The Delivery City

Thesis Abstract

The thesis seeks to explore the value of airspace through architectural interventions based on the future drone delivery system in an urban context.

The development of e-commerce causes heavy load on the delivery system, which mainly relies on lorry and manpower to fulfill the online shopping orders. In the coming decades, pilotless technology could take over the delivery works and become the urban infrastructure to connect households in a timeless way. To facilitate the drone navigation, the design of architecture should respond to the technological advancement by creating a relationship between architecture and airspace. The project is going to design an Air Delivery Centre in Kwun Tong that provides functions such as sorting, packing and storage of goods and droneport. Different from the traditional warehouses, the Air Delivery Centre would focus on vertical footprint to provide sufficient airspace for the drone circulation. The design is going to define the airspace as internal and external which would be shaped by architecture to enable the logistics of air delivery. Subsequently, the design makes use of the unmanned aerial vehicle to explore the new architectural typologies.

The Parliament of The Greater Bay Area Union

Thesis Abstract

The thesis resists the top-down planning and data control from the Central Government at the Greater Bay Area. The project is designing a moving vessel that contains a parliament and a data center based at the international waters.

Politically, China has assigned the 11 cities at the Area each with a specific role without the consensus of its local citizens. Economically, China is using the data collected from its citizens as an instrument for surveillance, and control.

Instead of seeing the Area as 11 cities, the vision of the thesis is to see the Area as 131 individual districts. Each district will elect representatives to join the parliament at the vessel according to the proportion of population. This is to ensure an equal say between districts.

The vessel constantly travels around the Area, collects data through cables, and retreats back to the international waters. Data collected will be shared at the parliament as a reference for making democratic decisions for the Area.

The floating vessel would be a heterotopic space as discussed by Michel Foucault. It would be a new site for law making and a site that resists data dictatorship. It would be a self-contained city, referencing Le Corbusier’s Ocean Liner and Unité d’habitation.

Blade Runner

Thesis Abstract

Blade Runner (1982) and its sequel Blade Runner 2049 (released in 2017) are set in a dystopian future where humans live in a high-tech but low-life environment with synthetic humans called replicants as their slaves. The film was regarded as one of the best science fiction films for speculating a retrofit future. Similarly, architects always concern with contemporary issues and project a future. The thesis explores the potential of a film serving as a site of analysis and speculation for an architectural proposition. If both film and site can become a territory subject, what are the implications of relying on a fictitious territory as a generator for the design of spaces?

Based on the film context, the analysis focuses on the timeline, storyboarding and scenes where the story plays out and then a missing scene is identified as the potential of an expanded story. The design is to construct a narrative with a greater scope than real projects. It is a design of the universe, a speculative reality with urbanism, architecture, interiority along with characters all serve as components of the narrative.

Island Defender

Thesis Abstract

A proposal for the protection of desert islands, and learning to coexist with Hong Kong’s unique landscape, 263 islands that make up the city. These fragile, unprotected islands are seemingly fallen of the face of the Earth. Stonecutters Island, Harbour Island, Junk Island, Pillar Island, Mouse Island… Reclamation killed them off one by one.

This thesis is a critique of the existing environmental policy of protecting these ‘Geographical Heritage’, against which an eco-border is set up to perform multiple functions, a Cultivation Border, an Island Archive and a Reclamation Guideline.

Taking the shelter for cultivating shellfish at the border’s structure across a fictional timeline, it eventually forms an ecological enclave in the middle of the sea, which also serves as a filter to purify the polluted seawater for the protected buffer. Throughout the life cycle, shells can be collected, and lime can be extracted as the building material for urban development.

This work recalls the role of architecture as a defender, to defend the island against human activities, and it also suggests alternative act for architecture in the Anthropocene, which teach us how to develop in relation to our environment while transforming the earth’s land.

In The Universe of Small

Thesis Abstract

“For our house is our corner of the world… our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word. If we look at it intimately, the humblest dwelling has beauty.”

Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard 1958

‘In the Universe of Small’ seeks to reconsider the overtly utilitarian and automatic thinking of multi-residential design. Specifically, it responds to a new housing typology emerging in Hong Kong where apartments are approximately the size of a standard carpark space. Despite its physical constraint, they continue to act as miniature houses, containing a private bathroom, kitchen, living and outdoor area. The thesis questions this current practice of repetitive individualisation and aspires to liberate architecture from the functional stacking of units. Three canonical houses are chosen and then interpreted through writing, iterative drawings and physical models. This methodology allows for a theoretical ground to produce a cross dialogue between the chosen projects and the micro domestic condition of today. While discovering architectural strategies for unravelling the universe of the small, the project simultaneously evaluates the challenge for a new notion of unit in the city.

House Rules

Thesis Abstract

The thesis attempted to challenge the homogeneity of public housing by proposing a ‘rule-based design method’, within which inhabitants are given the autonomy to extend their living envelopes under the control of the architect. Compared to the ‘catalogue’ method, which provided inhabitants with only a handful of options by the architect, the ‘rule-set’ enables great range of possibilities within the defined spectrum.

Under this system, the role of the architect is changed, apart from designing the static hardware-infrastructure, including sky gardens, lift core and prefabricated shell units with different values, he also has to create a rule set, that is a software-infrastructure that governs further dynamic alterations by the inhabitants.

Apart from existing planning regulations, the rule set should also include stylistic rules from architect’s subjectivity, which brings coherence to the building’s outlook amidst the complexity.

The effect of the ruleset on the overall building massing and façade is simulated by both computational and manual means in this thesis project.

With parametric tools, encoded rules were able to be applied in vast quantity, creating a rough overall image of the building created by the ruleset. 

On the other hand, plans are manually drawn, acting as a qualitative means to apply the rule set from perspective of the inhabitant at a greater resolution.

The Drawing Games

Thesis Abstract

The project questions representations that focus on the physicality of matter, and introduces a representation that sees architecture in new spectacles. Exploring how drawings capture architecture that  is invisible to the eye, through the lens of sports. And further on how the drawn lines connect things, and allow that to become a basis of the author’s thinking, questioning and proposition.

The project aims to bring in discussions of architecture’s strength as an intellectual act instead of a built object. How drawings work as a methodology instead of an artefact. Where drawing as the translation of the our thinking, is itself architecture in action.

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Prison + Mall Hybrid?

Thesis Abstract

History has shown that the conflicting relationship between Hong Kong and China as the product of accumulated failures, defective communication and interpretative differences. The social movement since June 2019 acted as a trigger for series of protests and violence, and got citizens into the active debates about the future of the city. Challenging the status quo through acts of design and capitalizing upon architecture’s powers of anticipation to imagine something new, this thesis proposes to create a prison and mall hybrid, which responds to issues of high demand of imprisonment and the increasing retail activities near Hong Kong/Shenzhen boarder. The hybrid places prisoners and mainland shoppers side by side, providing spaces for both parties to meet and interact, expressing views in a secured way, both as surveyor and spectator to each other.

The contradictions and complexities nurtured in this thesis reflect the collective struggles of our time, unprecedented and provocative, radical yet contemporary. The hybrid intervention explores ideas of physical separation versus emotional connections, boundaries, surveillance, and various levels of behaviour control. The research re-assesses prison and mall separately, before combining them to explore the potential of housing both typologies within it. Seeking hybridization through fixed and interchangeable spaces, the modular system allows spaces to unfold naturally, anticipating how prison and mall eventually morph into each other over time. This speculative proposal questions the uncertainties of our time, the anticipation of changes before 2047, and the spatial and emotional connections among different people.

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Add-on Housing: Alternative Redevelopment Model for Hong Kong

Thesis Abstract

In face of the decaying urban fabric of Hong Kong, the current pace of redevelopment under the existing model is far from efficient. At the same time, the issue of Housing shortage of our time in Hong Kong is unprecedented. With shrinking living spaces and monopolized markets, middle-class and grass root residents have little to no influence on the market.

Instead of purchasing the properties of existing buildings, which is an expensive and lengthy process, the development potential of the space above existing buildings are acquired. New developments with structural steel as main structures are erected on top of the existing building while minimizing the disturbance of the current structure and inhabitants.

At the same time, the proliferation of homogenous new housing developments featuring podium-tower approach, and glass curtain walls prohibits residents of any chance of customization and expansion, which otherwise is enjoyed and celebrated in many tenements buildings of Hong  Kong. In James Wine’s High Rise of Homes, the theoretical project was re-envisioning the possibility of high density living with individual character of a house. The thesis attempts to re-interpret such thinking by using timber structures as unit in-fill, which allows unit mutation and varying facade choices according to the tenement’s needs.

By making use of lightweight hybrid structure of steel and carbon-sequestrating construction materials of timber, the thesis seeks to explore the potential of proposing an alternate housing redevelopment model led by architects and aims to offer more reasonable options for homeowners and tenants.

Fibrous Dimensions | Robotically Woven Structures

This thesis focused on the possibilities of carbon fiber as a structural element. It aimed at reducing the potential hazard brought by the deficient structures after earthquakes by capitalizing on the lightweight and fibrous nature of carbon fiber.

The thesis departed from the fibrous system as an enclosure in the four architectural elements suggested by Gottfried Semper in 1851. By understanding the limitations of the interwoven network of fibrous materials, this investigation was to challenge it to be a structural medium than merely a building envelope.

Carbon fiber has been commonly used in the automobile and aircraft industries since the 1980s, but rarely used in architectural construction due to the cost and scale. With the aid of digital simulation and robotic fabrication, the thesis investigated the articulation of carbon fiber to achieve higher structural stability for architecture.

The investigation of carbon fiber as a structural element consisted of several stages. It began with the testing of the thread pattern in both digital and handcrafted ways, followed by the prototyping of the looms as the medium of the woven structure. Lastly, analog and robotic fabrication were implemented as the method of achieving the high weight-to-strength thread structure.