Hong Kong Condition
Hong Kong 2015
“Urban Pauses” are conditions that exist within the fabric of the city which have no prescribed function and exist simply by default; i.e. they are by-products of specific urban situations. Although “pauses” are not planned nor were they designed by any architect/engineer, they constitute an integral part of the DNA of any contemporary city, offering a fertile medium for both cultural and social renewal. The word “pause” has deliberately selected for the purposes of this research, compared to the more commonly associated term “Urban Void” as it implies a space that is only momentarily dormant, awaiting an imminent latent energy to activate a new existence.
How to address redundant urban spaces is becoming a major concern for most contemporary cities. At a time when architects seem to have lost their social consciousness, succumbing once too often to the demands/temptations of the ubiquitous developer, the activation of these hidden spaces offers new possibilities for architects to critically engage with the social realm, allowing them to think outside the box and design solutions for specific problems. The first exponents of and the pioneers of this new way of thinking was the Tokyo architectural practice Bow Wow, led by Professors Tsukamoto and Kaijima (Tokyo Institute of Technology), who in their seminal book “Made in Tokyo” (2001) first coined the expression “by-product Urban Spaces” when referring to interstitial world created by rapid modernization.