The Reincarnation of Atlantis -Ye Hui


We are back from the holidays and looking at a project that was fostered out of the studio of Abigail Ashton and Andrew Porter, who have been teaching at the Bartlett School of Architecture since 1996. The work that has come out of their studios from their students is extremely intriguing and provocative. Ye Hui’s ‘Mechanical City’ is based in Beijing, but the design concept is a play on the story of Atlantis, taking a cultural look at the decline of Old China in lieu of New China.  The project looks at the city of as a machine that is constantly in a state of flux between decay and rebirth.  Check it out after the jump!

Bartlett School of Architecture
PROFESSORS: Abigail Ashton and Andrew Porter –
COURSE: MArch GAD – Awarded Distinction in Design


“Initially the legend of Atlantis is used as a tactic to explore the birth and death of city. The process of Atlantis’s life is similar to the decline of old China and rebirth of new China. In this situation, China and Atlantis break the wall of time and space and lay over together. This is also a process of reincarnation.

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When we focus on the society layer to read a city, we can find many narrative elements, such as history, culture and symbol. These researches help to find another way to describe a city. Firstly to explore the city’s different elements as well as the relationship between them, and then extract them. These elements include government, industry, media, education, city construction and so on.

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This is the process of deconstruction of the city. Following on from which a narrative method is employed to represent the changing processes of the city, using mechanical language to materialize the social system and to express the connection between different elements. This is the process of the reconstruction of the city. Through these two processes, the city can be re-systemized by another design language and a “new” city can emerge. The project is a process of collapse and reformation.”

                                                                                                                                     – Ye Hui

Make sure to check out other student works from Abigail Ashton and Andrew Porter’s studio at

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