Shopping and public spaces in the post pandemic world requires new emphasis on hygience and wellbeing. Our proposal in Guiyang Underground Mall listed seven strategies to combine new lifestyle into an traditional spaces. We hope to use nature, light, water and air to provide a healthy environment while letting people feel excited about dining, exercise, and edutainment. Below is the video that summarize our findings.
Posts categorized: Urban Planning
It is not the most natural thing for architects to come up with ideas on fundraising. For our urban farm in Kennedy Town, we were involved since the competition phase in 2018. We were lucky to win the competition but stuck with fund raising to build the farm. We presented the concept in Russia and India and gained a lot of momentum. Back home in Hong Kong, we had to move in parallel between design and fund raising.
We started off the fund raising idea with a story board. Unlike architecture, we began with a mood setting to explain why we needed the farm without being too direct. We created contrast between an artificial life and an organic life to justify the urban farm in the city.
We wanted people to imagine farming as part of an urban living to provide a sustainable food source and lifestyle that are calm and rejuvenating.
Our video had some success and collectively https://www.k-farm.org.hk/ won a HKD 47 million in donation to make an impact to Hong Kong. We hope this will provide a case study for other architects to learn how to create their non-profit projects.
We think there are four elements that can make our waterfront more inclusive, fun and inter-generational. They are green, water, people and games. Below is our research, The Interplay, to transform a waterfront next to our K-farm project. They broke down the four ideas into four zones and it invites people of all ages to collaborate to have fun and reflect the history of Western District in Hong Kong.
Vicky Chan, Krystal Lung, Gianfranco Galagar, Crystal Hu
You can view more related waterfront design, The Interface, in our portfolio.
You can find out more about our teaching at Architecture For Children. We have been teaching children for free since 2001.
Hong Kong Construction Association – Safety and Innovation
AOA designed a booth to promote our industry’s safety, innovation and history. It is not an easy task to intrepret the past, present and future for an institution like HKCA with 100 years of history. Our approach is to use simple construction material and geometry that represent the fundamental of construction blocks and we interrelate them with requirement from different technology. Some devices like location detection from smart worker management systems require an enclosed chamber. The cyclical space with a skylight makes the display of safety and technology dramatic and fills with natural material, light, and excitement.
Team: Karlo Lim, Vicky Chan
From Sept 2018, we were invited by Kwun Tong Government Primary School (Sau Ming Road) to begin a five year experiment to use urban planning as a scheme to tie multiple leaning subjects together. We as volunteer help to guide a team of 20 students from different grades to turn their ideas into practice.
We began the exercise by taking Kowloon East as the base. Their school is based in the area and its makes perfect senses for the students to study their own neighborhood. Data we have collected at the beginning including landmarks in the area, favorite things to do, type of areas they love and what they want to see in the future. After one month of exercised, they have identified four interesting projects worth exploring. The process was previously published on citylab.
- Eco-resort with trams on top of Anderson Quarry.
- Space center on top of an old factory building
- Aquatic Office on top of a waterfront factory block
- Zoo-library next to their school in a open area.
Students presented their massing study and program study by the end of the year. Below is their presentation.
We will begin to do design design of the two programs above. Area 1 and 4 were selected and it was the school hope to integrate technology into the model making.
- using sensors and simple coding to make the building interact with sun, wind, water and people
- using architecture as a method to explain the collaborative process to put collective ideas together.
- explain smart city and smart technology using easy to understand terms.
It is not easy for a nonprofit client to come up with the money to pay for model making. Digital display and VR tour often become the only solution when there is no money to pay for the time and materials of physical modeling. However, we believe model making is the only way to convince ourselves and people that we have come up with the appropriate solutions. Below is the step we took to ensure we can have the right model made on time and on budgets
- make sure we are building at the appropriate scale. Non-profit clients don’t even have storage to keep a model. Making a smaller model is not the easiest thing, but we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill by working with the right storage solution.
- Make sure we are building with trash materials or recyclable materials. People threw away lots of materials daily. We collected what we can and use them in our model making.
- Make sure we use the current technology to save time. 3d printing makes the topographical model easy and waste-less.
- Make sure the model is interactive. NGOs tend to be people who are passionate with their audience and love to engage their audiences with the design process. Making a model that is easy to build for people with no model making skill is essential for presentation and interaction.
- Make sure we are unique in our presentation method. Many people use all kinds of rendition to make the model very monochromatic or full of materials. We don’t need to get caught up with either solution. Work with our clients to understand the most reliable technique and use that as our method to produce models.
- Have wild fun with them and found a way to exhibit them.
A 80km2 city plan in Dongguan
Our city proposal is to connect people to water, nature and sharing future. Technology will shape the way people interact, but physical design helps to improve our intimacy to nature and people.
Greater Bay Area will become the most populated area in the world and Dongguan is at the heart of it to provide the need for manufacturing and innovation. This mega city has the potential to become more livable, smart and sustainable if we can implement 8 design ideas.
Sustainability, Walkability, Health, Inclusiveness, Resiliency, Culture, Vibrancy, Diversity
Dongguan has a rich history in manufacturing, although its facilites are not up to the standard of sustainability. Our proposal is looking to connect the old part of town to the new sharing centers along the coast. We want nature and water helps to bridge these connections so that parks can become part of everyone’s daily sharing. This simple idea is revolutionary for a factory town with very little greenery and shared spaces.
Global warming may be threatening the future of Dongguan. Our design will take advantage of the sharing landscape to allow for resiliency. Sharing economy has set a great example for Chinese citizens that they don’t have to own everything. The concept of sharing allow us to make buildings and private spaces smaller while creates an abundance of open spaces. These extra spaces allow everyone to share part of the rising water. The landscape and selected species will not only purify the water, but also created an eco-system along the harbourfront. People will get to absorb all the natural resources while sharing their work and lives on elevated buildings and walkway along the Pearl River.
Avoid Obvious Architects: Vicky Chan, Mary Lam, Jason Pang
China Building Technique Group
What cause the Housing Crisis in Hong Kong?
We worked with Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Design Institute for Social Innovation on the issue of Hong Kong’s housing crisis. Below are some of the problems we learned and some of the solutions we discussed.
- Lack of Public Housing:There was a protest in 2003 against the government. The homeowner was and still is against the government to provide public housing. Since the protest, there was no new public housing built for a decade. It created a man-made shortage.
- Money: the rich home buyers are swiping all the available apartments as a way to hide their illegal saving. It is ongoing for the last decade. They buy apartments and sometimes don’t want to rent out the units. They don’t want the official record to show suspicious streams of income. If you look at the ratio of the number of apartments to the number of people in Hong Kong, there are plenty of apartment for every household. It is just that most of them are luxury apartments and currently many of them are empty.
- Land Policy: Hong Kong is a tax haven, there is no sales tax and the tax on income is low. The government makes all of its money by selling land to the developer. the higher the price, the more they make. With this policy, they will only generate luxury apartment. Who would build a cheap public housing when the land is so expensive?
- Jobs: the income gap between rich and poor is widening in Hong Kong. Back in the 1980s, it is possible to buy a house even if for a blue-collar worker. People could work in a factory and would still save enough for food and a place to live. Now, the income for the labor-intensive jobs is so low that these workers typically spent all of their income on food and rent. If there is no saving, there is simply no way for them to move upstream.
- Health: many homeless people and people in subdivided flat originally live in a nice family with a nice apartment. Due to their drug problems, marriage problems, family problems or social problems, they drifted away from this resource and couldn’t re-enter the workforce. Some of them were injured and created extra difficulty to continue their high skill job. Without a healthy body and mind, the only place they can afford is either subdivided flats or the street.
- Politics: Hong Kong has a lot of lands in the new territories, but they are controlled by the indigenous people. They often work with established developers to make luxury buildings rather than giving the land to the government to make public housing.
- Approval: Hong Kong acts very slow in terms of solving the housing crisis. They have elected officials who have all the tools to criticize a plan. It often takes years to resolve a deal regarding housing.
- Geography: Hong Kong does have lots of green and mountains. 70% of the land is zoned as a park and open space. New York and Hong Kong are about the same size, but clearly, it is more difficult to build buildings and infrastructure on a mountainous terrain.
- Lack of Voice: Hong Kong is very divided. People at the top and bottom has a clear disconnect. Many people are not reaching out for help when they are really in need of help.
- Cheaters: It has become a luxury status to qualify for social housing in the midst of a crisis. The young generation will tell their bosses to lower their salary so that they can qualify for the upper-income limit to get into social housing. People who have become richer will find ways to hide their cash so that they don’t have to move out of social housing. The list to get in continue to expand while the list to move out is very slow in clearing out.
New solutions to solve the housing crisis by The Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address:
- a new artificial island known as Lantau Tomorrow – it politically divided the society. Some people love it and some people hate it.
- converting factories into residential buildings – some issues are being addressed in terms of safety, health, and wellbeing.
- converting old government building into housing – several temporary apartments arrived this week
- building modular houses – Avoid Obvious Architects are involved in the design for one modular housing in Sham Shui Po.
- building a new social program to train people – there is a project called Light House. it trained people in need to get better jobs. they do provide apartment while people are being trained
- Getting “nice” homeowner to donate apartment to the rental program – also part of the Light House. they started by converting an old apartment people donated into rental units
- redeveloping the old neighborhood. they are actively taking down buildings in old areas to build more housing. The issue with that is also money. many tenants are either illegally occupying the building or they want to hold out until the compensation become very high.
- telling young people to move out of Hong Kong. They encourage people to look at the Greater Bay Area. They said Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macau can now be their home by not limiting themselves to the city of Hong Kong.
Alfred Kwok – interior design
Angle Shih – social worker/Christian Concern For the Homeless Association
Bakkie Chan – social worker/SoCO
Charles Ho – real estate/HKCSS
Gordon Chick – social worker/SoCO
Karen Chan – urban planning
Paul Law – modular construction/Aluhouse Co. Ltd.
Sunnie Lau – architecture/SOSArchitecture Urban Design Limited
Vicky Chan – architecture/Avoid Obvious Architects
Wai Tung Ng – social worker/SoCp
E-sport Stadium Research
We spent 2 weeks to study the phenomenon of e-sport and tournament of video games. We came up with a set of rules to guide the exterior and interior design of an e-sport stadium.
Exterior – Architecture + Landscape:
- E-sport can last a lot longer than real sport. Some e-games can go on for days. The landscape can become rest stations for the players and spectators. Landscape is no longer treated as a buffer zone like a park but rather an important feature to sustain a healthy e-game.
- Drone racing is often considered part of the e-sport. Landscape can have racing track for people of all ages and also remote-controlled device of all sizes.
- E-sport can be done with different number of players. Unlike a soccer game, flexibility is needed to accommodate a 1-on-1 game or a 100-on-100 game. Architecture must allow immediate expansion for additional seating and game playing area.
- VR, AR and MR tools are important around the architecture and landscape to provide mixed reality that can bring people in and out of the virtual world.
- The E-Stadium is meant to be multi-purpose. During off seasons, space will be used for team practice and training. The event space also serves promotional events such as new game and product announcements.
Interior – Stage Design + Game Design:
- Players in video games are different than players in real sports. They may not enjoy the cheering from their fans. The ability to isolate players and teams are important.
- Players will form teams of various size. They can battle each other with whatever number of players the game required. The seating needs to have ability to rearrange and light up to identify teams and groups.
- Spectators will be allowed to join the games. Unlike real sports, the spectators in e-sport can help to influence the result with their digital input. Stadium no longer separate spectators and performers. It is truly about their interactions.
- Gamers are obsessed with their status. Stage design with the concept of levitation can help to separate the winners from losers.
Gaming Advisers: KS Chan, Chi Tam
Architecture: Melissa Chan, Emily Manasc, Vicky Chan
Landscape: Richard Alomar
Structure: Erik Madsen, Madsen Engineering
Associate Architects: EJ LAD (Shenzhen)
Inclusive City Planning
Vicky Chan spoke at New Cities Summit in Songdo. He shared the stage with Vera Baboun, former Palestine Mayor and Fleur Pellerin, former French cultural minister. His ideas to make inclusive public spaces focused on
- Interactive Design
It is a challenge to bridge the income gap in a city, but sports are proven to be an effective tool to bring people together. The making of Macombs Dam Park at the former site of Yankee Stadium has shown integrated sports for all ages. The mix provides an inclusive space for the Bronx community, while it serves as gathering space for people going to the Yankee games. The creative way to play with topography also helps to create sports for all seasons. The idea of sports can be extended into a year long experience when nature, creativity and imagination are combined.
Vicky has conducted many children workshop on urban planning via Architecture for Children, but it is still a challenge to make those ideas acceptable to adults. The challenge is not so much about the quality of children’s ideas, but adult’s willingness to listen to our children. Vicky believed education is necessary on both ends. We have to continue to spread ideas about sustainable cities to children, while adults work hard to make sure city planning is about laying foundation for the future generation. It only makes sense if children get to decide their own future. One idea children have about public park is to design a chocolate factory, in which the park is made out of edible materials. The idea is wild but yet very practical and feasible. Why don’t we stop using plastic and adapt materials that are harmless to our children? Our willingness to open our minds to accept childish ideas are key for disruptive changes.
Public involvement can’t always help to achieve design consensus, but it is very important to address opinions from the user’s perspective. Workshop has always been effective. Making the process interactive will also help to make an interactive outcome. A design that continues to evolve with public participation will not only keep us imaginative, but it is the most sustainable practice to allow our design to evolve. Our mobile shops design have shown that it is good for users and the environment to embrace evolution. If our public park can appear like the spontaneous village in Hong Kong, we will likely achieve the true timeless design.
Our Organic Highway project was included in Oscar Boyson’s video – The Future of Cities
Special thanks to the videographer George Du from Hong Kong.
How can we create an Utopian City using Collective Intelligence?
We conducted a world-wide survey about city planning. We wanted to find out how we can use collective intelligence to design an utopian city for businesses. Our final design can be seen here. Below are data collected.
Wijdène Kaabi, KAA Studio, Tunisia/London/Hong Kong
- Minimize social polarity
- Social Innovation: Citizen engagement / creativity / cohesion
- Platform for dialogue and social diversity – compact (no social and special segregation – limit costs and the impact of transport
- Space for ecological or environmental regeneration
- Economic growth
- Horizontal and vertical coordination (with other cities, connectivity)
Fran Parente, Fran Parente Photographer, Brazil/New York
The freedom to come and go with a good transportation system that doesn’t rely on car, the feeling of safeness. Also the mixed use and how you can live without leaving the surroundings of your neighborhood if you want. A good balance between nature and built environment providing leisure within minutes from their house/work.
On the business side, I would say that government sponsorship/incentives is a good way to attract new companies. Co working spaces for the creatives (free?). Less bureaucracy for businesses to open and run.
Benjamin Cox, The Artist, Belgium/Hong Kong/London
Connected: Efficient transportation with meaningful interaction during commute. Efficient digital connections. Shared vehicles including bikes, cars and subway to encourage interaction.
Vibrant: Localized gathering spaces to social. Green spaces combined with cultural programs like museums, bars and restaurant. Government to have open mindset and policy for young and innovative company. Government to hold sponsor programs to provide spaces, visa, funding and connections to new businesses.
Sustainable: good quality of air, waste management, health system. A hub for medical research with good hospitals and nearby universities for research.
Nelson Ng, Lost Magazine, Singapore/Shanghai/New York
It would be exciting for businesses and talented people if cities made it super easy for anyone to live and work there. This might include abolishing or relaxing visa requirements, equal treatment to anyone who came to work in the city (and not just favoring locals), and a super simple process to start any business. To take this even further, it would be cool if major cities around the world banded together to create their own form of identity or pass for startups, where this single city pass can give you access to London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai or even Tokyo. With this pass, you could get access to facilities, free Wi-Fi or even basic accommodation and a simple office space for your work, making it easy for anyone to move between cities. Imagine if every city offered a free basic work space for any startup that would surely be inviting!!
Matthieu Maury, La Station, France/Hong Kong
- Safe social environment
- Liberty of thinking
- City filled with people are willing to work to accomplish their dreams
- Freedom to start a company
- Low Government Tax
- Administration/bureaucracy is too much involved in citizens life
- Simplicity of life in HK
- Being able to live in a 24/h city with the inherent stress
- Possibility to work with different cultures
- Ethnic Diversity
- Digital and physical transportation to connect people to family and friends back home
Gordon Laplante, GCreate, Florida/New York
Free market layout vs controlled market
Designing creative and growth-inspired entrepreneur spaces has been a constant perplexing problem in my mind. The many spaces I have encountered have had varying strategies with a vast rage of success both on the long term global scale and the micro interactions. When bringing this to a city level it complicates the problem. Do you let the free market run wild and dictate the outline? Do you have a shared ownership between the market and an overlying “urban plan”? Or do you completely dictate the layout and allow businesses/individuals infill the spaces you have laid out?
We are a small startup and have hit some of these problems head on. As we are growing its been quite hard to find “reasonable” manufacturing spaces above 1k SF but less than 5k SF. This to me is the crux of the true innovation and startup spaces yet a huge void exists. We happen to be in an area of great tech growth and over the years we have seen a large shift from somewhat “shady” businesses to trendier tech. This has sort of left the new age tech manufacturers in limbo. We need a nice manufacturing space for our cool new product yet we need the basic amenities of any traditional manufacturing space. ie a loading dock and freight elevator access, the basic needs of a business who makes things.
Why am I diving into our very specific case? I feel the future of entrepreneur cities/developments relies on many cogs in the machine but not necessarily everything being tied into a pretty package. The free market will solve a portion due to demand yet framework is needed.
A city with product chain.
To truly allow for innovative entrepreneurial growth, you should incorporate a large portion of the entire product chain. I say a “portion” because to say the “whole chain” is a useless idealistic statement which does not allow for reality. In any case to attract entrepreneurs providing “most” of the product chain will be a huge improvement and keep the majority of their product/service local. This is a great benefit especially considering quality control however in many cases price is impacted. With this model Company A can work with Company B on a product sold by Company C. This can then be exported beyond the reach of the city etc.
Personally I have seen businesses flush with cash, from specific government grants designed to spur the economy, and shaken my head. In many cases these businesses received free money, despite lacking technologies in the hopes of growth yet many eventually fail when “the money runs out”. Many companies have received money due to following the proper procedure, or knowing the right people rather than any demand for their product. It’s for this reason I feel the free market still remains the most powerful economic force and combined with traditional organic growth a very strong economy can be made. Yet this brings me back to an earlier point, you still need framework and some oversight.
Where does this come into play when regarding a future city? I feel you must allow for organic growth opportunities within a lightly defined framework of urban planning. If these organically-grown companies have the local resources needed, (ie shipping access, loan opportunities, the correct targeted workforce, exposure) they should have all the parts necessary for growth. Of course this assumes the demand it there but that’s another topic. Perhaps the answer to this is to link investors with city planners when designing economic zones. Whether tech zones, cultural, business etc. The organizations providing the necessary capital should have some input. This could be the answer to modern urban planning using cluster zones or even a ring layout. In the new digital age communication isn’t the problem, rather close access to physical collaboration is one of the current hurdles.
Tesfa Gebreal, Rocket Internet AG, Ethiopia /New York
“Small businesses define the culture and way of life of Addis Ababa. They display what customers buy, eat and drink. They show how people interact with each other. For example, bargaining is a big part of Ethiopia’s culture and it is apparent in small businesses. They are the basis for the definition of a city”
Sally Ryder, Ryder Diamonds, Melbourne/Hong Kong
Vibrancy of city.
- Conducive to business
- City with social and business connections.
- Government program to sponsor small businesses
- Ease to setup, open and runs business
Smrita Jain, The Aquario Group, New Delhi/New York/New Jersey
In context of creating architectural landscapes and cities, I would like to propose, spaces that have the ability to hire story tellers. I believe that any talent has and should have the capability of story telling and must have a contextual story, which can be marketed into any constructive environment. For me, that the key to a constructive, logical, strategical and creative urban planning design.
World Countries Flags > International Flag Plaza
We are always interested in bridging the gap between graphics and architecture. The idea of International Flag Plaza is to give a spatial and democratic identity to all countries flags.
Those flags on poles are always seen in Olympics Games or UN conferences, but the setting doesn’t leave visitor much impression or reading of each country. Graphics from the top of a flag pole is also not a democratic approach to tell people what each country is about.
It will be more educational and democratic to replace those flags on high poles with physical furniture made in the shape of a flag. People can sit on different flag benches as they read and learn something about the countries.
Design of most country flags are geometrical. Those shapes and pattern already carries a lot of meanings and history. Turning a 2d flag into a 3d bench are inherently contextual. The entire plaza made up of 288 or more flags are also designed as one waving international flag. The end result is a dynamic and inviting plaza that carries the history of the world.
2d to 3d: International Flag as Benches
We are always interested in bridging the gap between 2d graphics and 3d architecture. We did it with type and mask previously and this time we explore the potential from a flag’s graphic. The idea is to find spatial quality within a 2d graphics. From a first glance, design of most country flags are geometrical. Those shapes and pattern already carries a lot of meanings and history. The 3d geometry are inherently contextual. It was an easy task to depend the geometry. To carry the concept of a flag to a 3d level, we decided to make the top surface of a bench in a wave form. The stripes and stars are turned into different extrusions and cutout. The end result is a fun and inviting bench that carries the history of its country.
To celebrate Independence Day in the US, we did the first prototype with an American Flag. The final goal is to apply the idea to all the flags and created an international plaza with these international flag benches.
Turning a historical event into a performance?
After seeing the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong late in 2014, we as architects thinks that it will be very interesting to turn the event into a theatrical performance. We can narrate a political movement with actions and graphics. It will help to raise more questions and discussion about the future of Hong Kong in a more entertaining way. Below is a series of set designs that describe the movement in chronological order. The graphic details borrow a lot of symbols used during the movement. Although this set describes one specific protest to demand universal suffrage, but it essentially explores the idea of identify, law and urban planning.
Country and Home
How do people in Hong Kong deal with the identity of being Chinese?
Wall and Egg
How do people in Hong Kong deal with the rules setup by China?
Law and Crime
What is the boundary between violating a law and committing a crime?
City and Village
Is living in a village better than the city?
Turning streets into gallery:
Micro Galleries turned streets in Langa, Cape Town into a gallery. Their mission is to “change the world in small and creative ways”.
Our work on Green Mong Kok and Documentation of the Umbrella Movement is featured in their show with Open Streets Langa. We are very excited and humbled that our creation of a local drawing and a local movement are now international. Special thanks to Kat Roma Greer from Micro Galleries who organized this event and all the photos below. The interaction between people and art is what made the event meaningful and successful. The idea is very similar to why we teach architecture to young children in Hong Kong. Our agenda is to influence the future leaders with creative thinking. I do believe this exhibition gave people in Cape Town a different idea about “art” and “freedom of speech”.
Kat Roma Greer was in Langa to organize the exhibition with her team. After the event, Kat said to the team”…Old guys were walking down the lane shaking our hands and saying thank you for doing this. It was so shocking and surprising and humbling. I heard endless conversations about the umbrella revolution, saw tonnes of people colouring, reading poems about sunflowers, looking at each detailed image of HK, laughing at space baby, pointing at political cartoons – even on small kid saying in halting English ‘freedom of speech’ reading a work from Sletch Freedom, amazing at the beauty and scale of the European forest. Amazing. Someone asked me about Australian politic and refugee centres, someone else asked how you can create via google images. It was just astounding.”
The idea of turning unused public spaces into exhibition spaces is a fantastic urban planning idea. Micro Galleries previously did it in Wan Chai and Tai Hang in 2013. There are so many public spaces in Hong Kong that can be turned into art projects, like hill that people used to hang clothes and the dark streets in Soho. I can’t wait to find more local spaces in Hong Kong and turn them into meaningful projects.
-Vicky Chan, Artist and Architect
Arts related to Hong Kong by other artists. Photo credit: Kat Roma Greer from Micro Galleries
The Future of Hong Kong
Green Mong Kok is an urban planning idea inspired by the occupy movement in Hong Kong. An occupied street without traffic but filled with park, people, farms, art, religion and public assembly can totally be the blueprint for the future of Hong Kong. It is democratic and sustainable. We can learn from this lesson and take this one step forward. Green Mong Kok will be a neighborhood that is tied together via bridges, tunnels and parks. It will provide more greenery and public spaces to promote better air, better transportation and better quality of life. However, the core and heritage of Mong Kok will be maintained. The drawing shows a list of elements we learnt from the movement and developed further. We implemented some of the sustainable idea on our design for Upcycle Park. The drawings and photos were also exhibited in South Africa.
Art and Religion > Chinese Opera
Chinese Opera is an important art, but it is becoming less popular among youngsters. This new Mong Kok Opera will become a professional theatre but also an education center for traditional art. It aims to provide new perspective into the heritage. Like Mong Kok, it wants to mix different pop culture together to create ever-changing themes. Chinese drama with a modern twist will raise local and international awareness. It wants to be hip but unique to the Mong Kok (MK) culture.
Street Library > Mong Kok Library
Library in 21st century is still free to the public but functions more like a think tank for cultural and information exchange. It is no longer a quiet place for study or a typical data storage but rather a place to exchange public knowledge in all kinds of medium. This library can easily form partnership with local electronic store in Mong Kok. Providing 3d printers, 3d scanners, laser cutters and other new technology, this library and local merchants will provide a platform for students and trend-makers to test their new ideas. It will become an incubators for youngsters to gain world advantages without investing a fortunes on equipment.
Free Electricity > Solar Panels
Mong Kok is well-known for its signage and outdoor lighting for retail store. Solar panels can provide a renewable energy source to maintain this tradition while creating a phenomenon in itself. The panels can be installed with sun tracking mechanism. The movement of the array will become a large art installation that changes with the sun. Solar panels can also be served as shading for roof top terrace. Extra energy produced in the system can be stored underground to recharge electric cars.
Better Air > Cross Ventilation
Cross ventilation between streets will improve air quality and pedestrian connections in Mongkok. Buildings in Mongkok should no longer be considered as individual blocks but rather as small puzzle pieces to a giant puzzle. All the private and public spaces should be interconnected with tunnels, bridge, park, terraces and walkways to create a multilevel circulation system. These urban perforations will not only allow air movement to remove stagnant pollutants, it will also allow people to enjoy the neighborhood from multiple perspectives.
Street Art > Overhanging Gardens
Signage will continue to be a local attraction while some newer signs can be turned into hanging oasis. These air gardens are meant to drive curiosity, but also to encourage buildings to extend beyond its property. Since building is now perceived as pieces pf a bigger puzzle, building’s footprints should be allowed to extend in mid-air to enhance the tie between private and public space.
Transportation > Electric Car and Subway
Subway will continue to be the main option for mass transit. Electric car will share the subway tunnels as highways. This underground transportation hub is condense but efficient. It opens up the street level for greenery and other public programs. The tunnels will be illuminated by skylights on the ground and air will be filtered by greenery. This subway-car hybrid will be an efficient but pollution free environment.
Street without Traffic > Park
Street without traffic will be turned into park, small retail and rainwater filtration system. Residents can enjoy a park which has been lacking in Mong Kok. Business owner can run flea market style tent on the street to promote local creatives. These temporary retail will provide a much lighter carbon footprint than a big shopping center. Building property will increase in value due to this large scale amenity. The street are also graded into multiple steps with different plant species for filtration. Rainwater can be collected and turned into gray water for future uses in flushing and irrigation.
Alternative transportation > Air Tram
Air tram is the tram of 21st century. Like traditional tram in Hong Kong Island, they are not the most efficient way to travel but they are the best way for people to enjoy the neighborhood. Air Tram as a floating vehicle will draw people to travel vertically through the surrounding buildings. This method will not only become Mong Kok a tourist destination, its route will pull pedestrian upward. Circulation is no longer 2D but a 3D network that intertwined.
Commercial Mall > Green Mall
Existing mall will rethink itself as a mall that promotes green living. Instead of selling fast fashion, fast food and fast designs, it should focus on sustainable fashion, slow food and responsible designs. Customers are encouraged to learn and participate in the manufacturing process of foods and products. They will become more aware of the ingredients they consume and products they wear. It is a process that dig deeper into the chain of consumerism and essentially goes beyond it. Green Mall is a place to buy and exchange ideas. It is to promote best practice in material management and lifestyle management.
Unused spaces > Playground
Sports are promoted on different levels of the neighborhood as a way to fight urban diseases. Underground subway are often under-utilized at night. Sports underground can promote physical and emotional health and increase human interactions. Underground tunnels is no longer an intermediate space, but rather as a place of destination filled with sunlight and natural air.
Car > Electrical Car
Underground parking for electric car is provided with battery charging station. Along with solar panels, they will form an efficient public system for people in need of point-to-point transportation.
Bridges > Hyper Connected Mong Kok
Bridges are built across buildings to encourage multilevel circulation. They will become a key factors to turn Mong Kok into a neighborhood without boundary.