Platform: Ecology, Regeneration, and Sustainability
Agencies involved in the field of architecture and the city, often use terms borrowed from science, to understand and communicate relationships of architecture and the environment. Ecology is one such term. The city can be seen as a physically built environment, or a permanent human settlement in which people live together. Architecture forms a part of this environment but is also a product of it and of the society it is situated within; influenced by social, cultural, and often political forces. In this context, regeneration can be seen as the process by which architecture adapts and readapts to changes in society and the physical environment; and sustainability as an evaluation of the performance and productivity of architecture within its environment – the city and its people. This studio looks in detail at a particular site in the city to investigate ideas of ecology, regeneration and sustainability within the context of the Central Harbourfront of Hong Kong.
Studio: Observing (Site), Imagining (Programme), Contextualizing (Reference), Experimenting (Prototyping), Discussing and Negotiating (Evaluation)
With the rebuilding of Central Hong Kong, the ecology of the city is undergoing tremendous change. The Central master plan suggests a tabula rasa approach in which the existing waterfront and the Victoria Harbour will be replaced. This Studio takes another look at the potential of the architecture that currently exists, in particular that of the Star Ferry Pier Car park. The Studio will pay particular attention to the ecology of this built architecture and its relationship to the city and its people.
In the context of ideas of regeneration the Studio will develop programme ideas that could alter this found ecology. The car park will be used as a testing ground to reimagine what this open structure could become and how we, as citizens or students within the city, would like to use it as an element of the waterfront.We will investigate this piece of architecture as a means of testing ideas to re-generate this part of the city, and its use of architecture.
Issues of sustainability will be interrogated through discussions held throughout the semester. We will investigate the consequences our ideas could carry, and how these ideas and consequences could evolve over time.
Tools and Method: Drawing as a Means of Observing, Thinking,
Discussing and Communicating
Drawings are tools to communicate and to visualize ideas, but they are also a means for learning, and driving or evolving a thinking process. Within the Studio we will use drawing not just as a still but as a tool to allows us to diverge our thinking; discuss ideas and findings; and communicate this process, not only between ourselves but also to others.
The Studio will start by observing the place of the ferry car park with scaled architectural drawings. These drawings will be aimed at investigating and highlighting relationships of architecture to the city in different scales, paper sizes and types of drawings: Artificial and Natural, Material and Social, Built and Experienced.
Building towards an optimistic scenario that allows us to speculate about uses for this site; the Studio will then experiment with responsive drawings to drive and discuss narratives for a possible future for the Star Ferry Car Park. Interviews with potential agencies for the site will support the development of those imaginations. (examples could include events such as the Clockenflap Festival; institutions such as City Hall with its wedding events; or other such inhabitations).
Reading week will be an opportunity for individual study of past and contemporary architecture practices that have dealt with regeneration in the field of architecture. The discourse of those practices will be documented and discussed with words and diagrams within one drawing. Each student will take on the standpoint of a particular practice and argue through their position, with the other students representing the views of different practices.
(Discussing Amongst Others: Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood (Fun Palace),
Diller and Scorfido (Highline), Interboro (Holding Pattern), Raumlabor (Haus der Statistik/ The Osthang Project), Chora (Tempelhof) etc.)
The studio, both as a collective and as individual members, would by the end of reading week, have invested time in understanding the place, the architecture of the carpark, and the programme potential of the site, and will be ready to enter a phase of negotiating the design idea through the knowledge collected. They will negotiate regeneration as a communication process through several implementations on site. Rather than thinking through a linear design process the attitude will be to think in multiple scales, and options, or view points to again discuss and communicate the design idea via different modes of model making.
Discussions held within the studio, as well as thoughts should be processed and captured within a journal by each student.
 See: City Definition, Wikipedia