Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jeffrey Katz

Second Advisor

Eduardo Benamor Duarte

Third Advisor

Barbara Stehle


With the rapid development of technology, social networking is no longer just a face-to-face connection between people and traditional methods of contact are becoming less and less dominant. During the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation pushed us further apart, but connection through new media has also brought us closer together. Compared with the young, the elderly are generally less familiar with how to use this connection to strengthen each other's social interaction and enjoy the convenience of contact over space. This thesis proposes an architectural approach to bridge this gap and design a mobile university for seniors, focusing on new media and technologies that would help them keep pace with a changing society.

Shanghai was the first city in China to enter the aging process, and it is also the city with the highest aging rate in China. In order to be able to provide services more evenly across as much space as possible in the city, I propose combining fixed stations with mobile transportation facilities, in order to provide services to a larger area of seniors. This system will allow seniors to travel and learn freely around the city. Seniors can take the bus to the fixed site, be taken by bus to travel to the suburbs, or be brought back to their starting station, in which case the bus is their classroom and the whole city is their campus. They can learn and socialize on the bus, becoming familiar with connection through new media while the mobile university provides a venue and participants for traditional socializing.

The fixed site is set on the Huangpu Riverfront in an adapted 1920s sugar factory, which is not only a terminus for the mobile bus system, but also a place to provide further services for the senior university. This scheme retains only the skeleton of the original sugar factory, allowing a high degree of freedom in design. Circular modules are inserted within the skeleton with different functions to provide services for the elderly, such as classrooms, lounge areas, medical service, restrooms, cafe, office and so on. The modular and adaptable design concept used for the mobile and fixed sites complement each other, providing enhanced services to senior citizens in the city. This senior university can serve as a prototype for replication in other cities, helping seniors enter the digital age.



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