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Part 1 Project 1999
Wa Hoi Yau
University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China

An ideal hostel in my mind is more than accomodation that provides comfortable living conditions for young university students. It should also be a part of the tertiary educational system where the youths learn the way of self-organizaton. With the examples of the Kowloon Walled City and the illegal structures in the old districts of Hong Kong, we sense that they are more lively living environments as compared to the concrete jungle of the modern residential towers in Hong Kong. What we have lost in the way of modern city development reminds us that a lively system is one in which each individual in the system is allowed a little more freedom to explore different possibilities; then everyone will benefit in terms of co-evolution. The process itself encourages self-organization. The hostel I designed is this system. There is no fixed living layout and living types. Varied living options and combinations are achieved by composing predetermined volumetric space units. The space occupied by each student is the controlled factor, but the variety of spaces shared allows the freedom of constant changing and renewing. The living relationship is not limited to the neighbour-bed type, but extends to the upper and lower decks by the means of ladders which act as space connectors and dividers. All these happen in a linear rectangular box which exploits the elegance of pure geometry.

Wa Hoi Yau

In my 15 years of teaching career at the University of Hong Kong, Mr. Yau Wa Hoi is one of the few exceptionally promising students I have ever come across. He is selected to compete for this Award based on the following reasons:
1. Design capability as demonstrated in his Student Hostel design project
Mr Yau came up with a concept which is well thought out, unique, fairly complex in spatial organization and well presented. ( for detail description of project, see Student's Statement ). Throughout the design process, he worked with drawings and models in order to deliver what he had envisioned. He struggled, but patiently resolved problems one by one. He read, and came up with a strong theoretical base for his design. He finally won an A for the project and was awarded Bachelor of Arts(Architectural Studies)degree with First Class Honors, one of the 5 in a class of 70.
2. His character, aspiration and effort
Throughout his entire student career at this University, Mr Yau has been 'feeling' his way through, trying to find a more fulfilling meaning in life through the architectural profession. He comes from a humble background which is totally different from the rest of his Hong Kong classmates. He and his family were given permission to immigrate to Hong Kong from a village in Fujian province in China while attending Form 4 and spoke little English. In 3.5 years time, he managed to improve himself and passed the Form 7 A-levels with good results. He was offered a place in architecture. With this background and with such achievements, he has to have a mind of his own. He is humble, courteous and always thankful for being what he is and what he has attained. What impresses me the most is his continuing search for high ideals in architecture and his vigorous efforts in achieving his aspiration.

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