Open Structures investigates architecture that has the capacity to operate as frames for a myriad of programs or activities: structures that may be have been conceived to fulfill a particular need or host a particular program, but that are nonetheless open in character and capable of assimilating undetermined futures or evolving contexts.
To that end, this studio offers a close examination of the trade of architecture focusing primarily on material experimentation and the design of construction processes, while developing an architecture of radically simplicity, chasing modesty and delight in working with the industry and the socioeconomic realities of a project.
Through an in-depth study of a particular trade, participants gain an understanding of the complexity involved in the realization of a simple work of architecture. Studying a selection of materials commonly used in the local building industry, their physical and chemical properties and how raw matter is extracted, transformed and assembled, the studio reflects on its inherent formal and aesthetic qualities.
The studio observes the construction site as a laboratory of scientific management; a place of highly organized labor, fast paced production and diverse social capital, asking participants to conceive of architecture as a dynamic process. Thus, instead of thinking of architecture as a static object, we address architecture’s capacity for reproduction and discuss the conception of an architectural work as multiple acts of synthesis and manufacture: building as structure and assembly— building as a verb.
The second semester, deals with the cultural and literary dimensions of the program through a parallel study of selected texts, films and surveys, addressing issues relating to context, division of labor, building ethics and the politics of the construction site.
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.
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.