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Boni Yuen

MA work

The Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, No. 2388: Shangri-La

Shangri-La, a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton, a mythical Himalayan utopia and a permanently happy land isolated from the outside world. Can Shangri-La exist in the real world?

Special Economic Zones (SEZ), known as the urban typology to allow a matrix of exceptions to take place – tax exemptions, planning regulations, and economic liberalism – has proved to be a successful geopolitical weapon of the most powerful parties in the world. This project utilises that typology, exploring the alternative urban orders generated by conflicting frontier situations. To facilitate China's New Silk Road Plan, a joint Sino-Indian SEZ, Shangri-La, is proposed at Nathula Pass, Sikkim, with violent border conflicts between Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan communities. The SEZ is established and designed specifically under an alternative version of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (first initiated by China and India in 1954). Spatial software derived from game theory is tested as the design methodology for manipulating potential dispositions of the different state players.

No.2388 Shangri-La is a speculative platform to host conflict with or within, inducing a trap to trigger rearrangement of elements to create new forms of commons that allow the multicultural societies in the trans-Himalayan region to truly exercise new geopolitical power. It questions if a certain level of strategic tension needs to be present in order to accomplish the genuine and ideal harmonious territory.


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2015



  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture, The University of Hong Kong, 2012
  • Experience

  • Architectural assistant, CL3 Architects, Hong Kong, 2013; Architectural assistant, Research Architecture Design, Hong Kong, 2012–13