Ecological Consumerism

Towards a sustainable mall ecology in Mong Kok

Sarah Ng Shuk Wai
MArch thesis 2012

By “ecological” this thesis aims not only to explore an environmental design to facilitate shopping, but rather to think through the entire ecology or life cycle of consumerism that engages with “resumption” of space, material, energy as well as social equity in the enabling of mixed scale retail businesses. In the world of corporate retail obsessed with economies of scale, brand recognition and monopolization, the architecture of the shopping mall expresses this desire for conspicuous consumption in ever-increasing bigness, grandness and extravagance.

The chosen site is the former premises of the Food & Hygiene Department and the Water Sewage Departments which are planned for relocation, with adjacency to the Mong Kok East MTR Station, Grand Century Plaza, Fa Yuen Street Market and the packed Prince Edward residential area. Extending the recently completed mall (now rebranded MOKO), the project introduces conspicuous resumption to complement the site context while aspiring to an integrated ecological consumption.

Consumption – diversity of scales

Studying Hong Kong’s commercial vernacular and unfolding their spatial configurations, occupancy cycles and business tactics generates design strategies for improving the larger scale shopping complex. Instead of one internalized mega complex (L), this thesis envisions a diversity of settings and scales of shops catering for different businesses, stacking up temporary mobile stalls (XS) and small ground floor shops (S), strategically-located medium-sized shopping clusters (M) and a more massive enclosed assemblage for larger retail units (L).

Resumption – diverse tactics

The proposed design integrates potentials & savings in the mall’s consumption and resumption systems to generate revenue and cut expenses to lessen the commercial pressure while raising the bar for sustainable operations. By responding to (1) commercial obligations e.g. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & onsite paper and plastic recycling, (2) incorporating the upcoming policies on water and organic waste treatment e.g. Municipal Solid Waste Charging Policy and (3) market trends (e.g. urban rooftop farming, purchase of organic products, urban mini storage warehouse), this design aims to bring about a win-win alternative mall scenario for the management, small scale businesses & stalls as well as for shoppers.


HKIA Student Medal 2012
CUHK Best Studio Award 2012
RIBA President’s Medal 2012: Part 2 nomination


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