The compact city land-use policy of Hong Kong has produced a number of rare conditions resulting in building typologies that are specific and particular to its culture and livelihood. One such type is the Municipal Services Building (MSB), an all-in-one building that react to the needs of the city, and carries with it the responsibility for projecting a public significance. The essence of the MSB is its hybridization of the seemingly irreconcilable functional demands within a defined urban situation, very often involving wet-market hall and cooked-food stalls in one spectrum, with library and gymnasium on the other. Far from being formulaic, the specific programme mixtures depend upon the district it originates. As inferred by its name, the building is operated by district municipalities to provide its constituents with work opportunities, intellectual growth and leisure activities. Despite its potential for signifying public prominence, the MSB never received the attention it warrants from the architectural community.
With a site adjacent the Ng Tung River -a natural infrastructural system within NDA supporting various ecologies, habitats, and productive and farming activities- students will take cues from current constituencies to propose programming strategies and architectural forms vis-á-vis a new model for the Hong Kong "Municipal Building" as an agency to propagate the key genetic DNA for the NDA. The specificity of the programme is to be revealed by an in-depth analysis of the site during the first part of the course. The project deals with the productive tensions and conflicting interests of the constituents not with an attempt to resolve the latent contradictions. Instead, as an opportunity to give form to the conflict through a reimagined and redefined publicly operated civic building.
Patrick Hwang served as visiting faculty Delft University of Technology during Spring 2017 where he co-taught the Master of Architecture design studio with Stefano Milani of TUD. The studio also served as collaborative studio between TUD and CUHK (under the guidance of Thomas Chung) where students from both universities had the opportunity to exchange ideas and travelled to the host cities during the semester.