Previous posts on this site explored the developments and the projects regarding the West Kowloon Cultural District, the largest cultural project in Hong Kong. Today, moving also from themes such as migration, settling and unsettling explored in yesterday's post, let's look at another area of Hong Kong, Kowloon East.
The area, comprising Kai Tak Development (KTD), Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay Business Areas and set to become another Central Business District of Hong Kong, is currently being celebrated with a series of art and architectural projects on display at the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennale.
The projects included revolve around the theme “Inter Cities/Intra Cities: Ghostwriting the Future” and tackle different issues presenting a variety of approaches to space all based on multiplicity, subversion and invention. Tthere are urban beekeeping and agricultural projects, concepts set to rediscover urban ecology and community-based spatial planning, independent music venues, bridge cities (a project by Rocco Design, see short video around 1:06), web-connected city benches and video interviews with the inhabitants of Kwun Tong that chronicle the stories, contradictions and ideas behind this area.
As you may guess there are also quite a few futuristic structures proposed for this area: Foster + Partners designed for example the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, currently under construction at the tip of the former Kai Tak runway 13.
The structure is characterised by sustainable design and combines a number of energy saving measures, as well as generating power from renewable sources and making use of recycled rainwater for cooling.The building will be used 24 hours a day, with a public roof garden providing a stage for recreation with open and covered spaces for activities such as family picnics, outdoor dining ad wedding banquets with views of Hong Kong.
The most futuristic (and fantastic) structure remains the one created by young Hong Kong-based architectural design practice CAVE, a studio established in 2011 by three graduates from the Bartless School of Architecture, University College London.
Pushing boundaries in architecture and focused on new and engaging projects, CAVE came up with a futuristic city they called "Imaginary Kai Tak". For this project they moved from the idea of globalisation considering how the latter threatens the diversity and individual experience within a city. The design group designed a structure characterised by six narratives and inspired by local stories, maps, photographs, cultural events documented from history and shared memory.
The six narratives are developed into six systems that form the speculative future Kai Tak City. The structure, a sort of island hovering over the water with cloud shaped units floating above in organised formation, includes imaginary places such as the Octopus Motor Cotton Mills weaving factory and the Kowloon Docks shipyard. Yet no cotton is made here and no boats are repaired, but clouds float out of the factory chimneys since the site is also the first and final station for the shuffling transport clouds.
Somehow the "Imaginary Kai Tak" made me think about Studio Ghibli's 1986 film Laputa - Castle in the Sky: how long will it take us to build such structures in the sky and what will we wear in such places?
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