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hotel for inhabitants of ‘2046’

Part 2 Project 2009
Tommy Joo
University of Melbourne | Australia
Live for the future, Long for the past – hotel for inhabitants of ‘2046’

“Everyone who goes to 2046 has the same intention, they want to recapture lost memories” Chow Mo Wan from the film 2046 (directed by Wong Kar Wai)

This design proposal, an architectural response to Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046, exists in suspended time, belonging neither to the past nor the future. Buried in the historic fabric of The Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong, the architecture expresses the alienation of its ‘lost’ inhabitants by literally disappearing from the surrounding physical context.

Inverting the logic of the traditional hotel, the corridor becomes destination rather than circulation space, the journey towards restoring memories the ultimate goal of the inhabitants. Circulation and movement are absorbed into a linear programmatic space, where the actions and behavioral habits of the occupants create a film like sequence of continuous memory. No longer interiorized, the corridor becomes architectural form as it weaves throughout the mansions at times perforating the existing structure, the fenestration carefully detailed to manipulate one’s view of the past.

Conceived as a response to the broader themes of the studio this project began by defining nostalgia as a condition of longing for something unattainable. As the world around us is rapidly changing and we cling to our memories of an idealized past, we risk becoming trapped in an attempt to recapture our memories.

No one has ever returned from 2046.

Tommy Joo

Emerging from a difficult studio that challenged students to contemplate the notions of Nostalgia and Zeitgeist in contemporary society, this skilful project by Tommy Joo imagines an architecture of memory and loss, presence and absence. With Wong Kar-Wai’s sumptuous film ‘2046’ as a departure point Tommy has contemplated how one might design for a community in search of lost desires and a romanticised past.

With clear references to an increasingly globalised society and questions of place, indeed placelessness, this imaginative project makes best use of the design studio as a site of innovation and creativity. An engaged and committed student, Tommy grappled with the difficult question of translation from idea to form, ultimately achieving a clarity and depth rarely found in speculative student projects. Indeed for a student who clearly possesses all of the skills of seductive image and radical form making this project is impressive for its restraint, literally disappearing into the complex web of contemporary Hong Kong.

An ambitious and thoughtful project this proposition is an excellent and convincing response to both the themes of the studio and to the aesthetic and intellectual context of its cinematic inspiration.


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