The Lost Cultural Typologies

Karen HO

This thesis aims to explore the possibility of re-creating and re-discovering a new rural living for the Hakka People in the New Territories starting in San Wai Tsuen, Pui O. The village was once a Hakka Village, but its cultural identity was lost due to the emergence of the modern era; the government’s short sighted vison of zero rural planning and small house policy which was introduced in 1972, said “to promote better living and maximising living units”. Many villages in Hong Kong face the same challenges as the top down approach has taken away the essence of culture and identity, the tight and nurturing relationship a small community should have.

The project provides a rural strategy that re-connects the village which was once segregated into two by the river that flows down the middle. The village is designed into layers and boundaries through the inspiration of traditional Hakka community which separates the inner village from the outside: 1) Market & Restaurants along the main street which act as a barrier, 2) Multi-Housing Clusters, 3) Farming Clusters 4) Existing Upper Village. Shared communal programmes are introduced and allocated at the centre of the village where different combination of housing clusters wrap around specific neighbouring programmes to enable easy access.

In addition, this project offers an alternative approach from small houses and raises an important question “are standardised and maximised floor area always the best way to provide for villagers?”. Instead of one standardised housing units, four different housing typologies were designed for the villagers to choose from to suit their specific preferences, through using bamboo, a rich and sustainable material used by the traditional Hakka. Bamboo plays an important role to promote interaction through density of bamboo columns and louvers for opening where houses are designed to extend their activities beyond their houses to shared streets. The strategy comes from re-creating villagers’ childhood memories from having a door to door neighbourhood.

This thesis focuses on 3 main socio-economic goals: 1) To Restore Culture 2) To Rebuild Village 3) To Reconnect People. It is designed into three phases and layered into strips which aims to integrate with the existing upper village of San Wai Tsuen and to expand with neighbouring villages.

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