Studio HK: Landscape Peripheries

This year’s second core MLA studio engaged the dynamic natural systems and contested territories along the coastal edge of Hong Kong Island. The studio’s origin was the Hong Kong Coastal Trail, a working proposal for restoring pedestrian and recreational trails to create a continuous path around the island. Students worked with this initiative as a catalyst for additional strategies and interventions that amplified the connective, regenerative, community-focused ambitions of the existing plans. Students worked through a series of exercises framed at different scales to develop their proposals. The fist exercise examined the variety of landscape systems and communities that are crossed by the proposed trail right of way. After detailed spatial and material documentations, students isolated a user and designed an interface that augmented, adapted, or modified that user’s exchanges with the site. In a second exercise, students focused on 6km section of the trail and used maps and sectional diagrams to illustrate the network of relationships, decisions, and agencies that underlay the coastal trail’s development and structure its potential within the larger urban and ecological territory. The final proposals included landscape-led interventions augmenting the original trail planning to conserve critical habitat or improve water retention; expand the possibilities for green or multi-functional civil infrastructure; or to support local communities through access, mobility, and revitalization projects.

Successionary Urbanism: Adaptive strategies for Coastal Communities in the Greater Bay Area

This advanced studio investigated the role that landscape design and planning will have in shaping the land-use, settlement, habitat, and infrastructure of the Pearl River Delta in the face of dynamic social, economic, and environmental change. In less than 50 years, a lightly-settled landscape of tidal marshes and mudflats, rivers and fields, has evolved into one of the world’s centers of manufacturing and trade. The Pearl River Delta is now the largest urban conglomeration in the world hosting a population of more than 70 million. Nevertheless, this region faces a host of environmental challenges, from predictable decreasing in habitat and environmental degradation, water-pollution, flooding and salt-water intrusion, to the unknown threats driven by global warming, such as more volatile weather patterns and rising sea-levels along with social, economic, and political instability. The studio considered the PRD as a region in flux. Following models of ecological succession, we took a time-and-process based approach to urban design and landscape planning. Patterns and processes, driven by internal parameters and triggered by external conditions determined the delta’s urbanization and land development. Working between the watershed-scale considerations of the region’s urban and ecological dynamics, and site-scaled considerations of land transformation and urban development, students proposed landscape-led strategies for improving the adaptivity and resiliency of this region for the next five decades.

Spatial Density

As a continuation of last semester, this studio will explore spatial and structural innovation through model making as a form of spatial research.  The work produced last semester is considered “collective research” and may be appropriated and critically reassessed by anyone in the studio. We will begin the semester by first looking at this “collective research as making” and use it as a spring board for projects throughout the semester. The studio will be divided into 3 parts, with 3 reviews.

The first part of the studio will work through a critical reassessment of last semester and production of new ideas. Any spatial technique, material, method may be used by anyone in the studio, which may or may not include the original maker. Exquisite corpse’s are possible from working with another student’s project, as are new experiments. This is done in part to integrate new students to the studio and part to critically reassess past work. The second part of the studio will respond to the first review and allow freedom for further experimentation before entering the third part of the studio and design development.

Emphasis will be on how density manifests internally and how the tall building relates to density externally and testing how new spatial/structural conditions can perform to those ends. The studio will work intensively in physical model form (sketch/concept/presentation). The models will eventually be sectional (in one or more axis) and can be photographed and collaged or drawn on top of where drawings help illustrate particular ideas. No renderings or computer generated images will be used, only physical models, photographic reproductions, and collage will be used where needed to describe an idea.

East Java Studio

Taking the concept of ‘Landscape as Framework’, this studio looked at how natural landscape systems can determine and order human settlement and activity (and in turn be determined by them), and how we might develop meaningful strategies and proposals to achieve and sustain a balance between the two.We took a broad north-south corridor of land (some 150 km long and 70km wide) on the Indonesian Island of Java as our initial study area. This vast territory encompasses a volcanic landscape rich in biodiversity, scenic beauty, agricultural productivity and mineral resource, but is also home to a culturally diverse community of some 10 million people, scattered across it in a complex ‘desakota’ system of urban sprawl. Drawing on current landscape planning and urbanism theory, students looked to understand and document this landscape, not just through its physical components, but though its systems, flows, assets (and liabilities), actors, patterns, trends, etc. From this they developed strategic framework proposals for the landscape.Core to this studio was the week-long study visit, centred on the former colonial hill town of Malang where we partnered with staff and students from U. Brawijaya. Excursions to the Mt Bromo volcano, the Lapindo mud volcano at Surabaya in the north, teak plantations, water management infrastructure and the resort beaches of the southern coast, and the rich agriculture of the upland Batu Valley, allowed us to interact with local communities, record (in drawings and video) the landscape and its people, and to develop our understanding of the territory and its landscape systems. From this students were able to identify specific issues and projects which became their final projects.

Reclaiming Central: the Negative Object and the Water-Front

Studio name: Architecture & Urban Design

FOCUS
Ecologies Sustainability Regeneration

WHERE
Study the Central Waterfront site as a whole to look for opportunities to invert city – harbour relationships. 

RESEARCH & PROPOSITIONS
This studio re-evaluates critically Hong Kong’s Central waterfront with the design of negative space as “object” while creating a series of new ecologies: terrestrial, marine, economic, and political and reclaim Central as a new form of public space for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Island’s waterfront has evolved gradually overtime, shrinking the harbour through successive reclamation efforts. While Central has been “re” claimed from the Harbour, and despite its proximity, one rarely experiences, sees, or meaningfully experiences the Harbour. In many ways, the water “front” is still at Central’s “back”. This studio aims to invert this relationship and bring the water “front” back to Central. Hong Kong’s Harbour can be more than an object to be looked at (from a safe distance), quickly crossed (ferries), or dumped into (storm water).

Nearly all major waterfront cities are addressing resiliency planning and sea level rise as an inevitable reality. Hong Kong is conspicuously absent from this global discussion when it could be advancing new ideas. Combined with the exploration of negative space, the studio studies other waterfront resiliency / sea level rise efforts (not to appropriate means and methods) but to invent new means of engagement with the harbour in light of cloudbursts, storm surges, and sea level rise. All studio work are phased toward this future (ie. +25-75 years from now).

The studio works with the School of Biological Sciences https://www.biosch.hku.hk/research/ecology-biodiversity/ and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) http://www.wwf.org.hk/en/, both of whom have been studying Hong Kong’s ecology and biodiversity while working to promote soft engineered shorelines at the Hong Kong harbour.

 

Urban Resilience

Participants:

The University of Hong Kong
Cecilia Chu, Landscape Architecture
Ashley Scott Kelly, Landscape Architecture
Michael Kokora, Architecture
Eric Schuldenfrei, Architecture
Ivan Valin, Landscape Architecture

University of California, Berkeley
Renee Chow, Architecture and Urban Design
Nicholas de Monchaux, Architecture and Urban Design
Kristina Hill, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
Elizabeth Macdonald, City and Regional Planning, LAEP, Urban Design
Daniel Rodriguez, City and Regional Planning

The University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design will collaborate with the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Architecture to form a multi-year research studio program to develop strategies for a more resilient resilient urban environment for Hong Kong and across the Greater Bay Area. Specifically, they will develop solutions to integrate the linked issues of transportation, ecologically-focused and pedestrian-driven planning of public and waterfront spaces, and sustainable management of water infrastructure and natural resources.

Through a comparative analysis of innovative strategies of the San Francisco Bay Area, cross-disciplinary teams in the faculties of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design will shape a vision to influence a clear policy for Hong Kong’s long-term sustainable growth.

This endeavor begins on May 10, 2018 from 3-6 p.m. with a CED Talk titled “CED Talk: Pacific Rim – Urban Resilience by Design,” raising questions about urban futures. All are welcome to join in 170 Wurster Hall.

Studio Yangon 2017: Dala, Landscape Strategies in a Tropical Urban Environment

ARCH7132 STUDIO YANGON 2017: DALA This course introduces students to the fundamental practices of landscape planning and site design in a dynamic urban context. Studio Yangon 2017 was the fourth iteration of the Landscape Division’s multi-year design and research undertaking focusing on Yangon, the commercial capital and largest city in Myanmar (Burma). This year, the studio looked outside the urban core to Dala Township located across Yangon River. Through a series of design and research exercises, the studio aimed to identify and enhance the potential for landscape systems to play an active role in the strategic development of this area and of the city as a whole. In this course, the second of three studios within the MLA design curriculum, students continued to develop an iterative working process that responds to feedback and criticism. Students expanded their capacity to work simultaneously in a range of scales and to consider landscape beyond form, as processes and performance. Through discussions and precedent analysis, the studio engages in a critical dialogue with contemporary practices of landscape architecture and planning, examining their claims through the lens of a unique urban situation. Ultimately, students were challenged to develop an appreciation for the complex economic, ecological, and social factors that underlie urban environments, and to translate ideas into space, organization, and strategy.

Studio Yangon 2016: Peripheral Ecologies

The course introduced students to the fundamental practices of landscape planning and site design in a dynamic urban context. Studio Yangon 2016 was the third iteration of the Landscape Division’s multi-year design and research undertaking focusing on Yangon, the commercial capital and largest city in Myanmar (Burma). This year, the studio looked outside the urban core and central waterfront to investigate the large swaths of development that lie at the periphery of the metropolitan area. Through a series of design and research exercises, the studio identified opportunities for landscape systems to play an active role in the strategic development of these areas and of the city as a whole. In this course, the second of three studios in the MLA design curriculum, students continue to develop an iterative working process that responds to feedback and criticism. Students expand their capacity to work simultaneously in a range of scales and to consider landscape beyond form as processes and performance. Through discussions and precedent analysis, the studio engages in a critical dialogue with contemporary practices of landscape architecture and planning, examining their claims through the lens of a unique urban situation. Keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the landscape architecture, students explore issues and concepts that lie outside of the traditional boundaries of the discipline. Ultimately, students are hoped to develop an appreciation for the complex economic, ecological, and social factors that underlie urban environments, and to translate ideas into space, organization, and strategy.

Natural Systems

This studio is a study of atmospheres, environmental effects, and biological reactions. It is an attempt to challenge the human centric view of intelligence and human competence in managing natural systems. Could we begin to speculate on what would happen, if as much as we tried to master our surroundings, we also let them master us? Can we even design them to do so? New circumstances are always on the horizon, a new flood, earthquake, tsunami, changing temperatures, rising sea levels. Rather than resisting change could we find new ways for buildings to embrace such change through material and tectonics? That is, rather than resisting or striving for something ‘neutral’ could we actually capture or redirect the unforeseen effects of time, climate, natural circumstance, even catastrophe in a meaningful way?

This studio explores new physical and technological types of interface that facilitate both passive and interactive relationships with physical phenomena and organisms. The studio operates on the border between art and science and explores the manifestations in enclosure and landscape. Projects in this studio projects seek new meanings in material, form (or formlessness), and physical effects through temporal relationships between natural and artificial means – actively reconsidering what we think we know as ‘natural’. Rather than aiming for something passive and ‘sustainable’ they consider the environment to be active and charged physically and phenomenally.

Michael Kokora
Assistant Professor

Deploy

Every year at least one major disaster affects a large metropolitan area. With continuous world population growth and the shift in population from rural to urban this trend is set to continue, affecting greater numbers of people in increasingly larger urban areas. Initial ‘temporary’ disaster responses quickly become camps, later these camps often become permanent cities reliant on the initial response, which is usually designed for a fraction of the population.

This studio was an attempt to advance design within disaster situations while exploring its potential for innovation and architectural entrepreneurship both for immediate crisis response and long term disaster planning. The studio began by researching responses to specific disasters both past and present (Haiti, Katrina, Sumatra, Fukushima, Tohoku). After the research phase three projects were designed at three different scales: an immediate survival DEVICE, a small scale SHELTER, and a large scale CAMP for 10,000 people. While each project could exist independently, the intent of the studio was to build upon each project as a conceptual site, each responding to innovations discovered in the previous project, creating a comprehensive response to DEPLOY for a potential crisis at the end of the studio.

The studio traveled to Tokyo and the Tohoku region of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Students met with architects responding to the disaster (Atelier Bow Wow, Kengo Kuma, Arata Isozaki, Yasutaka Yoshimura, and Makiko Tsukada) and worked with All Hands Volunteers providing disaster relief to the survivors of the tsunami.