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-“It is clearly an outdated image of Hong Kong. A sailing boat can no longer represent the city”.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.

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