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Architecture of Money

Part 2 Project 2011
Kar Him Mo
Chinese University of Hong Kong | China
Money is undeniable the main force of architecture and the built world. Every construction needs to be paid, either by governors, developers, or individuals. In Hong Kong, money is the absolute ruling power governing most decision-making of the society. The project "Architecture of Money" attempts to understand the relationship between money and architecture, in terms of spatial creation, mechanism of money flow, and architectural functionality. Without being critical to its content, the design explores the full potential of the three aspects in large-scale architectural intervention to create a monument of money standing for the contemporary city of Hong Kong.

The initial interest of the project was to search for a true form of functional architecture from the city. In the study of commercial vernaculars, it demonstrates a rational approach of spatial creation, which works pragmatically for consumption. Under the realm of Capitalism, architecture and space become the event space for money activities, thus, space has been quantified and calculated to exist for a reason. The observed spatial practice serves as an ideal form of efficiency, utility, and flexibility for design applications.

As architecture is repositioned as space for consumption, the society should be understood as a flow of money and capitals. It is a socio-economic study of the relationship between functions and programmes. There are five functions of money, namely symbolic function, units of account, store of value, medium of exchange, and standard of deferred payment. Each function is operated by different money activities. The "Architecture of Money" serves as a representation of the logic of money with programmes dedicated to allow the happening of different money activities.

In contrast to ancient landmarks and monuments, it is a money monument celebrating Capitalism with its super functionality instead of icon nor symbolism. By adopting contemporary media and building technologies, the design further explores its functionality in the form of media facade and responsive container-office system. Situated in the most prominent part of Hong Kong, the creation is an architecture of Hong Kong bearing its own ideals of the culture of consumption and Capitalism.

Kar Him Mo


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