This exhibition is focused on the question of building culture. It documents a series of design build and research projects led by Donn Holohan, Assistant Professor of Architecture at HKU, which have sought to find answers to the many challenges facing our cities and landscapes, not through a top down executive order but though new forms of relational materialism.
The challenges posed by the scale and pace of urbanization, as exemplified in China and other rapidly developing nations, are global. Continued reliance on finite materials and non-circular production methods have serious economic, environmental and social ramifications, the consequences of which will be felt far beyond the national borders of the origin countries. The genesis of these issues can be found in the productive landscape and in the decline of rural areas, transformed by pressures of global trade and economics. The fracturing of these places – a product of large-scale out-migration – has a dissociative effect. The making of architecture, historically a collective act and key to the establishment and strengthening of communities, is divorced from landscape and heritage through commodification.
The projects presented in this exhibition seek to address these pressing issues through the application of technology in modes highly specific to place and culture. While the development of novel fabrication methods and new material systems continues to accelerate, comparatively few studies focus on the sustainable deployment of these technologies in contexts with varying levels of infrastructure, resource availability or skilled labor.
This ongoing work situates itself in primarily in southern China – a region home to a diverse set of vernacular crafts and traditions but notable today for the stark homogeneity of its modern built environment. As a result, regionally specific environmental, social and cultural knowledge is being lost.
The primary mechanism for this investigation was the construction of a series of interventions, whereby digital capture, robotics and computational technologies were combined with an engagement framework that included local craftspeople and communities, government, industry, students and NGOs. The projects explore new modes of representation, on site communication and labor practices – documenting, demonstrating and disseminating alternative strategic plans for a future oriented architecture.
For enquiries, please contact Mr Antony Yuen at firstname.lastname@example.org