GALLERY INDEX
Fading Coastline: A Resilient Interface Between Civilization and Nature

Related Staff : Wee, H. Koon

Student: Woo Sau Chi, Shirley
Supervisor: Mr. H. Koon Wee

The thesis began with a feeling of doubt and uncertainty about the contemporary built environment when confronted by natural catastrophes, and how this periodic devastation by nature has repeatedly conquered civilization. Other than just reacting to the aftermath, can we learn from disasters and propose a new solution that will also prepare for the coming of the next devastation?

On 11 March, 2011, the East Japan coastline was attacked by M9.0 earthquake and tsunami. Not only did a great number of buildings suffer from major physical damages, large parts of different cities and villages were instantly washed away by the massive waves of tsunami. The Japanese built environment has always been inspired by a philosophical aspiration towards nature. Different vernacular building techniques have revealed the culture’s practice of incorporating natural elements into the artificial environment, whether or not these elements are desirable. Vernacular building techniques have proved the ability of architecture to actively respond to the nature: hatoba to introduce water into living space, verandah to define a comfort zone between the outdoors and indoors, etc. If individual buildings are able to adapt themselves to the natural environment, how can such indigenous behavior be applied onto the scale of a city and infrastructure?

UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE