AccScience Publishing / JCAU / Volume 2 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.36922/jcau.v2i1.530
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Shilinyuan New Courtyard-Garden Housing in Suzhou: Residents’ Experiences of the Redevelopment

Donia Zhang1
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1 Neoland School of Chinese Culture, Canada
Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2020, 2(1), 530
© Invalid date by the Authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

Set within the theoretical framework of cultural sustainability, this in-depth case study examines the Shilinyuan (meaning “Lion Grove Courtyard-Garden Housing”) built in the old city of Suzhou, China, in 2000. It is a modern interpretation of southern Chinese vernacular houses, with private and semi-public outdoor spaces, and a communal Central Garden. The estate is in proximity to the famous Lion Grove Garden, and in walking distance to the renowned Humble Administrator’s Garden; both of which are UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. The Shilinyuan project won the Lu Ban Award, a national award to high-quality construction projects by Chinese Ministry of Housing. Through an onsite survey, in-depth interviews with residents, key planner and architect, and the author’s observations, the study finds that this project is only culturally sustainable to some extent, the private courtyard-gardens are often too small for family activities. The communal Central Garden has somewhat functioned as a social and cultural activity space, and living close to city gardens is a major benefit for residents’ cultural activities. The findings may have implications for courtyard housing redevelopment in China and cohousing development elsewhere. The study finally suggests two new courtyard-garden housing systems that may have wider application.

Courtyard housing
Cultural sustainability
Architectural regeneration
Urban redevelopment
Environment-behavior study China
The research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism, Electronic ISSN: 2717-5626 Published by AccScience Publishing