Sanhe Reimagination

Harvest Su
Master of Urban Design

Advised by:
Jonathan Kline
Stefan Gruber

Studio Coordinated By Jonathan Kline and Stefan Gruber

Themes: Culture | Narrative | Care


Sanhe Master is a group of young people who refuse to be alienated by the mass production. They are tired of working all the day in the assembly line, so they choose a lifestyle of working for a day and playing for another three days in a place called Sanhe. They were called Sanhe Masters by other people for their ‘enviable’ lifestyle and low desire for lives. However, those young people stuck in the lives of Sanhe Masters are not really satisfied with their lives. Most of the Sanhe Masters are constantly switching back and forth between the normal factory workers and Sanhe master because neither of these two could fulfill their needs.
I take this thesis project as a chance to re-imagine the lives of Sanhe Masters. How could the sites be their starting point to create a dignified and quality life for themselves? How could they gradually change their public appearance and really contribute to the whole community?


Hypothesis Statement:

1. The Sanhe Masters of Shenzhen are second generation migrant factory workers who work as day labors, but escape to an online world of gaming. They take this as a way to resist being alienated by the mass production.

2. Can a reinvention of the talent market and Jingle Urban Village as a new Sanhe Master base, support their identity and allow them to find a way out of the endless loop of factory work?


  Story of Sanhe

  The origin of the Sanhe Masters and the starting point of the project

Their ‘local’ Material

Due to the special lifestyle of the Sanhe master, they tend to have the minimal personal items on their hands and rely more on the community. We could separate their persona items into 5 categories based on the provider and the importance.
Essential items are those resources of great significance to all the Sanhe Masters and they would throw them only at very extreme circumstance. Important items are important to them and they would prefer to keep them.
Share resources are those items only exist or used differently in sanhe area. And pubic infrastructure are provided by the government free of charge.


Ionia and Self-identity
Built on the similar living environment and the virtual world they have explored, Sanhe Masters form their own culture and social identity. They have their own way of call each other and their nicknames are always comes from the video games.

           Word cloud made based on the group chatting 
11.27.2020 - 12.3.2020                                          2.16.2020 - 3.23.2020

Base in the Game
’Two bases at opposite corners of the map, populated by a shop, a Nexus, two turrets to defend the nexus, two base gates that only let the base’s allies pass through, and inhibitors that suppress the other team’s minions.‘

Sanhe master are keep playing the game of “challenge the dark-minded factory”. They are trying to settle down at the factories. When they fail, they will go back to Sanhe to have some rest.

  Base Pic Source: Reference:

From Base in Game to the real Base

We can find the Correspondence relationship between the game and real program. The base in the game is the place player can get their life generation. Similarly, in my project, they base has the cluster for motobike repair, has place for body wash and laundry, and giving them freedom to lie down without doing anything. In the game, the base is the place for supply and craft. In my project, we have flee market , education center and food supply. The base is the place for player gathering. We also provide chance for them to build relationship with each other.

We hope we could help them build their own trust system and let outsider to understand their behavior.



1. Build group connection among sanhe master
Take advantage of the existing social identity among sanhe youths and help them build closer social relationship by proper program so that they could build a collective work system in the Sanhe area.

2. Sanhe as the base and another option for migrant workers
Taking the idea from the MOBA games, the sanhe I proposed is the base instead of the final stop for sanhe masters. They build their skills and social relationship here and gradually find their own life goals.


Re-Imagine the future of Sanhe:

How the site serve as the base and gradually change the life of sanhe masters ?