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Honorable Mention
2012 Skyscraper Competition

Ren Tianhang, Luo Jing, Kang Jun
China

Illegal acquisition of land by local Chinese government entities has caused thousands of residents incredible grief and even death recently, plus social instability, say the designers of the Structure of Human Rights in Beijing. Though private property doesn’t really exist in China (and buying a property only ensures its use for 70 years), the designers of this structure feel that land use needs to be reexamined in China, as a private home is a basic human right. Their proposal to bring every person a place to live takes into account the country’s exploding population and need for dense development, and thus is oriented vertically.

Inspired by the Chinese character 田 the traditional siheyuan residence and ancient Chinese urban planning, these designers have dreamed up a giant reinforced concrete structure that serves more as infrastructure than a building. It is “land” for housing, instead of the housing itself – a 3-D checkerboard that houses units within each cell. The structure is the same length as the Forbidden City, and is located directly to the east of it. (“Ironically,” the designers say, “it confronts the Forbidden City, the symbol of the superpower of despotism, emphasizing the priority of human rights in a dramatic and symbolic way.”) Living spaces within the structure measure 25 by 30 by 25 meters. This proposal was not made by politicians, they stress, or economists. “We are people. We just want a house, and land.”

 

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