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MIDDLE MAN
HONG KONG

How to theorize a city that operates without theory? Such is the challenge of Hong Kong, where the combination of a growing population and limited land has cultivated an instant-fix mentality. There is neither time nor space for architectural ideologies, only pure pragmatism. But this habit has created fragments of an ideology – that there is value not only in resolving the conflict but also highlighting the two sides. The middleman functions in the same way, a bridge that is also always looking for more gaps to fill. This project, formatted as a series of video essays, investigates the city as a middleman of this uneasy duality, and the tools used to deal with the two extremes, from buildings (Entertainment Building) and objects (Escalator) to scenarios (Porosity vs. Solidity).

Because Hong Kong’s urban landscape has undergone such drastic changes, its architectural qualities are easily diluted – by broad historical narratives or narrow typological studies that shuffle buildings into timelines and categories. This video series will function as a body of references for local designers and the larger community interested in the architecture of the city. Like a close reading of a novel, or video essays that analyze a specific aspect of a film, this project seeks to provide comprehensive analysis of individual architectures rather than a portrait of the city. We believe the local design culture will benefit from having a shared set of references – historical, ideological, visual – to discuss, interrogate, reinterpret.

Produced by New Office Works, an architectural design office that builds upon the vocabulary accumulated "then" while satisfying the needs and desires of "now."

Supported by Design Trust.


怎樣把一個沒有理論的城市理論化呢?這是研究香港的挑戰。人口不斷增長和土地短缺的問題形成了《暫時解决》的心態。在這裡既沒有時間亦沒有空間去容納建築的意識形態,只有純粹的實用主義。但這種習慣卻創造了意識形態的碎片 - 其價值不僅在解決兩個極端的衝突,同時亦突顯了雙方的獨特之處。中間人以相同的方式運作,如總是在尋找更多間隙來連結的橋樑。這研究項目以一系列的視頻作為呈現的格式,調查城市怎樣飾演中間人這角色,以及作為處理兩個極端的工具,從建築物(娛樂行)到物件(自動扶梯)到場景(通透度與封閉度)。

由於香港的城市景觀經歷如此激烈的變化,其建築情懷很容易被稀釋 - 宏觀的歷史敘述或傳統的類型學研究沒法貫徹地看到香港的特別之處。本視頻系列希望可以為本地設計師以及對城市建築感興趣的大眾作為參考資料。就像仔細閱讀分析電影某些特點的小說或視頻文章,本研究項目提供對各個體系建築的綜合分析,而不只是城市的肖像。我們相信本地的設計和文化界將能受益於擁有大家共通的参考詞彙 - 歷史,意識形態,視覺 - 從而進一步討論,批判和重新演繹。

出品自New Office Works, 一家引用「過去 」 所累積的詞匯, 來滿足 「現在 」需求和期望的建築設計公司。

鳴謝信言設計大使的支持。