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RADICAL EXPERIMENTATION IN FORMS OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE RELATIONSHIPS
- PUBLIC CONDITIONS X PRIVATE RELATIONSHIP

(Graduation project for my bachelor's degree, in 2014)

Graham Street Market is an open-air wet market in Hong Kong. Like many markets, the distinction between public and private becomes blurred in the bustling activity and strong sensory environment of its day-to-day activities. My project aimed to explore the spatial qualities of this in-between character, further gradating the horizontal relation between shops and street activity, and the vertical relation between the market and residential apartments above.

The outcome was an extended structure that would occupy the street on stilt-like legs, supporting a mezzanine above. It could replicate the convivial atmosphere of the street below by supporting communal facilities such as shared kitchens or leisure areas, linking the flats from both sides of the road. In turn, this architectural feature strikes a balance in exploring between the sense of security of each apartment and the sense of neighbourhood through the concept of sharing.

 

Often our strongest spatial experiences come from thresholds, hardly defined spaces in their own right but the points of entry or exit between more concrete interior-exterior or public-private territory. The area of each shop is extended onto the pavement while passage through the market is incorporated within shop areas. An ambiguous border separated shops in two halves, as the frontage spaces of the original shop area are encouraged to be used publicly as the pathway.

 

Instead of a practical design to improve the market, this project is to be seen as an experiment with public-private relation, for which Graham Street Market is used as a test case. Through an impractical design of occupying the street, I engage the diverse and mixed quality in the market.

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