MLA Year 2 Studio 3 2013-14

West Kowloon and the Cultural Landscape

Course Title: Landscape Design Studio 3 (ARCH 7201)
Instructors: Scott Jennings Melbourne, Suvarna Apte Dalvie, Viraj Chatterjee

This studio was focused on the development of alternative futures for the West Kowloon Cultural District and adjacent waterfront sites. The project is a government-driven effort to establish a 40-hectare cultural and entertainment district on the north-western edge of Hong Kong’s harbour.

The West Kowloon site is distinctly layered, with historic interventions overlaid by a multitude of current and projected uses that together form a twin pairing of uncertainty and opportunity. Previous planning efforts have been acknowledged during the process of this academic studio while, at the same time, the opening brought about by the recent abandonment of previously-approved plans was recognized as an opportunity to be seized for reimagining potential landscape interventions in West Kowloon.

A number of themes were addressed throughout the semester, including the essential question: can culture be built? A critical response and mindful interpretation of potential answers to this query plays a critical role in the effectiveness of proposed solutions. A follow-up question then was, what is the role of landscape in accommodating, nay, nurturing cultural development? The studio emphasised that a response to this question must not come through rhetoric, but rather through specific design proposals that might prove effective when physically constructed.

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