About Wanqing

Urban Beach Corridor rethinks an invigorated meaning of inhabiting the city via alternative urbanisation typology & experimental techniques.



‘Sous les pavés, la plage’ // ‘Beneath the paving stones, the beach.’

- graffiti from anti-establishment movement in Paris, 1968

The phrase was coined by the Situationists as an allusion to the natural, non-utilitarian realm that lies beneath the veneer of capitalism and its infrastructural manifestations in contemporary urbanism.

The thesis project adopts the situationists’ social imagining conviction that the city streets, the expression of capital and consumption, could be rediscovered through demolishment of urban infrastructure to reveal the ‘Beach’, an undesignated public space. Set in Coventry, The Urban Beach Corridor is a manifesto that employs urban densification as a tactic to generate a truly public realm. The main research question addresses the lack of a truly public, non-hegemonic realm in the contemporary urban context as a repercussion of increasing commodification of space. Furthermore, with significant impacts of climate change and urbanisation on flooding and water quality in urban areas, there is a risk of locking-in future impacts, risks to life, unnecessary costs and wasted investments.

Urban Beach Corridor is an architecture of resistance that emulates the liminal quality of the beach to challenge Coventry’s City Council’s waterpark ambition with an alternative typology. By managing water above the surface through retention, day-lighting, filtration, heating and conveyance, the Urban Beach Corridor becomes an element of the existing river that generates oppositional public realm for leisure while acting as a critical ‘cleanse and control apparatus’ to manage urban water.

Offering visitors the opportunity to temporarily invert the codes of conduct that govern their everyday lives by providing an escape into a more exotic and exciting place, the Urban Beach Corridor is a necessary piece of green infrastructure that symbolises liminality, exoticism and pleasure. Abstracting from iconic seaside typologies and the roman ueduct: the winter garden, the tower, the pier and the promenade has been integrated with the movement of water throughout the infrastructure.

Essentially, the Urban Beach Corridor redefines an invigorated meaning of inhabiting the city through the exploration of an alternative urbanisation typology that becomes an extension of our natural environment. The hybridised constructional technique also aspires to challenge the status quo in order to respond to the city. Urban Beach Corridor aspire to not only blends benignly, but additionally complements the natural systems seamlessly.

Technically, the Urban Beach Corridor is conceived as a reflection of contemporary constructional techniques & technology. The project aspire to develop a new form of architectural language and aesthetic that does not lapse into a vernacular style. This is done through the holistic exploration of hybridised constructional techniques that is not merely a mimic of the past but a reflection of contemporary zeitgeist. To satisfy the increasingly complex demands of sustainability criteria, form active structures offer the promise of significant material efficiency and dramatic forms by leveraging the intrinsic stability of doubly curved geometries.

The minimisation of falsework is a prominent advantage of the Catalan brick vault. A layer of pre-tensioned reinforced sprayed concrete complements the brick vault with the structural performance of modern building materials. This also capitalises on the initial fluid state of concrete, working efficiently with the nature, techniques and technology of contemporary material and methods. The beach, conceived as a complementary element to the integrity of the structure, is a levelled infill that strengthens the double curvature structure with compressive force, just like a keystone would in arches. Concurrently, this addresses the integration of the upper deck with the structural viaduct for a more coherent architecture expression and integrity of structure.

Please visit the following webpages for graphical representation of the idea.

http://wwanqing.wixsite.com/portfolio/manifesto-of-the-ubc http://wwanqing.wixsite.com/portfolio/the-urban-beach-corridor