BALS Year 2 Studio 2 2013-14

Mapping Pokfulam Village: Growing Space

Course Title: Landscape Design Studio 2 (ARCH 2043)
Instructors: Melissa Cate Christ, Seth Denizen

This studio looked at the relationship between site and community by asking how landscapes and lives are assembled. How can the relationship between people’s lives and the infrastructure of living be addressed by landscape architecture? Further, and perhaps most fundamentally, the studio asks how a landscape can shape the way we live.

Framed by these questions, the studio proposes to look at the assemblage of site and community relations in Pokfulam Village through the lens of urban agriculture. In the original land allocation and layout of the village, each Hakka row house was allocated a plot of land to farm. As the population increased, many of the plots were leased and/or developed for nonformalized housing. Currently, there are only two official farm plots, at the north end of the village. However, many residents grow vegetables and flowers in plots adjacent to their homes or in recently developed (and planned) community gardens.

The studio was composed of a series of cumulative exercises. The first studio exercise asked students to uncover an essential element of the village through their own observations, documenting a phenomena, element, process or idea in the form of a photo diary and short text. The second exercise examined the village’s current food supply and demand through the production of measured orthographic drawings of the village’s markets. The third exercise of the studio asked students to produced detailed maps of the site and systems of the village, integrating the first two exercises and laying the foundation for the final design project. The final exercise of the studio asked students to lay out a strategy and site design for a particular issue or set of issues affecting the village and its residents identified through the preceding exercises.

Each exercise of the studio can be seen as a different way to explore the same fundamental questions: how landscapes and lives are assembled, how landscape shapes our lives, and how we shape the landscape. To that end, the studio exercises were conducted in consultation with the local community through engagement exercises designed and executed in the concurrent course, ARCH Environment, Community and Design.

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