Rocker-Lange architects shared with us the release of their research project, Serial Architecture – Systems of Multiplicities, which was also part of the exhibit “Quotidian Architectures” in the Hong Kong Pavillion at the Venice Biennale 2010. The project, accompanied by a 400+ book, rethinks quotidian architecture in Hong Kong, a city with an average density of over 6,300 people per square kilometer. More images and architect’s description after the break.
As one of the most compact cities in the world, Hong Kong is a diverse and complex place where topographical constraints and unique historical circumstances have created extreme urban forms for the basic needs of city life. Hong Kong housing is predominantly based on the typology of the tower. While this configuration allows for many different interpretations, the common approach to this design task is based on repetitive, reductive and profit driven ideas.
Serial Architecture – Systems of Multiplicities investigates the potential for innovating the organization of Hong Kong’s tower typology. The project interrogates the design, building and living circumstances in Hong Kong investigating possible alternative design techniques that can result in a series of tower configurations that vary and possibly produce unique living conditions.
With the introduction of digital media and digital manufacturing processes, the conception of modularized architecture constructed out of nearly identical industrially mass-produced components has been challenged. Today, with the use of the computer and various open software packages, architecture can instead be realized as varying prototypes of a series. Within each series a variety of design versions can be realized. Each of these design versions is unique and yet also part of the series. Rather than having a fixed form, this approach offers the ability to develop models that describe a flexible space that is based on a set of relationships of discrete elements. Hence, the designer is able to constantly redefine and alter the model, capable of producing many possible versions based on varying input data.
The project is in-formed through several interrelated parameters that generate infinite tower-versions within the a priori defined framework of operation. 125 Tower Versions were generated by one and the same algorithm. Five matrixes, each consisting of 25 towers were generated displaying different tower-families. Each has 60 floors, versions of one and another, as much as of the basis floor plan that was developed in reference to Hong Kong’s existing Tower Typology. While the principles of the highly space and material efficient plans were maintained, a lid semi-public zone between elevator-core and apartments was introduced. The size of the apartments varies, and so does the size of the semi-public zone, which – depending on its size – may take on different programs. The flexing of the tower footprint allows the model to adapt to changing social and programmatic as much as to changing environmental and urban requirements.
While the project suggests a model for the use of contemporary digital design techniques in architecture it is at the same time a critical commentary on the excess of the same.
Design and Concept: Christian J. Lange, Ingeborg M. Rocker Core Team: Hiroshi Jacobs, Matthew Waxman Team: Mo Lee, Lesley McTague, Wes Thomas, Ho Kan Wong Additional Support: Ricardo Solar Photos: Rocker-Lange Architects, Anita Kan, Photo Kan, Cambridge MA, USA