By: Minjae Kim & Kwang Ja Oh
The chosen city, 'Hong Kong' is one of the most densely populated city in the world. Here, architecturally and urbanely, we focused on how to make a sustainable intervention in Central, a district of Hong Kong Island. As the choice of crisis architecture, Central Market which is the first wet market in Hong Kong is located in the central of Hong Kong. The market building has historically several architectural styles. And the latest BAUHAUS structure was completed in 1938. Basically, the market is a 4 store reinforced concrete structure and contains 200 booths inside. The main architectural character is spacious space with a central court, high ceiling and window walls for natural light and ventilation. In 1994, the western part of its second floor was converted into the 'central escalator link alley shopping arcade'. This pedestrian corridor is linked by two footbridges to Hang Seng Bank New Headquarters Building and Central Elevated Walkway, and another footbridge to the Central-Mid-Levels escalator. Namely, the market building plays a key role as a public node between Central and Mid-Levels. Nevertheless, the issue of whether to demolish or refurbish the existing market building has been debated for years. The most recent decision is leaning in favor of supporting the refurbishment.
Based on the background, A new urban model is introduced by connecting the existing Mid-Levels Escalator’s and the Central Elevated Walkway’s circulation up to the new building's high level, considering the importance of the location where is the start point of Central-Mid-Levels escalator, so that the existing urban fabric is strongly connected into the new programs. Along the new path, various plants grow in the wooden vases and common farm facilities provide interesting farming culture. It makes pedestrians exposed to green common space in the midst of their busy city life.
Here, the key issue is how to make residential programs which is a main program for this project, public programs which is important urbanely and commercial programs coexist. Another key issue is how to separate residential and public circulation. To do this, two cores for public programs are located on the East and West side and four cores for residential programs are located at each corner of the market building. Pedestrian route, public and commercial programs are planned in the outer boundary of the building. Residential programs are planned around the central court inside the building. Thus, private and public program users will be in the same building, however, they would not intrude on their space and will be able to coexist at the same time.
For residential space planning, the single households, two-person households mix appropriately with four-person households in consideration with decent percentage of single households and young couple households in this district. At the same time, the same size units are placed side by side and farm facilities for residents are set between groups of the units. As a result, it can encourage residence to interact with each other and help residence relax and experience cultural activities.