By Martino Pietropoli (studiopietropoli)
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated city in the world. Since it’s surrounded by mountains, Hong Kong is forced to grow vertically instead of horizontally. It’s also one of the most important and wealthier financial centre on earth.
The “Overcity” project is based on these assumptions:
1. To expand the resindential and commercial area horizontally using natural and green materials
2. To provide private and public green spaces, therefore improving the overall quality of life
3. To give new perspectives and views on and in the city itself
4. To give a twist to the way this city is usually lived with new paths
The idea of Overcity comes from the overlapping of a new indipendent grid on the existing one. Adding more floors to an existing building might increase its volume but it does not let the flourishing of new relations between different parts of the city. On the contrary, adding a new grid made of resindential and commercial activities all linked horizontally creates a new and more livable dimension: new streets, unseen views on the city, cool places for art galleries, restaurant and offices, green spaces where to spend a sunny afternoon.
This result is achieved composing single prefabricated blocks: each of them is made offsite and then assembled onsite in a short time, just adding one to the others. This kind of construction allows to use very few public spaces on the ground (just for the crane to lift the block in position) and is very quick at the same time.
Each block is basically a 6x6x7 meter two-stories solid. These basic units can be added horizontally or vertically, with virtually no limitation but the existing buildings. The structures is based on a composit timber and flat panels. Each block can be divided into one floor apartments, studios, commercial spaces. Every few blocks, a void provides green spaces, cools down the temperatures and clean the air. Public paths are provided on each floor to access the commercial activities; the roof is also walkable and public.
The site is on Shanghai street across Argyle Road. It’s been chosen for many reason:
1. There’s no green spaces
2. The existing building can be considered “historic”, even if not so old
3. It’s a very crowded and popular street of Hong Kong
4. It needs to be renewed and to get a push towards the future
The concept of Overcity might be developed to different parts of the city, connecting the existing to the new ones and creating new links and connections between people and the city itself.
The solution shown in this project is just a suggestion for future developments.