Human Nature

Related Staff : Eric H Schuldenfrei

Guest Critic: Donn Holohan
Students: Hazel Hei Sung Chan, Tiffany Tung Chow, Ednalaguim Katarina Camacho, Nikolas Ettel, Tonghui Jin, Ka Cheung Lam, Anna Sung Yan Law, Oliver Luo, Cheul Ki Mau, Yeuk Sze Ng, Tam Leong Kwan, Jason Yeung

Urbanism and architecture as intellectual capital is essentially an archive, a form of social and institutional memory. With its origins embedded in the methods, techniques, sites, and crafts of mnemonic praxis, architecture is a form of material communication and cultural identity. Since the Industrial Revolution qualities of universal values applicable to all have become dominate. The standardization of construction techniques has generated uniformity to such an extent that the context and conditions which previously allowed for significant differences among societies has begun to vanish.

At times the urban transformation occurring in China reads as a voluntary erasure, an unintentional rewriting of history across the country as entire populations are moving into modern structures. Dissolving, dissipating, and dispelling cultural legacy, urban renewal is often a form of complete renewal: a sociological, political, and economic transformation of all values. It is within this context that architects must therefore examine their own motives and inadvertent contributions toward analogous programs of erasure.

The studio began with the creation of a device to comprehend what stimuli are possible to experience by examining the physiological capacity for perception in the realm of senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, temperature, kinesthetics, and balance. Serving as a catalyst for producing a culture of creativity, this device led to the design of an atelier, accelerator, or incubator for work. The final project situated the design in terms of the ‘Value Factory’, a former glass factory in Shenzhen repurposed for culture after 26 years of production. Defined by the less tangible elements of the site found within the humanitarian, creative, psychological, and intellectual possibilities of a work of architecture, the juxtaposition between the device and the spaces for interaction combined with the context in order to provoke innovative alternatives for residing in the monotonous metropolis.

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