Michael Wright Memorial
An extension to the Essence of Hong Kong Public Housing
By Irene Cheng, Winner
The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Young Architects Award 2017
The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Young Architect Award acknowledges the talents and contribution of young architects in Hong Kong. The year 2017 theme "Michael Wright Memorial" invites young architects to submit design proposals to honour and commemorate Mr Wright and to showcase his contribution to the Hong Kong general public.
The winner of the 2017 award, Irene Cheng, our founder and design principal, proposed in her design to conserve part of an early Hong Kong public housing building, and to transform it into a memorial as well as a public gathering place to serve the future community, on a site that is currently undergoing redevelopment.
Alec Michael John Wright 鄔勵德
Architect, surveyor and civil servant, Mr. Michael Wright’s life and service is a reflection of the Hong Kong Early Public Housing History. The design proposal conserved the essence of Hong Kong Public Housing and transformed it into a memorial for Mr. Wright, and at the same time, a museum that encapsulates this History.
The site, Wah Fu Estate, a public housing development built in the 60s, is scheduled to be demolished in the near future. The proposal integrates this public facility into the re-development opportunity, to conserve the first 2 floors of a typical housing block and to establish the conserved building as an exhibition space as well as an exhibit on its own. It will be the best exhibit alive.
Although Wah Fu Estate wasn’t a direct work of Mr. Wright, nor was it done by his department at the time when it was built, it is a great example of public housing that embodies Mr. Wright’s principles and thoughts. A typical unit in the estate epitomizes the influence of Mr. Wright’s beliefs: ‘’A self- contained flat, with kitchen and bathroom solely used by one family in the unit.
"The best exhibit alive!"
The first 2 floors will be conserved. The facade of the G/F are opened up to express the beauty and efficiency of the shear wall structure that use to support the whole building.
Following Mr. Wright's spirit of practicality, the ground floor is also transformed into a market to serve the future community.
"New + Old"
The New extension is elevated above the conserved architecture.
It inherits the virtues of the Wah Fu Estate, by adopting the grid, with big outdoor terraces, natural ventilation, and lots of sunlight.
The walls are painted in yellow and white, to preserve the colour of the existing Wah Fu Estate.
In the Exhibition Space, Large parts of internal flooring will be made in glass - people look at the conserved public-housing from above. Visitors can also walk down to feel the spaces in person.
"The Memorial Garden"
The memorial garden is located at the large terrace at the end of the Journey, 2 units are turned into sunken ponds for meditation; with small Bauhinia trees planted in the centres, symbolising Michael's root and connection with Hong Kong, the city that he loves.
In that sense we are not only preserving a piece of our housing history, but we are also inheriting Michael’s principles in architecture, which shall never be forgotten.
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