Residential Tower HK: Social Incubator
REISER Jesse, UMEMOTO Nanako
With light, air and living space in Hong Kong at a premium this projects seeks to address the increasing demand for housing all of its citizens; recognizing the increasing social disparity and economic segregation between rich and poor. RUR proposes a 35 storey prototypical mixed income residential tower for a maximum of 230 permanent and transient residents. The L shaped floorplan is comprised of residential cells in a portalized concrete eggcrate structure along one arm of the L and vertical and horizontal circulation along the other arm. The eggcrate scheme allows for maximum flexibility while defining space and views with a strong spatial and material tectonic. While the mix of incomes within the tower is flexible, the proposed population mix is 72.5% low, 24 % middle, and 3.5% high; the range of residential arrangements allows for many possible ways of living. At one extreme a wealthy resident may occupy an entire floor of the tower and utilize the cells enfilade. However those wishing a communal lifestyle may occupy the entire floor with a mix of private and public spaces, interior and exterior, at their discretion. Likewise middle scale aggregation of cells can be configured for families; down to single cells for both permanent and transient residents. An essential aspect of this building is the portalized eggcrate superstructure, vertical circulation, and garden “eggs” which comprise the only fixed construction. All glazing, infill, and partitions would be movable depending on the desires of the residents or intended residential mix, periodic wet cores allow for maximum flexibility locating kitchens and bathrooms. Hong Kong has witnessed the relentless reduction of community space both in the public realm and within buildings; supplanting the life in neighborhoods with spaces of mass consumption continues unabated. The tower offers the possibility of thinking a sectional idea of communal space: what the courtyard and the corridors offered in the old city will be reborn in the tower. A series of variably scaled garden “eggs” punctuate the tower from top to bottom. While they are sectionally independent of the floor slabs they network to the residences in their sectional neighborhood. These eggs become communal incubators both for traditional or non-traditional extended families and neighbors alike. The ovoid morphology is deliberately foreign to the normative spaces of dwelling. Being thrust into a different material and formal universe is meant to disrupt habit and routine – encouraging novel encounters with ones’ neighbors. The eggs become vessels for different gardens types based upon dry and wet media and can be used for meditation, exercise, taking tea, and other community events.