The Little Forest

A Student-led Community Center

Middle Sichuan Rd.  
Shanghai Municipality

June 2018

Indicidual project
Bachelor’s graduation design.

Old residents, tenants, artists, office workers, and students from the Tongji-Huangpu School of Design and Innovation, etc., many people together form the system of the Old City of the Bund, with rich communities, complex structures, and the potential to provide a variety of functions just as a forest.

As an activator to inspire the potential of this system, the community center will become a student-led small forest, where people get to know each other and the city. The small forest provides people with a place to communicate and transmit information, promising the communities of the city’s system closer connections and interactions.

Students from D&I high schools have transmitted the oxygen of innovative thinking to the cities, stimulating the potential of this system and revitalizing the vitality of the old city.

Introduction Video



From the similar community system, the imagery of forest is extracted as a theme of the design.

The forest is the lung of the Earth, generating fresh air to throughout the world. Accordingly, the Little Forest generate the innovative thinking and the vitality of students into the city. Joining in the community centre, students are likely to become leaders of this system, who stimulate the potential of it and revitalize the old city.

In the Little Forest, the larger system of the city is to have closer contact and communication. The forest is given a genius loci in which people tend to know and connect with each other. It is compused by each person involved, just like a forest by trees.

Site Analysis

The school is located in the downtown. It is seen that the density of activities around the school are obviously lower than that in other parts of downtown, illustrating the deactivation of the old city caused by aging population and individualism.

Meanwhile, educational, artistic and historical resources around the school should not be ignored. Applying these resources, the community center is believed to connect with the community, enterprises, and universities by tailored projects, as well as to become the window of the nearby school.

The Relative Network of the Tongji-Huangpu School of Design and Innovation

Design Process

The Functional Requirements of the Community Center

Core Function

The core of the student-led community center is the base of the students who organize the activities. They can see the activities on the base here, and visitors can appreciate their work too. As a childlike feelings of base and freedom, the Tree House is used as a symbol of the young team of students.

Main Functions

Hold events and activities
In the past, people often hunted, collected, and played in the Woodland, so the main place where the activity took place was named Woodland.

Make publicity of students
As a symbol of rest and a higher place, the Hillork allows students to present their own achievements to all participants who come to the site.

Make publicity of school
The Tree Hole is an image of hidden information. The school is a tree hole in the city, so people should experience the school inside the tree hole.

Show the community
The Stump is a symbol of a countertop, as an image of placing. Placing objects on top of a stump represents a re-examination of the object.

Images of Impression



Tree House

Tree Hole


The Generation Based on Functions and Imagery


Variable Furnitures for Different Activities

The Functional Requirements of Different Activities

Renderings of Different Activities





Plans and Section

The Relative Network of Students' Team and the Flow of the First Event

The first event is titled Making New Touch Points for Interaction in expectation of the mutual recognition between school students and community residents.

Before the event, the information will be put up at the showcase, along with promotion by students in the community. At admission, each participant receives a journal for collecting imprinted stamps and recording everyday life. The opening speech is about habits, relationships, and restrictions to impart correlation of individuals with community.

The subsequent workshop encourages participants to build a house model and a set of Arduino kits that can record and play sounds. They will be asked to tell a most impressive story in community life, which will be recorded in small houses and placed on the Stump as a testimony to the communal memory. The participants would win a unique imprinted stamp designed by students. Organizing students also get their own badges.

Afterwards, an exhibition will be held here to show the unique connection of people in the school and community.