Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Markus Berger

Third Advisor

Julia Bernert


Red Steel City is a historical residential complex built 64 year ago for the first workers of the Iron & Steel Complex in Wuhan, China, under the help design guidance of the former Soviet Union. Equipped with educational and medical facilities, this “City” nearly meets every need of the residents. Where residents worked boosted the development of steel, which is considered a prerequisite for industrialization, and where they lived became the template for the era when China was finding its footing in its incredible drive to industrialization.

The original plan of Red Steel City did not consider practical conditions like varying family structures and the oversized courtyard space, which could be interpreted as a waste in a high-density city. The old workers have moved away, and it is proposed to be young professionals housing. Due to the shifting of users, sensitive intervention is needed to meet new demands. By proposing modular plug-in building units that better accommodate changing user needs, in addition to the separated buildings operating as loops to complete the enclosure of the courtyards and the modification of residential units to a proper scale, living spaces for various sized families are created, playground toolkits are also presented in the courtyards to activate this community. The new skin added to the existing facade offers alternative circulation and different scale shared space for residents, while the old facade surfaces become flexible walls.

The intervention informs an organic system for collective living, the connections are made both physically and mentally, which would trigger spontaneous contributions by residents.



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