The project stands on a Tong Lau Complex which is going to be demolished soon, in Ma Tau Wai, Hong Kong, a district undergoing urban renewal from old Tong Laus to standardized podium residential towers, carried out by the Housing Authority. The project aims at the grassroot local residents facing issues of high rents and social regimentation reflected in controlled circulation and behaviours due to the renewal.
We wish to construct a socially adaptive infrastructure that acts as a framework to embrace self-determined activities. To do so, we aim to achieve a balance of powers between the management authority and residents in our public housing design. In light of this, a top-down approach is adopted in the design of building massing, clusters, main circulation and programme arrangement, whereas a bottom-up approach is allowed for in the allocation of living units and shared common space on each residential floor.
Arranged in clusters of various heights with varied public programmes, residents are free to choose from an app their favourable cluster and living unit layout. Public spaces act as meeting spaces for residents from different clusters and the general visiting public; connected by footbridges, stairs and lifts that weave through the community, self-determined circulation is facilitated. On residential floors, living units are arranged on a grid system of 1.5m and 3m, on which restrooms and kitchens have to be arranged on 1.5*3m voxels for piping purposes, whereas wind corridors are designated on each floor which cannot be taken up by residents. This shows a sense of top-down approach within a bottom-up design to avoid too much freedom which would lead to an out-of-control situation. Overtime, residents can apply for a change in their unit layouts by 4 changing strategies – merging, separating, expanding and shrinking; by doing so, an organic shared commons is formed on each floor in which furnitures can be shared and have activities initiated by residents.
Furthermore, care for the current pandemic and climate change situations can be seen in the use of wind corridors for natural ventilation and sunlight on each residential floor, whereas the whole community is designed to be self-sustained by having urban farms to provide food which supports family businesses within the retail public areas.
Therefore, the whole design is an ever-changing community that aims to suit each resident’s preference and strives to withstand changes in societal preferences through the passage of time.