80 505 Hub City Hong Kong

Course content

In 2016, the Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) will explore the question of ‘After Belonging: On residence and the ways we stay in transit.’ As explained in OAT2016’s curators initial statement: facing realities such as global migration, increased circulation of objects and information, and precarious conditions of transit, architects and designers need to develop new and alternative strategies for planning and shaping residential spaces – temporary and permanent homes – of tomorrow’s cities. In this studio, we will tackle the theme of the Triennale by looking at the concept of ‘hub city’, taking Hong Kong as a paradigmatic example.

Hong Kong is the city where East meets West and the most vertical city in the world, an environment where the globalized (generic) urbanism is erasing almost any trace of the historic city. Hong Kong’s international airport (HKG) is an important regional trans-shipment center, a passenger hub and a gateway for destinations in Mainland China and the rest of Asia. The airport is the world's busiest cargo gateway and one of the world's busiest passenger airports. It is also home to one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings (the largest when opened in 1998). A large number of people transit in Hong Kong occupying the airport and the city for different lapse of time varying from a few hours, to a few days or weeks and eventually some years. However, this population of ‘temporary’ citizens has a particular approach to the city and requires some specific spaces and services. How do we design for the users of the ‘hub city’?

The brief for this semester is to design a multifunctional complex for a site in the city of Hong Kong. The complex will be designed for a population ‘in transit’. This complex should include new forms of dwellings and a set of other functions for a life in transit. Students will be invited to reflect on new forms of belonging, new modes of inhabitations and a contemporary sense of place.

The studio will explore architecture in an expanded field: familiarizing students with primary historical, quantitative and qualitative research as well as questions of urban design. It will also be the occasion for revisiting utopian prototypes imagined in the 1960s and 1970s (by the Japanese metabolists, archigrams, archizoom, etc.) and see how those may be adapted to new living conditions dealing with new issues of mobility, flexibility, growth, change, and so on (for dwelling/working/meeting/exchange, etc.)

The studio will be organized in collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ) (Brisbane, Australia) and Hong Kong University. It will include an excursion to Hong Kong. The course is also developed in tight connection with the program of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. Commented visits of the exhibition; lecture series and participation to a week workshop with other school in September will also be included in this course’s program.

Learning outcomes

The students will develop prototypes of different scales: Triggered by an extreme case and unfamiliar conditions, they will acquire tools translatable into more familiar contexts. In addition, the students will acquire extensive knowledge of the socio, political and territorial history of Honk Kong.

Working and learning activities

Teaching will mainly be through weekly desk-crits and monthly pin-ups in addition to the lecture-series running throughout the whole semester. Studio-meetings will be held on a regular basis for discussions and comments.

Professor in charge

Léa-Catherine Szacka , Gro Bonesmo