Landscape Media 1

Robin Evans once claimed that architects don’t make buildings but representations of it. This course aimed to critically introduce and explore the media of landscape and representation skills like drawing and fabrication. We do not simply treat drawing forms as the media of landscape imagination, but carefully examine the media of landscape, the media of drawing, and the intervals between them. The drawing in landscape architecture, as James Corner described, can be “a plot, necessarily strategic, maplike, and acted upon in essence.” We think of drawing landscape as a process which let us to experience and express what we see and conceive, and moreover, to speculate and construct in the physical space. The course focused on forms of drawing as an essential set of techniques for documenting, analyzing, and generating ideas. We introduced a series of techniques weekly based on the categorized media of drawing and fabrication, to communicate the media of landscape. The course works required engagement with drawing grammar (perspective, orthographic projection), denotative interpretation (notation, diagram), material expression (collage, mapping), and narrative construction (montage, animation). Particular attention was paid to understanding the complex mechanism in the dynamic, projective, and dialectical constructed network of design, media, and imagination.

In Between the Collective and the Individual: Co-designing with Multiple Communities in Shek Kip Mei

The fourth BA(LS) design studio intends to introduce students to the core concepts of community design through research, dialogue, and design production. As an introduction to community design methods, the design process emphasizes the necessity to understand the complex and dynamic nature of communities; the development of empathy and trust; the application of appropriate tools and sensitive approaches to design together with the stakeholders and create designs that cater to the different needs of the many different parties involved; and finally, the consideration of programme and the different types of boundaries and gradual transitions between varying degrees of publicness among different community spaces. The principles of community design will be applied to the Shek Kip Mei area, which is the first public housing neighbourhood in Hong Kong. Over the years, the Shek Kip Mei Estate has been redeveloped several times since its first appearance as resettlement housing as an aftermath of the 1953 Shek Kip Mei fire. The study area of this studio covers the larger Shek Kip Mei area roughly defined by Tai Po Road, Cornwall Street, Nam Shan Estate, and the Tai Hang Tung Estate (refer to Studio Map). The area is defined by two hills, a general topography that slopes up towards the northern direction and characterised by a predominantly public housing landscape that is situated between the private developments of Shamshuipo and Kowloon Tong.

Landscape Media 1

This course introduced and explored the media of landscape and representation skills. It did not simply treat drawing forms as the medium of landscape imagination, but carefully examined the medium of landscape drawing and the intervals that exist between it and the landscape itself. Drawing in landscape architecture can be ‘a plot, necessarily strategic, maplike, and acted upon in essence’ (James Corner). In the course, drawing was thought of as a process that leads us to experience and express what we see and conceive, and to speculate and construct in physical space. The course focused on non-digital forms of drafting as an essential set of techniques for documenting, analyzing, and generating ideas. A series of techniques were introduced on a weekly basis, categorized in drawing and fabrication (projection, notation and representation), and communication of landscape media (spatiality, temporality and experience). The works required engagement with drawing grammar (perspective, orthographic projection), denotative interpretation (notation, diagram), material expression (physical model, collage, mapping), and narrative construction (montage, animation). Particular attention was paid to understanding the complex mechanism in the dynamic, projective, and dialectically constructed network of design, media, and imagination. Assignments aimed to familiarize students with new graphics skills that they obtained from the lectures. Three assignment projects were built one upon another to form a learning process that required students to develop their own methodologies for communication and design.

Domestic Landscapes: Foreign Migrant Workers and the Production of Public Space

This studio examined the relationship between people and the built environment in the city, with a focus on an often overseen community: foreign domestic workers. Foreign domestic workers, mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia but also from other countries in Southeast Asia, account for a labor force that, according to the law and unlike any other group of migrant workers, must live-in with their employers. Propelled by this condition, domestic workers flee the confines of their employers’ homes on Sundays and occupy large portions of Hong Kong public space to socialize and attend to personal matters. The studio relied on ethnographic fieldwork as a way to complement the production of spatial mappings. The examination of domestic workers as peripheral communities and the surrounding competing narratives allowed the students to ask questions about the centers of power and in this way explore notions of migration, ethnicity, class, gender, and domesticity projected onto Hong Kong’s public space. Through a series of exercises, students learnt to identify, analyze, and document the key dimensions and functions of the urban public realm; to build a vocabulary that communicates an externally- informed process; and to propose appropriate forms and conditions of intervention.

Landscape Media 1

Robin Evans once claimed that architects don’t make buildings but representations of it. This course aims to critically introduce and explore the media of landscape and representation skills like drawing and fabrication. We don’t simply treat drawing forms as the media of landscape imagination, but carefully examine the media of landscape, the media of drawing, and the intervals between them. The drawing in landscape architecture, as James Corner described, can be “a plot, necessarily strategic, maplike, and acted upon in essence.” We think of drawing landscape as a process which let us to experience and express what we see and conceive, and moreover, to speculate and construct in the physical space. The course focused entirely on non-digital forms of drafting as an essential set of techniques for documenting, analyzing, and generating ideas. We The course introduced a series of techniques weekly based on the categorized media of drawing and fabrication (projection, notation, and representation), to communicate the media of landscape (spatiality, temporality, and experience). The course works required engagement with drawing grammar (perspective, orthographic projection), denotative interpretation (notation, diagram), material expression (physical model, collage, mapping), and narrative construction (montage, animation). Particular attention was paid to understanding the complex mechanism in the dynamic, projective, and dialectical constructed network of design, media, and imagination.

Home away from Home: Foreign Domestic Workers, Public Space and the Negotiation of the Commons

The contemporary morphology of urban Hong Kong is the result of rapid population growth, land scarcity, diverse cultural identities, and social, political and economic determinism. Its unique and ever-evolving urban forms are imprinted with the history of more than 150 years of piecemeal aggregation through reclamation, development, and renewal. To work in this urban context, designers must develop a keen understanding of, and ability to engage with, its complexities and multi-layered conditions. The studio examined the relationship between people and the built environment in the city. Although a variety of communities in different contexts and locations use public spaces in Hong Kong, this studio focused on an often overseen community: foreign domestic workers and their use of public space. Domestic workers flee the confines of their employers’ homes on Sundays and occupy large portions of Hong Kong public space to socialize and attend to personal matters. Over time, foreign domestic workers filling central locations of Hong Kong have become a well-accepted part of the urban landscape. Yet, despite the massive presence of domestic workers in these spaces, landscape designers of these areas have often neglected to engage with this community. This studio relies on ethnographic fieldwork as a way to complement the production of spatial mappings, and demonstrate how the different stakeholders inform an urban political economy that is not reflected in official reports. Through a series of exercises, students learned to identify, analyze, and document the key dimensions and functions of the urban public realm; build a vocabulary that communicates an externally-informed process; and propose appropriate forms and conditions of intervention.

Mapping Sponge Cities in the Pearl River Delta

Course code: 4715/7343

Course Title: Mapping Sponge Cities in the Pearl River Delta

Following the deadly Beijing Floods in 2012, discussions in urban planning and design shifted to alternative solutions for urban flood management in existing cities, especially in the context of increased storm patterns due to climate change. President Xi Jinping announced a new urban concept—the Sponge City—at the 2013 Central Working Conference of Urbanization (中央城鎮化工作會議) that changes the current instinct to move rainwater immediately from the cities through pipes and drains, to creating spaces that absorb rain like a sponge to lessen urban floods downstream. In 2016, thirty pilot cities received significant central funding to retrofit their drainage infrastructure through this new program.

This course follows the Sponge City Movement in the Pearl River Delta and understands landscape as a receptacle where socio-political processes and technological experiments of watershed governance are physically inscribed in the spaces and materiality of the city. Following an introduction in Hong Kong regarding the theoretical and technical aspects of landscape infrastructure, students will visit pilot Sponge City projects in Shenzhen and Guangzhou to study how the implementation of this alternative form of infrastructure impacts everyday urban life.

Projects include:

  • The Fragmentation of Sponge City Planning
  • The Study of Nanshan District Land Use and Sponge Design System
  • Impact Assessment of Sponge City Urban Renewal
  • Design for “Sponge-city”