Related Staff : Sony Devabhaktuni
Students: Cheung Hoi Ching, Choi Chung Hei, Chung Bing Tsun, Das Shivangi, Fong Leon Lixin, Lai Hiu Lam Natalie, Park Ji Eun, So Cheuk Lam, Soo Kwan Yau, Sun Yue Rong, Szeto Wai Ching Regina, Wang Xiangning.
Year: BA(AS) Year 4 Spring 2019
Tutor: Sony Devabhaktuni
On January 20th, 2019, Hong Kong inaugurated the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, one of a number of large-scale infrastructure projects that is transforming the territory and its relation to China. The bypass promises not only to cut travel times between the eastern and western half of Hong Kong island but also to liberate heavily trafficked arteries and roads, opening the possibility of rethinking entire districts.
One of the complex knots of infrastructure that is potentially loosened by the Central-Wan Chai Bypass is found east of Shun Tak Centre. This confluence of roads, overpasses and elevated walk-ways will be radically rethought when one of its major branches –the Rumsey Street Flyover –is demolished. Although the flyover represents no more than 100 metres of elevated autoroute, the consequences of its demolition could be exponentially significant. Activating the street, rethinking transportation networks, linking to the water or new programs for the site could all be envisioned through a careful analysis of the issues and concentric areas of impact that are implicated by the flyover’s demolition.
RESEARCH & PROPOSITIONS
One of the underlying questions guiding the studio, was whether architecture could find a specific agency or method of work for the street, considering that nearly every discipline within the built environment (from landscape to urban planning to real estate) claims some authority (design or otherwise). Very often the street in Hong Kong is understood as a techno-bureaucratic infrastructure where human occupation is a veneer of design; the appropriation of streets and their civic role, while manifest through determined acts of domestic resistance, are relegated to the literal left-over spaces of the urban environment.
In the second semester, students take the approach and questions of the first and look at the demolition of the Rumsey Street Flyover as a catalyst for rethinking the street and surrounding neighborhood. The site of study offers each student or group of students the opportunity to develop their own position towards the future of Hong Kong and the possibilities opened up by the Central Wan Chai bypass. This position is made manifest through an identified site and strategy of intervention, a program and ultimately a project that speculates about the city’s future.