Stratagems in Architecture Hong Kong in Venice

Biennale Architettura 2016 – Collateral Event

arrowmanStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

Curatorial Statement

Our society is constantly evolving since its existence. For decades, Hong Kong has been dominated by progressive development to sustain our city’s economic growth, from a fishing village to a light industrial city, and eventually became one of the top financial cities in the world. For generations, economical progression became the golden rule of success and it is the largest driving force to move forward. “Social Fact” is a term created by the father of sociologist Emile Durkheim as to indicate the social patterns that are external to individuals. Social facts can be social norms, moral values, customs, conventions, rules and other social structures exist outside individuals. At the basis of the term lies the perception of the individual grossly conditioned by social realities that form the “Boundaries of Acceptable Behavior”, but these boundaries are not static. Each generation will derive their own set of norms and values based on their particular social practice. For our new generation, the moral value is shifting from progressive development to reflexive, more concern on civil society, civil right, minority interest, fairness, localisation, social enterprise, and sustainable life, and that forms the bottom-line of the new generation. In some areas, this bottom-line is collided with the current “Boundaries of Accepted Behavior”. It creates the condition for the changes. Mary Douglas further explained these changes as breaking of rules or norms by looking for “Binary Opposition and Possibilities”, the rule breakers are standing at the liminal stage or have already gone beyond them. All margins are dangerous, if they are pulled this way or that the shape of fundamental experience is altered. Any system of ideas is vulnerable at its boundary, it is our “Frontier”, as know as the “Battleground”. Each of our young exhibitors is unique and having their own characteristics on architectural design or art creation withthe new moral value and they are the new driving force of our society. They understand the latest trend and are equipped with advance technology. During their practice as an architect or an artist, they are consistently facing difficulties with their creation in order to survive. In response to our curatorial statement regarding the definition of our “Frontier” [Battleground], they will be looking into the Thirty-Six Stratagems and select one stratagem to demonstrate how he or she would succeed in their own battleground at the frontier of architecture or art. We want to hear their stories and their approach to the social responsibility, by reducing the gap between the private demands and public needs in the field of architecture and art. The ancient Chinese war strategies are often referring to modern business strategies and published not only in China but translated into foreign languages and published worldwide as bestsellers. The Thirty-Six Stratagems [ 三十六計 ] was a Chinese essay used to illustrate a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and civil interaction. The Thirty-Six Stratagems are divided into a preface, six chapters containing six stratagems each, and an afterword. The first three chapters generally describe tactics for use in advantageous situations, whereas the last three chapters contain stratagems that are more suitable for disadvantageous situations. Each proverb is accompanied by a short comment, no longer than a sentence or two that explains how the said proverb is applicable to military tactics. These thirty-six Chinese proverbs are related to thirty-six battle scenarios in Chinese history and folklore, predominantly of the Warring States Period and the Three Kingdoms Period. The Thirty-Six Stratagems consists of 6 chapters and each chapter consists of 6 stratagems; Chapter 1: Winning Stratagems [ 勝戰計 ], Chapter 2: Enemy Dealing Stratagems [ 敵戰計 ], Chapter 3: Attacking Stratagems [ 攻戰計 ], Chapter 4: Chaos Stratagems [ 混戰計 ], Chapter 5: Proximate Stratagems [並戰計] and Chapter 6: Desperate Stratagems [敗戰計].

“One Versus Ten Thousands”: A Hometown Trilogy by SO Kwok KinStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

“One Versus Ten Thousands”: A Hometown Trilogy

A Hometown Trilogy How great the power of one person could be? The architect uses his full effort and resources to improve the environment of his hometown. In three phases, he designates this project as “Hometown Trilogy”. The principle is similar to acupuncture, in faith that a small stimulation of one’s own could have a ripple effect to influence the minds of the fellow villagers. Trilogy Part 1: No Dust The architect spent his childhood in an agricultural village in Guangzhou of southern China, which has now become a village-within-city. The majority of old vernacular houses have been taken down to give ways to high-rise tenement apartments for migrant workers, whilst the remaining ones are left deserted. The architect first removed the weeds and mud on the roof tiles of his ancestral home, used vacuum cleaner to clean the accumulated dust, and videophotographed the process. Through a public display of parade event, the architect calls for the local residents’ awareness and respect towards preservation of traditional houses.Trilogy Part 2: Eastern Altar ProjectAt the four corners of the village, there were once altars and pavilions. These were so-called “The Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern Shi (Altars)”, the most important social venues in this village. However, due to the civic mindlessness of the migrant workers newly moved in, as well as the destruction caused by the Cultural Revolution the altars were damaged and left behind as trash. The architect redesigns the Eastern Altar and attempts to revitalize it as a social gathering space once again.Trilogy Part 3: Ancestral Hall ProjectIn addition to the ancestral home, the architect’s family owes a small piece of residential land. Since it won’t be any compensation if a land has nothing to build on it, the architect is required to construct an unoccupied building with a low budget. Considering this challenge as an opportunity, the architect proposes to build a new family ancestral hall for open activities, using contemporary architectural languages for place making and reconnect the neighborhood.

KILL WITH A BORROWED SWORD, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 3rd Stratagem
When you do not have the means to attack your enemy directly, then attack using the strength of another. Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemyʼs own strength against him. Borrowing a knife to kill means making use of other’s resources for one’s own gain.

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So Kwok Kin is Registered Architect in Hong Kong and has academic background of both Architecture and Fine Arts, combined with design studio and art teaching in local universitiesm for which he has just been nominated as Resident Artist. His recent work examines the issue of “One person space” and the power evoked in such condition.

A Frontier between Standardised and Customized by YUNG Chung Kong, Sunny and CHIU Hang Mei, Mary GraceStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

A Frontier between Standardised and Customized

Standardisation is a product of modernism, a tool to boost economic growth and ensure a fast pace of development. It brought us into a new era some 50 years ago. However, in view of the fast-paced of design and construction today, people follow the standard without further thought most of the time. The standard sometimes becomes a can product and cannot deal with the individual specific needs of the users. Standardisation aims at designing for everyone. It designs to suit everyone but no one satisfied. A design for all is a design for none. Standardisation nullifies the relation between the user and the designers. The “Architecture” in Hong Kong is an illustration of standardisation. These standards are the products of economic and marketing decisions, but seldom from the point of the welfare of the users. These standards are the frontier that architects must cross to promote a healthier and more responsible architecture.In this exhibition, we try to break away from this standardization. Starting from a cube, from a standard block, we demonstrate how this block can be customized to suit the needs of the users and the architecture itself. It is based on a villa project of the exhibitor. Through the use of architecture, we establish again the relation between the users and the designers.

CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 7th Stratagem:
You use the same feint twice. Having reacted to the first and often the second feint as well, the enemy will be hesitant to react to a third feint. Therefore the third feint is the actual attack catching your enemy with his guard down. This stratagem plays on the yin-yang relationship between existence and nonexistence, truth and falsehood, substance and appearance, fullness and emptiness.

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Yung Chung Kwong, Sunny a Registered Architect, co-founded “cocoon architecture” after working for some renowned local firms like Rocco Design. He had received the “Perspective Award 2009” for the Best Residential Interior. Yung was named one of the 40 outstanding design professionals under the age of 40 by Perspective Journal in 2015. Yung was also a part time lecturer teaching architecture in universities.

CHIU Hang Mei, Mary Grace, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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Being the winner of the Young Architects’ Award in year 2008, Chiu was named one of the 40 outstanding design professionals under the age of 40 by Perspective Journal in 2009. She is the founder and design principal of “cocoon architecture”, her works have been selected to exhibit at
Hong Kong Art Center, detour, etc. She is also an assistant professor teaching thesis for the Master of Architecture and other design studios at the University of Hong Kong and other institutes since 2010.

There is no Green Architecture, only Architecture for Green Living. How can the Greenest be Prioritized in the Highest and Densest Urban Contexts for Every Single Building? by IP Chung Man, TonyStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

There is no Green Architecture, only Architecture for Green Living. How can the Greenest be Prioritized in the Highest and Densest Urban Contexts for Every Single Building?

In Hong Kong, extremely high land price drives design for the absolute maximum in profitability from the developer’s perspective. The efficiency rate of the property, which means the ratio of saleable area to gross floor area, is the pre-dominating grading index in the property industry. Higher efficiency the layout, more competence the architect is. Somehow, individual owners do agree on this only index and have little concern on physical livability. Sustainability is somehow perceived as a trendy fashion, and even a good-to-have or optional item. How can we stand on the frontier to bargain yet not to compromise livability & sustainability against efficiency and profitability in design for all buildings not only green architecture? Design has no limitation. To a certain extent, however, some government restrictions give bargaining power to architects to fight for more green against efficiency and profitability. Once livability and sustainability is a mandate, there is more room for green movement. Enjoyable green, abundant daylight and naturally-ventilated air are essential for health and well-being. Such provisions shall be pre-requisite rather than marginalized in high-density, high-rise built environment or gimmicky in green buildings. The next frontier of green architecture shall be advocated, including a new set of Practice Notes for Architects’ Pre-emption (PNA’P) - Advocacy (ADV).

SACRIFICE THE PLUM TREE TO PRESERVE THE PEACH TREE, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 11th Stratagem:
There are circumstances in which you must sacrifice short-term objectives in order to gain the long-term goal. This is the scapegoat strategy whereby someone else suffers the consequences so that the rest do not. This may mean losing a battle in order to win the war or making a concession in order to achieve the main goal.

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Tony Ip, Deputy Director of Sustainable Design at Ronald Lu & Partners, is a multi-disciplinary, research-driven green architect. Devoted to community services, he is an inspiration to young architects. He is Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Architecture Centre, Director of the YMCA of Hong Kong, Deputy Chairman of the HKIA Board of Internal Affairs and HKGBC Green Building Faculty Expert. Tony won the HKIA Young Architect Award 2010 and EcoStar Award 2014.

Transmigrate by IP VaanStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016


 Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world. It is not rare to see an aged building next to a new building. And some of the buildings are getting aged, but it does not mean those buildings need to be demolished and rebuilt, as they are already bound to the society and the culture. If we demolish those aged buildings, we are not physically destroying the building only, we are also destroying the culture of the city. In this situation, maybe renovation of buildings is a good option. Renewing those aged buildings and extending their life is just like extending the diary of the culture for our children. Just like the stratagem 14 in the 36 stratagems of the Chinese, “Raise a Corpse from the Dead”, which takes an institution, a technology, a method, or even an ideology that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. It is an idea to revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose, bringing an old idea, custom or tradition to life, and reinterpreting them to fit your purposes.

RAISE A CORPSE FROM THE DEAD, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 14th Stratagem:
Take an institution, a technology, or a method that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or to reinterpret and bring to life old ideas, customs, and traditions.

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Born in 1984, Vaan Ip graduated in Fine Arts from Hong Kong Art School. Working on painting and sculpture in ink, brass and stainless steel, presenting his view of cityscapes.

Full Script of the Viva Blue House by TSE Kam Wing, KennethStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

Full Script of the Viva Blue House

The significance of the curatorial statement from Alejandro Aravena lies in the enlightenment of the civic public and their contribution as a collective effort to call for changes to some as given living conditions, which are exemplified in the making of new architecture scenes. The responsive curatorial statement from the Hong Kong Curatorial Team looks into the phenomena from a societal point of view, and highlights the different struggle by metaphorically citing the Chinese fighting wisdom “36 Stratagems”. This exhibition is a documentation of the project Viva Blue House in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The story tells not only the architectural renovation to a cluster of worn-out historical residential buildings, but more importantly, the changes in the attitudes, values, judgments, and self- empowerment of the original residents to strive for a chance of staying in their original place, despite the external forces from the government bodies to expel them out with her plan to make the place to a tourist attraction spot. It was 2007. The collective voice consists of the tenants, social workers, academic professions, architects, planners, writers, artists, and many citizens who care about this issue. They successfully lodged objections to the government’s plan. A year later, the government launched the ‘Partnership Scheme for the Revitalisation & Adaptive Reuse of Historical Buildings’, and subsidized the appropriate non-profit-making organisation to run the project with social enterprise programs. I was in the fighting team with the tenants since 2007, and had the honor of being invited to do the architectural design proposal for them.
The renovation site works started in 2012 and it was anticipated to complete by end of 2016. The exhibit shown here is a miniature shop front of the ‘House of Stories’ in the G/F of the Blue House where the neighbors celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival every year.

REMOVE THE FIREWOOD FROM UNDER THE POT, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 19th Stratagem:
When faced with an enemy too powerful to engage directly, you must first weaken him by undermining his foundation and attacking his source of power.

SLOUGH OFF THE CICADA’S SHELL, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 21st Stratagems:
When you are in danger of being defeated, and your only chance is to escape and regroup, then create an illusion. While the enemyʼs attention is focused on this artifice, secretly remove your men and leave only the facade of your presence behind.

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Kenneth Tse graduated from The University of Hong Kong in Master of Architecture in 1997. He won the first prize in an architectural competition for the Centre for Youth Development, and became one of the founders of Meta4 Design Forum since 2000. In this Venice Biennale, Tse will bring the story about the residents’ difficulties against the urban development and the rally for “retaining heritage, retaining people” in Hong Kong.

The Unlimited Quality of Limited Space by NGAI Chung Hong, AngusStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

The Unlimited Quality of Limited Space

Extreme living conditions of high density have been imposing great pressure on daily life and created non-stop argument between government policies and citizens’ expectation. It leads to social laceration which may possibly originate in distorted living created by extreme capitalist visions. The distortion manipulates our concept of time and space which keep us urging for achieving new extreme in both physical and mental, especially those who have lower income. For instance, a usual bedroom for partitioned space ( 板間房 ) of low income people is about 1900mm x 1500mm, which is a basic unit for the purpose of sleeping, as well as a measurement of social status and stages of life for the middle class. In high-rise residential tower, habitant concerns how smart they could extend 500mm of the bed from bay window and re-level it with a storage platform at 500mm(H). Those living adaption for sleeping on “bay window” is a commonplace of family scenes and has become a “bedroom norm” of a blessed family. Since Hong Kong people are too adaptive for confined space and used to create flexible solutions, they kept overcoming problems and adjusting solutions in different period of time for tackling difficult circumstances imposed to them, in the meanwhile, we seem to have forgotten the inherent quality of living which we deserve.  The installation extracts the concept of partitioned space of low income people and turns it into a new partitioned spatial concept which can separate and integrate spaces to create an unlimited quality. Partitions can collapse and open up space for interaction. Local wisdom can be seen from the vibrant streetscape in Hong Kong which find great possibilities from limited space Sometimes, the interactive scenes show certain spatial beauty as same as a poem, which create great imagination with limited words and spatial setting. Could you experience the wisdom of poetic space within the limited space of 2.75 sqm? It may be a new dimension facing the problem of limitation, expanding our imagination and giving unlimited quality for such limitation facing by high density living.

DISTURB THE WATER AND CATCH THE FISH, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 20th Stratagem:
Before engaging your enemyʼs forces, create a confusion to weaken his perception and judgment. Do something unusual, strange, and unexpected as this will arouse the enemyʼs suspicion and disrupt his thinking. A distracted enemy is thus more vulnerable.

NGAI Chung Hon, Angus, NGAI Chung Hon, Angus, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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NGAI Chung Hon, Angus is apracticing registered Architect in Hong Kong with the design background of furniture, environmental and architectural design. He has been searching for innovative and advanced design methodologies of masscustomisation by adopting the order of nature and oriental ancient philosophy. His thesis and research of Fractal Geometry discovered in local vibrant streetscape in Hong Kong was presented and awarded for The Hong Kong Young Architect Award 2012.

First Confession by SIU Kwok Kin, StanleyStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

First Confession

“Bless me, father, for I have sinned; this is my first confession” <first confession> by Frank O’Connor. During our lengthy architectural education, often we were taught that the fundamental role of an architect is to help shape our city and to build shelter for the public. They are the guardians to safeguard the equilibrium between public space and private development to maintain social harmony. In reality, most architectural graduates work for established firms. And in our monotonous commercial driven society, the choice of project nature is often narrow. Therefore as an employee, they are being assigned with projects that are in contradiction to the ideology they have learned at school, such as “designing wall effect buildings”, “developing small and dense living units” or even “demolishing historical buildings with
a lower grading”. These tasks require architects to act against their own conscience and violate their principles, in the long run, sins will be accumulated. In order to survive as a sinner, they need to hide their moral as described in Stratagem 27, ‘Play Dumb While Remaining Smart’, because opportunity will eventually come and rescue their soul. One way to get rid of our sin is the Sacrament of Penance, also commonly known as confession. By means of confession, it is where individual man or woman may confess sins committed after baptism and have them absolved by a priest within the Confession Box, the confessional. The First Confession is a confessional that is formed
by layers of metal bunk beds as to mimic the extracted façade of a small and dense residential tower. The layout of our Confessional is a simplified version of a cathedral with a porch, a nave and a chapel. Architects are encouraged to confess their sins toward the sky alone within the uncovered Chapel.

PLAY DUMB WHILE REMAINING SMART, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 27th Stratagem:
Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack.

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Stanley Siu grew up and studied in New Zealand where he received his Bachelor of Architecture from UNITEC School of Architecture. He returned to Hong Kong after graduation. In 2014, Stanley has received the Young Architect Awards 2013 organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. In 2012, Stanley founded the international awards winning Hong Kong based architectural firm daydreamers design. In 2013, “Rising Moon” won the Gold Award of Lantern Wonderland competition organized by the Hong Kong Tourism. In 2015, Stanley was invited by Hong Kong Federation of Youth Group to design a 23 meters tall “Hong Kong Christmas Tree” by the Victoria Harbour.

A Rumination of Life, Money, and Personal Space. by MA Kit Yi, MaggieStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

A Rumination of Life, Money, and Personal Space.

What does it mean to be poor living in Hong Kong, and whose business is it anyway? On display is the financial record and daily-life mess of DOMAT, a not-for-profit architecture practice working with poor communities in Hong Kong. This self-aware act is a reversal of the expected exposure of the living condition of the poor people themselves - why would we display their most intimate condition, but not our own? The exhibit discusses some of the difficulties that these people are facing due to their social and economic situation, and how, due to the lack of affordable housing options, we as architects may act. In the process we may consider: •  How do we observe and understand the conditions and people that we are dealing with? •  How do we reflect and evaluate?

PLAY DUMB WHILE REMAINING SMART, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 27th Stratagem:
Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack.

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Maggie Ma has been practicing architecture for commercial and community projects for 9 years. Her specialty is humane design and socially sustainable design strategies. In 2013, Maggie and Mark Kingsley set up DOMAT community & architecture, a not for- profit architectural practice to realise architectural projects in social context through research, design and implementation in Hong Kong and China.

Memory Tanks by CHAN Pui Hong, AdenStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

Memory Tanks

For many years, Hong Kong inherited a habit of urban development that emphasizes “forget the past and look for the future”. The scene of taking down historical buildings or villages in order to allow “economic development” is repeating constantly, many of us witnessed the history of Hong Kong and share collective memories. Social values are hooked up to money, and often labeled with price tags. Architecture is a carrier that breeds different life and stories while recording the transformation of the context. The core value of architecture is in the space, in the function, and in the history. These values enhance the significance of every piece of architecture. It should
not be valued only on the beauty of form, popularity or commercial value. In this exhibition, I will focus in my ancestor house located in the rural area of New Territories in Hong Kong. It may not have history of centuries, but it was once an established fish farm. The place has been through ups and downs of Hong Kong over 40 years and inherited 3 generations. I will pick out evidence of history and true stories that witness the transformation of this beautiful city. Memory Tanks is an installation comprising 150 small fish tanks recovered from the storage of my ancestor house. These tanks were the primary tools for fish breeding of certain species, which were then sold around the world. I reinterpret these tanks into memory tanks that hold and breed different stories and memories recovered from around the place and they could be inherit to the future generations. “Understanding the past and look for the future.” My frontier is a mental battle against this distorted
moral practice of Money Talks taking over our society.
I would like to apply my architectural perspective to make a record of stories and history of the ancestor house and its context through photography and videography,
as the introduction of North East New Territories New Development in 2008 may soon see the Long Valley wetland area redeveloped.

EXCHANGE THE ROLE OF GUEST FOR THE HOST, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 30th Stratagem:
Defeat the enemy from within by infiltrating the enemyʼs camp under the guise of cooperation, surrender, or peace treaties. In this way you
can discover his weakness and then, when the enemyʼs guard is relaxed, strike directly at the source of his strength.

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Aden Chan graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2007, and the University of East London in 2010 respectively in Architecture. Since then, he has been practicing in the UK and Hong Kong. In 2013, he co-found Daydreamers Design and in the same year he received Gold Award in the Lantern Wonderland 2013 design competition. “Rising Moon” was then realized in Victoria Park Hong Kong and opened to the public. Rising Moon has managed to receive numerous prestige local and international architectural awards in 2014 & 2015.

Spatial Poverty & Diversity by TANG Yiu Lun, JasonStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

Spatial Poverty & Diversity

Hong Kong is a city that has always been at the ‘frontier’ to face a particular ‘battle’ – the lack of inhabitable space and its consequential spatial complexity. Considering the cityʼs density and issues of privacy and intimacy, Hong Kong can be seen as an urban laboratory for future compact cities. The point of departure is to explore the scale and scope of the hyper-densified and complicated area as alternative dimensions in the urban fabric of
Sham Shui Po. Sham Shui Po has been labelled as one of the poorest districts in HK. The area and its hyper-densed apartment typologies developed in Hong Kong since the 1950ʼs- focusing on how life unfolds inside. It is compact, complex, complicated, yet highly diversified. It has a high mix of inhabitants, ranging from grassroots locals, mainland immigrants, Southeast Asian groups, to many other ethnic groups. In this hybrid community, people have conceived countless ways to deal with the constraints and parameters. Their adaptation starts from spatial poverty, then shifts to spatial negotiation and re-interpretation, finally generates spatial diversity and re-invention. Many spatial surgeries we found in this unique urban scene is innovative and imaginative.  Part of the exercise is to map and convey the habitual infrastructures of the inhabitants’ lives – based on the theme of spatial poverty and spatial diversity. Through revealing all these hidden spatial agenda to a larger scale of social infrastructures and developing new typologies for spatial adaptation, this piece of work aims to demonstrate how the Hong Kong-ers have always turned the physical limitations into inspirational spatial inventions. This endurance and turnover, we call it ‘Verso’ ( 反客為主 ).

EXCHANGE THE ROLE OF GUEST FOR THE HOST, From the collection of: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016
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The 30th Stratagem:
Defeat the enemy from within by infiltrating the enemyʼs camp under the guise of cooperation, surrender, or peace treaties. In this way you
can discover his weakness and then, when the enemyʼs guard is relaxed, strike directly at the source of his strength.

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Jason Tang is a registered architect graduated from the University of Hong Kong and Architectural Association. He was awarded the British Council Chevening Scholarship in 2003, Young Architect Award in 2009, ‘40 under 40’ designer award in 2012, and the Hong Kong Youth Service Award in 2014. Jason is currently teaching at the Hong Kong Design Institute. This exhibit is a collective work of Jason’s HKDI students, co-led by Julia Mok and Thomas Chan.

The Surface of Wind and Light by TANG Kwok HinStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

The Surface of Wind and Light

The Beauty Trap [美人計], takes a battlefield of consciousness, straightly hitting contradictory aesthetics and values of humanity to reflect oneself. Regarding beauty of architecture, is that why architecture develop knowledge of climate and light while humans fundamentally need air and the sun? In modern cities, everywhere is the battle of climate
and light. Humans adopt, alter or forge wind and light, between natural and artificial experiences, creating a comfortable living environment which matches modernistic standards. In the process of nature being civilized, we repetitively question about the meanings of life. What aesthetics should we pursuit? What values? Are they ultimate and eternal? A wooden planet is placed in the center of downtown where most pedestrians walk by. The planet is constantly painted. As the paint is dried by unique wind direction resulting from the screen like towers, a nail will be hammered at the last pad of drying paint each time. The nails are then stitched, forming typhoon shelters and creating oceans. The oceans trigger human activities and cities growing.Searching for light followed by wind and water, this project plans to visit different malls or commercial buildings, through clear glass, looking and filming the midday sky along with the arcs of architectural structure will be combined as the sun.  Screen-like buildings, arcs of construction and glass of malls define wind and light on such the frontier of architecture. Both modern cities and nature, the general extremes are integrated into a beauty-trap. Hidden true intentions behind obsequiousness juxtapose so-called symbols of natural superficial features. Then, can it let humans to retrieve and look into variety of values and choices of methods, to obtain the final victory?

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The 31st Stratagem: Send your enemy beautiful women to cause discord within his camp. This strategy can work on three levels. First, the ruler becomes so enamored with the beauty that he neglects his duties and allows his vigilance to wane. Second, other males at court will begin to display aggressive behavior that inflames minor differences hindering co-operation and destroying morale. Third, other females at court, motivated by jealousy and envy, begin to plot intrigues further exasperating the situation.

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Tang Kwok Hin, mixed media artists, Master of Fine Arts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008, first prize winner of Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Award 2009, 2013 Asian Cultural Council grantee. His art appropriate daily and personal context intended to tell hidden stories between daily life and art towards cultural and social affairs.

Relife from Sub-divided Units by CHAN Kwok Kuen, Billy, CHAN Kai Chung, Calvin, and HO Lai Ki, NikkiStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016

Relife from Sub-divided Units

Nowadays in Hong Kong, increasing housing cost for
city dwellers become inevitable due to the unbalanced demand and supply of public housing provision. The economic problem will give rise to further reduction in living space or necessity of accommodation in sub-divided units (SDUs) for the low and middle income groups. While the government in Hong Kong are developing policy as solutions to expedite the production of public housing and controlling the residential property price, we as general public may also look for other pragmatic measures to improve our living condition. Back to 1950s, the government provided a subsidized programme for providing mass production of public housing to the low income households. People living in that housing type had limited living space and had to share common facilities like kitchen and washroom with the other households. Many social activities were taken place in common areas like lift lobby, entrance foyer and rooftop space. The inhabitants enjoyed certain degree of social life and entertainment on a shared basis of resources with their neighbours. With reference to the current condition of private SDUs, would it be possible to apply a similar methodology for allowing common areas within the building for sharing among the inhabitants? The promotion of common
social space within private development can be made by relaxing of building control measures. If such motion can be implemented, it will be beneficial to the dwellers in SDUs as they can then free up their private living space from the non-essential functions and therefore have better utilisation of their rental area. From this exhibit, we attempt to explore the possible common space within those residential buildings with sub- divided units and their potential functions. By doing so, the SDU inhabitants will enjoy a wider range of social/ daily activities under the current hostile urban environment.

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The 33rd Stratagem:
When the enemy is superior in numbers and your situation is such that you expect to be overrun at any moment, then drop all pretence of military preparedness and act casually. Unless the enemy has an accurate description of your situation this unusual behavior will arouse suspicions. With luck he will be dissuaded from attacking.

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After graduation from University of Sydney in 2000, Billy came back to HK to explore the opportunities lying in Mainland China. While the ride on this huge economic growth was successful, his mind was never too distant from the fundamental of architecture, i.e. the people. Joining Community Development Committee of HKIA since 2006, Billy has been instrumental in connecting architecture with the general public.

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Calvin has been actively participating in community services and promoting local architecture: he was the curator for “the X-Block HK!” exhibition in 2011; as co-founder for architect volunteering team under HKIA; and also acted as the taskforce member to promote the teaching kit for appreciation of Architecture in Secondary School Curriculum during 2012-13. Apart from being the Honourable Mention winner of the Young Architect Award in 2013, he had also received the leadership award in the Professional Volunteer Service Accreditation Programme.

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Nikki Ho graduated from the University of Minnesota and the University of Hong Kong with a Master Degree in Architecture. She worked in New York, Beijing and returned to Hong Kong and founded a design studio – RICE Studio. She won the 1st prize in professional group of GIF Design Ideas Competition – Hong Kong Science Park in 2013. She also dedicates to community services and exhibitions. She is a teaching assistant at the University of Hong Kong.

Skykite by CHAN SimStratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice - Biennale Architettura 2016


The work captures different parts of the “City Sky” (Hong Kong 18 districts) as kite shapes. It pulls together the contradiction between the city and the kite, displaying the paradox of coexistence but also opposition between civilisation and nature. These kites are loaded with problems we are facing in our lives , demands, hopes and dreams , through “ kite flying ” in the form of flying in the air, like a detached, a kind of liberation , a conception of returning to nature. It is also a metaphor of military reconnaissance, communications and liaison, rescue and help seeking, like a reflection on urban development, global communication, and a longing for nature. Through this work, it is presenting the existing social carcass and hoping to be looking more in line for people-oriented rather than economic efficiency- oriented urban development.

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The 36th Stratagem:
If it becomes obvious that your current course of action will lead to defeat then retreat and regroup. This is the last-ditch stratagem.

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Born in Hong Kong in 1987, graduated from the Hong Kong Art School, Major in Painting. Simʼs work is a tangible expression of the desire to unlock and blur boundaries of forms within the city.

Credits: Story


Mr. TSENG Yen Wei, William
Dr. WONG Ying Wai Wilfred, GBS, JP

[HKIABF Directors]
TSENG Yen Wen William, Chairperson
CHU Hoi Shan Paul, Vice Chairperson
FUNG Yin Suen Ada , JP
LIM Wan Fung Bernard Vincent, JP
YEUNG Lai Fong Alice

[Steering Committee]
(Formed by members from HKIABF and HKADC)
LIM Wan Fung Bernard Vincent, JP, Chairperson
YEUNG Lai Fong Alice, Vice Chairperson
Representatives from HKADC
FU Chin Shing Ivan
KWOK Wing Shing Vincent
Joshua LAU
TANG Wai Man Tony
WANG Wei Jen
CHUNG Wang Leung Thomas
FUNG Yin Suen Ada, JP
KUNG Yick Ho Alvin
Deborah LIU
TSENG Yen Wei William

[Chief Curator]
SIU Kwok Kin Stanley

CHAN Pui Hong Aden, Exhibition and Venue Design / Finance and Sponsorship
YUNG Chung Kwong Sunny, Graphics, Editorial and Publication
SO Kwok Kin, Exhibition Programme and Setup
TSE Kam Wing Kenneth, Exhibition and Venue Design
NGAI Chung Hon Angus, Event and Education
YIP Chi Lam Paul, Media and Public Relations

SIU Kwok Kin, Stanley
CHAN Pui Hong Aden
YUNG Chung Kwong Sunny
SO Kwok Kin
TSE Kam Wing Kenneth
NGAI Chung Hon Angus
CHIU Hang Mei Mary Grace
IP Chung Man Tony
HO Lai Ki Nikki
CHAN Kai Chung Calvin
CHAN Kwok Kuen Billy
TANG Yiu Lun Jason
MA Kit Yi Maggie
TANG Kwok Hin
IP Vaan

[HKIA Secretariat]
Rita CHEUNG, Registrar
Vivian SIE, Senior Manager
Tobe TO, Project Officer
Yuki CHOY, Account Officer

[HKADC Administration Office]
Winsome CHOW, Chief Executive
Brenda LAM, Cultural Exchange Manager
Betty MAK, Planning & Cultural Exchange Director
Florence LAU, Cultural Exchange Senior Officer

[Special Thanks]
In appreciation of HKIA Past President Mr CHUNG Wah Nah for his Chinese Calligraphy

[Designed By]
Goby LO

[Curatorial Intern]
LAU Ka Lee Gloria

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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