GALLERY INDEX

A HOUSE A HOME V: CLOUDS – ARCHITECTURE BEFORE ROOMS
家宅 之五:云之家

HKU FALL 2021 YEAR 2 DESIGN STUDIO
港大建築 2021秋 二年級設計工作室

Related Staff : Chang Su

Students: Bernal Mayelle Andrea J., Chan Wilson, Chau Hiu Tun, Chung Wing Sze Cecilia, Ju Wai Hang, Kong Ling Yiu, Kwok Hoi Wing, Mao Yueyan, Morakhiya Esha Vipul, Tsang Yuk Yuk, Yim Yung Ching

“Then what do you love, you extraordinary stranger?”
“I love clouds … drifting clouds … there … over there … marvelous clouds.”
Charles Baudelaire, 1862

We usually understand a house “room first”: there exists a room, a unit of space for people to live in, and envelopes are built to fit this a priori unit. This is how the profession of architecture is codified since modernism: housing programs are identified by room types – living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc; real estate is advertised by the sizes of these rooms in square meters; professional licensure exams emphasize the control of these rooms – statutory controls, cost controls, environmental controls, etc. The room is the institutional structure of social provision, capital, and labor. It is how a house is sold.

But it is also possible to understand a house as an accumulation of things that precedes the definition of any room between them. Here, the idea of space is understood not as rooms but as different conditions of the environment and enclosure, intervals that afford places and uses. The rock grottos in Suzhou’s Lion Grove have this quality, as do clouds.

Often considered to be purely pictorial devices in architectural representation, this studio argues instead that clouds are exactly what they appear to be, accumulated masses of liquid droplets, frozen crystals, and fluid particles rendered visible. Its forming process of evaporation, saturation, and condensation suggests a possible turn to meteorological tectonics for space and architecture. With water and air as the primary material for construction, this studio examines how architects designed houses like clouds – changeable, permeable, and sensual ambiance based on the natural management of matters and flows – as means to imagine and construct places for contemporary culture and hedonistic pleasure.

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UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE