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Urban Eco Machine

Part 2 Project 2010
Kin Fai Gordon Fu
University of Hong Kong Hong Kong China
This thesis addresses the paramount need for innovation of ecological building systems, through the investigation of machinic design processes inherent to a new kind of performance-driven architecture and urbanism. With an objective of associating cultural and disciplinary design issues with contemporary environmental agendas, the goal of this project is to speculate upon new spatial and social effects which surpass design outcomes based singularly upon environmental optimisation. The project emphasises a methodology of environmental formation, as well as the repercussions of these processes on the mediation of inter-related building and urban systems. Dynamic environmental forces, primarily sunlight and wind, set up the project’s parametric criteria for the development of new circulatory and programmatic design opportunities.

The simulation-based methods do not provide solutions to environmental problems, but rather, they open a new heuristic means with which to test various differentiated alternatives. Embracing sustainable design practices of optimising natural exterior and interior ventilation, and the reduction of electricity consumption through diffused or responsive architectural daylight systems, the project opens new possibilities for the formal repertoire of architecture to be driven by its environmental context.

The project challenges and transforms the conventional Hong Kong podium tower typology. The site for this experiment is a large urban block in Lee Tung Street, in the highly dense, inner-urban district, Wanchai. As a prototypical development which transforms the conventional singular tower through wind and solar dynamics shaping complex relations of solid and void spaces, the project articulates the increasingly interconnected networked logic of urban space in Hong Kong. The resulting circulatory, structural and programmatic organisation distributes a mix of offices, residential, retails and club houses, where each of these programmes requires a differentiated shape and size of floorplate. These programs and their associated floorplate typologies were used as a parameter for spatial articulation, which also informs the relative maximisation or minimisation of the envelope and the depth of the plan. Lastly, the submerged underground podium, made porous through perforated fields of daylight shafts and atria, generously donates the urban ground to the public realm of the city.

Kin Fai Gordon Fu


This thesis project addresses the paramount need for innovation of ecological building systems, through the investigation of machinic design processes inherent to a new kind of performance-driven architecture and urbanism. Algorithmic and simulation-based design tools were the instruments of a new kind of performative architecture which emphasises a methodology of environmental formation. These tools are capable of capturing detailed dynamic mappings of environmental forces, primarily sunlight and wind, harnessing a quest sought by architects, artists and scientists throughout history. The project speculates upon new spatial and social effects which surpass design outcomes based singularly upon environmental optimisation.

Script or code data was extracted from the analysis of the simulated impact of solar path angles, from which highly specific contextually based form can be developed. Following on from the initial stages of design research, in which a preliminary design methodology was developed to generate building form in direct relation to models of environmental simulation, analysis and feedback, the design scheme demonstrates some of the potentials for dynamic environmental performance to be systematically embedded in architectural form. These simulation-based methods do not provide solutions to environmental problems, but rather, they open a new heuristic means with which to test various differentiated alternatives. Embracing sustainable design practices of optimising natural exterior and interior ventilation, and the reduction of electricity consumption through diffused or responsive architectural daylight systems, the project opens new possibilities for the formal repertoire of architecture to be driven by its environmental context.

The proposal challenges and transforms the conventional Hong Kong podium tower typology, as well as the conventional singular tower, through wind and solar dynamics shaping complex relations of solid and void spaces, the project articulates the increasingly interconnected networked logic of urban space in Hong Kong. The resulting circulatory, structural and programmatic organisation distributes a mix of offices, residential, retails and club houses, where each of these programmes requires a differentiated shape and size of floorplate. Lastly, the submerged underground podium, made porous through perforated fields of daylight shafts and atria, generously donates the urban ground to the public realm of the city.

Tutor(s)
Mr Tom R Verebes
2010
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