Last Monday, the second-year architecture students at the HKU Shanghai Study Centre presented their final projects. Dealing with ‘Architectural Urbanism‘, the 26 students in the studios of Pascal Berger [HKU Shanghai Academic Director], Elena Perez Garrigues and Zhu Xiaofeng 祝晓蜂 showed their design proposals, maquettes and thoughts of their 3-month stay in Shanghai 上海.
HKU Shanghai Study Center
The agenda of the second year architecture design studio was to “focus on investigating architecture from the perspective of the city: to understand architecture in relation to urban dynamics”.
The programme will continue its research into the contemporary Asian city using Hong Kong and Shanghai as laboratories for urban research and design. This year the focus will be on Change.
Both Hong Kong and Shanghai are changing rapidly. In the last five years Shanghai has witnessed the redevelopment of the Bund, the Expo, the construction of two of the city’s (and the world’s) tallest skyscrapers and numerous new residential developments, shopping malls and infrastructural expansion. With this growth also comes massive erasure – sites are wiped clean –and with it communities are disbanded, building typologies become obsolete and histories forgotten.
With an emphasis on key sites, within Hong Kong and Shanghai, that are about to be transformed, the three different studio’s dealt with “questioning the motivation behind their imminent change and look at different possible futures for these sites and discuss their significance in relation to the urban identities of both cities. At the core is a critique of homogenous city building, prioritizing economy over all other values, that dominates much of the motivation behind urban development in contemporary Asian cities”.
Those selected locations in Shanghai 上海 proof to be diverse in terms of density, accessibility and history. The studio of Pascal Berger choose the historical area around Municipality Square (in proximity of the Hamilton House 汉弥尔登大楼), the studio of Elena Perez Garrigues dealt with the transformation of the lilong-houses just South of the BeiSuzhou Creek 北苏州河路 and the studio of Zhu Xiaofeng 祝晓蜂 explored vacant lots and foreseen developments around Red Town 红坊.
Pictures by movingcities.org
about HKU Shanghai Study Centre
The Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong operates programs in Shanghai, at our Shanghai Study Centre, which is a vital counterpart to other programs in Hong Kong. Our goal is that every undergraduate in the Department of Architecture, and eventually the Division of Landscape Architecture, spends one complete semester of their studies in China, without interrupting their degree program at HKU. With the opening of this Centre, the Department of Real Estate and Construction has the advantage of a well-placed and equipped facility to augment its Taught Postgraduate China Program.
The Shanghai Study Centre also houses the HKU Shanghai Office, the HKU Journalism and Media Study Center, and architecture SH (a public gallery for the exhibition of design projects related to the mission of the Centre). The joint studios and other activities that the Department of Architecture conducts with other overseas Universities will also utilize the Centre.
Bert de Muynck – MovingCities co-director, is assistant professor at the HKU Shanghai Study Centre.