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ADS9: My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon

Haoxuan Li

After graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2017, Haoxuan spent 2 years practice in the architectural discipline in Beijing. During these years, Haoxuan grew an interest in the living patterns among Chinese citizens.

His first-year study in RCA focused on people's response to environmental changes, including water pollution and global warming. The second-year project looked into the gaming industry in China and the co-living model of the e-gamers.

Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS9: My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon

E-gamers in China has always been in co-live with others since the 2000s. In the last twenty years. Gamer's housing has transformed through various iterations, aiming to be a space where people play, work, and live together. The project noticed as E-gaming transformed itself from public entertainment into a high-profit industry, the living pattern of the e-gamers has deformed. In many cases, the gamers' accommodations helped construct a restricted and supervised living condition that aimed for productivity and diverged from the joyful nature of gaming. 

Although the project is not questioning the legitimacy of this transformation since it already happened in many other professional sports, the project wants to question the alternative ways for the e-gamers to play, live, and work collectively.

Therefore, the project proposes a space that could let the players define living patterns spontaneously, a public space in Suzhou that links the high-end, professional e-sport gaming and general entertainment to meet the needs of both professional players and common populations.

The building is developed based on a square (100m*100m) plan consisting of two floors, blurred by a curved floor surface on the first floor. It contains one big open space for group's gathering (playing, eating, watching, learning etc.) and a few utility spaces (servers, toilets, meeting rooms, warehouses etc.) 

The project tries to use two different parameters to allocate different functions. Firstly, In the main co-living space, activities are placed on various height differences according to the level of engagement each activity requires. Secondly, the project creates a specific lighting method for gaming by placing water tanks that collect rainwater on the roof. This idea comes from "Moser's Lamp", which changes the direction of sunlight by reflecting between the particles in the water so that the intensity of the light would reduce but light up a larger area. The project takes advantage of the natural light and creates a unique visual effect that is suitable for gaming. Three different lighting methods (direct sunlight, diffused light, ambient light) would combine to create a mixed lighting condition within the building.

Other than gaming, many other public activities could also fit into the project. The building tries to attract the broader public by directly showing the interior to the outside. To some degree, the project attempts to diminish the conventional gaming feature within the project and let more people be involved in the collective living space.

Animation of roaming in the Pc bar, Player's Accommodation, and Base.

The project focuses on the co-living model of e-gamers in China. In the last twenty years, gamer's housing has transformed through various iterations. And all of them were designed to be a space where people play, work, and live together.

Among these iterations, the project chooses three typical examples to illustrate the changing of their spatial organization and more importantly, the player’s living pattern.

Chinese E-sport industry start from the PC bars emerged in 2000. By that time, young people would spend hours or even days playing games there. This is also part of the reason why e-sport was largely unrecognized by Chinese Society at that time.

Ten years later, a number of professional e-sport clubs established in China. And they provide accommodations for their players. In this case the e-gamers started an isolated life. They train, sleep, and eat, not only with their teammates, but also their managers, and counsellors. Life in the player’s accommodation is highly restricted.

In recent years, this typology evolved one step further. And turned itself into a combination of e-sport clubs headquarter and training centre, which is called “the base”. Space was designed to attract more people to join the e-sport business and train the elite to play in the games and therefore make more benefits.

Massing development: Curved Surfaces
Massing development: Public and Private
Massing: Ground Floor
Massing: First Floor
Massing: Roof

The main goal of spatial organization is to create a multifunctional co-living space.

The project creates two curved surfaces to completely separate the service and servant spaces. The project tries to allocate various functions by the level of engagement each activity requires. The level of engagement is indicated by height differences.

Plan (Height: 4.5m)
Plan (Height: 7.5m)
Structural Section
Detail Section
Axo Drawing: Hidden Components

The building is central symmetrical planned within a square around 100 m by 100 meters. In the main co-living space, apart from the entrances, there is no clear circulation. Every visitor could define their own living pattern in the project. A number of square platforms placed at various heights. Each of the platforms could refer to different activities mainly includes gaming, learning, resting, watching and eating. 

The roof is a steel truss structure supported by four huge reinforced concrete columns. The ground is supported by a steel frame structure with a various height different according to the needs. The columns were also embedded within cubic geometries which merged to the ground. Therefore the entire co-living space is shaped within a coherent pixel language that there are no clear boundaries between ground, columns, and roof.

Physical Experiments: Lighting Conditions
25 Activties
Interior View (regular days)
Interior View (gaming days)
Aerial View
Exterior View
Animation: Lighting Conditions

The spatial phenomena project tries to emphasise the coherent language of the building while distinguishing these activities one step further by creating different lighting conditions.

The project turns some of the roof plates into PVC water tanks that collect rainwater to create a soft and diffused lighting condition that is suitable for gaming. The principle of this technique is to change the direction of sunlight by reflecting between the particles in the water. 

All of these three different lighting methods (direct sunlight, diffused sunlight, and ambient light) would combine together to create a mixed lighting condition. Therefore, as people walk through space, they would experience various changing moments not only indicated by the activities that happen on the ground, but also lights from the roof.

In another way, the different lighting conditions and height difference would be combined together and help the visitors to coordinate themselves within the space.