MArch Studio 2013-14 (ARCH 5001) – de Bretteville

This studio addressed three contemporary issues, innovative research, advanced fabrication and global climate change in the context of Hong Kong. Contemporary research accelerated by advanced computing has resulted in unique strategies of research and development. In response to this, alternative physical arrangements have emerged which provide for the extremes of creative work, from individual exploration and to more collaborative associations requiring freewheeling, open plan, loft like spaces much like architectural studios. Computing, 3D printing and robotics all play an important role in these investigations and are a stimulus to advanced fabrication relating to architecture. The building type that emerges provides individual study areas, common open plan areas for teams and random, even accidental collaborations as well as resources such as a computing center, a library, a fabrication lab and a materials warehouse.

The first several weeks of the semester were devoted to the investigation and development of the program leading to the establishment of an ideal organizational strategy. After the review of those prototypes, three sites were presented from which each student selected one against which to test and adapt their ideal model. The dense urban site in Yau Ma Tei suggested expansions of common space and had some infrastructure issues. The Victoria Harbour site suggested and expansion of the public components. The extreme slope of Shek O Qarry site called radical sectional adjustments and suggested linkages between mountain trails and the waterfront. These unique constraints and opportunities caused additions to the program and required significant physical rearrangements that were to be addressed without compromising the previously developed model.

Driven both by each of their own unique interests as well as by the context, the student proposals are extraordinarily diverse. So there is a tangible dialogue between the position of the authors and the place their buildings occupy.