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Revitalization Of Tai O - Dried Food Cooperative

Part 2 Project 2001
Lo Chung Man
University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China
Tai O is one of the oldest fishing villages in Hong Kong and was once the largest salt production centers in Southern China. It is famous for its stilted Pang houses, fishing boats, salted fishes and shrimp paste. But after the Great Fire in July 2000, it is facing the same fate of dilapidation as other fishing villages in Hong Kong.

Revitalization refers to life, evoking the breathing of life back into an exhausted village fabric such as Tai O. A dried food cooperative is proposed in order to help local residents to enhance Tai O as a sustainable community in economic, environmental and architectural aspects.

Stilted structures along the waterfront provide economic sustainable water-market and floating shop-houses and restaurants. Environmentally, the proposed methane digester not only solves the existing water pollution, but also recycles solid wastes to produce biogas for heating and food drying. Architecturally, the use of platform framing controls the house development density and keeps the structural members size small for self-built by local residents.

Inspired by the self-build idea of Walter Segal, it is my mission to promote this showcase project to the local residents who can follow or vary the design strategy to suit their specific conditions to re-build their homes after the Great Fire.

Lo Chung Man


Over the past two years a small group of concerned environmental designers in Hong Kong have been deliberating on the redevelopment of a unique Township in Tai O, Hong Kong. A devastating fire had destroyed virtually the entire physical and social infrastructure of its unique architecture.

The Township comprised of Pang Uk - timber houses built on stilts over a historic tidal basin where a fishing village was established and where commercial fishing, sea salt and fish by-products have sustained its existence.

Terence became involved in this extramural activity, working as a member of the group, and has been deeply committed while the bureaucratic processes slowly take their course. His choice of Thesis subject enabled development of his ideas in a more exploratory and intellectual environment. Terence did have the opportunity of a good start, having researched on the background of the Community, the evolution of its history, its Pang Uk architecture- from the small fishing junk (sampan), to the stilted timber house; some of which were not unlike the parti of the sampan.

As his Thesis Supervisor, Terence is one of the very few of my students in my past 17 years teaching who were mature and self motivated to dwell on design issues out of strong interest and dedication. His approach to design reflects the masters of the Mainstream Modern (without the –isms). His self-help user participation idea not only is the best way forward for the Community to re-establish itself over time, he has dusted the work of Walter Segal and has brought Architectural Discourse back to its proper context.

2001
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