Designing Beyond Function: Anti-gentrification as the new paradigm for preservation in Urban China


Location: Xi'An, China

Year: 2017

The project aims at creating Hyper-connectivity to bring the integration of the area to an urban level, making a sequence of public spaces, to transform the area from an isolated island next to a city center into a “cultural landscape” that could be observed from both afar and within the area.


By implementing the essential quality of space, the path lets people explore the area and connects the delicate composition of the different characteristics of space.


Focal points are inserted in the area with minimum impact on the ground to create attraction as architectural follies, introducing the concept of “pure space”.


People can experience the project physically, by following the path to reach different points; visually, through visual connection to gain the sense of direction; and through memory, the hidden places, the path already taken, that always exists in imagination or memory.


Designing Beyond Function is an experimental project of urban improvement, a solution for anti-gentrification; it is a manifesto to provoke discussions about the relationship between culture and city development.


By implementing the complexity of spatial composition to organize the sensational experience, the project encourages the audience to introspect the essence of space, through different sceneries and time. It is an approach that could be applied anywhere needed, a universal solution to involve city users as well as local communities.





Pier Alessio Rizzardi,

Zhang Hankun



Matteo Umberto Poli