Urban Playhouse

A Communal Drama in Seven Acts

MIT MArch Thesis 

The thesis examines the social-political issues resulting from the immense expansion of mundane housing developments in China under a totalitarian state. The rapid rate of urbanization has resulted in relentless conformity and little public engagement, isolating inhabitants from one another.


Using the four to six-story slab housing in Jinan as a backdrop for the urban playhouse, Seven groups of follies are deployed to dramatize the nuances of everyday urban life in order to establish new spatial and social relationships. By blurring the boundaries between public and private, actors and spectators, life and art, the drama is an exploration of “a theater without theater”, an on-going pursuit of avant-garde theaters that call for a collective creation.


The architectural drama can be seen as a political commentary on current Chinese society. Besides their functional usages, the follies form ruptures or frictions against conformity, the conventional, or convinced. By performing the state of being, we can re-evaluate our living environment, regenerate awareness, and reactivate our desires and dreams.




ACT I Water Collection Tower


ACT III OUTDOOR WATER SHOW

ACT V SKY COMMUNE

ACT VI VERTICAL MAZE

ACT VII FASHION BRIDGE

Thesis Day

Urban Playhouse Peep Model