Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Ryan McCaffrey

Second Advisor

Nicholas Moore


Wuxi is a city built on the regional river system. For thousands of years, the city layout developed along with the river channels. The rivers served people’s daily living, farming, and transportation needs. Social life among residents had also developed at the communal and transitional space along the rivers, mainly at the intersections where the bridges were. As Wuxi’s industry and commerce developed rapidly in the 20th century because of the convenient water transportation system, Wuxi’s urban area expanded widely in a short time. However, Wuxi’s overwhelming urban expansion happened too fast and lacked sophisticated urban planning consideration. This decision has isolated the urban zones and landscape zones, as well as cut off citizens’ daily access to natural areas. Meanwhile, there are both overdevelopment and underdevelopment situations in residential areas in the city. While there are plenty of enclosed, single-use zoning residential communities newly built with high rises, there are also old derelict neighborhoods abandoned in the old town at the core of Wuxi.

As such two extreme situations existing at the same time in Wuxi, citizens’ living quality still has a large room for improvement that would recur the beautiful vision of living in a “natural city” with the “natural” traditional lifestyle. In response, this design proposal proposes a solution in the middle for a new residential area development typology. It is reconstituting areas of my research into new housing type. In this new scenario, the standard high-rise residential area’s spatial and structural layout is redesigned for mix-used purposes. Nature here is not just a landscape attraction for aesthetics, but also an incentive that stimulates and leads more social activities to happen in the residents’ contemporary daily life in the high rises, as the traditional lifestyle had. The site is one of the derelict and abandoned residential areas in the city core, with a total area of around 2 million square feet. Since the existing houses are heavily damaged and have no value for preservation, this design proposal tears down the entire area to build a new diverse residential neighborhood with a new social model for 3000 households.


View exhibition online: Weiyi Xia, The Bridge · The Stream · The Home

Included in

Architecture Commons



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