Case Study —

Plot 31 — housing in Tianjin, China.

Can a dense housing volume appear light and airy?


What is Plot 31?

Plot 31 is a pixelized housing courtscraper (read: a skyscraper with a courtyard) designed optimum direct sunlight, views, cross-ventilation, and exterior access.

Key Project Goals

Design a housing building that harmoniously fits with the adjacent and iconic Rockerfeller Center in Tianjin, China.

Role & Responsibilities

For the concept development phase, I worked as designer in a team of three with project leader Daniel Sundlin.


Plot 31 was developed over a period of 12 weeks.

Metric-tracked iterative research yields solutions harmonizing criteria that may have first appeared incompatible.

Project Statement

Optimum Volume

At the intersection of several major urban elements, namely the Rockefeller Financial Center, the Tianjin riverfront, a park, and Convention Center, Plot 31 seeks to create a landmark in which people want to live.
The challenge is to generate an urban form that strikes a balance between seemingly incompatible design criteria: dense Floor Area Ratio, high-level sustainability target, careful insertion within context, and most favorable condition for each housing unit. The whole is optimized so that each apartment has a minimum of two hours of direct sunlight on winter solstice, in addition to views to either the waterfront or the financial center, cross ventilation, and exterior space access.


A multi-step process enabled to find a form responding best to the program requirements.
It consisted in: 1) Generating several dozen concepts; 2) Filling the forms with modular apartment types; 3) Testing and optimizing them versus sunlight criteria; 4) Optimizing views and vis-à-vis by folding facades.
Scope & Constraints
Process & What I did
Outcome & Lessons
Text LinkProject StatementScope & ConstraintsProcess & What I didOutcome & Lessons
Plot 31