Housing is always one of the core topics of modern and contemporary architecture. Le Corbusier considered it the “substance” of the city. Housing and monuments are defined by Aldo Rossi as the two main permanences in the city: “monuments” are primary elements which are persistent and distinguished from housing, the other primary element shaping the “fabric” of the city.

The major achievements in housing design constitute important nodes in the history of architecture. A series of housing exhibitions and development in the twentieth century have become milestones of modern and contemporary architectural history. In the 1920s, the Weissenhof Estate (Weißenhofsiedlung) in Stuttgart, Germany showed clearly to the world that: Modern architecture is growing into a “movement” affecting the lives of all human beings. In 1980s, the IBA (International Building Exhibition) in Berlin, Germany strongly promoted the spread of post-modern urbanism and architectural trends in the post-Cold War era. In the 1990s, Arata Isozaki invited world-leading architects of the time to build the Nexus World Housing in Fukuoka, Japan. Leveraging the power of Japan’s economic boom, it contributed to close communication of architecture across the world. After the millennium, the IBA in Hamburg, Germany put forward the topics of low-cost, environmentally friendly and intelligent housing, reflecting the spirit of the times. Meanwhile, in a broad sense, areas with strong architectural culture development are often the places where housing design innovations burst out, for example, Europe and Japan both under post-war reconstruction, and South America and India, which became independent from colonial rules.

Needless to say, except for the architectural cultural environment, the national housing policy is a decisive factor, which has a fundamental impact on public housing design. Why do innovations in public housing emerge in Northern Europe and Singapore? High welfare policies in residence, the government’s attention to public housing which is considered a product as well as culture, respect and encouragement for design innovations in housing, etc. are the reasons.

After more than 30 years of rapid development in the marketization and commercialization of housing, today, public housing developed and supplied by the government, as the means to balance the housing market and promote social equity, is becoming a focus and direction of exploration in China’s housing reform again. A number of excellent public housing cases have been built in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, etc. They reflected the urban social issues and residential design problems, and had proved to the world that: excellent spatial quality and innovation on typology can be achieved in public housing even on the basis of satisfying quantity, restrict indices and cost limitation.

In this context, Reinventing Housing in the South: Competition for Public Housing Design of Jiangong Community in Shenzhen Nanshan will be launched soon.


Competition Background


Reinventing Housing in the South: Competition for Public Housing Design of Jiangong Community in Shenzhen Nanshan is organized by the Bureau of Public Works of Nanshan District, Shenzhen, and co-organized by Position Architecture Co., Ltd, Shenzhen. The original purpose of this competition is “to equip public housing with the power to influence society”. As a pilot project in Shenzhen to explore a new model for public housing, the competition will try to break the constraint of the traditional commercial housing development model on architectural design. The competition will give full play to the public and social characteristics of the project, because it is a public development as well as the affordable housing. It is hoped that through this competition, a public housing design scheme which is open, comfortable for living, with humanity and has Shenzhen’s city imprint will be selected for this project. And the project will be built into a precedent for high-density residences and public communities in southern China.

The competition will provide architects with ample freedom for creation and design. It is believed that the forward-looking design will become the core driving force for housing reform and innovation. The official competition announcement will be released soon. Design teams all around the world are welcome to pre-register for material download.


Design Principles


In 2021, the completion of Baiziwan Public Rental Housing aroused another heated discussions on public housing and decent living in China. The architect Ma Yansong proposed eight new goals to tackle on the current problems of Chinese housing and what is “ideal living” in the Le Residentiel Réinventé. He called on architects, those with the most humanistic spirit, and those who pursue design and individuality, to devote themselves to this new housing movement.

This competition draws on the concepts put forward in the Le Residentiel Réinventé and combines local housing policies, population characteristics and urban environment to explore “new housing” designs with more southern/Shenzhen characteristics. Based on this, the theme of this competition is “Reinventing Housing in the South”. These design principles shall be followed:

  • The Living Comfort in High Density

High density is the reality of Shenzhen’s urban environment. Existing spatial strategies such as three-dimensional blocks, mixed-use development and shared communities, etc., as well as any new solutions, shall pursue breakthrough at the humanistic level to achieve the balance between high density and comfortable living.

  • Practical Publicness

With a higher standard of social services and a better public environment, the design shall create real public interactions instead of spaces that only “look public”.

  • Inclusion and Social Equity

As a typical immigrant city, Shenzhen’s residential community needs to accommodate the uniqueness and richness of individuals, so that residents can feel fairness and find a sense of belonging. Interpret social equity as an architectural issue and seek answers from the perspectives of spatial design.

  • Open Block

Bring multiple business formats inside. Activate the near-ground spaces of a high-rise residential community with systematic strategies, create an all-weather open block with a “living atmosphere”, and integrate into urban life.

  • Being Refreshing and Good-Looking

Considering the impact of the project on the city landscape, the design shall create a refreshing and high-quality architectural appearance among the buildings in Shenzhen at a limited cost.

  • Low-Carbon with “Low-Tech”

Green and low-carbon is not a fashionable slogan. The design should improve the quality of architectural spaces in accordance with local conditions including the Lingnan climate, and achieve low-carbon with “low-tech” through simple strategies.

  • Plenty of Flexible Spaces

The design should provide more possibilities for individuals to use the space creatively and spontaneously. The design should provide more high-quality flexible spaces.


Project Overview


The project site consists of 2 plots (Plot 05-02, Plot 05-04), which should be planned and designed as a whole, but the technical economic indices of the 2 plots should be separately calculated.

The project is located in the Nantou Sub-district of Nanshan District, Shenzhen, at the border of Nanshan District and Bao’an District. It is adjacent to Jiangong Community Affordable Housing (Phase I), Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway and Zhongshanyuan Rd. The total site area of the project is about 51168 square meters. The project contains public rental housing, commerce, and supporting facilities including a kindergarten with 18 classes, an express delivery station, and a bus terminal station, etc.

The site area of Plot 05-02 is about 32315 square meters, and the FAR is 6.0. The tentative total investment is RMB 2196.25 million, of which the construction and installation fee is RMB 1775.03 million.

The site area of Plot 05-04 is about 18853 square meters, and the FAR is 6.0. The tentative total investment is RMB 1281.28 million, of which the construction and installation fee is RMB 1032.42 million.


Competition Rules


The competition is an open call for design schemes and teams all around the world. The competition consists of 3 phases which are the concept proposal, design competition, and final evaluation.


  • Phase I: Concept Proposal Phase

The applicant shall submit a concept proposal and the Company Profile & Credit Files. The concept proposal should be limited to A3 booklets with 10 single-sided printed pages and 2 pieces of A1 presentation boards. The content should focus on the key strategies on the project’s complex problems. Over-commercialized renderings are not encouraged. The review of Phase I consists of two steps.

Step I: The review materials will be “anonymous”. The Concept Proposal Review Committee will only review the valid concept proposals, and select 10 applicants (with ranking) to enter Step II by open ballot (round-by-round voting).

Step II: The review materials will be “non-anonymous”. The Concept Proposal Review Committee will comprehensively review the materials from the 10 applicants selected in Step I. The materials include concept proposals, project experiences and proposed design team members. The concept proposal will be dominant, while the team and the experiences will be auxiliary. The committee will select 5 shortlisted applicants (without ranking) and 2 alternative applicants (with ranking) by open ballot (round-by-round voting). The shortlisted applicants will enter Phase II. If any of the shortlisted applicants withdraw, the alternative applicants will replace in ranking order.

  • Phase II: Design Competition Phase

In Phase II, the review materials will be “non-anonymous”. The shortlisted applicants will go to a site visit, on which they will also communicate with the competent authority, the construction department, and the operator, before they submit a complete concept design. A presentation and Q&A session will be held, then the Scheme Review Committee will select 3 finalists (without ranking) and 2 Shortlisted Prize winners (without ranking) by open ballot (round-by-round voting). The finalists will enter Phase III. The Shortlisted Prize winners will receive corresponding prize money.

  • Phase III: Final Evaluation Phase

The organizer will select 1 First Prize, 1 Second Prize and 1 Third Prize from the finalists. The winner of different prizes will receive corresponding awards.

The competition results of each phase will be published on WeChat official account “youfang502”, and the project homepage, etc.


Application Requirements


  • There is no qualification requirement.
  • The domestic applicant (company) should be an independent legal entity (except for a design studio established according to The Partnership Enterprise Law of the People’s Republic of China) with a valid business license. The overseas (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) applicant (company) should be a legal enterprise or institution with a valid business registration certificate. An individual or a group of individuals is not accepted.
  • A company could apply alone as an applicant, or form a consortium applicant (Hereinafter referred to as consortium) with other companies. The consortium should meet the following requirements:
  1. One consortium consists of no more than 3 members(including the leading member).
  2. The consortium members should sign a legal Consortium Agreementprovided in the Work Rules, to specify the work content, work distribution and equity share.
  3. Each member of the consortium should not apply alone or participate in another consortium, otherwise, all relevant applications will be deemed invalid.
  • Two or more legal entities with the same legal representative (business partner), a parent company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, and companies that have a controlling relationship shall be regarded as the same applicant and should not apply as different applicants at the same time.
  • The applicant (consortium) should designate 1 project leader and 1 or 2 chief designers in the application document.
  • Special notes for an overseas company:To ensure the follow-up communication and that the technical indices of the scheme will meet the domestic standards, the shortlisted applicant (consortium) should consist of at least 1 domestic company when entering Phase II of the competition.
  1. The overseas applicant who is not able to meet the requirement above should form a new consortium with 1 domestic company to participate in the follow-up phases before submitting the Confirmation Letter. The applicant who meets the requirement above will not be allowed to add or change the consortium member.
  2. Only 1 domestic company will be allowed to be added to the new consortium. In Phase II, one consortium consists of no more than 3 members in total.
  3. The shortlisted company that has applied alone should be the leading member of the new consortium. The shortlisted applicant that has applied as a consortium must keep the original leading member unchanged. The project leader and the chief designer(s) should be kept unchanged.

Note: To ensure that the applicant has an accurate understanding of the competition requirements, at least 1 of the main design team members should be a native Chinese speaker. The designer participating in this competition should be the registered staff of the company to which he/she belongs. The project leader / chief designer must be truly responsible for the project, and participate in the whole process of the competition. The organizer has the right to disqualify the applicant if it is found that the actual project leader / chief designers do not match the persons submitted in the application materials.


Prizes and Awards



The First Prize winner will receive the prize money of RMB 2 million (tax inclusive). In principle, the First Prize winner will be the contract winner (Hereinafter referred to as the winner), who will subsequently sign a design contract with the general design contractor of the project. The work contents of the design contract and the calculation rules of the design fee are provided below. The prize money will be paid by the Bureau of Public Works of Nanshan District, Shenzhen. The prize money already received will be subtracted from the design fee of the design contract signed by the winner and the general design contractor.


Work Contents of the Design Contract and the Design Fee


Work Contents of the Design Contract

The work contents of the design contract cover the schematic design and the architectural design development within the site boundaries, which includes:

  • Schematic design;
  • Architectural design development;
  • Conceptual interior design of standard unit types and important public spaces;
  • Conceptual landscape design;
  • Cooperating in the design development of other professions, construction drawings, project construction, controlling the effect and cooperating in applications for official design development and construction approvals;
  • The chief designer should provide necessary project quality assurance in the process of design development and construction (Chief Designer Responsibility System), which includes but is not limited to:
  1. The chief designer is responsible for the design of the key architectural details which affect the effect of the building;
  2. The chief designer is responsible for checking all construction drawings and special design results that affect the overall effect of the building, such as architectural design, interior design, landscape, curtain wall, lighting, signage, etc. The chief designer should sign to confirm;
  3. The chief designer is responsible for the selection and sampling of important materials, should assist in solving technical problems during construction, and ensure high-quality implementation of the design scheme.

The work contents shall be subject to the design contract finally signed.

Design Fee

The design fee of the 2 plots should be calculated separately. The contract design fee is calculated according to the tentative construction and installation fee of each plot as the billing base. The construction and installation fee approved in the estimate document will be the final billing base during project settlement. The calculation rules are as follows: The basic design fee of the project is calculated according to the “Engineering Survey and Design Charge Standard” (price [2002] No. 10) formulated by the State Development Planning Commission and the Ministry of Construction. The total basic design fee of the project is calculated with the coefficient of specialty as 1, the coefficient of engineering complexity as 1.15, and the additional adjustment coefficient as 1. This contract design fee shall be 40% of the total basic design fee of each plot.

Based on the tentative construction and installation fee of Plot 05-02 which is RMB 1775.03 million, the contract design fee is RMB 18.34 million.

Based on the tentative construction and installation fee of Plot 05-04 which is RMB 1032.42 million, the contract design fee is RMB 11.32 million.

The total design fee of the 2 plots is RMB 29.66 million.

If the first prize winner has already received the prize money, the design fee of the contract finally signed will be calculated according to the rules above and the prize money will be subtracted. The design fee will be subject to that finally approved by the audit department.


The announcement is published on AIMIR’s website now. If you want to know more following details regarding to this competition, please feel free to contact AIMIR. What’s more, you’re more than welcome to touch base with us if you need architectural visualization.

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