PRODUCTION FUNCTION Investigations in Late Industrial Forms and Organisation in the Architecture of Central District
Platform: Politics Art Media (PAM)

Related Staff : Wee, H. Koon

Students: Chan Zheng Nian, Chen Xiangying, Guo Yu, Law Wai Yin, Wu Yufan, Cee Catherine, Wen Wenbin, Wong Siu Shan, Wu Yingxin, Wu Zhexuan

Studio name: Architecture & Urban Design

Politics Art Media

Central Waterfront & its Productive Functions 

This studio begins with the historical trajectory that the modern city was first formed as an industrial city. Such urban formations followed the enterprise of production, aggregation of labour, the centralized organization of space for efficient and rational use, and the regulatory functions of time. Put together, these formations are incredibly complex organizations, and they have grown to become even more complicated. The modern city sought to partition and simplify the various functions of a city into housing, commerce, recreation, industry, and so on. However, the city continues to perform as a hybrid, defying plain classification. The increased specialization of functions in the Central District is the perfect site for an experiment to tease out the real functions of Hong Kong, and whether there is the possibility to comprehend and map the organization complex around which Hong Kong has evolved, and whether there is the possibility to bring back a new production function in Hong Kong. This new production function should be seen as a possible model of resistance to correct the distorted functions and alienation of finance and the corporatization of everything in Hong Kong.

In the reworking of the Central District, it is important to reconsider the once productive functions of its waterfront. This productivity can be defined as its capacity to engage in multiple functions emanating from production, including administration, civic spaces, trade, logistics, shipping, recreation and tenement housing. In a sense, the physical industry may have left Hong Kong, but the financialization and corporatization of industries have not. Hence, this studio traces the process of industrialization, de-industrialization, and the corporatization of industries. It is critical that this process would include the emergence of the Pearl River Delta as the factory of the world.

The Hong Kong waterfront is a hallmark of many logistics and industrial functions, no different from many other port cities, where production factories, businesses, wharfs, godowns, tenement housing and other spaces used to be. Students establish a new thesis towards a new hybridity, with some specificity in bringing the production functions into Central. With production functions, there may be a better possibility of equity, diversity, and a greater resilience against the collapse of any one sector in the economy. Architecture would become the test-bed for a new Central.