Alternative_Reclamation Cover Image

Alternative Reclamation: The Floating Vertical City

Thesis Abstract

Architecture is a tangible representation responding to a place’s urgencies and also the aspiration of human living quality. Under the crisis of land scarcity in Hong Kong, architecture should show certain autonomy to adapt, move and transform in order to survive from the reality. Revolution of architecture is needed engaging with the environment and human fulfilments that reverberates to the present day.

Reclamation has been a prevalent solution since the first day of British colony in 1841 and even ongoing today. The thesis criticizes the conventional reclamation methods and technologies that greatly cause environmental, economical and ecological degradations. Through a series of researches, designs and testing processes in exploring generative large scale floating structure, an alternative reclamation proposal which is a vertical floating city by creating permanent dwellings at the sea through aggregation was established. It is a methodical proposal speculating the innovative land and urban formation through architecture. As a result, architecture became a leading instrument of social change.

Back_Alley_Filter_00_Cover Image

Back Alley Filter: Urban Environmental Interventions in Hong Kong

Thesis Abstract

With increasing demands for public space, the redevelopment schemes in Hong Kong led by the government and real estate developers aim to create an image of clean alleys to relieve the urgency. Although the city’s back alleys are usually cramped with building service equipment that have negative environment impacts on the environment, the functionality of these space is not addressed in the schemes. By looking into environmental principles, the proposal treats back alleys as a filter rather than the source of environmental harm, reversing the negative connotations through passive and active strategies and eventually providing a hygienic and pleasant environment for the public.

The Shipwright’s Anthology 3

The Shipwright’s Anthology

The Shipwright’s Anthology’ explores the potential of the architect – as narrative cartographer to engage and interface with ‘Place’ as defined by recent psycho-geographers as the confluent space of diverse and simultaneous spatial narratives or stories. Within the thesis project – multimedia vocabularies of storytelling and recording become divergent approaches toward generating architectures of intervention. In acting upon what Doreen Massey called the ‘Chance of Space’ – the architectural proposal becomes foremost a set of new, counter-narrative future possibilities for a marginalized industrial site; unfolding over time as a series of discrete, specific and sensitive spatial instruments. These devices, in stitching themselves into the tissues, temporalities, agents and exchanges already at play, become tools for narrative editing or re-composition; a series of ‘Knots’ enabling new celebratory frictions and forms for extant narrative threads.

Dialectic Observatory 1

Dialectic Observatory: Hope Bay Gold Mine Reimagined

The thesis project proposes an observatory. Through amplifying the movement of rocks to human perceivable timescale, changing the perception of space for its visitor. The observatory is imagined to translate the custom scientific apparatus that is used to detect ground movement in permafrost site, and translating them into an architectural kinetic experience. Located at Hope Bay Gold Mine, the project positioned itself at an existing raise tunnel at Doris Mine site, one of the three mining camps in Hope Bay. The goal is to provoke a shift of perspective and provide imagination in similar mine sites in in the area, and responds to the larger environmental issue of Canadian Arctic.

Regenerative Assemblage

This thesis examines the possibilities to bring back the lost beauty in the old technology of timber joinery in Asia by reinventing them with robotic fabrication methods and exploring its capacity to be a sustainable alternative for future architectural construction.

This project aims to suggest a new assembly system that upcycles timber material by joining recycled short elements by making multi-directional joints that allow for a longer span and greater height structures.

The thesis’s work is to set out an experiment of reusing abandoned timber pieces to regenerate a self-supportive column that turns into a roof structure.

Misused Architecture

Thesis Abstract

The thesis is dealing with the problem of Sanhe Masters/Legends (三和大神)within Shenzhen, an industrialized city and also a polarized city with numerous wealthy people, but at the same time a lot of destitute laborers who have no future and no way out.

The young laborers in Sanhe are falling into an endless loop that they keep finding temporary jobs, quit the job after one day or two, then quickly spend their wages and start searching for jobs again. Even though they have a destitute state of living and ridicule themselves a lot, they keep a high degree of self-esteem and self-respect. Sanhe Masters are desperate to find jobs only if the job is tidy and decent. Otherwise, they would rather stay hungry and wait.

To address this social problem, the project uses a series of amenities and fictitious facilities as a tool to highlight the issue. It does not need to be real. The thesis radicalizes, exaggerates, and fantasizes the scenarios where these Sanhe Masters (ف‮٢‬ْگ‮$‬j‮/+‬) occur to arouse awareness and catch public attention towards the social issue.

Hong Kong Tomorrow Vision

Thesis Abstract

The thesis criticizes the government’s proposal of building an artificial island at the eastern coast of Lantau Island as land reserve for housing supply and another core business district. The research analysis looks into current land distribution in Hong Kong, housing supply and demand, average living area and rent and housing development trend in order to reflect on the necessity of expanding the land territory into the ocean for additional land supply.

Comparing the current land use in Hong Kong and the zoning plan, 8.5% of the total landmass is unplanned while 24.3% is built up land and 40% is country park. It is estimated that there are about 1300 hectares of brownfields in the New Territories. Part of them have been included in the new development areas but there are still more than 700 hectares of brownfields not included in any development plans. On the other hand, comparing the number of domestic households and the number of residential flats in the current market, there is in fact a surplus of 200,000 flats. This indicates that land supply or housing supply is not the real issue that we should look at.

Inspired by Rem Koolhaas’s ‘Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan’, in which Coney Island is used to solve the problem of pleasure and becomes a testing ground for Manhattan, the thesis carefully evaluates stages in the evolution of Lantau Island and projects its future development in conjunction with Hong Kong in order to open the discussion between political and social ideology, architectural discourse and city development.

Fragmented Continuum

Thesis Abstract

My thesis is to revitalize the full length of a 20-kilometer old canal in Beijing as a new urban axis by introducing a series of small scale urban infrastructure as the “fragmented continuum” other than merely landscaping the whole canal bank or do large commercial development on selected spots.

Historically, the canal was essential in transporting commodities between counties and cities. The series of stopping points such as water locks and piers alongside it enhanced the prosperity of surrounding villages. But since the railway system became dominant, the canal was gradually forgotten and abandoned. However, since the setup of the new sub-center of Beijing, there is the urgency and potential to revitalize the old canal to activate the linear urban space between the two centers.

The main challenge is to tackle the extremely large scale and the universal context. My overall strategy is to overlay a regular frame system on the canal and pick one spot per kilometer. Then I compress all of them and compose a new collaged fictional site. After that, I propose a linear infrastructure on the fictional site, consist of two main types of program which are homogeneous exhibition space and local-specific community spaces. Once everything has been settled in the linear infrastructure, it will be divided into 20 pieces again and redistributed to the actual location. The canal itself would be activated as the stretched internal circulation and space of the proposed fragmented infrastructure. By doing so, the whole canal can be revitalized and act as the backbone of its surrounding linear urban space.

Minimal Paper

Thesis Abstract

The thesis is dedicated to the material on which this text is printed on – paper. Paper is associated with fragility and rigidity at the same time. Its dual properties contribute to its humanistic touch. Though uncommon, use of paper as a literal material in architecture is not novel. From the Japanese shoji which exhibits planarity and translucency of paper, to the innovative use of rolled or folded derivatives of paper (honeycomb, origami structures, Shigeru Ban’s paper tube systems), paper remains in its pre-defined form. The thesis goes one step backward to the paper pulp and embraces the versatility of its geometric potential. The technique of Molded Pulp Packaging is taken as a key reference for opening up more formal possibilities and bringing breakthroughs to the application of paper in architecture. Specifically, the thesis introduces the making of paper with minimal properties in various aspects through iterative designs of wood-and-fabric-based paper-making formwork and techniques.

Minimal materials / The comparatively isotropic properties of paper pulp and the self-bonding properties of cellulose fibers upon drying allows the fabrication of physical minimal surfaces which locally minimize the surface area bound by a given network of boundary curves. Papers in the form of minimal surfaces obtain rigidity through their anticlastic profiles. Undulation and corrugation of the edges and stress lines give further reinforcement. The geometric manipulation in both the global and local geometry gives strength and intactness to the fragile paper. Spatially, it offers thinness and doubly-curved surfaces.

Minimal connections / The monolithic and self-connecting properties of paper pulp allow minimal connections among numerous pre-fabricated paper modules. The artefacts can come seamless and jointless.

Minimal waste / The recyclable nature of paper and the abundance of wastepaper around us makes this material perfect for fabricating temporary space without creating much waste. Paper components can be easily reduced to pulp again and serve another architectural life. Formworks produced are also reusable. As a side note, all the pulp used in the thesis originates from locally-collected wastepaper.

Building with Pressure

Thesis Abstract

Casting a concrete slab with an inflatable formwork is essentially carving out excessive material from the bottom of the slab with air pressure. This idea of removing material resonates with Pier Nervi’s waffle slab, as well as Robert Maillard’s mushroom slab. This thesis, however, also extends beyond the structural and construction realm, and becomes a design tool which uses the ceiling to articulate the spaces below.

The design of the inflatable formwork was inspired by the technique of upholstery; a method to provide structure to a sheet of PVC by pinning it down to a checkered grid and applying air pressure. The grid is defined by the position of the columns, and the sheet of PVC provides the concrete with a form active structure. Because of the nature of the fabric like material, ribs are formed around the columns and capitals, behaving as a second layer of structural supports against buckling. With increasing height, pressure, and corrugation in the formwork, a Gothic imagery emerges and the slab has the potential to become a vault-like structure.

This thesis begins with a building method that is both material and cost efficient. And as it progresses a style emerges, it acts as a tool to help us rethink the ceiling as an architectural form, using its arrangement, depth and weight to convey the spaces beneath it.