaches

enabling multiple solutions, in which design proposals are intrinsically linked to their natural environment, urban setting and human activities.


Workshop Tutor

Director, Evolve Design
MSc (Emergent Technologies & Design), AA, London
M.Arch, University of Nottingham, UK

Chen Jie is a Shenzhen-based architect and designer. Jie has worked in the offices of Alsop Architects and Arup. In 2010, he founded Evolve Design in London,

and 5 years later, he founded 涌现建筑 Evolve Design, in Shenzhen. In practice, he has worked on a wide range of projects, ranging from art installations,

interior design, architecture and urban design. His major focus is on public buildings and open spaces. Since completing his studies at the AA, Jie has developed

design research processes influenced by digital morphogenesis and biological growth logics in nature,applying emerging technologies, such as computational

analysis and optimization of building physics, simulation of material properties and, geometric formfinding.

Casey KELL

Workshop Tutor

Architect, MAD Architects, Beijing
B. Arch, University of Arizona, US

Originally from Los Angeles, Casey currently works as an architect at MAD Architects in Beijing. Casey is a founding member and current leader of the MAD

Parametric Team, which over the course of the last two years, has built a grasshopper plug-in that works as a toolset for incoming employees as well as

an archive of knowledge for the MAD design process. His past experience includes working in the field of digital fabrication at Situ Studio in New York City,

and as an instructor in workshops in China, including the AD School.

Turenscape Academy Staff

Tom VEREBES (Provost, Turenscape Academy)

XIONG Ying (Academic Director, Turenscape Academy)

LI Ziyu (Administrator, Teaching Assistant, Turenscape Academy)


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