Nanjing, China

Located in the downstream Yangtze River drainage basin and Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Nanjing has always been one of the most important cities in China. Apart from have been the capital of China for six ancient dynasties and the Republic of China, Nanjing is also a hub for education, research, transportation and tourism throughout the history, as well as the second largest financial center in East China region today after Shanghai.
With a population of 6,400,000 and a density of almost 1’000 inhabitants/km², the urban grouth is beyond the averange expansion of cities in China.


Ba Gua Zhou
Continent Development

The Ba Gua Zhou Island situated in the Yagtze River still maintains its agricultural character despite its short distance to Nanjing centre. Farmers live in detached houses along the net of channels created to irrigate the rice fields.
Since the recent construction of an exit on the highway crossing the island, some housing development has been built around, menacing the original landscape. The proposal tries to balance the need of lodgements with the country-side character of the site, and even if the design is made for this particular site, it could be understood as a possible strategy for a new urbanism.
The eleven storeys housing blocks, oriented north-south are placed over a platform continuing the embankment of the road, entering the rice fields. A courtyard building host the public functions, and is situated at the beginning of the green public corridor existing between the channel and the road.

site area 64’000 m²
housing 59’900 m²
public facilities 3’600 m²
units 660
inhabitants 1’600
density 250 inhabitants/ha

Fang Weimiao
China, NJU

Shao Zhou Xiang Block

As in many chinese cities, the popular self-built low rise and dense neighbourhoods in the centre of Nanjing are also being replaced with new up-to-date high rise developments.
In a relatively small piece of land facing the old channel and defensive city walls, the projects attempts to be and alternative to the unspecific soviet style blocks complexes, but maintaining the average high of 7 floors typical of the area.
Instead of surrounded the blocks with a fence or a wall, the separation between public and private is made by placing the blocks over a continuous basement containing shops, public services and parking. The entrances to the staircases leading to the apartments are on the top of the ground floor.
The proposed construction is a system of concrete prefab columns, beams and slabs. The staircases walls are cast in situ. The plan of the apartments is free, a typology very well accepted by the real estate chinese market.

site area 47’500 m²
housing 76’000 m²
public facilities 37’000 m²
units 900
inhabitants 2’700
density 570 inhabitants/ha

Alberto Figuccio
Italy, AAM

Yangtze River Towers

Situated in a left over piece of land in between the loop of the railways and a secondary drainage channel, the project is placed in relation to more important elements of the context. The five towers are oriented parallel to the Yagtze River, and the 70 meters of high correspond to the near hill.
To avoid the consequences of frequent inundations the tower are build over pilotis. The access is placed from the top of a dam-like building containing the public facilities. This platform limits a relatively generous green area that is organized in the lower part of the site, as well as creating a pedestrian corridor from the near square of the train station to the Yagtze River water front.
The apartments have double orientation, facing south for climate convenience and north for getting views of the river. The alternation of the terraces in the facade of the towers gives a more abstract character, in relation to the landmark condition of the complex.

site area 49’680 m²
housing 22’000 m²
public facilities 540 m²
units 540
inhabitants 1’620
density 122 inhabitants/ha

Min Tianyi
China, NJU

Purple Mountain North East Development

The site of the project is a depression limited by the foothill of the Purple Mountain, the undulated artificial landscape of a golf club, a small hill resulted of extraction activities and the earthwork of the new highway.
The complex structure is given by a grid of communal courtyards, in which the high of the row of buildings and the dimension of the courtyards is related to the sunlight regulations. The position of the buildings with different highs had been chosen in order to get a continuous topography with the adjacent landscape.
The ground floor is an open space reserved for public functions, shops, and covered parking lots. The top of the buildings are public terraces, and from the roof of the higher rows of housing it is possible to reach the small hill in the eastern side of the place, conveniently arranged as a park.

site area 90’700 m²
housing 85’600 m²
public facilities 36’200 m²
units 1’494
inhabitants 4’500
density 495 inhabitants/ha

Liviu Vasiu
Rumenia, AAM

Nan Wan Ying Development

This huge housing development is placed like an autonomous town in the middle of the landscape, surrounded by a green belt. The limits of the building area are given by the required distance from the different infrastructures, such as railway, high tension electric towers and main roads.
Forty housing blocks, divided in three groups, create a dense grid of streets and courtyards. These two kind of public spaces - the corridor street and the enclosed courtyards - characterized the ambient of the project. In order to achieve a certain variation, the four central blocks are jointed together to content a square and the central road is a pedestrian main street. The overlay of the grid with the existing topography of small slopes and hills makes evident the movement of the landscape.
Shops and public services are situated on the ground level facing the main streets. Parkings are disposed on the lateral streets. Other facilities such as kindergartens, schools, hospital, police station and administration offices are located in independent buildings outside the complex.

site area 1’430’500 m²
housing 796’000 m²
public facilities 153’000 m²
units 10’640
inhabitants 31’920
density 223 inhabitants/ha

Sun Yan
Wang Sujing
China, NJU

Yao Xian Road Block

Around twenty percent of the urban land in the periphery of the city is left over spaces with no attraction for building or housing developments, produced by different situation such as chaotic lotization, building without master plans and abandoned industry backyards.
On the site of the project, the existing left over spaces in the interior of the block have been occupied with pedestrian alternative paths, collective vegetables cultivation and small provisory constructions for workshops and deposits.
The project proposes to use these available spaces for low income housing, increasing density and using services already present in the area. Along the main circulation passage, the one-storey houses are grouped to create small blocks and a secondary circulation net. Some blocks are missing in order to form squares, others are small public facilities and near the roads there are parking lots located in blocks with no interior divisions.

site area 154’950 m²
housing 77’450 m²
public facilities 5’900 m²
units 1’500
inhabitants 4’500
density 292 inhabitants/ha

Lorenzo Pezzani
Italy, AAM

Xing Long Block

The construction of a new village for around ten thousand people is planned in the middle of agricultural land situated in the north of Nanjing administration limits. A conventional housing complex has been already built in one of the corner of the site.
The project proposes to surround with the constructions a part of the existing landscape of rice fields, channels and small lakes, preserving a void in the centre of the village. The housing units are organized around a grid of square-shape courtyards of different highs and dimensions.
The two biggest and lowest courtyards host the schools and the sport facilities. In the tallest and medium size courtyards there are markets, shops and workshops. The small courtyards have a semi-private character and contain parking spaces.
The construction system is based on two elements: in situ staircases placed at a modulated distance, and prefabricated concrete slabs in between. The plan of the complex is rotated 45° in relation to the north-south axe; in this way, all the apartments have at least one facade looking a favourable orientation.

site area 897'470 m²
housing 569’520 m²
public facilities 66’240 m²
units 7’598
inhabitants 22’794
density 250 inhabitants/ha

Maria Giudici
Italy, AAM

Xi Shan Bridge City

Outside the limits of the perisphery highway, a new satellite hosting around 100'000 people have been planned. The site of the project is supposed to be the first part of this new settlement, and is placed in the very centre of the development: four huge blocks created by the cross of the two main roads.
A big square is proposed to become the centre of the new town. It is placed five meters below the street level in an attempt of giving an unitary public space although the presence of the traffic crossing.
The rest of the site is organized with eleven- storeys housing blocks. A proper separation of public and semi private spaces is possible by creating an excavated courtyard at the same level of the square and placing access to the units at the street and pedestrian level.
The earth resulted from excavation could be use for modelling the existing landscape, characterized by a accident topography, resulted of the former extraction activities of the brick production industry present in the surroundings .

site area 345’000 m²
housing 397’000 m²
public facilities 67’500 m²
units 5’586
inhabitants 14’000
density 400 inhabitants/ha

Cai Menglei
China, NJU

Olympic Village South Gate

For the National Olympics Games taking place in Nanjing in 2005, a huge urban area is being developed around the new sport facilities. The site of the project, planned as a part of this new sector of Nanjing is cut away from the rest of the development by a highway and a channel, running both in north-south direction.
In opposition to the general practice of tabula rasa, erasing all previous developed landscape, the project propose to overlay the new requirements of housing and public services, and concentrate them in a 1km -30 storeys -drive in - block.
Since the total population of the area will result in about 20'000 people, and in order to not destroy the existing net of country side roads, a new highway exit is proposed for serving directly the new building.

site area 897'470 m²
housing 375’180 m²
public facilities 86’580 m²
units 3’900
inhabitants 11’700
density 130 inhabitants/ha

Reto Egloff
Switzerland, AAM

Programme of activities


inscription of candidates


comunication of the selected participants

workshop in Nanjing

6 lectures seminary
at the Mengminwei building–NJU Campus

  • Nanjing University Graduate School of Architecture
  • City of Nanjing Planning Bureau
    Guided visits:
  • 9 projects sites
  • Social housing examples
  • Historic, modern and contemporary architecture examples


travel in China

workshop in Mendrisio

design atelier
collective critics
structural reviews with Massimo Laffranchi
projects discussion with guest critic Angelo Mangiarotti


preparation of the exhibition


exhibition opening


Graduate School of Architecture
Nanjing University Campus

Urban Housing in Nanjing. Culture, Density and Policy
Ding Wowo

Chinese Habitat Culture
Zhao Chen

Chinese Architecture in Modern Period
Ji Guohua

Contemporary Architecture in China
Zhang Lei

WISH Past Editions
Martino Pedrozzi
Otto Krausbeck

Otto Krausbeck
Graduated at the Academy of Architecture of Mendrisio, Switzerland in 2002, with a thesis project directed by Kenneth Frampton. Assistant of the thesis design studio of Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus in the same faculty. Grant from the National Research Swiss Found in 2003, for a research and exhibition project about the greek architect Panos Koulermos, in collaboration with the Archivio del Moderno of Mendrisio

Latest Works
Martino Pedrozzi

Martino Pedrozzi
Zurich, 1971. Lecturer at the Academy of architecture of Mendrisio, Switzerland. He graduated at the Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne in 1996. Since 1997 he has an architectural practice in Lugano. After his studies he has been assistant of professors Alberto Campo Baeza, Valerio Olgiati and Kenneth Frampton. In 1999 he worked two months in Rio de Janeiro with Oscar Niemeyer and met in Montevideo the engineer Eladio Dieste. In 1999 and in 2006 his work obtained a distinction at the third and the fourth editions of the International Award for New Alpine Architecture, organised by “Sexten Kultur”. Since 2003 he leads the Workshop on International Social Housing (WISH): the Summer School programme of the Mendrisio Academy. He gave public lectures about his work at the Mendrisio Academy; at the “Universidad National de Tucumán”, Argentina; at the “Universidad Autonoma de Baja California” in Mexicali, Mexico; at the Nanjing University, China; and at Wits University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Accademia di architettura
di Mendrisio
Palazzo Turconi

Works and Projects
Sidi Vanetti
Andreas Gysin

visit www.gysin-vanetti.com

Little Big Scales
Jachen Könz

Cinema and Housing
Domenico Lungo

Bonell and Gil: Dialogue Architecture
Jacques Gubler

Guest Critics

Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio
Palazzo Turconi
9.9 and

Angelo Mangiarotti

Massimo Laffranchi


Hall Canaveé
Accademia di architettura
di Mendrisio


Corriere del Ticino

Progetti dell’Accademia in Cina
page 21

La Regione Ticino

Studenti ticinesi progettano in Cina
page 20

Giornale del Popolo

L’architettura puo unire Mendrisio... e la Cina
page 8

L’Universo, Corriere del Ticino

Cinque volti della Cina
W.I.S.H.–Progettare alloggi sociali
pages 2, 3

Corriere del Ticino

Accademia più integrata nel borgo
Progetti urbanistici cinesi e ticinesi
page 23

La Regione Ticino

Da Nanchino a Mendrisio, è accordo
page 26

La Regione Ticino

L’orientamento dell’archiettura. L’Accademia di Mendrisio si apre alla Cina
pag 29

Radio della Svizzera Italiana
Rete 1

Mendrisio Nanjing, andata e ritorno
intervista nel programma Milevoci–Tipi


Graduate School of Architecture of the Nanjing University
Jiangsu Province

Vice dean
Ding Wowo


City of Lugano

Pedrazzini costruzioni SA

Planzer trasporti SA

Special thanks

Prof. Ding Wowo
Nanjing University

Prof. Zhou Ling
Nanjing University

Zhang Qiang
Nanjing University

City of Nanjing Planning Bureau

Shangmao group, Nanjing

Romina Grillo

Matei Bogoescu