GALLERY INDEX

Go West: Chongqing

Related Staff : Tom Verebes

Instructor: Tom Verebes

“The form, then, of any portion of matter, whether it be living or dead, and the changes of form which are apparent in its movements and in its growth, may in all cases alike be described as due to the action of force. In short, the form of an object is a ‘diagram of forces’, in this sense, at least, that form if we can judge or deduce the forces that are acting to have acted upon it” D’Arcy Thompson, On Growth and Form, 1917This MArch I Design Studio investigated the wild west of Chinese urbanization through the design of a high density political and civic centre for Chongqing. Contemporary computational design methodologies drove the studio’s speculations upon new, culturally specific spatial paradigms, patterns and topologies, with which innovations upon default typological models were proposed.Located at the confluence of the ubiquity of experimental design techniques, and the particularly unique topographical urban context of Chongqing along with its associated architectural and cultural heritage, this studio aimed to discover a new organizational model of political space for Chongqing in the twenty-first century.

The studio generated new relations between conventional typologies and their contextual specificities to topographic territories. Beginning with the analysis of a selection of canonical towers, urban clusters and political buildings, this formed the basis from which to mine their inherent typological diagrams. Architectural typology was explored not as a fixed, formulaic mode of perpetuating normative spatial conditions, but rather, as the diagrammatic basis upon which innovations are borne from typology as a generator of complex yet legible differentiated morphologies. In a second project, the studio emphasised the development of techniques with which to generate complex relations of massing to multiplicitous ground conditions. In this light, the studio researched topology as a mathematical spatial notion in which form emerges through transformational dynamics. Mathematical models served as the basis for understanding architectural objects as the result of the interaction of information and forces on “rubber sheet geometries”, through 3D digital modelling exercises, various topological cannons were explored. As a research arena invested into legible forms of complexity, students’ projects focused on the customisation of differentiated, heterogeneous spaces and systems. In the main design proposal stage of the semester, design teams of 3 students will continue to focus on developing a comprehensive design proposal for Chongqing’s Municipal Administration Buildings and Chaotianmen Civic Square, as a cluster of 3-8 high rise buildings deeply contiguous with interior and exterior public civic spaces.

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UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE