GALLERY INDEX

The Possibility of an Island: Designing the New Macau Waterfront

Related Staff : Thomas Daniell

Studio Instructor: Thomas Daniell
Students: Au Wing Yi Winnie; Chan Hon Ching; Chan Yin Yan Ian; Hon Shiu Heng; Kwok Ka Ching; Lau Xin Yee Melissa; Li Mei Yu; Mok Wang Chee Louis; Suen Wing Yin Kelman; Sze Nga Ting Fiona; Wong Cheuk Fung

This studio critically engaged the issues raised by tabula rasa urbanism and iconic architectural design. The site is one of the new land reclamations now under development in Macau, and the program comprises a schematic urban field focused on a casino-hotel form. Based on a critical analysis of the existing urban plans, students developed alternative proposals, addressing issues such as zoning, street layout, architectural massing, and engagement with the water. This became the basis for an architectural project on the waterfront, for which the students choose the precise location, scale, and programmatic composition. The design research themes were directed toward the manipulation of the ground platform and the perception of the main architectural volume. A secondary theme was the application of design methods taken from Metabolism, particularly the concepts of “artificial ground” (in which the existing land surface is treated as no more than one datum among many others) and “group form” (in which large-scale architectural form emerges from the bottom-up accumulation of modular elements rather than top-down sculptural gestures). The resulting designs address the contrasts of water and land, nature and artifice, continuity and individuation, difference and repetition. As a distinctive yet ambiguous presence on the evolving Macau skyline and waterfront, the architecture is regarded as an “unstable icon” that reflects the hybrid nature of Macau’s cultural history as well as a contemporary context in which artifice and pastiche have become authentic and essential.

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UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE