8. Interior Urbanism

Issey Fang

Based in Beijing and Tokyo, Issey Fang has studied art and design for more than 10 years. She received a Bachelor degree in Environmental Design from Tsinghua University before joining the RCA. Throughout her career, she has practised and worked on interdisciplinary projects through art, design and architecture. The concentration and obsession in her works are tied to the moving and changing elements in space, and playful experiments in public living. 







Degree Details

School of Architecture

High street, covered arcade, elevated walkway, skywalk corridor… All represent streets in different formats. Facing the growth in high-rise living and, the global competition to build taller, human beings will break and expand the active public boundary to a new height. Consequently, the street will no longer be a traditional ground-level pathway.

The continuous public realm from outdoor ground-level to elevated interior space is a new concept but is still lacking in metropolises around the world. My work has investigated and documented behaviours in all kinds of public spaces, observing not just the relationship between space and users, but also the importance of the journey in this outdoor-indoor transition, especially after witnessing the empty public spaces under the pandemic. The crisis makes street life more precious than ever and forces us to re-evaluate its role in urban living. A street is not simply a mere linear zone that connects public spots as a unique public space in itself.

This project introduces the street experience into high-rise living. A ‘spiral pavement’ brings commercial influence, financial benefits and attraction for visitors. Most importantly, it delivers the daily routine and urban connection from the horizontal street to the concrete blocks, and initiates a fresh category of moving public space. 

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Vicky Richardson, for her continuous encouragement and advice; Karen Cook, for the challenging and inspirational conversations. I could not have survived this process without the constant support from Pengpeng, my mother. And this project would not exist without Boyuan Sun, my husband, who gives me endless help and patience on anything and everything. 



Please read the following instructions carefully before installing.

This system can be used by a skyscraper designer to introduce urban street life into a high-rise living or work environment. It is recommended for buildings over 20 floors, and is suitable for residents and workers of all ages.

Research and Analysis:
Despite a new generation of high-rise buildings and elevated public spaces appearing in cities, vertical transportation continues to be restricted to elevators and staircases. The Vertical Street-001 aims to save occupiers from queuing and spending time in suffocating lift cabs and monotonous staircases. The system provides a lively street experience at the same time as the functions of transportation and vertical commercial and community life. It takes the horizontal urban public realm into the vertical.

Amenity Unit
Spiral Pavements
Setbacks, Piazzas and Alleys
Light Shaft Core

Functions and Capabilities:
1. Powered by electricity, the system is a non-stop conveyer that transports all kinds of public amenities, such as shops, bars, church and gallery through the building. Moving at a speed of 4 centimetres per second, a complete loop takes 24 hours. Users can step in and out amenity units from a spiral ramp, the Pavement. The units can be rented and renovated, and combined for a larger continuous space.

2. Twin spiral pavements surround the units and connect all the floors from the ground to the top of the high-rise.

3. An outer layer of set-backs is a transition between public and private space — a leisure zone for residents to watch life on the street, or break-out from the private office or residential space.

4. The H-Train hangs beneath the pavement providing residents with a faster route up the tower.

5. A Light Shaft distributes natural light through the core of the spiral.

Concept Development — I began by looking at the problems with the existing in the vertical village, and then developed a concept to revolutionise vertical transportation and interior public space, as well as creating an interior street experience.

Research Book

Spatial Strategy Development

Spatial Strategy Development — The pavement spirals up to lead the ground-level street and set-back public spaces to the top of the building.

Components and Operation

Components and Operation — The Vertical Street system is composed of four major elements: Amenity Unit, Spiral Pavement, H-Train and Setbacks (from left to right).

Amenity Unit - the Pub

Amenity Unit - the Pub — Usually, the pub is the hottest spot after work. White-collar worker from the 22nd floor and home worker living on the 52nd floor hang out together at the bar counter. A gentlemen sitting at the long table buys a beer for an old friend who passes on the street. This is a typical Friday night.

Amenity Unit - the Church

Amenity Unit - the Church — Hearing the hymns as they come closer, residents living on 40th floor walk out of their flats and go to church. A young man working overtime chooses to leave his office; girls coming for shopping slow down their pace; a non-religious lady steps in and sits for a moment of quiet. This is a normal Sunday morning.

Setback - the Bench

Setback - the Bench — Grabbing a sandwich from the cafe, the girl sits down and starts her lunch with friends. The design studio on 21st floor loves the guitar guy, for there is always music flowing in the window during the break. This is a pleasant Tuesday lunchtime.

Setback - the Garden

Setback - the Garden — Many things happened in this garden. The learning centre upstairs usually holds a reading club in the afternoon at the terrace; some parents are killing time here waiting for their kids’ piano lessons; The couple take out their table cloth and plan to have a picnic. This is a leisurely Thursday afternoon.

Models of Amenity and Setback

Models of Amenity and Setback

Walking Experience — A girl was meeting her friend who works in the tower. She came from the west street, walked seamlessly onto the spiral pavement, and caught her friend along the way in the pub.

Concept Drawing — From the bottom to the top, every floor is connected by a continuous public realm.

Main Section — Some branches of the street expand deeply into the building, which means the border between public and private can be decided by the owner of each floor with considerable flexibility. The Light shaft core with sun pipe technology runs through the centre of the tower and brings natural light for the amenities.

Public Space
Vertical Village
Royal College of Art
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