Department: Architecture
Research Assistants: BM Tang, Shirley Woo
Project Sponsor: Speed Top (HK) LTD

Hong Kong Single Occupancy Strip

Hong Kong’s political system, geography and population density make it one of the most crowded urban environments in the world.  Skyrocketing real estate prices fed by profit driven developers and a deluge of investment and speculation from the Chinese mainland have made it increasingly hard for individuals in Hong Kong to afford an apartment.  In reaction to the increasing cost and shrinking size of Hong Kong housing units, the HK:SOS proposal presents a critique of contemporary development in the form of a super thin housing unit.  The project explores the challenges and limitations of living in minimally sized spaces by producing a linear apartment for a single individual.  By packing life’s quotidian activities into an impossibly thin strip, the project pushes the design of a domestic environment to a spatial extreme.

The project was initially investigated by “unfolding” a typical high-rise, Hong Kong apartment building into a linear array of rooms along the façade of the building.  In the project, axonometric drawings and physical models were constructed to test the idea of a long, linear building.  Bay windows, laundry racks and air conditioner platforms project from the exterior while furniture, room partitions and spaces for living project inward.  The result is a thickened strip of exterior and interior space that the project uses as a conceptual platform for design.

In the HK:SOS project, spaces for living, dining, cooking, bathing and sleeping are strung out in a linear array of micro-rooms.  Domestic activities are pushed into projecting window volumes that position the occupant precariously between a residential interior and the city outside.  The various rooms of the apartment unit are designed to be pre-manufactured out of concrete for exterior surfaces and thermo-formable, DuPont™ Corian® for interior surfaces.  Window units are sized and oriented in response to each domestic activity and are angled and inflected inwards and outwards to adjust for privacy or views.  Room types can be sequenced differently on each floor according to the desires of the occupants.  Units are stacked on top of each other to create a building that could be attached to the blank walls of industrial or commercial buildings to take advantage of highly valuable, underutilized space in the city.

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