Junyi Shi

Spirit of Place:

Examining Traditional Chinese Principles of Place-making in a Contemporary Urban Context

Cities are carriers of both spiritual civilization and physical space.The concept of Chinese cities has existed for about four thousand years, embodying China’s extensive cultural and philosophical heritage.Feng Shui is a specialized theory in Chinese urban planning. Therefore, discussing Chinese cities inevitably involves examining the role of Feng Shui in urban construction.

Contemporary Chinese city development has almost abandoned Feng Shui. As a result, Chinese cities have become homogenized by Western models, losing their distinctiveness and cultural expression.

This thesis project study the principles of Feng Shui It analyze why contemporary Chinese cities have lost traditional Feng Shui and the necessity of reviving Feng Shui in urban planning. By designing a test city, the project aims to establish a new Feng Shui urban design system and explore the potential value of this new system. The goal is to identify a development direction that suits the unique characteristics of Chinese cities.

Shenyang Urban Development History Summary


Shenyang city’s development timeline with three major time period

Summarize the development patterns of Shenyang's old and new city centers, and analyze the reasons and time points for the formation of the “gap”.

Shenyang Old Imperial City Center Diagram


An Imperial City built on the principles of Feng Shui

The Imperial City of Shenyang was built by the feng shui nine-grid system. The principle is to analyze the best energy storage points through Feng Shui and build the Imperial City to ensure the stability of the dynasty and the prosperity of the city.

Shenyang New City Center Diagram


Russia, and Japan successively occupied Shenyang, establishing a new city center to facilitate wartime control of the colony.

During the period of loss of sovereignty, the city of Shenyang has undergone many renovations. The original walls were demolished and the new center of the city was in the western part of the old Imperial City. Railroads and industry were the most significant developments in Shenyang City at that time, forcing the abandonment of the traditional urban system of Shenyang.

Shenyang Landuse Analysis


Color blocks represent different functional land zones in Shenyang

The city of Shenyang faces a "gap" between the old and new city by connecting it with business and economic investment. As can be seen on the map, this "gap"is surrounded by commercial and economic development from the Imperial buried ground in the north to the Shenyang University District in the south.

Axonometric Framework Plan


Axonometric drawings to show my design ideas for the city of Shenyang. The "gap‘ that have existed for 130 years are mended with ecological system.

By studying Shenyang's Feng Shui and ecology, a new design system was formed. Through this new design system, Shenyang's "gap" were organically repaired to ensure the connection between the old and new city centers.

The Flowing Park


The new park design to direct pedestrian flow toward a system of green ecosystem

Parks designed to gather people, orienting them into another direction.

New Nine Grid Park


A plaza at the back of the existing mall, hoping to bring a good energy experience to the visitors

Modeled after Imperial City's nine-grid system, creating interesting nodes that offer new experiences

Design Plan


A general overview of the design, creating new networks and experiences in the city through greenway design

Design floor plans showing the new design system


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