045 URBAN PAUSE

2017
GRF FUNDED RESEARCH GRANT
TITLE
Urban Pauses: Reclaiming Hong Kong's Residual Urban Spaces.

KEYWORDS
Urban Pause, Alternative Urban Design Strategies, Residual Urban Spaces, City Infrastructure, Hong Kong

ABSTRACT
The aim of this project is to devise a creative strategy to reclaim urban pauses within Hong Kong through specific design transformations, connecting marginal, hidden and neglected urban spaces back into the fabric of the city. Due to Hong Kong’s extreme density, where 7.1 million inhabitants occupy only a built up area of 14% of its total surface, urban pauses can no longer be neglected or dismissed; they encompass arguably the biggest opportunity to impact on the existing tissue of the city, an untapped public asset, that has the potential to strategically push forward ecological and technical infrastructures and redefine the spatial urban ecology of Hong Kong.

Architects tend to project their desires on to vacant spaces, with the resulting interventions often acting as violent transformations that shatter the existing continuity in both time and space.  Inspired by Solà-Morales’ paper “Terrain Vague” (1995) where he argues that abandoned and unproductive spaces represent the anonymous reality of the city that help generate a sense of urban continuity, this research project seeks to unfold and differentiate Hong Kong’s vacant and unoccupied spaces to change their common negative perception and devise a strategic action plan to reactivate these absent spaces.

We intend to survey the existing Urban Pause conditions of Hong Kong by identifying four categories that are the result of prior research into the field, namely: Margins, Infrastructure, Artificial and Traces. From these conditions, based on established research templates for this kind of study, we will generate a catalogue of typologies of the various Urban Pauses and through a series of participatory workshops, soliciting input from the key players (public and private), we aim to produce a series of micro prototypes in the form of temporary site-specific interventions.  Finally, working with such findings, we seek to formulate a macro strategy for how the city can engage with Urban Pauses to develop site-specific design typologies that could be employed throughout the city.

Although the issue of reclaiming urban residual spaces is rapidly becoming the zeitgeist of our period, with numerous urban and architectural projects underway around the world, Hong Kong paradoxically, given its extreme urbanity, has little critical studies on the matter.  This project will address this shortfall, exploiting how multi-layered urban pauses can accommodate overlapping programmes and, through creative design solutions, transform typically avoided public spaces that isolate and blight communities into alternative paradigms that will benefit not only Hong Kong but other emerging cities in China and Southeast Asia.
033 H-HOUSE
001 PIROPO MEXICO
027 ARTHOUSE
HERZOG LECTURE
022 UN SEGRETO
PETER W. FERRETTO
021 EXHIBITION
WALK IN ARCHITECTURE
MELBOURNE EXHIBITION
VERTICAL MUSEUM
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