Hong Kong is a high-density city, the unique urban landscape of which is formed by many high-rise developments. Recently, some tower models of imitated skyscrapers have been installed along Edinburgh Place. I bet they have commanded your attention when you walk past the Central waterfront. Following the success of the 16th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition – Hong Kong Exhibition last year, the models shown at the exhibition have been brought back to different places in Hong Kong for a Response Exhibition. Featuring 116 tower models, the curatorial team showcases Hong Kong’s high-density architecture and explores the potential of design and planning for diversity within spatial constraints. Here, I have invited the chief curator of the exhibition and a Senior Town Planner of the Planning Department (PlanD) to share with us the characteristics of the exhibition.
Showcasing Hong Kong’s high-density urban form
Professor WANG Weijen, the chief curator of the exhibition who is also a professor of the Department of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong, says that the Response Exhibition, with the theme of “Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape”, is a continuation of the 16th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition - Hong Kong Exhibition. Hong Kong’s architectural aesthetic of density, as well as the city’s unique and compact urban form are illustrated with the tower models.
As told by Professor WANG, a total of 89 teams of local, Mainland, Taiwan and international architects, including those from Thailand, Brazil, the Netherlands, Japan, USA, Spain and Switzerland, are invited to make statements on the design of tower models typical of Hong Kong’s vertical architecture with three types of tower model bases, each with a 360 mm square plan extrusion and structure of 2 metres in height. Manoeuvring over the spatial constraints, various unique architectural features are incorporated into the tower models to create and redefine the use of building space, the design of facades and public space, etc., manifesting the architects’ innovations and visions on vertical architecture.
Showcasing architects’ creative ideas
116 tower models are displayed at the Hong Kong Response Exhibition. The first phase exhibition is held at Edinburgh Place in Central and the exhibition areas on G/F and 3/F of the City Gallery. Walking in-between towers through this miniature city, visitors will gain a unique experience to discover the architects and curators’ different interpretations of Hong Kong’s multi-storey architecture in high density, as well as the unique fabric of the city.
Among the tower models, there are those reflecting the reality, and there are some others more creative design concepts which challenge the norm in certain cases. For instance, there is one architect adopting a LEGO brick design for floor zones and assembling the pieces into a tower. In one model, an architect converts the units on each floor into detached houses with a garden, while another adds footbridges between buildings to form a community network. Many architects have incorporated building elements of ventilation, daylighting and greening into their works, and the principle of sustainability is maintained through the concepts of green building development, green communities, quality open space and enhanced pedestrian environment, etc.
Developing a more liveable environment
Ms LAI Man-foon, Vivian, Senior Town Planner of the PlanD, says that various planning and development issues, such as green area and community connection, are explored through the architects and curators’ different interpretations on the city’s vertical multi-storey architecture. The exhibition also invites us all to think about the meaning and functions of public space and highlights the importance of re-inventing public space to create a more liveable environment, which include planning, design, improvement, and how to manage public space to meet public needs and aspirations.
Ms LAI says that teams of architects from various places have been invited to take part in the exhibition to share their experience and ideas, which helps harnessing collective wisdom to provide important references for our future architectural design and planning.
The exhibition "Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape" held at the City Gallery in Central will run until April 22, while the second phase to be staged at the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, will run from April 26 to June 23. The public are welcome to attend the guided tours, sharing sessions and workshops held during the time.
21 April, 2019Back