The supporting city By Ying Zhang ​& Tania Lecona

The supporting city

​By Ying Zhang ​& Tania Lecona

Shanghai is made up of different districts like many high density cities. Pudong is one such district in Shanghai and is populated with many high rise buildings. It is built on a swampland and has sunken a significant amount over the years and continues to do so, largely because of the draining of groundwater beneath the city. This sinking causes the buildings in Pudong to slant and tilt in a dangerous manner. 

Meanwhile, Old Town Shanghai is right across the Huangpu River from Pudong and is full of inexpensive and congested neighborhoods. The district and even whole city itself isn’t equipped to handle any more horizontal expansion and urbanization. But looking up instead of out could be the solution to both of these social and structural issues. 

Our design serves as a flying buttress, a support for the tilting high rises. Traditionally, flying buttresses are built out of stone to support Gothic style structures, usually churches. In this context, the flying buttress would be made completely out of the Kerto LVL, or laminated wood veneer. The strength of the material used for the structure doesn’t affect the strength of the structure, but still performs the function of supporting and correcting the concrete buildings. The design lifts people off the streets of Shanghai and raises them to the open air between the towers rather than creating more congestion and overcrowding. 
The design builds upon the existing infrastructure of the city by latching onto the high rises. It creates a connecting ring that functions as a sky bridge between the towers as well. The design provides the affordable wood framed housing to the region, including Old Town Shanghai, without implementing a physical footprint on the Shanghai ground. The model also has different layers of a typical city, such as housing, recreation, transportation, and business, thus forming “The Supporting City” above the city of Shanghai.​

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs