As part of Wentworth’s graduate program, I participated in a trip to Hong Kong to study an urban renewal project, involving the former Central Market. We explored the site through the use of video and combined our own footage with scenes from two movies directed by Wong Kar-Wai. I focused on the theme of being in the same place but in a different space, as Hong Kong is a rapidly growing city with a changing identity due to a history of imperialism, colonization and war. During meetings with several architects and professors, I determined that the city's recent past is not as important as I had previously thought. Professor Ho Yin Lee of Hong Kong University explained to me that creating a new meaning for the Central Market site creates a new identity for Hong Kong. Focusing on the past does not necessarily directly relate to the building form, and a new design for the site should provide a need that satisfies the present and the future. Transforming the site into a spiritual park allows the user to connect to the past within the mind and body. Unlike traditional eastern spirituality, Hong Kong’s unique practices do not require isolation from everyday surroundings. On the former Central Market site, participants can purchase and burn large paper representations of popular consumer items as an offering to ancestors. Most of the building itself was unnecessary, so I stripped away the outer concrete shell, leaving only the pedestrian skywalk. I re-designed (and in the process re-defined) the tube so that it connects each end of the site, spanning over 350 feet in the air. The pedestrian tunnel does not connect to the ground at any point except each end, so the user must circulate through the tunnel to purchase the paper goods. Afterwards, the user then burns them in furnaces situated throughout the ground level park. Allowing a spiritual ritual to take place among everyday activity, creates a new meaning for the site, and a new identity for Hong Kong.
Status: School Project
Location: Hong Kong, HK
Additional Credits: September - December 2012