Friday, May 14, 2010


With our ongoing research in complexity and architectural urbanism, we have been glad to stumble upon the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facility Competition. The competition offered the opportunity for us, to combine massive infrastructural systems with the complexity of an architecture, that acts as an urban organism, connecting and restructuring the understanding of a boundary crossing facility. Instead of designing a dressed-up terminal, we decided to create an urban strip, containing 1 km of urban and entertainment program:


With the introduction of the HKXC next to Chep Lap Kok International airport, the gateway to Hong Kong will create the largest single point of entry to the city. Together, there will be a peak flow of passengers of 180,000,000 people per year (est. 50,000,000 through the airport and 130,000,000 through HKXC). Around six percent of the entire population of Hong Kong will pass this area daily, which will make this hub a commercial opportunity in itself. To cater this volume of travelers, the project is more than just another border crossing facility: It has the potential to become Hong Kong’s international city, a place for commercial activities, short term stay, destination leisure programs and recreational spaces: International air passengers, who stop over in Hong Kong for a few hours can relax in some of the leisure attractions in HKXC, locals can use the duty free shopping facilities to have an alternative to some of the products. Business traveler might use the opportunity to meet in the international zone for a stopover business meeting. Just like Hong Kong itself, HKXC creates an urban environment, which uses densification to create a maximum of opportunities for the user - and therefor is the most iconic symbol of the energy and potential of the city.



The project is driven by the notion of creating a critical mass, a nucleus of circulation, program and space. Instead of accepting a scattered site planning, we propose to compress and connect all the building facilities on the site into a singular super structure. The proposal rationalizes the site and divides it into three distinctive zones:

  1. Hong Kong Side with all the inbound facilities.
  2. HKXC International Exchange Hub with all border crossing facilities as well as commercial and recreational facilities and the access to the airport.
  3. International Side with the road connection to Zhuhai and Macao, outbound facilities, the access to the basement car park as well as the entry point to the HKXC.


Evaluating the given program, a reconfiguration of the buildings can concentrate most of them in one central strip of 1 KM length. Given the height restrictions due to the airport, this strip can accommodate around 500,000 sqm of GFA. This super structure is organized in a sectional principle: All border crossing facilities, such as terminal, kiosk, police and immigration offices, examination will be located at the ground. The central zone will contain a 5 story block, that contains Police Tower, Inbound Cargo Examination and the Admin on the upper floor, in order to compact the circulation. All facilities are connected by a closed circulation system detached from the public. The structure will be extended to create space for additional program of the HKXC: It contains a critical mass of duty free shopping malls, cinemas, water and spa park and other fun sports, food and entertainment program, conference, business center and hotel. It is an addition to the international zone of the airport, only accessible from the international side of the HKXC. It serves as a short term stay for the international passengers as well as the locals, becoming a destination city and a miniature icon of the complex programmatic network of Hong Kong. This superstructure will be covered by a roof system, which enables light penetration, yet no direct sun. It acts as a large scale sun shading device, which at night transforms into an ornamental lantern for the approaching airplanes.

Site Environment

With 130 ha of reclaimed land, HKXC has a major impact on the (marine) environment in that region. It is the intention of the site strategy, to minimize the impact of the land and try to re-naturalize it as much as possible, in order to provide a low maintenance environment.

With a large flat and sealed surface, drainage is the major driving force to a more sustainable understanding of the ground. We propose a soft approach to the ground, creating a blurred edge condition between roads and green zones, so that nature can invade gradually areas, which are not used by human or car circulation. The project proposes a flexible ground systems such a stabigrid, which provides a solid ground for even heaviest traffic, yet allows water permeability as well as natural growth of shrubs and grasses.

Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Claudia Wigger, Louise Low, Tim Mao, Hugo Ma, Arthur Bel

© 2010, ice - ideas for contemporary environments

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kowloon Walled City

It has been nearly 20 years, since the Kowloon Walled City has been destroyed. It plays still a vital role in the memory of Hong Kong, as it was the first urban development, which took place with the absence of any official authority. Nearly self organized, it utilized the political vacuum of power on a small plot of land in Hong Kong, to grow into a megastructure of extreme fascination. One of the last research that has been conducted before they destroyed the city in 1994, was done by Aaron Tan and Louise Low. The research project was not the beginning and not the end of a longer investigation of the city: It has been a very draft intermediate product. The attempt was, to conceptualize the idea of such a self-organized system and derive an architectural theory and a set of analytical tools towards an architecture of complexity.

Nearly 20 years after this research (which led to the founding of OMA Asia/RAD in Hong Kong and subsequently to the founding of ice - ideas for contemporary environments), we have digged out the old text. With a smile on our face, we have rediscovered, how much the text was influenced by it's time and trends. Yet, we have been further more surprised, how much it has laid grounds for our current thinking process about the city, complexity and program:

Construction from Debris - The Kowloon Walled City

Beyond Praxis

The reduction of architecture to praxis has paralyzed architects in the face of the new urbanism - a landscape rhizomatically connected by communication infrastructure and invisible technological channels, a firmament of information speeding through the very air that one breathes. The information society thus transformed the urban experience from diachronic to synchronic, compressing and collapsing the time space configuration. The traditional architectural paradigm of considering forms as instruments of codification and representations of values has lost its bearings in the flux of contemporary production.2 Architecture as an institution embodying traditional ideals seems anachronistic in the postmodern, late capitalist landscape. Brave attempts by the "deconstructivist" architects to bind themselves to the fate of the city by representing this malaise in design flounder as they could only manipulate the meaning of elements - walls, columns, etc. - which operate yet at the level of the formal and referential.

Following the logical aspects of social evolution, the field will eventually reach the stage of legitimation where - form, structure and all the traditional "tools," "references" of the professional institution being overstimulated and exhausted - this question will undoubtedly arise. Architecture, in its present ingratiating existence, may well return to the preoccupation: ( surviving Modernist atavism?) for ways out from the stagnation in lieu of adopting the fatal strategies of passivity and resignation~ The lines of flight or escape from the walled city of architecture may in fact lie in new ontological definitions from another perspective - the reality as revealed by the primordial soup of science, society and philosophy.

As all that is solid melts, is it possible to consider an architecture that is without walls and borders, one which operates in a continuum with the societal hyper reality, yet intercepts its flow and re-territorializes itself from within? It seems inevitable that architects should have to engage the prevailing socio-political forces, to take on urban issues as architectural challenges as when Hubert Darmisch notes of Rem Koolhaas efforts "to (re)establish the architect in the position of subject in a history of which he had been dispossessed by a repression, of which one essential object was the culture of modernity. "3 In the age of information, one proactive, preemptive vantage point is from that of a medium, to survey the terrain and channel the energy, tropism, drifts into new directions for architectural strategies.

1. Without Walls

The purpose of the investigation of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong is not to identify some kind of new organized architectural movement, that would just be another type of manifesto, another formulation, another theory. Rather, I hope to make some discoveries about the Walled City, as destitute as it is vivacious, which I am convinced would yield some surprises in terms of the strategies of its realization. A blight on the sensibilities of the British who have made repeated attempts to. raze it to the ground and failing that, to contain its influence, the Walled City has thrived incomprehensibly for decades, seemingly powered by some particularly resilient growth gene which leads one to wonder if there are as yet unidentified codes of existence within this surreal complex of dynamical indeterminacy and change. Recently, the British triumphed over the gridlock as the Chinese government, which has jurisdiction over the Walled City, acquiesced to its demolition (the largest since World War II), probably secretly relieved that it will not inherit the vagabonds, pimps, triad gangs and other socially undesirables of the City come 1997. The approach of the British is nihilism, the complete eradication of a structure and a society, largely for the general good. Ironically, it would also be the only time for the dark secrets of this labyrinth of humanity to surface and be available for study before it shockingly vanishes. It is with this sense of the absurd that I propose to analyze the City.

2. Wildlife Refuge

The Walled City is a misfit in the urban arena, its existence is enabled by some strange political relationship between two countries. This study is but an attempt to uncover an aspect of its phenomenon - a site that generated itself in the absence of a validating history, law and order. Cavity filled with depravity. The analysis of the Walled City cannot be based on established method of architectural deconstruction. Even the systems uncovered may not necessarily be applicable to the making of a place. It is an undesirable place to live; people live there because it is available. It provides a haven for the down-and-out, the fugitives, effluence and detritus of mainstream society where patrolling police fear to tread. Even the most destitute tried to carve out a humane, though meager existence, and their efforts alone merit documentation. A worthless place, its documentation requires an exercise in exorcism, the abandonment of notions and assumptions about cities, the inversion of order and chaos.

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven - Milton, Paradise Lost

3. The Method is the Message

The examination of the Walled City is not to .ascertain its method of existence because it cannot be measured with any amount of certainty, there is no objective reality to be measured in the first place. What we observe is not the Walled City itself, but its nature exposed to our method of questioning. In this way, the investigative modus operandi of its reality more than anything else finds its analogy in quantum physics' wave function.

In 1932, the quantum physicist von Neumann described a wave function, an abstract mathematical creation describing aspects of the physical world, as a strange animal which will constantly change with the passage of time. It will be different each moment than the moment before. It will be a composite of all the possibilities of the observed system which it describes. It will not be a simple mixture of possibilities but a sort of organic whole whose parts are changing constantly but which, nonetheless, is somehow a thing-in-itself.

This thing in itself will continue to develop indefinitely until an observation (measurement) is made on the observed system which it represents. The wave function, according to this view, is not quite a thing yet it is more than an idea. It occupies that strange middle ground between idea and reality, where all things are possible but none are actual. The physicist Heisenberg likened it to Aristotle's potential (Zukov, p.257)

The interpenetration of space and time implies that the being of matter cannot be separated from its activity. The properties of the Walled City can therefore only be understood in a dynamic context; in terms of movement, interaction and transformation. The Kowloon Walled City is an engine, albeit one in perpetual overdrive. Both a concept and reality, it moves easily between realms. Its very existence is sustained by the motions it continuously generates in a bizarre ongoing temporal-spatial-political negotiation. Only the act of eradication, or a measured study, could freeze its operation. In this sense, I am considering the City as the engine that lS already there, an engine that is absolutely fascinating because it is the only model of its kind in the world, (dys) functioning for decades against the odds and latent with possibilities yet to be realized. In defying architecture as we know it, it provides an alternative resource to develop a new epistemology for informing architecture in contemporary society.

The Kowloon Walled City is an engine, albeit one in perpetual overdrive. Both a concept and reality, it moves easily between realms. Its very existence is sustained by the

motions it continuously generates in a bizarre ongoing temporal-spatial-political negotiation. Only the act of eradication could freeze its operation and its destruction yields clues

to its inner workings. In this sense, I am considering the City as the engine that is already there, an engine that is absolutely fascinating because it is the only model of its kind in the world, (dys) functioning for decades against the odds and latent with possibilities ¥et to be_realized. In defying architecture as we know it, it provides an alternative source to develop a new epistemology for informing architecture in contemporary society.

A Brief History and First Encounter

The origins of the Walled City is surprisingly similar to other cities - it was a water front development. With its strategic topographical location, it served as a military base as early as 1197. As the furthermost point from China, it functioned also as a point of surveillance for the central government on Hong Kong in the 19th century. A fort was built in 1810 sheltering a garrison of Chinese soldiers. In 1847, the walls around the fort were completed, constituting the "Kowloon Walled City". Following the humiliation of the Opium War, in June 1898, the convention between Britain and China to lease the northern part of Kowloon Peninsula to the British for 99 years was drawn up. A critical clause in the Convention stipulated that within the "City of Kowloon" (the Walled City), Chinese officers stationed there should continue to hold authority in all matters apart from the "defense of Hong Kong".

The Walled City, not unlike Berlin, has a politico-geographical status of a town within a town. Since the 1920's, many Chinese moved in and turned the agrarian land into rapidly urbanizing areas. Since 1933, the British's unsuccessful attempts to demolish the buildings (due to undesirable living conditions) coupled with the lack of constructive urban maintenance by the Chinese Government escalated the growth of the City.

Under economic pressures in the 60's, the buildings inside mushroomed to new heights (average of seven stories), replacing the original stone huts. Without any regulations, apart from the height limit due to the proximity of the airport, the structure defied all rules of town planning. With the increase in housing demand in the 1970's, the buildings, without approved plans, were redeveloped to the maximum height of 14 storeys, many of them by Hong Kong developers notorious for exploitative construction practices. As the Walled City was located on a slope, there was a difference of four storeys between the north and south structures. A system of interconnected passageways was instituted to link many buildings at the upper levels so that residents need not climb too many stairs. There were seven stand pipes providing free drinking water in addition to about 70 artesian wells operated by commercial well water suppliers. There was only one drainage system along each street, taking both run-off water and sewage.

The rebuilding within the Walled City since the 60's was initiated by both residents and absent property owners. Landholding is based on customary recognition of squatters rights among neighbors;these rights can be 'sold' or rented like squatters' rights elsewhere, only that they are not registered or recognized by the government-- nor, during the foreseeable future, will they lead to resettlement tenancies. Without a legal system for checks and balances, capitalist economics is the sole generator of its growth. The economic system was not regulated by an elected authority, but was directed between parties. The system has its analogy in architectural growth in the way space is negotiated between parties, generating an unexpected, laissez-faire spatial construction. The territorializing or de-territorializing acts of negotiation were conducted in a synchronicity; i.e., all at once and without regard to precedence or growth projection. Other systems fueled the growth of the Walled City. The existing infrastructure - such as the links to the exterior, water supplies and electrical supplies - will inform the placement of the new construction. The reliance on infrastructure in this way is similar to macro urban developments.

The Walled City as Allegory

The rhizome

The reality of the Walled City is its layers heaped upon layers of history, human activities, economics, politics, all giddily stacked, and the more flexible and ill-defined the spatial, temporal, material and social structures, the greater the stability of the structure of the whole as it has stood for decades. The closest analogy would be a rhizome.4

The Walled City should be considered rhizomatic in terms of its material organization and psyche topography, both clues to the preconditions of the postmodern societal logic aimed at experimentation and action, suggesting multiplicity of perspectives rather than a single viewpoint all operating in one dimension the present.

Material organization:

The built structures are rhizomatic in nature - interlocking, parasitic, colliding, incoherent in the absence of structuration. Impossible to decipher, much of what it is can only be scattered, broken or imagined. The rhizome can be micro-analysed in terms of water, cage, void and stairs, to quote a few of the myriad operational elements.

The psychological gestalt ...

The study of the WaIled City may be at another level, the study of the structure of consciousness insofar as the inner center of the psyche seems into move outward, in the sense of an extraversion, into the physical world.

The history of the Kowloon Walled City cannot be considered "history" as understood from the perspective of the inhabitants, that is, history functioning as a narrative space that allows them to locate the self within some kind of temporal continuity. Nor is there a narrative closure - the only future that the denizens of the Walled City could conjure with some confidence is the imminent disappearance of any future. Conde~~ed to a perpetual present, it is a schizophrenic existence. They do not ask themselves "Where do I come from? Where am I going? What am I?" - they simply are. Since they cannot locate any distance from the present, it overwhelms and engulfs them; they burn out.

Year Population units density avg.bldg person/sq.mheight(flrs)

1847 500 30 0.1.8 2

1930 2,000 70 0.073 3

1960 10,000 3,000 0.364 6-8

1970 20,000 5,500 0.72 10-12

1980 30,000 7,000 1.09 10-12

1987 50,000 8,500 2 12-14

The organization of lives - pimping, drug trafficking, robbery, prostitution, murder, gambling - is a study in differentiation of the same and is responsible for its altered states. The interpersonal contracts between its denizens, the unwritten but omnipresent rules that spring from the constantly evolving situations' shape the City as much as everything else. The psyche geography of the Walled City occupies a fourth dimension to its materiality. While the denizens' state may seem frantic and fatal, they have developed subterfuge strategies such as the interpersonal rules that govern them, the ungovernable. In negotiating the psychological land mine of the Walled City (the societal refugees have demonstrated ingenious ways of negotiating the time-space configuration of the City), the fundamental argument for the production of knowledge lies in evoking its provocations, its unsettling and persistent presence, for every city in the world has its metaphorical Walled City.

The architecture of the city is a compelling internally-consistent universe for these stories. Here is almost a fully realized cosmology with its pantheon of beings and lesser-beings, a superimposed pre-continuum as commanding as it is revisionistic.

Of atoms, gods and men ...

For a parallel to the lesson of the Walled City, we must turn to those kinds of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize the. positions 6f the object and subject, the spectator and the spectacle, the creator and creation, in the unraveling drama of existence. In other words, to take a quantum leap out of our mental construct.

In the last part of the Buddhist Avatamsaka Sutra called the Gandavyuha, a story is told of a young pilgrim, Sudhana, which gives the most vivid account of his mystical experience of the universe.

This appears to him as a perfect network of mutual reIations, where all things and events interact with each other in such a way that each of them contains, in itself, all the others ...

"And within this Tower, spacious and exquisitely ornament·ed, there are also hundreds of thousands ... of towers, each one as exquisitely ornamented as the main Tower itself and as spacious as the sky.

And all these towers, beyond calculation in number, stand not at all in one another's way; each preserves its individual existence in perfect harmony with the rest; there is nothing here that bars one tower from being fused with all the others individually and collectively; there is a state of perfect intermingling and yet of perfect orderliness. Sudhana, the young pilgrim, sees himself in all the towers as well as in each single tower, where all is contained in one and each contains all."7

1. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 3-26. Refer to 'The Walled City as Allegory' text, p.6.

2. Manfredo Tafuri, "Architecture and Utopia", MIT Press, 1988, pg.4l.

3. Hubert Darwisch, The Manhattan Transfer, in Jacques Lucan's "Rem KoolhaasOMA", Princeton Press, 1991, pg 2l.

4. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 3-26. A rhizome is "a heterogeneous entity that may be broken or shattered

at any spot, but which will grow again from one of its old lines or on new ones. It "ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences and social struggles." A rhizome is also a multiplicity when it is based on determinations, magnitudes, and dimensions endlessly proliferating. It is flat in that they fill or occupy all of its dimensions."

5. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 313.

6. David Harvey proposed that the regime of flexible accumulation, as an economic model, has displaced the traditional Fordist models which are structured on supply/demand and specific geographical and social location of goods, ressouces and profits. The spatial and temporal displacement of post-capitalist economies contributes ironically to a greater overall stability of the system. The production of space under these conditions of indeterminacy is explored as an experience of reality in Kowloon Walled City. See , in David Harvey'S The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989.

7. Baudrillard describes here a social landscape dominated by information (eg. the economic health of a country as reflected by it·s GNP, consumer index, employment rate) which constitutes its reality and projects its future. See , in Jean Baudriliard, Selected Writings. Stanford University Press, Ca., 1988, p.167. This reality, not to be ignored, could perhaps be appropriated architecturally.


1. There were 77 private wells, some 300 ft deep, supplying water within the city. The water is electrically pumped to the roof tanks and distributed through a series of ad-hoc piping systems to the home subscribers based on monthly subscribers based on monthly subscriptions.

2. The necessary pressure for the distribution of the water and the insufficient electrical supply led to the necessity for a pumping schedule. Well owners hired watchers to monitor the supply at various locations. This means that the water could be used only during certain hours.

3. With no adequate sewage systems in the early stages of settlement, the sewage seeped through open drains, contaminating the well water.

4. The government, under pressure from the residents and the Kai Fong, reluctantly constructed 8 stand pipes outside the city in the 1980s'. The China Electric Company brought in electricity from 1977. The cable had to be installed inch by inch.

5. The residents have to pay the private suppliers or the triad groups (which tap the water illegally) to pump water to their units.


1. The height of the restricted by the Flight metrical airplanes, one official regulations.

Walled Path of of the City is the comeveryfew

2. The gaps between the buildings are constantly occupied by the infrastructures, greatly affecting the stack effect of air circulation within the city. With the drying of laundry and the presence of different restaurants and factories, smell is one of the means of orientation in the city.

3. The air inside was better before electricity was introduced. With the supply from China Electric company, there was an increase in the use of air-conditioning, polluting the scarce air available.

4. Staircase cores became a means of air circulation.

5. Some of the units in the city do not have any windows, the property costs were usually half of those with windows.


1. Dimension:

min width: ave angle:

600 mm 45 deg

2. Figures 1 to 3; the rhizomatic nature of the staircases defines new spatial organization.

3. Some of the stairs between different buildings are linked, establishing secondary passages for the residents and the postman.

The staircase of building A is linked to building B. The accumulation created a labyrinthine spatial experience. The owner of Building D acquired the airspace while Building C is being erected. The new floor plates and stairs which extended from Building D resulted in a different configuration from building.

Building B, provoked by the growth of Building C, constructed tis phase 2 with a different set of stairs. condition E provoked the Buildings B and C to occupy the entire vertical gap, resulting in the complete blockage of the entrance to Lo Yan Street above ground level. The configuration and ownership of these four buildings could be read in terms of the accumulation of stairs.

The staircase of Building A is linked to Building B. The accumulation created a labyrinthine spatial experience. The owner of Building D acquired the airspace while Building C is being erected. The new floor plates. and stairs which extended from Building D resulted in a different configuration from building.

Building B, provoked by the growth of Building C, constructed its phase 2 with a different set of stairs. Condition E provoked the Buildings B and C to occupy the entire vertical gap, resulting in the complete blockage of the entrance to Lo Yan Street above ground level. The configuration and ownership of these four buildings could be read in terms of the accumulation of stairs (figure 6).


There are almost thirty over streets in the walled city, the main streets are as follow:


1. Tung Tau Tsuen Road

2. Lung Chun Lu

3. Lung Chun Tou


4. Tung Tsing Road

5. Lung Shing Road

6. Kwong Ming Street

7. Lo Yan Street

8. Tai Chang Street

9. Sai Sing Road

Most of the N-S streets are linked to the streets in the Sai Tau Village, which was demolished in 1985. Except for Lung Chun Street, the E/W streets are interrupted by the Yamen.

Escape Route

Since the economic influence on Walled City is interrupted by several political events including the Japanese occupation, the implosion occurred in phases. The entity, though interrupted by the events, grew again,either from its old ruptures or even new ones. This is evident in the carving of the internal circulation within the Walled City synchronically with the growth of space and structures.

Without building codes, the developers could theoretically occupy any empty space in the City with no concern for ventilation and structural foundation. Consequently, the conventional notion of street is rendered meaningless because some of the new constructions would be built on top of the existing lanes. Circulation has to be invented in terms of carving out the existing space. To get from one point to another wi thin the City, one would need to go through some buildings, climb the stairs of others- and negotiate the high rise corridors. The meaning of existing streets and lanes had to be grasped in terms of "through" and "not through" instead of connections. Connection is redefined as it can only be understood by looking at the carved passages, which at one level is a labyrinth, and at another level, is about the shortest route to the destination in a network.

Carving is an involuted spatial operation on the interiority of the rhizome rather than its exteriority (exterior spatial occupation), the common understanding of the rhizome's (or any other entity's) terrain. In that way, it reconfigures the spatial occupation of the rhizome into a labyrinth, an unexpected condition. Carving has a symbiotic relationship with boundaries - each benefitting from the dynamics of a dialectic, the one existing for the other.

Splicing occurs at the breaks and junctures; it registers the interruption and at the same time, continues the mutation. As the space undergoes constant physical modification, the structures takes on its own life concurrently. In the Walled City, the growth of structure could be best explained in terms of tropism. Depending on the existing situation, new structures could be built· on top of·· those already there (vertical room), and if there is room beside or adjacent to the existing structures, it seduces attachment and the structures would extend horizontally as well. While this is going on, carving of new circulations follows. Such conditions form the most convincing argument for architectural indeterminacy which could be understood in terms of entropy, a condition which will be elaborated.


There is an attempt here to define the milieu to bring about the flexible accumulation of a city. The milieu, though relatively stable, is often a complex mixing of elements which are themselves aleatory. "The notion of the milieu is not unitary: not only does the living thing continually pass from one milieu to another, but the milieus pass into one another; they are essentially communicating. The milieus are open to chaos, which threatens them with exhaustion or intrusion. The self-organizing processes studied by the science of "chaos" or "order out of chaos" have changed the way scientists view inorganic matter. Whereas the study of evolution was relegated exclusively to the biological phenomena, non-organic matter has been discovered to be capable of generating structures subjected to natural selection. These would include all processes in which a group of unrelated elements would suddenly reach a critical point at which they "organize" to form a higher level entity. This could explain the formation of hurricanes Or even"the evolution of technology. no~, at sit!i&0PPosit,,; of its patterning, reacting to any further disturbance as a system (rather than individual elements). Structural stability has been achieved under conditions of extreme instability. A structure is at best metastable : stable on the whole or as a whole. Stability is not a fixity - it is variations within limits. Stability consists not of maximum systemic homogeneity, but order - sustained patterning and differentiation. Action no longer means increased chaos, but an ability to change patterning by responding systemically to disturbances or challenges.

The Walled City may be one of the most complete examples of human architectural symbiosis, where humans could be pictured as tapping into the resources of self-organization processes in order to create particular lineages of the built environment.


The growth and demolition of the Walled City is lionically linked to the presence of its nemesis - the British. The British arrival marked both the birth and death of the City. The capitalist mechanism triggered by the British occupation escalated the internal vertical growth - the relentless increase in density within a marked boundary. Vertical growth could be understood in terms of implosion and external pressure. Without the British, this City would be just another Chinese walled city.

In 1843, the sudden proximity of the British galvanized the Chinese into fortifying its military and administrative presence of the Walled City. This wall operates at many levels, and at times, the physical wall is less powerful than the political wall. In terms of implosion, the economic pressures from without (mainly because of escalating property prices) created internal growth in the flux of people looking for low rent and their demand for more space and the consequent new construction. Since there lS a walled boundary, the City was developed vertically. The boundaries of the City may be i~s only definitive structure.

The Postman's Machinic Phylum

Here today, gone tomorrow. Such is the story of the Walled City. The most unenviable but essential task is probably the postman's. Over the years, many lesser postal beings have given up except for one Mr Lui, who was assigned to the City in 1976 and had since achieved a tao-like grasp of its workings. While Mr Lui may not be acquainted with Gilles Deleuze, he had probably understood the dynamism and working of the Walled City's "machinic phylum" described by him.

In War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Manuel De Landa highlighted the convergence of Chaos theory'S spontaneous self-organization and the machinic phylum. If computers can be used to explore the behavior of self-organizing processes (and of physical processes in general), it is because those processes may be modeled mathematically through a set of equations. Poincare discovered that if they could be thus modeled, they can be given a visual representation called a "phase portrait."

The first step in creating a phase portrait lS to identify, in the physical system, the relevant aspects of its behavior, i. e. the dimensions that are open to mutation. The objective is to create an abstract space with as many dimensions as degrees of freedom possessed by the object to be modeled. While an oven would mutate one dimensionally (its temperature), the Walled City would comprise a multi-dimensional system. In this phase space, the state of the system at any given moment would appear as a point; i. e. everything that matters about the system at any particular moment may be condensed into a point in the multi-dimensional. space model of the City.

At the police station.

"Sir! The bandits have escaped to the Walled City!" "Here's the map of the City. OK, your unit enters from here and surround ... "

"There he is! Shoot!"

A drug addict was shoved towards the police as a shield but was shot. ..

The bandits split up and headed in different directions

One pushed the door to the doctor's operating room

The behavior of the system over time appears as the trajectory traced by that point as it moves in phase space. For a complex model like the Walled City, it is almost impossible (for the Mr Lam anyway) to solve all its equations and make predictions about the system's future behavior. In fact, what emerges would be so complicated that it cannot be used even to learn about the system's behavior at all. Still, he can elicit qualitative insights about the general traits governing the system's longterm tendencies. In particular, there are points in phase space that tend to attract or repel the nearest trajectories towards or away from them. These at tractors (or repellors) can be represented mathematically, if generated by the computer.

More important than at tractors in phase space are symmetry-breaking bifurcations. These represent events in phase space where one kind of attractor is transformed to another. Such a bifurcation would occur when a physical system which originally tended to move toward a point of equilibrium had suddenly and spontaneously begun to oscillate between extremes. Self-organization as a phenomenon occur whenever a bifurcation takes place : when a new attractor appears in the phase portrait of a system, or when the system's attractors mutate in kind. A physically manifested example of such a bifurcation would be turbulence, when the random flow of air reaches a critical point (a mathematical singularity in technical terms) and organizes itself into eddies and vortexes.

There are thus three distinct entities inhabiting phase space specific trajectories, corresponding to objects in the actual world; attractors, corresponding to spontaneous mutations of long-term tendencies of those objects; and bifurcations, corresponding to spontaneous mutations of long-term tendencies of those objects. These three ontological processes make up the machinic phylum as described by Gilles Deleuze.

In addition to the physical order, the postman in the phase space of the Walled City would have to cope with a virtual order of tendencies (attractors or repellors) and a meta-virtual order of bifurcation or transformation of the second order just to cope with the shifting territories ,he had ~o cover. He would ultimately understand and direct the machinic phylum from within, as he manipulated attractors by bringing about the clustering of mail boxes along his beat.


An important condition identified would be that of architectural entropy. The degree to which the elements of the system are randomly arranging themselves provides a measure of the amount of disorder in the system where the more flexible and inarticulated the spatial, temporal, material or social structures, the greater the overall stability of the system.


The Walled City presents an example of architectural indeterminacy, where the elements are constantly engaged in dialectical processes. The Ci ty undergoes two interactive negotiations: structural and human. The constant mutation of structures, systems and services, instead of destabilizing the overall structure as expected, contributes to its greater coherence. As the rhizome described the growth pattern of the Kowloon Walled City, entropy is an appropriate term to define the state of the City. The flexibility and inarticulateness of the spatial, temporal, material and social structures within/without the City enabled it to seemingly expand or contract at will.

The enabling infrastructure of the walled city proliferated; they could mutate and transform in order to territorialize and be territorialized.

The City invents new ways to resolve its problems, undergoing constant transformations. It adapts to its inhabitants, the societal refugees, but the refugees themselves are perhaps the most flexible inhabitants.

An important condition identified would be that of architectural entropy. The degree to which the elements of the system are randomly arranging themselves provides a measure of the amount of disorder in the system. This can be expressed statistically in terms of probability of occurrence of a particular arrangement. The architectural expression is that of flexible accumulation, defined by David Harvey in The Condition of Postmodernity (1989)6 as the distortion of space-time parameters where the more flexible and inarticulate the spatial, temporal, material or social structures, the greater the overall stability of the system. A matter at rest would be susceptible to destabilization from its center. The non-complete, non-defined matter could react to internal and external forces to yield, attack or change its direction.

Entropy as a strategy could allow architecture to operate in a continuum with the societal hyper reality, susseptible to its drifts and tropism. The architectural realization of entropy based on several operations, revealed in the process of this

The developer occupied two buildings separated by a third buildings, the developer faced resistance from the owner of the third building and had to divert the link passage (public secondary) around it. As the process became increasingly complicated, the developer acquired the third building. The demolition of the acquired third building interrupted the; link passage. The replacement of

a new building is also recorded by the new secondary passage.

investigation, contribute to the creative process in the generation of new structures, services, circulation etc. As these multiply synchronically or a synchronically, they strengthen the existence of the whole uni-dimensionally. The interacting structural systems of the City internalize their dynamism as they engage other systems (organizational, functional, etc.).

"The real is produced from miniaturized units, from matrices, memory banks and command models - and with these it can be reproduced an indefinite number of times", wrote Baudrillard in his essay Simulacra and Simulations.7 Data, statistics and information may be gathered, coded and transformed into modes that interact with each other (drifting in parallel sets, intertwining and knotting, intersecting) in anticipation of potential events on an unchartered terrain within the city. As space is not represented, these can be fantasized into three dimensions; space is thought into them, not projected out of them. The modes of architectural production described could be expressed in terms of viral proliferation, which entails the act of invasion, transformation and multiplication.

Architectural Genomes

The addition and removal of the buildings in spur interrupted the flow. There is a gain in pressure and it is inscribed in the resultant residual streets.

The preconditions for growth in the Walled City can be identified as codes of operation that enable and determine the pattern and logic of growth. An example of these operations would be the dialectics between different types of walls -the immutable boundary walls and the undulating surfaces of the interior walls- which factor in the resultant thrust of expansion of structures.

By assigning such characteristics (eg. immutability vs undulation) to architectural elements, some form of their programming takes place which is not unlike genetic tracking and the development of genomes (not merely isolated characterization but a full "sentence" of description). It would be conceivable to allow the random mutation of entropy and at the same time, reap the rewards of prior knowledge of the product even as the operations are set in motion - a kind of architectural prothetely.

These forces at work could be best understood in terms of entropy - which explains the state of rhizome. These sets of operations at different phases of the process result in conditions that are stable but latent with potential to be destablized.

Rhizome vs interruption

The limitless, amorphous rhizome poses a difficult spatial challenge to the architect . The conditions described previously are all about interruptions on the rhizomatic landscape. Perhaps the very nature of rhizome enables the production of architecture at the moment of engagement in terms of interruption. It does not disrupt the mutation that is going on but could transform it from within, where architecture may occur. This is an architecture that no longer commands the order of its surroundings but contributes to the dynamism of what goes on in the flux of urban life by operating from within through such interruptions.

It is difficult to express rhizomatic methodology In a categorical or chronological model as a detailed program would require; both would go against the very nature of a rhizome.

Ontologically, a rhizome dwells in thought, conception, imagination (all functions of the mind) and their extension and vehicle of communication, language. An appropriate analogy would be that of a book, consisting of "lines of articulation or segmentarity, strata and territories; but also lines of flight, movements of deterritorialization and destratification" of Architecture, which operates at multitudinal levels - philosophy, materiality, text, imagination, space, unconscious - and converges them at one realization is an ideal medium to express the rhizome. As such, I will supplement the multidirectional flow chart I have drawn up to provide an overview of the operations with an explication of the underlying philosophy of my macro-methodology the philosophy of Change.

external interruption

external interruption external interruption

Create Rhizome

with internalized

interruption external interruption


1 . There are more than 900 units (out of 8500 units) of factories, restaurants and shops in the city.

2. In terms of production, the Walled City is a diffused factory, its specialization flexible. It could just as easily manufacture fishballs or eyeballs for Bladerunner androids.

3. The city does not sleep:

cafe: 9 am till 2 to 3 am roast pig factory: 4 am, then left for market from 6 to 8 am, return till 3 pm and back to the market at 3 pm

rubber factory: until 3 am candy factory: 7 am till 6 pm, packaging until 9 pm

gold ball: 24 hrs

barber: 9 am till no more customers.

Psyche Geography - The Schizophrenic Model

The walled city is a slippage from two struggling political systems. It exists because of the conflict between two political authorities. The parent authority, China, continues to maintain "control" of the walled city during the occupation of the British. The symbolic political control is the prime interest of the Chinese. Beyond the political realm, China was not concerned about physical control. Conversely, the British were totally concerned about urban control and the nefarious influence of the Walled City denizens.

Control is the set of equation underlying power and powerlessness. The logic of social control is based on the hegemony of unfettered financial power and capitalism. One lesson from the Walled City would be the orthogenesis of law and order in their absence to attain critical stability. Authority and control exist very much in terms of symbolism - the contention between authorities at the ideological level a~d the self-administered restraint to build over the site of the yamen or magisterial court. The former addresses the function of "slip" as a vital line of escape between two surfaces which is another method of re territorializing space. The latter validates the function of "myth" and "symbolism" as a means of spatial control.

As a metaphor, the Walled City provokes issues of societal stratification, fringe and paranoia. Its existence testifies to the malfunctioning aspects of Hong Kong society, and the urge to quarantine and contain the influences of effluence and detritus stemming from fear and self-delusion. It is a mechanism whereby a mad society isolates madness in an attempt to convince itself of its sanity, a way of re territorializing a landscape virally infected by mass media images (in blockbuster violent crime movies as well as newspapers) the likes of the Walled City denizens. The other, however, always points to oneself - the Walled City is in itself a powerful self-referential sign. This constant evocation of the other, of reality and non-reality, is the main intellectual .thrust of the philosophy of Change which will be further expanded as it underlies the working approach of this research.


The inhabitants of the Walled City are not living the reality of the archetype nuclear families. The City redefines existence in terms of the organization of lives - work, entertainment, myths, businesses, death - floating within the flux of the system, responsible for its altered states. Denied the narrative space that allows us to locate the self within the paradigm of some sort of temporal continuity, they live a schizophrenic existence, which is an astonishingly prescient allegorical reading of contemporary conditions.

In Anti-Oedipus : Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze and Guattari challenges the Freudian institution of psychoanalysis which regresses unconsciousness back to the familial frame of reference, a diachronic treatise. Instead, they advocate that subjectivity is predicated on the social construction of public experience; psychoanalysis lurks not in the individual psyche but can be traced across the surface of the body politic. Images, codes, information and media events flow and intersect independent of the referent (Deleuze and Guattari term these as schizzes-flow) - race, gender and sexual politics, crime, the three versions of the Amy Fisher story, MTV, the recession- which redefine society synchronically. schizophrenia is a way to elucidate collective contemporary psyche, anchored in capitalism : for example, the consumer who 'identifies' with Cindy Crawford in cosmetics advertisements is not a far cry from the traditionally defined schizophrenic who identifies, say, with Joan of Arc. Even more telling is the former's claim to fame - nothing but the ubiquity of her image. "Schizoanalysis ... treats the unconscious as an accented system, in other words, as a machinic network of finite automata (a rhizome), and thus arrive at an entirely different state of consciousness".9 This consciousness is experienced in intensity and ecstasy; consider the consciousness of a Nintendo game player or a fan dancing to 'House' music - "(p)leasure is no longer that of the scenic or aesthetic manifestation (seductio) but that of pure fascination, aleatory and psychotropic (subductio)" 10

Reality is a construction of desire rather than experience which, they argue, provides the schizophrenic with a restored determinacy. would the acceleration and intensification of this schema live out its consequences in the Walled City?

The Philosophy of Change

1. The Book of Change

The very base of Chinese philosophy is predicated on change. The Book of Change or I Ching dates back at least three thousand years and' was spared the bonfire of the Emperor Shih Huang Ti, Although it was used (and is still in use today) for the purpose of divination and cosmology, it has influenced variably most of the main philosophical traditions of the Chinese, The most profound symbiosis is undoubtedly with the philosophy of tao, which means the way,

According to tao, in the beginning there was nothing and its potential for every thing, The I Ching offers a process of creation which proposes that as soon as One is established, its opposite is also created, "(I)f the One is fixed in space by a line, its opposite appears, Now space is divided into an above and below, or when the line is placed horizontally, right and left, front or back. The sixfold extension of space, as it is termed in Chinese, is given with this one line and with its position .. ,Therefore, we read in the Tao Te Ching "One produced two; two produced three; three produced ten thousand things" 12

The combination of one line and a broken line (its opposite, alternative, or negative) their difference (or transformation), forming a triad, gives rise to infinite combinations of trigrams: (+) (=)-or

To relate this to the machine phylum encountered by the postman, the change or transformation of the physical elements operates the first-order virtual machine.

This transformation is itself subject to

transformation, which would correspond to the second-order virtual machine of bifurcation, ad infinitum. The trigrams are a simple representation of a complex premise, While the trigrams are a system, their transformation is an action and the evolving universe is a constant engagement of both. The trigrams are neutral, elemental and non-rhizomatic in nature but through the process of transformation, they participate in and become a rhizome.

Change is an ontology based on rhizomatic transformation, with mathematical implications of diagrammatic representation of philosophical ideas. As Robin Evans noted, "mathematics has absolutely no pre-ordained affinity with nature but is an independently derived system of co-relations. Capable, perhaps, of sometimes running in step with nature, it is capable also of traversing vast areas of the possible but unreal : a marvelous new power." 13

The sixty four basic trigrams of the I Ching are binary in nature and yet they rid binary thinking of preconceptions as to how concepts are related. One of the first scholars in the West who recognized this was C.G.Jung. He points out that the system of thought in the Changes is based on the principle of synchronicity, which accounts for chance happenings. It "takes the coincidence of events in space and time as ... a peculiar interdependence 0 f obj ecti ve events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer. "14 The synchronicity of the I Ching proposes a multi-dimensional technique of grasping reality.

According to tao and change, each thing has its own internal energy for change and interaction, and yet, no individual absolutely determines its own being and relation. Each individual participates in the change and interaction of all individuals, not only fulfilling its individual potentiality but also advancing the totality of all to a more developed and more structured and newly developed and newly· structured network of relations - new contexts for newly created ideas and concepts. A rhizome. Therein lies the intrinsic relationship between instability and entropy. The univeJ;se is not just a well-ordered state of existence but is in perpetual activity. This concept is not alien to the tradition of Western philosophy. The ancient Greek Heraclitus' statement that it is impossible to step into the same river twice advocates the same philosophy of change. Within such a paradigm, the linear Western tradition to presuppose that all clear thinking moves forward in pairs of complementary propositions, one releasing the mind for the next to arrive at a conclusion, would hardly do justice to the infinite possibilities afforded by difference and change.

2. From philosophy to strategies

To transform the philosophy of change into architectural strategies is in itself a challenging task, but one that is surprisingly natural when architecture is freed from the inhibi tions of the form- function paradigm. An example is the "Chamber Works" series of drawings by Libeskind. His position is remarkably resonant : "These drawings seek to reflect, on a deeper level of consciousness, the inner life of geometrical order whose nucleus is the conflict between the Voluntary and the Involuntary. Once again this duality (like that of realism-fonnalism) appears as an unsurpassable condition pointing to a dynamic ground which testifies to an experience which receives only as much as it is capable of giving; draws only that which allows itself to be drawn into."IS Action occurs when one system engages another, resulting in a destabilizing operation. The operation, having taken on a more definite character, is in itself a system which would interact with other systems.

"So what there is is the shape of space of the world which on a permanent basis produces a destabilized, let's sayan eternal movement of imperfection and difference. "16 In other words, a rhizome.

Libeskind's work remains an indefinite series because this dialectic of change cannot be ·halted. As such, these drawings and collages develop an archi tectural thinking which is nei ther a phys ics nor a poetics of space - Libeskind thus realizes for himself a different ontological position for architecture.

Libeskind, however, has not successfully interpreted the sophisticated spatial potential in his drawings (or rather, theory) into archi tecture, perhaps reflecting on a diffidence in understanding and manipulating architectural elements, or a paralysis triggered by fears that the product will always be inferior to the process.

When the enabling apparatus of the architect is exonerated from the end product (i.e, in tern~ of the form-function configuration), it takes on its own life, mirrored at myriad angles. It becomes a psychedelic trip to lose oneself in a world where s/he is "a fascinated observer and a perplexed participant of that mysterious desire which seeks a radical elucidation of the original pre-comprehension of forms" 17, a world sustained by its own logic, another kind of universe. The key to simultaneous control and release lies in the complete awareness of the apparatus, natural forces and systems (eg. structural loads, material properties) as well as the courage to let. go. "Required to bring together a simulacrunl of continuity between these divergent experiences, we become the cartographers of an imaginary topography at once functionally continuous yet unfa.c'Tliliar."18

3. Strategy - Non-completion and the Game of Wei

The strategy resembles the of operation on a rhizome ancient taoist game of Wei, incidentally more commonly known as Go in Japanese. Wei qi (or the game of encirclement) is also a pun on the sixty-fourth (and last) trigram completing the I Ching which, in an evocation and internalization of its opposite, "non-completion." The game of Wei translates this philosophy of non-completion (indeterminacy) into strategies.

In Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari underlied succinctly the difference between chess and Wei qi (or Go),

"Chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive ... Go pieces, in contrast, are pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective or third-person function "It" makes a move ... Within their milieu of interiority, chess pieces entertain biunivocal relations with one another, and with the adversary's pieces

their functioning is structural. On the other hand, a Go piece has only a milieu of exteriority, or extrinsic relations with nebulas or constellations, according to which it fulfills functions of insertion or situation, such as bordering, encircling, shattering. All by itself, a Go piece can destroy an entire constellation synchronically; a chess piece Cill>not (or can do so diachronically only). Chess is indeed a war, but an institutionalized, regulated, coded war, with a front, a rear, battles. But what is proper to Go is war without battle lines, with neither confrontation nor retreat, without battles even : pure strategy, whereas chess is a semiology ... The 'smooth' space of Go, as against the 'striated' space of chess. "19

The game of chess is analogous to the practice of architecture where meaning and referents stand in precise relation to architectural elements. Wei qi proves that elements. can be evacuated of referential meaning (thus acquiring the possibility of infinite meaning) yet be agents of change and pure strategy. When it makes a move, its monadic identity acquires specificity- it is transformed and it also transforms others. It can be in turn transformed by others.


The Sincere Cynic

Quoting Baudrillard extensively would probably give the illuion of a certain fatalism and nihilism. Many of the operations discussed are analogous with the operations within the stultifying postmodern subjectivity, the semiological model is a logical step from a future dystopia.

In asserting the life of the object (over the subject) Baudrillard was also implying the futility of all criticism: "the moment at which critical discourse loses its ability to distance itself from its object is the moment at which the performed critical act turns into the weightless critical gesture - in other words its own simulacrum. "20

In his commitment to dismantle the traditional paradigm of criticism and his insistence of the omnipresence of the "fatal" conditions, he negates his position as a critic since the societal logic would necessarily apply to his own theory. In fact, the major weakness of his treatise is simply assuming theory of a state of being to be teleology, explaining the phenomena based on his idea of a finalized model. What he did not factor into his argument is the possibility of change. In this regard, my thesis departs from his fatalism by not adopting simply a strategy of "intensification" of the existing conditions but re territorializing change and transformation (as opposed to total passivity and subjectivity) into the bleak social landscape.

In fact, the act of taking on the issue is in itself transformation of the state of vacillating in the flux to will.

In negotiating between the theories of past-utopia and future dystopia the conceptions of the future-present may lie in establishing the parameters of the context in which the operations of free-floating and discontinuous simulation take place. This would be a context that accommodates struggle - the struggle between the present understanding that the simulacrum conceals nothing, and the desire to return to some vestiges of meaning from the past. The interrogation of the moment of conflict would allow the introduction of irony. Irony is a form of play, where one (or more) meaning is sloshed against another. It is by nature self-referential, and inclusive of ·its opposite; it also transforms understanding. Should the thesis work out, it could help define one possible context for architectural practice.

The butterfly:as companion

I have not located a position for the architect - how does one establish solid coordinates in a flux? The only position I suggest remains that of transformation, even of the.architect. - That this transformation means may be illustrated by this little story from a taoist philosopher, Chuang Chou (or Chuang Tze)

Last night Chuang Chou dreamed he was a butterfly, spirits soaring he was a butterfly (is it that in· showing what he was he suited his own fancy?), and did not know about Chou. When all of a sudden he awoke, he was Chou with all his wits about him and there I was, visibly Chou. He does not know whether it was Chou who dreams he is a butterfly or a butterfly who dreams he is Chou. Between Chou and the butterfly, there was necessarily a dividing; just this is what is meant by the transformation of things.2l

At first look, Chuang Tzu's dilemma may seem rather Cartesian - is he dreaming or awake? - with the amusing twist that if he is dreaming, the butterfly is having the dream that encompasses his current conscious state. Descartes, however, was serious about pursuing the truth, the sense of self-identity and the avoidance of error. There are only two possibilities, either he is awake or dreaming. Those who are as intent as Descartes at arriving at the truth would find Chuang Tzu hard to swallow. Surely a butterfly cannot be confused with a man? The works of Chuang Tzu are frequently considered "mystical" for what he proposed appears to be a "cosmic fuzziness" to many people.

If the character of Chuang Tzu is any indication, there is obviously levity in his story as he teases his readers with resonant questions, a wink in the direction of an answer that cannot be stated definitively in anyone formulation.

The answer lies in "the transformation of things". 'I'he self must be awake before it is in a position to realize that it is eternally fluttering between its having dreamed and its current dreaming and the self can respond to the realization by freely changing from the subject hood of a Chuang Chou to that of the butterfly and back to Chuang Chou. The division between the two realms are distinct, what is endlessly changing in status is the dreamer, the participating subject. The dichotomy of object and subject can be dissolved by the 'self losing its self'. This is not to destroy the self (as resignation or nihilism) but to realize that the identity of the self is not a fixed one ... That is, although the self is not non-self, the distinction is a dynamic one, always interchanging with others. The distinction exists subjectively but the territory shifts.

To know that one may never know whether one is awake or dreaming, is both to be and not td be in both states ... Such interweaving· of both states is expressed in another of his quote,

"I call you a 'dream' - I am also a dream. ':

8. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 3.

9. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus", Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 18.

10. Jean Baudrillard, "The Ecstacy of Communication", Semiotext (e) , 1987, Pg. 25

11. While the ontological concept of the machinic phylum was developed by Gilles Deleuze in the 60s, the reference base for

this section is adapted from the mathematically modeled treatise in Manuel DeLanda's book, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, MIT Press, 1991, pp.234-8.

12. Richard Wilhelm, Lectures on the I Ching, Princeton University Press, 1979, pg 6-7

13. Robin Evans, In front of lines that leave nothing behind, AA Files 6, p. 92.

14. Richard Wilhelm, Lectures on the I Ching, Princeton University Press, 1979, xxii

15. Libeskind, Daniel, End Space, 1980, Architecture Association, pg 30.

16. Libeskind, Daniel, Architecture Intermundium, p.115

17. Libeskind, Daniel, Symbol and Interpretation, 1980, Architecture Association, Archantic Publication, pg 28.

18. LibesKlnd, Daniel, Aldo Rossi's 19. Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Minnesota Press, 1987, pg 353.

20. Neville Wakefield, "post-modernism", Pluto Press, 1990, pg. 3.

21. A.C.Graham, Disputers of the Tao, Open Court,1989, pg 54

Theater of the World, p.15. "A Thousand Plateaus",


Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, Stanford University Press, 1988

Jean Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication, Semiotexte, 1988

Deleuze an? Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus - Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Robin Evans, In front of lines that leave nothing behind, AA Files 6, p. 89 to 96.

Greg Girard and Ian Lambot, The city of darkness, Watermark, 1993

A.C.Graham, Disputers of the Tao, Open Court,1989

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Duke University Press, 1991, pg.413

Fredric Jameson & Michael Speaks, Envelopes and Enclaves: The Space of Post-Civil Society, Assemblage No.17, 1992

Richard Kearney, The Wake of Imagination, University of Minnesota, 1988

Rem Koolhaas, Euralille, in L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui No.280, April 1992, pg 93-171.

Sanford Kwinter, Rem Koolhaas, O.M.A , in Assemblage #18, MIT, August 1992.

Frank Leeming, Street Studies in Hong Kong, Oxford, 1977.

Daniel Libeskind, End Space, 1980, Architecture Association.

Daniel Libeskind,Symbol and Interpretation, 1980, Architecture Association, Archantic Publication.

Pascale Liotard, Kowloon Walled city, in Pace Interior (H.K.), Vol 39, Feb 1992.

Lu Chin, Kowloon Walled City, Shang Lian (H.K.), 1988

Jacques Lucan, Rem Koolhaas- O.M.A., Princeton, 1991.

Joshua Meyrowitz; No Sense of Place, Oxford, 1985.

Jean Nouvel, Le Triangle Des Gares A Euralille, in L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui No.286, April 1993, pg 96-99.

Neville Wakefield, "post-modernism", Pluto Press, 1990.

Richard Wilhelm, Lectures on the I Ching, Princeton University Press, 1979.

Alejandro Zaera, Rem Koolhaas- O.M.A. 1987-1992, EI Croquis #53.

Demolition as Construction

Architects are usually involved in the act of addition rather than subtraction. As many urban centers shrink as dissipate while undergoing changes in postmodern circumstance, could the latter in fact suggest an alternative for new Urban proposals? The Walled City as a site begs the consideration of dismantling as a strategic process with ramifications for design.

One of the most obvious, literal act of architectural erasure is the demolition of a building. Scaffoldings are erected with calculated precision to ensure that the proper process is enacted. Could this scaffolding be the new life of a new architecture, reclaiming the terrain through strategies of occupation ? Such an act of erasure is not necessarily the equivalent of annihilation; it is a process which provides a delayed time-space permutation for the architect to pause for the next move.

My notion of erasure reaches beyond the act of demolition. Erasure includes addition, but also with the possibility of reducing something to nothing. Such nothingness, as a result, is anything other than the thing that was removed. This is a highly charged nothingness latent with the potential of everything. A nothingness that has specific definition in relation to what was removed, and what could become. This nothingness is therefore a process, it is a moment in between what was and what would be.

Could a city be created by the connection of a series of nothingness?

At the Walled City, the relation between demolition and analysis is similar to an archaeological search. The analogy is like a kind of excavation. Archaeological excavation entails the attraction of discovery. The discovery is an anticipated act, because excavation is a scientific projection. This process directly relates to the architectural experience of both the active, proactive and reactive. The construction of myth and expectation at times gives rise to accidents. This could be the development of a series of tools for the analysis and construction of reality. At the point of demolition, the act of creation, consequence and destruction is converged for one moment.

Another interesting documentary can be found here (unfortunately in german only):

Team: Louise Low, Aaron Tan

© 1992, ice - ideas for contemporary environments