On Leisure was a two-part investigation on the state of non-work in Hong Kong

Part 1: A reading of current popular leisure offerings. 

In teams, each representing an age group, work began with the collection of vast information troves. These included censuses, polls, blogs and publications academic and popular. Speculations on the user groups – spending powers, working hours, social norms and bodily needs – were then extrapolated, and relevant leisure activities identified and justified. Part-1 culminated in the documentation of the environments facilitating these activities. 12 large-scale drawings depicting 12 popular penchants reflect the state of leisure in a city better known for its production frenzy – revealing architecture as means to escape density, define caste systems, copulate on a budget, topple political powers, even the pursuit of eternal life (surprisingly, found in a basement)…

Part 2: Reimagining the architecture of leisure.

Building upon knowledge from Part-1, the design portion was sited on the existing Sheung Wan Civic Centre. Students had the option to replace or preserve existing building form, as well as its functional programs. Proposals ranging from compact leisure “machines” to urban voids testify to the variety still possible beyond the technocratic approach from which current civic centres are designed.

For a city obsessed with efficiency, On Leisure brings to the foreground a discussion on Hong Kong’s culture of idleness.

Future Heritage

The terms heritage and preservation officially entered the architectural discourse only in 1931 with the First International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments. In the second half of the 20th century the notion of heritage generates a growing attention and becomes of public interest. A worldwide shared set of values for preservation are defined: monolithic universal principles progressively expanded from Western Europe to the rest of the world.  There’s a well-known contradiction in the Preservation discipline: our interpretation of the past is inevitably filtered by present set of values and therefore is relative.

History transforms an object into a monument and establish its incorruptibility. The incorruptible monument is opposed to the corruptibility of present objects. What if we liberate the term heritage from its historical meaning? What if we associate the term heritage to the present urban culture? The studio worked around the idea of heritage as complex of physical spaces and uses, defining the urban culture of a city. The studio aimed to define the identity of Hong Kong with a bottom up approach starting from the existing; recognizing, naming and mapping systems that form the space of Hong Kong and, at the same time, originate its collective imagery.