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Landscape of infrastructure - de-urbanization of Central Business District Hong Kong

Part 2 Project 2000
Kai Yi, Carrie Chan
University of Hong Kong | China
"Landscape of infrastructure - de-urbanization of Central Business District Hong Kong" The project starts with a vision to establish a sense of place for the heart of the city - CBD. The choice of landscape as the strategy comes from the desire to re-deliver for the instinctual pleasure for the city dwellers - touch with nature. The tactic is to weave and embed the urban events into the continuous artificial topography which is the underlying infrastructure. It is also intended to build up a more intimate relationship between events, landscape and architecture in an urban context.
Landscape is not to be a static place for visit but the infrastructure on which people exile from the busy life. I first study the existing pedestrian circulation network as well as the accumulated city grid after layers of land reclamation. An elaborate elevated walkway system, grown in a gradual process, is identified as the vein. Then I located nodes of major influx and from there drain the streams of people towards the Victoria Harbour. The movement is frozen as dunes in the new artificial landscape. The masses are the building and architecture, at the same time undulating land form. Circulation and function of a single building is hybridized into the overall structure. In this manner, city dwellers would explore and discover various city senses, both natural and simulated, in the same way as they wander in the "wild" land, physically and intellectually.
The whole process is a migration for the city dwellers and de-urbanization for the city without retreating to the countryside.

Kai Yi, Carrie Chan

The architecture of the Central Business District in any major city poses a polemical question between the design of architecture as object and the quality of urban life for the users. This unresolved condition is most acutely observed in the rapidly modernizing power centers of the Asia Pacific Region and the post-cold war China.

Hong Kong has long been blessed with the natural settings of scenic hills and a dramatic harbor. This picture perfect panorama succeeded in obscuring the urban ills of hyper density, pollution and congestion in the Central Business District and the city.

The topic of the thesis is controversial in that it challenges the conventional pattern of architectural and real estate development. By dissolving the boundaries between infrastructure, landscape and architecture, the thesis distinguished the concept of the traditional 'comfortable city' from 'the pleasure of a city'. Pleasures that emphasize the city as an on-going fiction, an on-going text, as long as the concept of a city exist.

The student is extremely daring in taking on such a difficult subject and to try to reach a resolution based on a deceptively simple idea of landscape in the heart of the city.

For this alone I nominate the thesis.

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