Ideas for the Village: Rethinking Village House typologies in Hong Kong

When it comes to housing, Hong Kong is known for its high-rise buildings. Yet, there is a small percentage of housing that is dedicated to another much smaller typology: The village house in the New Territories. This typology is mainly defined by two major parameters. Height and footprint. The results of these simple rules are conventional 2100 sq ft boxes that in most cases are constructed with reinforced concrete and finished with generic ceramic façade tiles.

The site of the studio was situated in Yuen Long Shing Uk Tsuen in the New Territories, where the village is currently planning to build 32 houses in one go. The studio took on the site and the program as a testing ground to generate a set of counter proposals to the generic approach of village housing and to speculate on alternative solutions for the proposed masterplan aiming towards different solutions for the environment and the dwellers.

The typology of the house has been always a testing ground for architects to experiment with new ideological, spatial and material ideas. In Hong Kong architecture is to a large extend shaped by the building code and the desire for space maximization, two parameters that can go against the development of ideas. The studio tried to work with these constraints, while experimenting with different material systems and unconventional spatial organizations in order to develop new ideas for this typology.

UNITfusion

Under rapid housing developments in the past years, Hong Kong has benefited much in terms of economy. However, important values such as values in sense of community and individual identity were lost. This thesis hereby critically reviews current and past housing projects in Hong Kong and states the notion of verticality as the only solution. The ambition is a new alternative high-rise residential typology, in which its inhabitants are given unique units and allocations in accordance to a specific zoning strategy within a tower structure, thus creating a phenomenal living experience through bonding and acquiring needs by each and every single individual. It is a re-interpretation of the balance between genericity and specificity aiming at formulating an extraordinary democratic living concept.