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New Shikumen

This proposal is a layout refinement of the earlier Back-to-Back proposal for a courtyard house that could also be configured as a terrace house. The Shanghai shikumen houses of the 1920s were a high-density urban housing solution for terraced houses that incorporated courtyards. These were arranged into multiple rows called lilong that ran east-west and that formed blocks with shops along the streets.

This meant that all dwellings were double-sided with openings and access to both the north and south. Unusually, to Western thinking, it also meant the south-facing front of one dwelling faced the north-facing rear the one across the street. This is the opposite of the Western solution where front entrances would be mirrored across a street and service entrances mirrored off alternate streets. (The historic back-to-back houses did without the service streets.) 


For densely packed houses that are not large, the shikumen-lilong configuration has better illumination, ventilation and a surprising degree of amenity and privacy.   

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