Mongkok contains almost no unused space. Programmes shift and disparate activities overlap – transforming from day to night and from week to week, mediated by temporal structures of ductwork, neon, shopfront screens and market stalls. However, at the scale of a district, there are unforeseen redundancies. As apartment and office blocks are rapidly decommissioned, demolished and rebuilt, they also lie empty while ownership disputes are settled and building permits are obtained. The result is a significant building vacancy rate – despite urgent demand.
These spaces, located across the city, are the site for Backpack Housing. A reconfigurable kit of parts, this system provides a framework through which these spaces can be occupied temporarily – plugging into existing and remaining infrastructure and providing shelter for some of Hong Kong’s most vulnerable residents. Each system is crafted for one person within a particular space, moving with them as they move from transitional to more certain housing. At its most complete, each Backpack provides a safe, private and well-appointed shelter, which can be reconfigured as loose furniture, partitioning systems, or storage if and when required. This exhibition sees the prototypical system redeployed and adapted to the residential exhibition space at PMQ – bringing with it traces of its past occupancy.
Leung Lok Yan (Project Leader)
Chan Ching Yin