In June 2022, Avoid Obvious Architects in partnership with VESSEL submitted a proposal to save the famous Jumbo Kingdom in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Although our proposal didn’t succeed, the idea to turn the restaurant into a maritime museum is still very valid as we look into the future of ship building and sustainable marine business. We want the renovated ship to reconnect, cultivate and innovate with our ocean.
Idea – Vision Jumbo
We proposed a maritime museum, Vision Jumbo, to study sustainable future in ship building, fishery, and logistic. With the One Belt One Road initiative, we believe Hong Kong can leverage its current position as an international hub and work with Jumbo as its historical anchor to study what the future can be. Hong Kong is known as a fishing village, and it had come a long way to become an international city. Jumbo in many ways represented the successful development and our shift in lifestyle that needs to its ultimate decline. Not only people no longer like to dine in such a big restaurant, but our taste for Chinese food has also been replaced by all kinds of international cuisine. The renovated boat will reconnect, cultivate and innovate with our ocean.
The new museum will divide the boat four stories into three major timelines with four distinctive functions. From study center to eco-lab to innovative sustainable food, we believe this museum can provide a template of how people can live, work, eat and travel on water if rising sea levels are irreversible. The distinctive wooden exterior will be maintained as a contrast to contemporary ship which are mostly in metal and white. We want its traditional past to shine, while solar panels, rain water collection, and indoor farms are added to its roof to test an off-the-grid system. With partnership with universities that specialize in marine study, this can become an off-site campus for students and local experts.
Originality and Its Impacts
Although Jumbo had a lot of copied art inside its interior, we still found a lot of original art on its outside. Its ultimate sink in South China Sea created a lot of mystery. We as architect still believe that the boat would have continued serve the greater community if it had remained in its Aberdeen location. Several local businesses like the water taxi and boat repairing business were making a living by doing business with Jumbo. Its location and business are more than a ship, it was a community icon that had economic benefits.
We are thankful to Eugene Mak and his firm Scan The World. They have come with us to scan the exterior of the boat before it sank. Below is a YouTube video of his effort.
All the drawings we had for the boat was taken publicly on the Jumbo Website. Photos were original photo during our site visit. We don’t make any money doing this project. VESSEL and HKALPS is an NGO with section 88 status that hopes to operate the boat on a non-profit basis.
AOA: Vicky Chan, Sam Chan, Subhiksha Bhoovarahan, Andy Cheung, Crystal Hu
HKALPS: Ruby Yeung, Hezek Tang, Paul Yip
Scan The World: Eugene Mak