By Arthur Middelkamp & Suzanne Nagtegaal (buroBois / Urbanacts)
There is a lot of city in the world, but there needs to be more city to house everybody without consuming the close surroundings, nature reserves, agricultural lands and more green stuff.
It is almost evident to realize more density in the consisting built area of the cities. To do so is not easy and it needs creative solutions. Higher buildings, smaller houses, common grounds and 24-7 economies. To not throw away existing capital we have picked an existing building and added a serious number of apartments.
We have chosen a site in Hong Kong instead of one of the recommended cities. This is because in Hong Kong there is a huge pressure on the housing market and affordable houses are a cool 2 hours train ride from the creative hot spots of the city. Besides this, Hong Kong already has a vibrant rooftop culture. Semipublic terraces, informal rooftop communities all because ground is scarce on the Hong Kong Island.
The former Police Married Quarters, located in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, in the middle of SoHo, has been revitalized as a creative hub for local design talents. It occupies the location of the second campus of the Central School (Queens's College) formed in 1862 and built on this site in 1889. Later on it transformed into the Police Married Quarters. Finally, in mid- April, 2014, the building was renamed as PMQ and open to the public. The building transformed residential units into design studios, shops and offices for creative enterprises and places for organizing exhibits. The mission of PMQ is to nurture local designers, provide a stage for creative happenings and create a place for visitors to experience creative lifestyle. As an addition we have designed a housing block for the create-preneurs and designers in the building.
Instead of using the footprint and adding some light weight floors we have chosen to add in a perpendicular way in relation to the building. This to stretch the possibilities of the material and keep the openness of the existing site. Thereby we are bridging buildings, creating an extra infrastructure.
Connecting people, building bridges to bridge buildings.
Next to building houses for the tenants we have tried to add some climate improving features. The sun in tropical Hong Kong can be blistering and we have added a rooftop garden to bring shade to the users and the building itself.
The facade is a double one for the same benefits. Rainwater is collected and used for watering the plants in dry spells. The added plants and grassers lower the CO2 in the air which makes it a more healthy environment.