Foster + Partners: the new project aimed at the rental market - ISPLORA

Scenarios for temporary living


In an era where the concept of dynamism seeps into the biological clock of society, forms of living change and require more and more flexibility to adapt to hectic and lively lifestyles. The brand new apartments designed by Foster + Partners are one of the answers to this need.

Space-time compression and the speed of communications and transport have caused individuals to have a daily life that is dynamic and less centered on the home. Contemporary – or global? - living defines a space of relationships between the individual himself and the world outside, which transcends the limits of living as traditionally categorized.

Global housing?

Living today does not semantically define only the action of "permanently occupying a place", but it extends to the concept of dynamism. With a dynamic routine, in fact, the individual builds a dense network of spaces that goes beyond domestic boundaries: today people carry out most of their daily practices outside their home and, when inside, they remain constantly connected to the external world by surfing the net, through television, smartphones, etc. In this dynamic flow of connections between domesticity and globalization, Bauman's liquid life redefines the sense of belonging to a place and, more specifically, the meaning of "living" in an era where temporariness strongly characterizes human actions . Temporary living thus becomes an interesting debate topic, dealt with by countless architectural firms that try to trace its meaning through the design of homes to “rent”, for a globalized generation that does not live a daily life made of only one place, but many places simultaneously.

The project by Foster + Partners

The new project by Foster + Partners for the Qianhai Talents’ apartments is located in this scenario, a residential building in Shenzhen specifically aimed at the rental market. The project, conceived exclusively for professionals whose lifestyle is work-centered, attempts to reconstruct the living space by adapting it to a new sense of privacy. The three-level shared dining area is organized as a communal space and an urban oasis for calmness and relaxation. There are also other amenities such as a wellness and spa center, shared skygardens and co-working spaces. Modular construction allows for prefabrication, with two shear walls that enclose the units and allow different living combinations, although the elements within these units are standardized in order to guarantee construction efficiency.
Beyond the formal result, what makes the project interesting and topical is the research on the theme: reinterpreting a way of living capable of satisfying needs related to temporariness. Luke Fox, head of Foster + Partners said:
As working practices evolve rapidly, so do patterns of living. The residential rental sector in China is fertile grounds for innovation as more people move to the cities in search of opportunities. Located at the heart of Qianhai financial district, the Talents’ Apartments recreate the intimate feeling of home. The shared spaces within the complex facilitate real connections and create a positive impact on people’s lives.

Further readings:

  • Z. BAUMAN, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2002
  • D. MASSEY, P. JESS, A Place in the World? Places, Cultures and Globalization, The Open University, 1995
  • J. ALLEN, D. MASSEY, M. PRYKE, Unsettling Cities in Understanding Cities, The Open University, 2001
  • AMIN, N. THRIFT, Cities: Reimagining the Urban, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2002


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