MODES OF OPERATION

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine_John Lennon

In a lot of movies, all countries will only be allied when there are aliens or drastic disaster. I believe people tend to leave their antagonism under a greater threat.

The site becomes a zone for people from both the communist and capitalist world to coexist. In a mild or a wild way? Once a citizen passes his/her border check point and enters the site, he disappears from his/her city, can the site be the Devil’s Triangle? Is the site a place for the impossibilities to happen?


Secret Organization                                                        Kyung Dong church CIMG3588
Kyung Dong Presbyerian Church, South Korea

source: exhibits of The South Korean pavilion in Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

Its main entrance is located at the back of the building, unlike others which are easily recognized. At the back, there is a staircase leads to the outdoor stadium and another staircase leads to the underground church.

The site is divided into multiple level. Above ground is a camouflage for the underneath space to avoid the satellite surveillance.

Underground offers no view which provides a sense of timelessness and isolation. After the meditation through the underground space, people can then choose to enters Hong Kong or Shenzhen territory.

Map of Derinkuyu, Turkey

source: http://www.gotourturkey.com/

Perhaps the lower you go, the more secret program it should be.

Secret NetworkThe circulation network in Central, Hong Kong

source: Diagram from Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook

It is possible to walk all day in Hong Kong without set foot on the ground. Central district is one of the typical example, office towers and shopping malls are interconnected via footbridges or subways. A lot of them are only known by locals who pass by all the time since many of them are not visually connected. It is possible that a footbridge is connected on the 2/F of a building on one facade and another one is connected on the 4/F on the other side or even another underground walkway.

The circulation towards the secret space can be hidden by buildings, by disconnections or any other ways, it may be complicated and confusing to create the privacy.

Activist Recruitmentshopping mallsPartial shopping malls in Hong Kong

At the dawn of the 21st century, a number of advances in verticle transportation are being made, from cableless self-propelled elevator systems to Otis’… Odyssey, a small train, platform, or large box that moves horizontally, vertically, and diagonally – literally opening up a new architectural potential: to extend the urban condition itself from the ground floor to strategic points inside a building in a continuous trajectory.

Rem Koolhaas

The border line to Shenzhen is very close to their developed area with residential and commercial buildings. Yet, it is a more remote area to Hong Kong. The adjacent neighbourhood is not within a walking distance unlike Shenzhen.

There are over a hundred of shopping malls in Hong Kong with different scales, some are operated in chained, under the same management company. Shopping malls act as an infrastructure in Hong Kong, you can find at least one in every district, literally several blocks away. They are often connected to mass railway system or connected to other buildings like office or residential towers. Going to shopping mall is a daily activities in Hong Kong. Even you are not aiming at buying anything, you will somehow pass through a shopping mall accidentally. If a direct transportation such as a shuttle bus can bring people to the border zone from the shopping malls, it can then greatly “shorten the distance” from the city center, to help people engage the zone.

Secret Agent

In order for the camouflage works, the top layer needs to perform successfully, at least trying to achieve a happy coexist community. First goal, it is able to attract visitors. Second goal, it is able to have people put down their anger. Third goal, it is something that the mass public is able to participate.

“Tin Kwong Hui” at Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong

source: orientaldaily.on.cc

“Tin Kwong Hui”, a special term in Hong Kong, meaning Street Market during the Dawn. Local residents, mostly the elders, start the business before 6am. The community has fought for 2 years to legalize this activity at a designated space but failed to do so. As a result, the vendors can only keep their trading in the dark and bear the risk of being arrested at anytime.

source: Mingpao Daily 5/13/2012

There are only several places with street market left in Hong Kong, the Government place the vendors into indoor buildings. Although in terms of program or function between a street market and an indoor market are alike, the experiences provided are vastly different. The Government sacrifices the needs of the community in return for their ease of management.

Wan Chai Market, Hong KongWan Chai Tai Yuen Street, Hong Kong

source: commons.wikimedia.org

These two markets are just 5 minutes walk away. However, the usage and the human flows are extremely opposite.

A campaign including a DVD talks about the vanishing street markets in Hong Kong, produced by a local organization, Breakazine!

There are already so many studies and facts demonstrate the advantages of street activities. Malls run in a controlled way, controlled environment, controlled climate, controlled shops, which are suitable for brand. On the other hand, streets are able to offer a more porous and bottom-up approach such as small capital or start-up or temporary activities. This can be adopted in the design which allows the mass public to be involved and enhance the community as a result.

This is where the agents to safeguard the hidden space and to find potential members, it is also where the source comes from.

Secret GatheringKorean pavilion Venice Architecture Biennale 2014The South Korean pavilion in Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

source: http://www.dezeen.com/2014/06/06/korean-pavilion-mass-studies-north-south-venice-architecture-biennale-2014/

Because of the preparation of this pavilion, the architects in South Korea engaged the related parties in North Korea. Cho said the bonding between North and South Korea is enhanced through this event.

A joint project can be organized in my proposed site so as to have diverse people get involved in it. Similar to the spirit of sports, as long as people have the same goal to achieve, they tend to leave the personal issues aside.

In fact, there is Shenzhen/Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture since 2007. Unfortunately, same as the case of the Korean Pavilion, only limited disciplines of people were involved. It is still not the ideal project that the mass public can participate except being a visitor.

Another proposed project is the 6.4 gathering, it is a memorial event of Tiananmen Square Massacre that happened on June 4th 1989. 6.4 is a forbidden topic in the Mainland, people cannot even search or post anything about it in the internet. Some Mainlanders came to Hong Kong to attend this event.

The 25th annual evening memorial event in Victoria Park in 6/4/2014, Hong Kong

source: http://hkdash.com/?p=5001

These events may be housed indoor for people to forget where they are, not the money driven Hong Kong nor the soviet urbanism China. Buildings can be an opportunity to create another mini world inside, and can be the connection to the underground too.


In An Architecture of Change, Gomez and Rogers ask us to reconceive utopianism not so much as a practice but as a process, one that has the potential to transform both the production of space and the distribution of social and political power. They explain the failure of modernist utopias is because their dependence on the state and capital for their realization.  It is not new that architecture (or design in general) becomes political blindness. However, I do believe architecture has a significant impact to the society (can be both in good and bad ways). Architects should therefore take the responsibility for the consequences of any action they took, it is unacceptable to accept conditions as they stand. [1]

I was shocked by the historic events listed in Project on the City I: Great Leap Forward. Honestly, Mao was not mentioned much in the history class in Hong Kong. Both the glorifying acts and the suppression measures to get rid of anyone who did not agree with him terrified me. [2]

In the article Subtraction, Easterling mentions the situation of Naura. It is an island country that relies others’ help, it sells its commodity in return including the dirty work. [3] At the end of her book, she says pirates are not necessarily worse than those who put on fake masks. The pirates perform as an edge of a country, define its porosity. [4]

Hong Kong somehow acts as the role of Naura, things that are not allowed in the Mainland may be possible here. My design is the place that enable harmless forbidden things to happen. Hong Kong itself should not to give in this unique character so as to continue to shine in the stage of the world, otherwise it has no difference among other first tier cities in China.

It is very impressive to read the article Does Your Mall Have An Airporteven as a Hong Kong citizen to be honest. I realize the remote check-in service inside the mall is an edge, but I never know there is a cross border check-in service as well. This tiny implementation really helps blur the boundary between Mainland and Hong Kong. [5]

But, this convenience doesn’t necessarily help improve the relationship between the Mainland and Hong Kong. It has a reverse effect instead. This allows the Red injects into the Blue directly without any buffer zone. Unless the mall, Elements, employs any measures to invite Hong Kong citizens, the nature of resistance makes people to refuse to visit it. It then becomes a mall solely for the Mainlanders as described in the article. It is a red spot in a blue sea.

Malls really play an significant role in Hong Kong. They are more like a center point of each district. You can find a mall in every neighbourhood within walking distance. Thus, malls accommodate a lot of services more than just shopping here. It is more like an infrastructure than a commercial spot to us. A lot of them are connected with mass transport, airport express, railway systems, etc. And the other programs will then be built around it, say residential complex on top of the malls is very common.

Intertwined network in West Kowloon, Hong Kong [6]

Jan Ghel points out that it is crucial to determining the acceptable distance in a given situation is not only the actual physical distance, but also to a great extent the experienced distance. [7] Therefore, a shuttle service can indeed shorten the distance. This is also the reason for CCA students who choose to live near Oakland campus although they only have class in San Francisco.

Bibliography:

  1. Bell, Bryan and Wakeford, Katie, “Expanding Architecture: Design As Activism.” New York: Metropolis Books. (2008):24-25.
  2. Chuihua Judy, Chung, Jeffrey, Inaba, Rem, Koolhaas and Sze Tsung, Leong, “Great Leap Forward.” Harvard Design School. (2001): 32-43.
  3. Keller, Easterling, “Enduring Innocent: Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades.” MIT Press. (2005):180-184.
  4. Keller, Easterling, “Enduring Innocent: Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades.” MIT Press. (2005):196.
  5. Max, Hirsh and Jonathan D., Solomon, “Does Your Mall Have An Airport?” Log. (2010):99-106.
  6. Adam, Frampton, Jonathan D., Solomon and Clara, Wong, “Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook.” ORO Editions. (2012):68-69.
  7. Jan, Ghel, “Life Between Buildings.” Island Press. (2011):137.
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