Architecture is a standing record of humanity’s cultural and social achievement. Hong Kong’s unique history can more or less be represented in tangible form, either as key ‘signature’ buildings or as anonymous background structure. However, our architectural heritage has vanished swiftly in the extensive redevelopment of old districts. Most new developments were produced in standardized ways without that special kind of personal creativity which lifts the human spirit.
Recognizing the immediate need to conserve Hong Kong’s architectural legacy and to arouse architectural professionals’ duty towards the public and the environment, the theme of the thesis is to establish a place – a Hong Kong Architectural Centre - for enhancing public concern over architecture, and helping architects to evolve their design awareness and sensibilities. This thesis is an attempt to create architecture as a supportive background for human activities and perceptions, unlike most buildings which try to conquer the foreground like monuments.
The thesis explores how to generate a building which is not only designed for the owner or its users (as is the usual practice) but is also beneficial to the surrounding areas and passers-by, so that architecture can be urban linkage, natural landscape and artifact.
Can an Architectural Center have an appropriate architectural form? Or not? Although the student does not explicitly say, this question is probably one which she was trying to answer. The result is an almost invisible but large complex which links a park to the city, previous history to the future, and the public to Architecture. The chosen site and composition are sensible. Within a five-story structure, only the top story is above ground. A tentative roof garden serves as an extension of the park on the other side of the highway. Only the urban bridge is visible, and functions as passage as well as exhibition space. Again, this is an architecture which both appears and functions as a public work or a civil engineering construction. However, simplistically labeling the project as infrastructuralism belies its true complexity, as it is tightly woven into an existing highway, landscape, retaining wall and bridge network.
The project features a number of other open building approaches such as a portable reading room, flexible partitions, adaptive building reuse, integration with the landscape and passive energy strategies. She attempted to create an open architecture shaped by users and the program.
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