To the global community, Hong Kong has always evoked exotic imagery: junks and neons; fish-stalls and cheongsam. Few appreciate that it is actually a contemporary metropolis with urban attributes ahead of its time. It is a city constantly re-inventing itself, propelled inevitably by global trends but also, subtly yet significantly, informed by tradition steeped both in western values and Chinese sensitivity.
As a practice rooted in this city, Rocco Design Architects thus offer unique views on issues in architecture and urbanism. From a special vantage point, the practice adopts sensitive and varied aesthetic and spatial strategies to respond to the disparate cultural and physical landscapes in which they work, in Hong Kong and across mainland China.
For all the diversity of their work, Rocco Design believe that architecture goes way beyond eye-catching shapes and sexy skins. For architecture to have sustainable value, they believe it needs to be re-connected with the relevant cultures of its time and its place: more specifically those of Identity, Spatiality, Community, Density, Connectivity and Materiality.
The completed ‘Guangdong and Yunnan Museums’ demonstrate how authentic architectural identity unique to the region can be inspired by relevant heritage objects or landscape, which however serve only as a useful starting point without constraining the ultimate resolution of form, space and use, from which true identity results.
‘Jiu Jian Tang Villas’ in Shanghai demonstrate how the traditional concept of spatiality and the use of space as a tool to organize social hierarchy in vernacular architecture can be adapted in a modern house to cater to the lifestyle of the contemporary Chinese middle-class.
‘Chu-Hai College’, a compact new university now under construction, will celebrate the culture of community traditionally exemplified in such physical structures like the Tu-Lau and the walled-villages, but now extroverted and inclusive for like-minded individuals rather than introverted and protected for family and clan. It also addresses the challenge of Hong Kong’s extreme dense urban fabric, creating a 3-dimensional hybrid of integrated academic functions within a confined site while delivering at the same time a strong sense of place and togetherness.
Like-wise the ‘Tamar Government Headquarters’ brings about a sense of place, creating a vibrant public realm right in the middle of Hong Kong’s seat of Government, enhancing in the process the city’s connectivity both spiritual and physical.
Towards the other end of the scale, the bamboo pavilion in Berlin in 2000, and a more recent one in Hong Kong in 2015, demonstrate how a traditional building material and construction methodology can still be relevant to today’s needs for certain building types, reflecting not just romantic nostalgia but a traditional rational attitude towards materiality: in particular that materials adopted must be fit for their purpose, in terms of both their constructability and their spirituality.
And finally in the concept proposal for the ‘West Kowloon Culture District’, all the relevant cultures past and present knit together to create a district that will bring about sustained vitality, as opposed to flashy brilliance: based on a vision dating back to the famed Sung Dynasty painting “Along the River at Qing Ming”.
This exhibition brings together 15 projects, showcasing individual designs but more importantly presenting an experiential journey that bears out Rocco Design’s thought process and their belief that architecture is both an expression of form and an interpretation of cultures, in all their intensity, at its heart.
An Aedes catalogue was published.
With a text by Rocco S.K.Yim.
Price € 10,-
Diese Ausstellung wurde ermöglicht mit der großzügigen Unterstützung von: