This studio is about ideas, imaginations and provocations for the artifacts of the city.
In the age of alternative facts, different constituent groups compartmentalized their belief system to fit within a subjective silo where false claims are being labeled as ‘facts’ to counter against truth that they do not agree with. This condition is partly propelled by the rise of social media, where people are systematically walled off from those who hold dissimilar views with the help of powerful algorithms. Such phenomenon further strengthens the argument for the need to protect events and artifacts that define the core values of our society. The archive holds the potential in safeguarding the truth while its architecture serves as a vehicle for narrating its content. It is the building type that Ricardo Scofidio refers to as the “former present, which remains autonomous and resists any later fabrication of meaning.”
Questioning the idea of the archive forms the basic premise of this course. Situated within the quasi-fictional context in the year 2037, the studio aims to tell the story of Hong Kong not through the perspective of a grand narrative from the point of view of the state but rather through the lens of everyday fragments of the city. As an example, in Lee Ou Fan’s essay "Walking along Kowloon Streets: A Personal and Semi-Theoretical Reflection”, he argues that naming of the streets does not occur accidentally, instead, the names emerged out of a particular social and political context. In the case of Hong Kong, such context can be traced back to the British government and the ways in which street names are implicitly strategized to highlight the superiority of the ruler. A subject on street naming (or many others) inspired by the city could form the beginning of a project.
The architectural motivation is to design and craft an archival building that stores, displays and communicates the past with the present and serve as a reflection to the future. The studio design process involves the following: a focused study on the typological traits of the archive building; in search and the research of archival content of the project; a tectonic and material formalization of the concept through the specificity of the corner; contextual analysis of the site; and finally the culmination of the architectural proposition. Additionally, there are assigned theoretical readings to complement the design process, students shall contribute to the discussion during the studio seminars.
4 Acts of Hong Kong Archive 2037
Act 1: Archive as a public building: Architecture as defined by typology
Act 2: Archive as a narrator of the story: Architecture as defined by the student- narrate the idea through a 60 second film
Act 3: From the particular to the contextual: Architecture shaping and shaped by the site
Act 4: Synthesising the archive: Hong Kong Archive 2037