In collaboration with Ricky Suen, Nicholas Ho & Rosanna Kwok
Driven by the desire to dedicate the vast majority of the ground floor to public realm, and hence to foster cross connections through the site to the harbour, an indexical framework was established to create an articulated landscape that divides the site diagonally to provide new pedestrian and vehicular through-routes.
The dis-used Victorian Bathhouse is to be partially retained and converted to an art gallery coupled with a multi-storey carpark. The private clubhouse is located at podium level and, while formally connecting the different volumes, provides access to the 3 residential blocks facing the harbour.
Informed by the typical courtyard arrangement of building blocks in the city, the proposed arrangement of the residential blocks and the office block is based around the creation of lightwells and terraces that separates and reduces the volumes to allow for maximum light penetration.
In Southern California and especially Los Angeles, the automobile centric planning has resulted in a sprawling metropolis primarily emphasizing the disadvantages of a large city without offering many of the benefits city dwellers enjoy elsewhere around the world. The project questions this lost Californian Dream in LA’s automobile oriented society and is an urban response to the forthcoming arrival of the High Speed Rail, initiating redevelopment of areas within downtown, with the aim of re-invigorating the Californian dream and recapture freedom and mobility, hence a paradigm shift to a transit-oriented society.
By diverting the existing rail tracks from the LA River, the opportunity arises to activate connections to the river, currently a totally inaccessible and controlled encasement. Understanding the composition of LA Downtown and in identifying the combined implication area of this proposed diversion and the new high speed rail, the transformation of Union Station was chosen as the focus of the project, driving the design for the other plots within the implication area, and in particular projecting new connections onto the neighboring plot and subsequently activating connections to the river.
The proposed transformation of Union Station involves the design of a free flowing arrangement of through routes that contrast with and compliment the ordered and linear arrangement of the existing station. The proposed articulated roofscape consists of a series of green spaces generated by the use of recycled greywater. Tapered hollow steel structural sections double as concealed water inlets and outlets to distribute recycled greywater onto designated soiless vegetated surfaces and sheet metal surfaces, together combining natural plant filtration and artificial water flows, to purify air in downtown’s major traffic node. In addition, recycled greywater is channeled to the station platforms and a series of new vegetated courtyard spaces, offering a more tranquil experience to transit in contrary to the busy-ness experienced in conventional transit.
The proposed structure bridges the existing station, with its captured and manicured nature, with the LA River bed, which has a similarly overpowered and totally controlled encasement. By diverting the rail tracks from the river, the creation a new landscape of ground and water interaction as an extension to the transformed Union Station is made possible, completing the experience created by this modulation and integration of man-made structure and nature.
The project has been nominated for the Foster and Partners Award for Sustainable Infrastructure, and has been exhibited in London, Tokyo, Kyoto, and most recently in Los Angeles as part of the RailLA ‘LA Beyond Cars’ Exhibition.
Second Prize in Relational Fields Competition 2010
Published: BLUEPRINT 282 p.44, MARK 29 p.17
The proposed high speed railway station at Iquique is to be positioned within a 300,000 sqm masterplan in Alto Hospicio, a sector of the city 550m above the main city of Iquique.
Alto Hospicio was only first settled in the 1970s as the result of the exponential growth of the city and the subsequent lack of developable land by the coast. With the high availability of land at low prices, it has quickly become an area of urban sprawl and poverty. The high demand and lack of housing in the area has generated areas of illegal constructions with little infrastructure. This alongside the lack of community facilities has led to the social fragmentation and segregation of the area.
The proposal, located between the 2 parts of Iquique and on the peripheral edge of Alto Hospicio, as well as complimenting the already vibrant touristic activities in the city, will trigger the positive development of the area. It will also provide an alternative means of transport to/from the 2 parts of the city via an aerial tramway, vastly improving connections, currently only via the dangerous A-16 and the ancient road. Alongside the high speed railway station, the larger masterplan, generated by the index of the grid, grain, and topographical differences between the 2 parts of the city, will provide other community facilities necessary to Alto Hospicio, including green spaces, cultural, educational, sports and healthcare facilities.
The strategic positioning of the proposal within the fog zone of the city provides the opportunity for the harvesting of the Camanchaca Fog unique to areas of high altitudes along the northern coast of Chile. The new railway station’s upper levels become a daring cantilevered steel structure clad in copper mesh that collects water from fog and channels it to a system of local green spaces.
The project has been named by BLUEPRINT as the 50 best design graduate projects, and has been exhibited in London and Osaka as part of the Annual AA Projects Review, and in Los Angeles as part of the RailLA ‘LA Beyond Cars’ Exhibition.
In collaboration with Nicholas Ho