By Jesus Cortes & Ugur Ilgar Tan
The streets are clogged up, the highways and the byways are filled to the brim with traffic, there is a severe housing shortage to a point where entire sections of the city are devoid of it; commutes get longer as city grows in uneven spurts - these are the problems Hong Kong faces.
These problems of the city are even more pronounced in the district of Kwun Tong, famous Business center of Kowloon, Hong Kong – known for its severe urban decay and infamous population density. One of the worst side-effects of this density in this part of Hong Kong is the traffic congestion it causes. So much so, in fact, that in many parts of the district, the lack of housing and long commute has started to unravel the fabric of the district. However, with no available space for development, there needs to be a new answer to the upcoming housing crisis.
Introducing Hexahedra, a new typology of multivalent aerial superstructure; latching itself to the surrounding buildings as it runs along the elevated rail through its modulating infill. The main purpose is to provide housing in part of the city that has no more space for it, and to describe this new typology of the ‘floating city’ as one that is built around and utilizes the alternate modes of travel. Repetition and variation in the modules lend the project into variety of spaces, from housing to parks for residents. In this case, clusters of housing are connected via an elevated rail that runs through them all, while creating a multi-leveled topography on its roof which acts as the secondary mode of transportation – cycling – suturing the clusters together and stitching the building around the elevated rail and the buildings that surround.
The building is organized in clusters that are connected through extensions of the original modules that serve as pathways and landscape for bicyclists. The variation in size of the modules and the interconnectivity created secondary and tertiary spaces that serve public functions. However, the housing is nested within the laminated superstructure which serves to connect the infrastructure as well. The entry to the building is achieved through rooftops of the buildings it latches on to. More specifically, the building latches itself on positions of stairwells and the elevator shafts.
Kerto S-LVL Beam is used to construct the superstructure and the modules, while Kerto Q-LVL panels are used for cover and veneer. Kerto S-LVL beam is a particularly strong type of beam that achieves long spans superstructure very well. The panels are in 3 layers, topped with photo-voltaic microfilaments, insulation, and the panels. The laminated superstructure acts as the main tensile structure for the nested modules however the modules within themselves have self-contain structure for the module itself.
All in all, Hexahedra is new type of housing, one that takes it cues from historical examples of settlements along the predominant transport line; however, contorting the notion to create a new typology of elevated modules that wrap itself around the elevated rail, MTR of Kwun Tong.