Friday, June 22, 2007

What’s IN & OUT

Hong Kong is No:1 of the world in many aspect –

1 of the highest ratio in {civil servants: civilians}.
1 of the highest paid for civil servants.
1 of the largest portion of the civil servant in the government expenditure.
1 of the smallest ratio per civil servant serving meters square.

but, when it comes to building their own home (i.e. government headquarters, details here), these civil servants decided to out source the managing task to the contractors whom would select the architectural designers and eventually to decide on the new iconic image for Hong Kong.
In many countries, this will become the international events for open/invited architectural design competitions, exhibits, gathering public opinions, seeking authorities for advice, open debate and so on… however, our civil servants decide to conduct a design & build contract for a supposedly important building, a procurement which the architects have no say in the process but to serve the contractors (a few owned by developers) and the public has no choice but to stuck with the 4 contractors’ design…

And even more surprisingly, when architects were given an opportunity to voice out, their comments were disappointingly tabloid and QS(quantity surveyor) like, quote from South China Morning Post, Sunday, June 17, 2007 –

Vincent Ng Wing-shun, former vice president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architecture -

-“It is clearly an outdated image of Hong Kong. A sailing boat can no longer represent the city”.
- “Door design would be more expensive than “sailing boat”.
- “the gaps between the two sides of the block are quite wide and it will definitely cost more to build the supporting block across the middle”

An architect, who declined to be named –
- “This design might not use floor space efficiently”.
- “If one bureau is based on one side of the ‘door’ and the other on the other side, then staff have to go up to the top or down to the bottom to get to see each other… and this design means you will not have a big open space on each floor.”

The head of architecture at the University of Hong Kong, Leslie Lu -
- “door” design would be more expensive… a design that is out of the ordinary costs more”

In tune with their layman’s talk, here is the real deal from good slave –

- The “door” is rather a “economic” version of CCTV headquarters (by OMA). By colouring one of the tower in black, it achieves similar results at bird's eye view and need not to worry about the additional cost for unconventional structural implications.

- “door” design is even more outdated! From La Nouvelle Arche > Umeda Sky Building > every now and then you would see some “lite” version proposed somewhere at China.
- The locations of the government headquarters have been very strategic in history, mainly for the control of crowds – limited access + limited gathering space. The existing location at central is a good example where the HK government can learn from their previous British boss.

The “door” scheme invites massive demonstrations and provides them with a sea-view + cross ventilation, be easily surrounded by demonstrators approach from from all sides - good for “長毛", bad for Donald Tsang.

In this regards, good slave is in full support of 'door' scheme.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I keep on fallin’ in … and out…

Good slave loves Ngong Ping skyrail for a number of reasons despite its recent incident of cabin plunged 50m to the ground. (details here & here)

It’s a rare skyrail design where cabins can make turns at the transitional station for every point fold of the terrain below. The deserted interior of the transitional station is fantastic, reminds good slave of the slaughter house design… fully automated with robotic device moving the hanging cabins around, sitting inside being levitated and awaiting to be projected out onto the spectacular landscape, and be hovered above every point fold of the terrian.

but, the most important of all - despite all the feng shui masters' warnings not to build at Lantau Island, some designers took the challenge and present the public a spectacular way of viewing the island. Some say there is a price to pay for challenging the mysterious force of feng shui (constant mechanical failure + plunging 50m),

However as to compare with some design institution at the other part of the town who constantly preaching “architecture to follow feng shui” (by writing articles “feng shui in architecture + lecture series “architecture in feng shui” for the past decades), the price being paid is insignificant.

Why? In the view of the public, those preachers are falling in and out of the feng shui spells since it becomes an institutional sound bite, their works has much ado about nothing except being bad taste (examples here)

Disclaimer – good slave is not against feng shui, but there are more profound principles in architecture that govern the habitat than this pseudo-non-progressive belief.

Friday, June 8, 2007


How to proclaim fame when you consider yourself -

@ 40+ successful architect and nothing stands in your way
@ constant “play with time management” due to busy schedule
@ largest company in Hong Kong and largest company in the world
@ least 30+ nos of committee memberships belong to different clubs/civil services.
@ crossroad (after you make yourself a one flower party “一枝花生日會”) when looks becomes a concern to match your global success.
@ extract from Next Magazine issue no.900 pg.32,33 Mence Advertisment or click at the pictures below for details

be a spoke person for Menace and state all the facts there @ the testimonial section!

For some reason, this came across good slave mind -

"The Code of Professional Conduct, HKIA Guidelines for the Promotion of Professional Services” –

3.0 Principles on the form of promotion
3.1 A Member shall not make generalized claim as regards size or quality of his practice or projects. Comparative or superlative term shall not be used, except in a measurable manner.
3.2 A Member shall not either directly or by implication, make a comparison of his own practice with other member’s practice.
3.3 The contents of the practice promotion shall not be ostentatious, onerous nor in a manner derogatory to the dignity or reputation of the institute or the architectural profession.
3.4 No fee rate nor charges shall be publicized within the promotion contents.

However, in good slave heart, there is only one code of practice-
All the world loves a lover. All the world loves MANDOM.
The works define an architect and nothing else.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Do not fall for the same prank twice!

For those who entered the West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Plan Competition at 2002 (Integrated Arts, Cultural and Entertainment District) and lost, later on routed up some cultural crowd to oppose the idea of the competition itself… Please do not fall for the same prank this time! (details here)

The following is their monkey logic…
By landfilling our valuable waterfront for more roads and skyscrapers, they claim to -

Reducing the wall effect of single large developments,^
Greater visual permeability,^
Reducing traffic generation,*
Reducing air and noise pollution,*
A more competitive business environment,
Increased diversity and vibrancy.

*Less water and more roads > attract more traffic into the district > more congestions > more air and noise pollution >...
^Good slave is curious how building more skyscrappers at the rim of the city will reduce wall effect and provide greater visual permeability?

Whenever government find hard to convince themselves or the general public for some wicked act, they usually look for some foreign representatives to do the PR work, and by conducting international competition is one cheap way to do so.

Same prank, same wicked thoughts!

Disclaimer: Good slave did not enter any West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Plan Competition nor participate any related activities. Good slave only convinced others not to fall for the said prank by not entering the competitions at that time, however, was being labelled as "cultural snob" since then.