Spring 2022 HKU

When architects talk about the environment, what do we really mean? Does it refer to nature, or its very opposite (the “built”)? This seminar is a search to clarify the paradoxical relationship between architecture and nature, not as binary opposites or universal whole, but the emergence of new kinds of objects, which itself includes buildings and projects, subjects, including their producers, maintainers, audiences and consumers, as well as the context of their conceptualization and reception.

We focus on a particular relationship between the natural and the built: water and house. The first part of the seminar questions the nature of the architectural work itself. This involves the close-reading of four modern houses and their entangled relationship to water, in order to structure a new method to understand and analyse the design of a house and its aquatic context. The second part of the seminar explores the architectural articulation between nature and our built environment. This takes students to visit fishing villages along Hong Kong waterfront and uncover their living and building stories. We will conclude this parallel study of the historical canons and the present-day vernacular with an audio-visual project to speculate on the possible design techniques as means of cultivating the natural world.

Students in this course will become familiar with literature on the history and theory of architecture and its design method, as well as selected text on environmental science and humanities, feminist/gender/queer theories, and recent scholarly and artistic materials on Hong Kong living culture. Through close reading primary source materials, students contribute to a collective research project that will result in a future exhibition.

Students / Chau Tsz Yau, Guo Yuhui, Hui Sum Yuen, Lau Fu, Lo Tin Wai Tivian, Lu Sihan, Wang Ruei-cyuan, Fang Ruiyao, Guo Yilin, Li Yangchen, Mei Shuwen, Wu Changrong, Yim Hoi Lam Talia, Zhang Haowe, Fan Dianzhang, Hui Joyce Tze Yuet, Lau Kok Yi, Wu Jue, Li Jing