Sunday, May 13, 2007

If you love somebody, set them free

Hong Kong has been noisy again on the issue of queen’s pier (noise here, here and here). This round more unnecessary sound bites added in support of HKIA’s stance on the issue (The Hong Kong Institute of Architects, details here) –
Its stance to the “In-situ Preservation” of Queen's Pier

What does “In-situ Preservation” preserve in the process of mummifying a piece of architecture? For preservation of collective memory, axial alignment, “sense of place" as highly praised in the midst of sound bites?

Sense of place -
A pier being mummified with concrete-shoe (in mafia’s term) is deemed to end its “being” of a pier along with its atmospheric conditions (i.e. sense of place) whether it is in-situ or not.
In Heidegger’s notion of “Building Dwelling Thinking” -

The dam forces the river to be what we want. It "enframes" it, makes it into something that is useful to us on our terms. The dam makes the river into hydro-electric power, and makes it into "standing reserve", or an abstraction ("energy") which is there for our use.

Thing-in-itself evolves with building, dwelling and thinking, mummification is a representation of “being” and not preserve the “being” in itself of any previous notion of a pier or any sense of place.

Axial alignment –
The spine that holds the queen’s pier complex together is the line of voids (a more appropriate architectural term for classical ideals, detail please refer to Palladio’s work) starts from Statue Square> Edinburgh Place > Star Ferry Pier > ad infinitum (i.e. water front), once the vanishing point of this line of voids been broken/blocked by future developments (i.e. luxurious residential towers, commercial skyscrapers), the remaining parts of the subsidiary axis (city hall>queen’s pier> Edinburgh Place etc) serves no meaning of its origin whether they align with any higher form of terrestrial/celestial objects.

Collective memory -
Architecture evokes memories with many aspects – replacement/displacement, disappearance/appearance, transparencies/opaque, dislodgement/cohabitate… The belief “to in-situ in order to preserve” is rather wishful thinking or being least imaginative to mummify a building while the surroundings being eradicated drastically by greed and thoughtless authorities.

Examples of imaginative "preservations" here, documentaries soon appear on CNN and BBC.

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