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Chai Wan Area Restructuring Study (integrated with sustainable urban development)

By : Lau Tai Wai, David, Wong Ming

Chai Wan was formerly one of Hong Kong’s major industrial areas. Now it is a highly dense mixture of industrial, commercial and residential buildings. The total population is approximately 178,000 persons. Major industrial buildings, old and new, are located along the major streets of the community and close to the subway station. Several problems were observed. Chai Wan currently consists of various separated districts of simple, monolithic use. Without proper and suitable activities between adjacent districts, existing footbridges and paths produce “ghost”- like passages with little pedestrian flow. The subway station, although located in the town center, is actually separated from the town context. The town has no relationship with the mountain or the sea which are in close proximity. It is fragmented. It lacks identity and sense of community.
This project intends to restructure the community by willful insertion of three basic types of elements: Points, Lines and Planes. A “point” is interpreted as the existing focus of each district which contributes to its identity. The existing character is preserved and enhanced. Meanwhile, areas lacking clear identity are inserted with a new, centralized, programmatic focus. Next, programmatic “lines” – passages associated with activities, functions and focus of interests – tend to be pedestrian connections between the fragmented districts and subway station. Green “planes” penetrate throughout, linking mountain and sea, and then finally bridging over the subway track and heavy traffic.

Tutor’s Comments
Chai Wan is a town fragmented by piecemeal development following the demise of its old industrial district. Conventional zoning, in addition to existing road and rail networks, resulted with unconnected zones. In fact, when pedestrian flow and activities reduce to a minimum, some zones “die” for specific periods of time. The town no longer has a relationship with the nearby mountain and the sea, although such a relationship was the basis of its previous history. The objective of the project was to transform Chai Wan into a place with high investment potential, complete with a highly active subcenter. The basic restructuring framework consists of an elevated pedestrian network connecting and penetrating existing buildings. The project as presented here may not fully convince critical eyes because an analysis of the existing context is missing. However, the goal was to re-open the already densely built urban fabric to a more rapid movement of people, their more intense interactions and new business potentials

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