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Trigger Effect of a Composition

May 13, 2011

Looking out the window from a tall building in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, south towards Mount Cameron, it is fascinating to study how the city terraces itself in layers as it conquer the steep slope. In the photograph it is evident that nature’s vegetation anchors into the slope and seem to be at peace and ease with the contours of the land.

Architecture on slopes however, is at odds with the sloping contours. We need horizontal platforms to function and build properly on slopes and that is contradictory to the nature of hilly terrains. Communicating to these platforms is another serious matter. Roads command serpentine channels to navigate to these platforms. At the end of the day it requires meticulous ‘hill-scape’ planning and conscious designs to achieve natural sloping habitats. It is obvious from the photograph that Hong Kong lacks an empathically architecture vocabulary for slope habitation.

To simply make a quick free-hand sketch of the overall view, my thoughts would be lost without a descriptive paragraph, and a photograph gives a better record of the situation on the hill.

The ‘Trigger Effect’ of my composition is the school that seems to perch on the hill side. It tells the story of the nature of the planning of the school. Podiums are built on horizontal platforms with the classrooms facing out towards Wan Chai. The project is completely surrounded by multi storied buildings forcing the school to hang beyond the natural slope of the hill. A more natural approach would be to cascade the architecture with the contour of the slope. My trigger effect for my sketch started with the exterior stairs of the school, onward to the podiums and finishing up with the surrounding buildings and Mount Cameron in the background.

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