Beyond Architecture Regulations China

The Wall, the Tide and the Grid

While infrastructure still seems to form the main frame for modern cities, landscape has always played a secondary role as filling in the gaps between the blocks or the stuff that surrounds the city.
Now, thinking of a Green Metropolis, the equilibrium must be shifted. Not ‘connectivity’ should be the ultimate goal, but a comprehensive quality of life that derives from multiple factors: employment, clean air, fresh food, possibility for a community and space for development.

Instead of constructing cities with buildings and roads, we start creating conditions on which a large diversity of urban settlements can emerge. Tsinghua (2010) took off of the evolutionary process by defining compounds, which can be seen as new epicentres of development. Rocksteady (2020) insisted on a radical diversification of density that lead to an archipelago occupied by single farmers except for on Island which packs all the new inhabitants into a giant centre development. With the Wall, the Tide and the Grid we add another three conditions to the framework.


First, the Wall will frame this new city as a whole, built up from the soil left over from the making of the islands. The Wall will not only be a spatial element, but also perform as a strip for a new local economy: the Caofeidian winery. It will gives an appealing blush to this perimeter structure, but also could work as a bounding element for the new community to emerge here. Especially knowing that most new city dwellers are ex-farmers. The Caofeidian Wine Wall will be the literal fringe between the urban and agricultural society.

The second condition is a structure that takes advantage of the Tide. Three elements are attached to the outer flood wall. Because of their construction they are able to move up and down the tidal stream. Heavy elements make slower movements, while the smaller branches sweep back and forward four times during the day. This will attract the most adventurous city dwellers. The Tide Cities from an ultimate intermediary structure between the city and the sea.

Finally a large amount of islands will be de-isolated through a system of small dikes. These dikes consist of a trapezium profile with a small road on top. Therefore, like in the Netherlands, the dikes become small linear villages. From the compounds on the housing development starts spreading out over the dike grid. The water within the grid remains open, but will slowly be developed as a fish farm, water purifying plant or agricultural wetland.

Name: The Wall, the Tide and the Grid
Location: Caofeidian
Date: 2010
Client: Dynamic City Foundation / Caofeidian Eco City
Status: Exhibition
Group exhibition jointly with Urbanus, MAD, Rocksteady, Powerhouse, MVRDV, Bau International, Tsinghua School of Architecture, Underline Office & Urban China magazine