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Model of Variation

Part 2 Project 2002
Gabriel Chung To Mok
Nelson Sin Lung Tam
Valeria Abrahan Garay
Melina Zabek
Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China
Design Context
Since late 60s, architects in Hong Kong have been developing an exclusive solution for their densifying housing situation. From the "experiment" outcomes, we observe that the market is biased on a certain type of architectural form which is locally called "cruciform". Responding to the fast-changing city situations, this architectural form has been ceaselessly transforming to achieve better adaptations.

Mapping of Design
With respect to the context of housing design in Hong Kong for the past forty years, we commenced our "experiment" by re-interpreting plans of both the built and un-built samples of "cruciform" comprehensively. Our aim of the re-interpretation is to identify the commonalities and differences of all samples in terms of design. With further comparison, we explicitly visualize all major transformations of the "cruciform" design in form of a "map of cruciform".

Variation of Modules
The "map of cruciform" is the major reference of our alternative design. By understanding the design logic behind the map, we try to develop and test a new logic which favors large quantity production without compromising the uniqueness of spaces. The new logic, based on modular space concept, enables designer to achieve different combinations of various spatial modules at different floors without interrupting the vertical consistency of structure and building services.

A "Program-free" Design
The emergence of "cruciform" design is closely related to a predominating family structure. Since the family structure has been changing significantly, a design caters for a certain family structure in no longer valid. With the new logic, a combination of modules is able to accommodate various apartments of different sizes and spatial arrangement. With the "program-free" design concept, the focus of design tectonics could be regained.

2 Generic Forms
The urban fabric of Hong Kong has generated two major built forms - slab block and tower. In order to test the validity of the new logic, both of the built forms have been composed under the same logic. By testing the idea in different forms, the design would have a better relationship with the context.

Gabriel Chung To Mok
Nelson Sin Lung Tam
Valeria Abrahan Garay
Melina Zabek


The thesis project of Nelson and Gabriel stood out among the work of their year in several aspects. The topic was not an isolated interest, but based on work done during the studies in previous years and understood as something they would continue to work on in the future. The way they worked was exemplary in respect to how they collaborated and still pursued their clearly different directions on the one hand, and on the other hand how they combined a research approach with a design approach. Their personal interest was not private but clearly related to issues in the field of architecture. By this they also achieved to link the analytical observation of a local phenomenon to more universal architectural concepts. Even in aspects of how they used the computer and made their working and presentation documents, they reached a level of complexity unmatched by others of their class. When they presented their work in reviews, the atmosphere always changed to one of increased intensity af attention and discussion. I mention these circumstantial aspects as the work they submit can speak for itself. I appreciated to be able to work with Nelson and Gabriel as promising young colleagues.

2002
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