The thesis is dealing with the problem of Sanhe Masters/Legends （三和大神）within Shenzhen, an industrialized city and also a polarized city with numerous wealthy people, but at the same time a lot of destitute laborers who have no future and no way out.
The young laborers in Sanhe are falling into an endless loop that they keep finding temporary jobs, quit the job after one day or two, then quickly spend their wages and start searching for jobs again. Even though they have a destitute state of living and ridicule themselves a lot, they keep a high degree of self-esteem and self-respect. Sanhe Masters are desperate to find jobs only if the job is tidy and decent. Otherwise, they would rather stay hungry and wait.
To address this social problem, the project uses a series of amenities and fictitious facilities as a tool to highlight the issue. It does not need to be real. The thesis radicalizes, exaggerates, and fantasizes the scenarios where these Sanhe Masters (ف٢ْگ$j/+) occur to arouse awareness and catch public attention towards the social issue.
The thesis criticizes the government’s proposal of building an artificial island at the eastern coast of Lantau Island as land reserve for housing supply and another core business district. The research analysis looks into current land distribution in Hong Kong, housing supply and demand, average living area and rent and housing development trend in order to reflect on the necessity of expanding the land territory into the ocean for additional land supply.
Comparing the current land use in Hong Kong and the zoning plan, 8.5% of the total landmass is unplanned while 24.3% is built up land and 40% is country park. It is estimated that there are about 1300 hectares of brownfields in the New Territories. Part of them have been included in the new development areas but there are still more than 700 hectares of brownfields not included in any development plans. On the other hand, comparing the number of domestic households and the number of residential flats in the current market, there is in fact a surplus of 200,000 flats. This indicates that land supply or housing supply is not the real issue that we should look at.
Inspired by Rem Koolhaas’s ‘Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan’, in which Coney Island is used to solve the problem of pleasure and becomes a testing ground for Manhattan, the thesis carefully evaluates stages in the evolution of Lantau Island and projects its future development in conjunction with Hong Kong in order to open the discussion between political and social ideology, architectural discourse and city development.
The thesis resists the top-down planning and data control from the Central Government at the Greater Bay Area. The project is designing a moving vessel that contains a parliament and a data center based at the international waters.
Politically, China has assigned the 11 cities at the Area each with a specific role without the consensus of its local citizens. Economically, China is using the data collected from its citizens as an instrument for surveillance, and control.
Instead of seeing the Area as 11 cities, the vision of the thesis is to see the Area as 131 individual districts. Each district will elect representatives to join the parliament at the vessel according to the proportion of population. This is to ensure an equal say between districts.
The vessel constantly travels around the Area, collects data through cables, and retreats back to the international waters. Data collected will be shared at the parliament as a reference for making democratic decisions for the Area.
The floating vessel would be a heterotopic space as discussed by Michel Foucault. It would be a new site for law making and a site that resists data dictatorship. It would be a self-contained city, referencing Le Corbusier’s Ocean Liner and Unité d’habitation.
The Tower of Blah attempts to reveal (or expose) through infographics, rather than design, the particulars of Hong Kong and its relationship to Towers. Its status as the city with most towers requires close inspection, for this condition need not mean richest, densest or most livable. How then, does Hong Kong compare to other territories, other incomes, and other areas? Are towers, as evident in this exhibition, to be perceived as opportunities to showcase prowess (of all sorts), or should they be seen as telling symptoms of the state of the economies, territories and societies that harbour them?