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Alternative Improvement Concepts for Victoria Park (M Arch I 1998)

By : Ho Man Ching, Gordon

Introduction (extracts from project brief issued by CW Ho and BS Jia)
Since its opening in 1957 after reclamation from the sea, Victoria Park has become a popular place near the center of commercial area. However, over the past years, there has been increasing pressure to provide more active recreational facilities, often done in an piecemeal and uncoordinated manner, at the expense of the valuable greenery. The original concept as a green natural space is gradually being eroded by more building structures, hard surfaces and geometrical compositions. The role of Victoria Park as a urban green park, as a recreational facility to restructure the district, needs to be examined.
Apart from meeting the requirement of various end users, one of the main objectives of this improvement exercise is to provide a clearer demarcation for active and passive recreation space. The improvement work will include landscape improvements and the replacement and relocation of some of the existing buildings to reduce the prospect of adding individual structures in the future.
In the studio led by BS Jia, students were required to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to analyze the context and to provide a holistic answer in a form of planning with emphasis on urban ecology.
(Other students in the team: Cheung Sui Lun, Cheung Wai Man, Kwok Yee Man, Lam Pui Yu, Luk Chi Hang and Wan Tsz Kin)

Tutor’s Comments
Architecture often has a desire for geometry and the character of geometry. In the first instance, geometry provides convenience of measure and construction. In the second instance, geometry provides a conceptual order for the world. Geometry acts in the formation of architecture, providing the eidetic catalogue of ‘proper’ form(s). Modern cities are a triumph of geometry. So it is therefore not surprising that an otherwise “natural”, “field-like” or “continuous” green park in the center of a modern city is dominated by geometric order and functional fragmentation.
This project is a critical speculation on tactics for blurring the separation of architecture, urban circulation and landscape greenery. It emphasizes continuity of movement, functional mixture and wholeness. Everything is planned in topologically curving forms which symbolize “natural” landscape amidst the urban Cartesian order. The development of liquid space, texture fields, pattern effects and field conditions emerge both as response to the particular needs as a park as well as a distinguishable character in the urban setting.

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