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Hong Kong Spring 2019 [SOE]

SPACE OBJECTS: HONG KONG

INSTRUCTORS: David Erdman + Hart Marlow

Hong Kong has the densest urban area on the planet and is the only city currently operating at emissions and consumption levels (targeted by the Paris Accord for over 100 global cities by 2026) today. This performance is solely due to the city’s concentrated density and the fact that its inhabitants live on only 1/3 of the landmass of the city-state; a constraint that is driven by finance, politics and desire.  With population rises in its future and escalating costs of living, affordable housing and available land are in short supply. The studio centered its interest in this conundrum by looking to harvest density and its assets not only as a possible model for Hong Kong’s future but as could be applicable and pertinent to other global cities who share the interests of those outlined in the Paris Accord.

Over a ten day period students traveled to Hong Kong where they visited public housing estates, related projects, participated in a series of review-workshops with HKU students and faculty and during which time students interfaced with various Public Housing Authority staff members and stakeholders. 

The semester-long studio investigated the concept of “space objects:” intensely cohesive urban void-spaces that are not (necessarily) inside a building enclosure. Students studied the unique, highly concentrated urbanism of Hong Kong and its public housing estates. The focus of the studio was to “alter” existing block types (and estates at large) re-working the ground around tower-blocks, placing additions atop tower-blocks and using the graphics of existing facades as a launching points of inquiry.  Four separate estates in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories (all of which were similar “Harmony” block-types; the most prevalent and ripe for alteration) were taken as the case-studies for design research. The studio was modeling intensive and photographically oriented.