Climate Responsive Design for Future Houses of Farmers in Suburban Shanghai

Although skyscrapers and landmark buildings are more eye-catching, my personal project will focus on houses of farmers in the outer suburban and surrounding areas of Shanghai. Those houses are mostly built in the period of 1970s to 1990s by non-professional construction workers (mostly farmers themselves) without an intentional design at all. As can be imagined, those houses have low energy efficiency, low indoor comfort and even structural problems.
As a result, nowadays the number of peasant families who want to build a better house for living grows so fast that the local government starts making design templates of new houses for them. However, instead of making customized design refer to the local conditions, those templates address energy efficiency by simply adding new “gadgets” (e.g. higher insulation and use of solar thermal systems).
The climate in shanghai is hot in summer and cold in winter. Air is often polluted in winter and spring. There is great potential to save cooling and heating energy but it is also very challenging to maintain a healthy comfortable indoor environment with reasonable costs.
I want to take the opportunity to propose climate-responsive design options that make those future houses more comfortable and more energy efficient. In this study, I will choose a typical location in the outskirt of Shanghai and carry out a comprehensive research from village planning to building mechanical systems, considering local climate, site conditions and living habits of inhabitants. The expected outcome of the research is to reveal what a future Shanghai farmer’s house with climate-responsive design looks like. A comparison between the proposed climate-responsive design building and template buildings will also be made to see the difference in terms of energy consumption, indoor comfort and costs.

Xiaochen Wu – China

Xiaochen Wu – China

Following his Bachelor in Building Mechanical Engineering in Donghua University and a two-and-half-year research study in building performance simulation, Xiaochen received his Master’s degree from Cardiff University and Loughborough University in the UK. He then worked for TJAD (a state-owned architectural design group in Shanghai) as a building physics consulting engineer for four years.