Related Staff : Natalia Echeverri
Hong Kong’s public housing program is a highly successful enterprise that has provided much-needed access to housing for a larger number of the population in a city notorious for exclusionary spatial practices. However, the housing program also represents a lost opportunity. Still ruthlessly driven by concerns of efficiency in construction and management, issues of site, ecology, and how built forms relate to their larger contexts are not always the prime concerns. Many older estates now sit largely in isolation from the dense urban fabric. For those located at the urban fringe and at the foothills of Hong Kong’s forested slopes, they bear little relationship with the rich subtropical ecology. This studio focused on the urban design and landscape of public housing in Hong Kong, interrogating self-contained housing developments within their current contexts. For the first exercise, students analyzed and documented the public realm of public housing and produced a typological collection of its different phases over the last six decades. They followed a conceptual framework to investigate the spatial, ecological and social relationships experienced in a public housing development in terms of its nested relationships, from the unit to the block, from the blocks to the estate, and from the estates to city. For the final project, students developed urban design strategies to renew one of three public housing estates: Wah Fu, Oi Man and Wan Tsui. They then developed a detailed physical design within these strategic frameworks.