Extreme Optimism

Platform: Politics Art Media (PAM)

Related Staff : Eric H Schuldenfrei

Students: Chan Hok Ming, Hong Weiliang, Lam Yun Him, Liu Pui Hang Desmond, Ming Yujie, Pang Leong, Peng Yunxiang, Zhao Yan, Chiu Tsz Ching, Lyu Hangda, Wong Tat Hon, Zhang Guangning, Famos Soma-Mevion

Studio name: Architecture & Urban Design

Politics Art Media

Des Voeux Road Central’s spatial arrangement and its patterns of use.

This studio investigates the possibility for architecture to serve the common wealth of all by creating a new form of urban ecology. We do not only investigate innovative architectural prototypes, but also examine a diverse set of issues related to sustainability and quality of life. Projects respond to problems that are impossible to resolve through technical means alone, investigating issues which require significant changes in human values and relationships in order to address them.

The architectural solutions derived for the first phase are envisioned to encompass socially sustainable design concepts. Testing alternative models of sustainability by developing environmentally responsible techniques, we examine the issue of sustainability not only from a material vantage point but also from a social one. Contemporary buildings have the potential to reveal complex social relationships by juxtaposing programs together on the same site, from the more common programs such as office, commercial, and retail spaces to more specific programs of educational facilities, playgrounds, recreation, entertainment, restaurants, libraries, post offices, museums, markets, theatres, and cultural spaces. The designs respond to a specific site condition and from that analysis to devise an approach to multiply the ground in order to further develop a collective sense of shared capital. Reacting to the possibilities associated with having a condensed urban population, projects test strategies that defy the logic of the contemporary metropolis by proposing a new series of interactions within the public realm. The result proposes how buildings can perform as positive social registers and models of potential.

Central is one of the densest urban areas in the world and a district with some of the worst air quality in Hong Kong. While the urban plan calls for Des Voeux Road Central to be pedestrianized to mitigate the air pollution caused by the urban canyon effect, the cross roads will continue to have vehicular traffic – essentially creating individual islands of nature within the city in the form of an urban archipelago. In this context, the moment of interface with nature is critical, as the design outcomes create a sense of public space within the building that extends out toward the immediate urban context.

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