Submission Entry for HKIA Young Architect Award 2019

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Beginning in the 1960s, public housings were constructed for the lower middle income families. One of the earliest public housings was resettlement estates. The living conditions in the building blocks could not be described as ideal, they provided a basic, sheltered and safe sleeping space. Cooking stations and lavatories were placed at the communal space in the open corridors. Schools were often placed at the roof-tops which provided basic education for the tenants’ children in a convenient and close location. Despite the unfavourable living conditions, the occupants, the families, and even the teachers enjoyed a close relationship. The neighbourhood was strongly-connected and close-knit within the community. In some cases, the level of trust within the community was so strong that the doors of the living units were often left open days and nights. 

The Standing Village reminisces and reconstructs the sentiments of the close-knit neighbourhood, as the Chinese saying goes, “a far-off relative is not as dear as a close-by neighbour” ( 遠親不如近鄰 ), the Standing Village is designed to foster neighbourhood relationship and recreate a closely-connected community, through an effective use of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) and a series of open, communal spaces. Facilities inspired by the resettlement estates will be remained, such as a Village nursery. Yet, to maximize the effectiveness and enable self-sufficiency within the Village, other services such as child care service, senior living centres, atmospheric markets, urban farms, elevated park and multipurpose co-spaces will also be built on a modular basis. Villagers are highly encouraged to extend their enclosed individual units to the open and shared co-space within their floors and inter-floors. The flexible modulars also enable the configuration of the units subject to the family size and intergenerational needs. 

Yet there is a group of community that we should not forget - the domestic workers in Hong Kong. The living conditions and the privacies of domestic workers in Hong Kong are often neglected. The Chinese saying reminds us that “at home, one depends on his parents; abroad, one relies on the help of his friends” ( 在家靠父母,出外靠朋友 ), we understand that the domestic workers are heavily reliant on each other on many levels. To this end, the Standing Village has dedicated a floor, an unprecedented permanent community space to the domestic workers to maintain their relationship, create their neighbourhood and provide them with privacy by individual dormitories. 

The Standing Village is more than its physical and vertical arrangement of a village, the Standing Village is where one finds trust and peace of mind. Figuratively, the villagers “stand” in unity and harmony.