In The Universe of Small

Related Staff : Donn Holohan, John Lin

Student: Cheung Wai Lun Vernon

Thesis Abstract

“For our house is our corner of the world… our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word. If we look at it intimately, the humblest dwelling has beauty.”

Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard 1958

‘In the Universe of Small’ seeks to reconsider the overtly utilitarian and automatic thinking of multi-residential design. Specifically, it responds to a new housing typology emerging in Hong Kong where apartments are approximately the size of a standard carpark space. Despite its physical constraint, they continue to act as miniature houses, containing a private bathroom, kitchen, living and outdoor area. The thesis questions this current practice of repetitive individualisation and aspires to liberate architecture from the functional stacking of units. Three canonical houses are chosen and then interpreted through writing, iterative drawings and physical models. This methodology allows for a theoretical ground to produce a cross dialogue between the chosen projects and the micro domestic condition of today. While discovering architectural strategies for unravelling the universe of the small, the project simultaneously evaluates the challenge for a new notion of unit in the city.

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