Life in the Cells

KUNG Alvin, CHEUNG Suanne

By 2018, around half of the Hong Kong residents are living in a space similar to a standard carparking space - 12.5 sq.m. The mean per capita living space across the whole of Hong Kong is 15 sq.m. in 2017, whilst the average subdivided unit size is 6.3 sq.m. two years ago and as low as 4.5 sq.m. in 2017, even smaller than an average per capita prison cell of 4.6 sq.m. in H.K. At the same time, a new category of communal space is trending, from the post-war tenement house of having none within the architecture, to the now norm of having private communal space such as clubhouse, gardens etc. inside all new private-sector residential developments. Life in the Cells becomes a microcosm within the tight control set up by the curator, as a chronicle to capsulate the on-going strive to create humane freespace inside the rigid land parcel assigned by urban planning constraints, whilst keeping up with an increasingly demanding density, a very Hong Kong struggle. Even though, given our extraordinary flat sizes ranging from 5 to 15 sq.m., as mentioned earlier, this installation proposes a residential typology with both internal and external atrium that is able to provide light, view and ventilation, as a means to counter-act the claustrophobic effect of a super compact living environment. As an antithesis to the efficient, cost-effective and large yet monotonous apartments, housing units here vary with identity. To the communal realm, sufficient, quality open spaces are placed on each floor. In Life in the Cells, one can see the per capita ‘freespace’ for an individual is evolving from more privatized space on lower floors to a high percentage of semi-private shared space at the topmost storey, thereby reducing overall living space density even with the average per capita private space unchanged. A modern clan is ready to be formed under such spatial suggestion from the freespace, as an antidote to the crowded yet lonesome urban life.

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Disclaimer: Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the project only, and does not otherwise take part in the project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials/events (or by members of the project team) are those of the project organizers only and do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Create Hong Kong, the CreateSmart Initiative Secretariat or the CreateSmart Initiative Vetting Committee.

責聲明:  香港特別行政區政府創意香港僅為本項目提供資助,除此之外並無參與項目。在本刊物/活動內(或由項目小組成員)表達的任何意見、研究成果、結論或建議,均不代表香港特別行政區政府、商務及經濟發展局通訊及創意產業科、創意香港、創意智優計劃秘書處或創意智優計劃審核委員會的觀點。