Monday 8 October 2012

006 Imaginary City. Kai Tak

City cruise approach perspective

Globalization threatens the diversity and individual experience within a city. Present urban masterplan proposals tend to approach the city at a very inhuman scale to reduce economic uncertainty and create more sustainable infrastructures. This phenomenon however has encouraged a development of new cities that often appear sterile and almost identical in essence.

How can we add individual experience, diversity and a sense of identity back into the city? What will make the cultural ‘hub’ of South East Kowloon different to that of any other new city? How can we create a city that continues to share a common ground of cultural and historical richness whilst maintaining environmental and commercial sustainability?

By reversing the conventional methodology of masterplanning CAVE Design Studio speculates an Imaginary Kai Tak by firstly exploring the local stories, maps, photographs and cultural events before the process of zoning. Six narratives are inspired by qualities drawn from these events which are then further developed into six device systems. These systems function collaboratively to form a city that resolves the needs for a speculative future of Kai Tak (where Hong Kong is under global environmental threat).

Recognizing the occurring phenomenon where communities are rapidly developed into predictable global cities that lack character and distinctiveness, perhaps it is important to reconsider our methodologies and embrace local multiplicity at the forefront of masterplan design. 

South East Kowloon inspiration and narrative board

Initial concept sketch of device cluster

Mobile home device system working sketches

Mobile Home

Mobile Home - Wind harness, open green space, rain collection, sea water collection, communal yamen, and sun harness device system (from top left to bottom right)

“It is the hottest day of the year and temperatures have risen up to 50 degrees Celsius in the southern shoreline. Dripping with sweat and evacuating away from the clashes of fireworks from the north Dan suddenly found himself lost in a tall maze of 432 containers. Without a warning, the containers abruptly began to sweep and exchange at increasing speeds between each other. Lights flashed simultaneously as if they were communicating between each other, flashing words in a language Dan did not understand. Blinded with the burst of collective light and movement, the heat was suddenly sucked away from the air and cool breezes dramatically cooled down the temperature of the area. Although he did not understand what was happening, Dan felt safe. The neighborhood brought him protection from surrounding threats and a sense of comfort and familiarity reminiscent of home."

Mobile Home is a residential community that responds to the over population, energy and environmental problems of the future. It is an activity driven land and water residential system that sustains itself through the collaborative interaction between each separate living unit. With each individual unit acting and supplying through different means the community becomes self sustaining and protected against any one particular risk.  The individual cannot excel on its own and their alliance with other living units signifies the strong bond within local communities. 

Defense Castle

Defense Castle - climate and environment sensitive barrier wall, government administrative tower, hydrogen energy fuel cell and electrolysis factory (left to right)

“It was a sunny day of the third Renchen year and horns suddenly alarmed the citizens of Sacred Hill that the ‘Sun Pirates’ were raiding the city causing danger out on the streets. The ‘Sung’ emperor awoke with alarm and quickly climbed to the highest terrace of his palace to overview the situation. The powerful emperor ordered for protection and the palace immediately encircled walls and fortresses around city boundaries. Radiowave and climate pellets discharged out from the terrace chasing enemies away. Finally, peace has been brought back to the Sacred Hills and the tall palace remained atop of the sacred hill, casting a shadow of protection to all of the citizens below.”

The monumental defense palace is the core and safe guard of the city. It’s strategic position in the city allows it to govern the activity and dangers within the city. The emergence of environmental threat triggers receptors to send protection by building fortresses and sending climate manipulation pellets into the area. In the process of monitoring the dangers of the weather it harvests the energy and stores it for the city’s future use, becoming the core of the city’s hydrogen energy infrastructure.

Tin Hau Festival

Tinhau Festival - Tea parlor and Poon Choi bamboo structure, city entrance and national celebration square,detail of device speakers and celebration activity (left to right)

“On the birthday of Tinhau, all the gods travelled from the sky and the sea to Kai Tak City  to celebrate with her. Throughout the day, the crowds set masses of fireworks everywhere in the sky while a parade of lion and dragon dance marched along Prince Edward Road. The festival lasted five days and the people built a large temporary theater so they could thoroughly enjoy the celebration. Tinhau enjoyed the marching pass of the parade and party throughout the night. A Poon Choi feast was set at Tainfei Lau, with over 50 thousand people attending. The Poon Choi contained in a large wooden tub spread out delicious layers of flavor and smells, leaving the air and scene with a lively and vibrant atmosphere.”

A reinforced bamboo scaffold structure forms a circuit of food and poon choi distribution. Food is cooked in a centralized cistern of cookeries and then distributed along the structure to surrounding pockets of diverse restaurants, shops and markets. The multi-dimensional pockets are fine tuned for their respective activities from quiet and tranquil tea parlors to loud and energetic private banquets. Spread along the lower level is a public square for larger events of celebration and festival. The square also signifies the entrance into the city network.

Garden of Ede

Garden of Ede - Vertical arrangement of farm pods and market, farm activity and water fish market (left to right)

“God created Kai and Tak and placed them in the divine ‘Garden of Ede’ in the east. They did not have to go far for sustenance, for everything was aplenty in the garden. Every type of tree was present and pleasing to the eye, at the same time growing out fruits for Kai and Tak to indulge. ‘Garden of Ede’ is a legendary bay city paradise with plenty of parks and playgrounds. It also integrates agricultural practices in cultivated land within the urban environment. It is truly a self-sustainable community.”

A self sustaining agriculture farm that cultivates food for surrounding inhabitants whilst providing outside seating and green open space for leisure. The gardens span across the city, arranged vertically in 
a conical structure to allow for optimal sunlight and rain conditions for each plant. Organic markets selling the produce from each farm is situated  on the underside of their respective garden pods. Collectively, the patches 
of green cool, shades and purifies the urban fabric. Rain water is collected and distributed across the farms through a integrated water irrigation network.

Transport  Cloud

Transport cloud - manufacturing weaving factory and shipyard, weaving machine, ascending transport clouds, kai tak cruise terminal and transport cloud unit carpark tower (left to right)

"The island hovered over the water with cloud shaped objects floating above in a seemingly organized way. They formed some form of transport infrastructure for the island. Hopping onto one of the clouds he arrived at the the ‘official rich field’ and ‘official ground’ district. There were different kinds of weaving factories: ‘Octopus Motor Cotton Mills’ and ‘Kindly Friends Webbing Plant’ and to the south the ‘Kowloon Docks’ shipyard. But there was no sight of cotton manufactured at the weaving factories and no sound of boats being repaired at the shipyard. Instead he noticed more clouds floating out from their chimneys. The factories have become the first and final station for the shuffling cloud transport units."

Elevated cloud-like pods carrying passengers within and beyond city boundaries through navigable routes. Composed from cloth and recycled local factory material the system rejuvenates the local cloth factory industry. It forms a non-congested and more sustainable transport infrastructure for the future.

Adaptable Platform

Adaptable Platform - greenhouse agriculture pod, house extension and integrated gathering space (left to right) 

" Hawker trolleys gather below night lights to prepare and sell their tasty specialties. The rain is pouring heavily but their businesses are not affected by the unfriendly weather- customers are indulged with the smell and taste within their protected translucent bubble. Just before the light of dawn they all disappear swiftly from the streets. 1 Queen's Road Central is no longer crowded every Sunday. The local music and art scene has also found it's place across the city."

The structure provides a easily transported and transformable space that the user can manipulate to fit the needs of their particular temporary activity (live performance venue, stalls, seating and art studios). The unzip-able double membrane structure allows it to move, expand and morph to change light and spatial qualities. It parasitically ‘plugs’ onto any existing site to create larger and more complex stages of interaction.

Defense Castle and Mobile Home explanatory drawings

Garden of Ede and Tinhau Festival explanatory drawings

Transport Cloud and Adaptable Platform explanatory drawings

Aerial view of city

Government administrative tower and survey platform

North west aerial view

Imaginary Kai Tak - future smart city condensed from narratives and memories of South East Kowloon

Imaginary City. Kai Tak is represented as a model and six explanatory drawings. The deliberate juxtaposition of two different scales (local detail and culture with functional layout) into one model allowed us to reinterpret the detail of fragments, stories and feelings at a larger personal scale. By not over planning or intentionally designing it's layout, we constructed the model in a corresponding way to how we envision the city developing in it's speculative future - bottom up from different units that collaboratively fabricates over time into a diverse and colourful cityscape

This project was commissioned by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and exhibited in the 2012 Venice Biennale under collateral event 'Inter Cities/ Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future'.

2012 Venice Biennale - Inter Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future

2012 Venice Biennale - Inter Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future

2012 Venice Biennale - Inter Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future

2012 Venice Biennale - Inter Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future

2012 Venice Biennale - Inter Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future

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