Saturday Afternoon

In Laurence Stephen Lowry´s painting “Saturday Afternoon” (1941) from Pendlebury, Lancashire we see the looming presence of the factory amidst the festive leisure of a sporting event on a Saturday afternoon. The image is haunting, and has for the better half of the 20th Century been the antithesis of an ideal relationship between industry and the city. Yet, industrial architecture has served as inspiration for architects since the beginning of modernity, it has always to some extent been regarded as ‘incomplete’; its building elements only becoming high-art when applied elsewhere.

Hong Kong has a significant industrial and manufacturing history dating back to the 19th Century. But since the 1970-80´s the industries moved out of the city and was largely replaced by the financial services. There is now an explicit goal to re-industrialize Hong Kong in order to diversify the economy and take part in a growing technology sector. At the same time the perception of industry in the city is changing as we are seeing clean technology companies moving into the center of cities in order to attract staff and encourage synergy effects of being around universities, research centers and commercial enterprises. Thus, today´s factory is perhaps also gallery, a club, a school, a research center, think tank, far removed from the dusty, polluted ancestor.

The studio aims to place industrial architecture in the centre with the ambition to use architecture as a critical tool to conceive of spaces for a new kind of interaction between industry and the city. In this pursuit we work from within the discipline of architecture, employing drawing, models and text as the primary tools.