This thesis suggests manipulating a 2D planar surface through
spatial verbs – folding, weaving, wrapping as a fundamental
design tool of generating the 3D volumetric hybrids.
This inspires a logic and systematic approach on consideration
of spatial character or programmatic needs by operating of
This thesis aims at provoking abstract spatial thinking and
volumetric interplay to develop a new method of exploring
spatial experience and architectural interpretation.
In Modern architecture, Le Corbusier placed systems of harmony and proportion at the centre of his
design philosophy and his faith in the golden section. Le Corbusier explicitly used the golden ratio in his
Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion. He saw this system as a continuation of the long
tradition of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”, who used the proportions of the human body
to improve the appearance and function of architecture.
Richard Serra, an American minimalist sculptor and video artist, wrote a verb list, such as to roll, to fold,
to cut, to dangle, to twist, etc. and thereafter he worked out pieces in relation to the verb list physically in
a space. He described this as a series of “actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process,” and
employed it as a kind of guide for his subsequent practice in multiple mediums. Architect Sophia Vyzoviti
pushes, cuts, pleats, folds, and shreds the edges of architectural design – to startling effect. She uses
folding as a generative process in architectural design and essential experiment.Her emphasis on the
techniques of handling physical models and materials is refreshing in a world instead of working solely in
software which is about augmented reality, touching stuff, and the aesthetics of smart textures.
I was inspired by these artists and architects and I would like to introduce spatial verbs as a design
approach in design process. The verbs are defined to differentiate how they operate volumetrically for
the starting point of creation of space. They are grouped into addtion, subtraction and displacement
which are organized within a systematic framework. This method should not be a limit to spatial design
but to unlock the traditional studies on the relationship between building typologies and their associated
programs. The aim of the thesis is to bring a new approach to think about the interaction of volumes in
space, relationship of interior and exterior, at various scales and perspectives.
The site, scale and scope of the project
The site will be approximately 7,000 square meter. The selected site is bounded by three streets, namely D’Aguilar
Street, Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham Street. D’Aguilar Street will be the main access of the site and the main
focus of the project will be Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham Street will be the edge of the project. The scope of the
project is to redefine Lan Kwai Fong from its confined status of clubs, bars, dining, etc, to a new community of
art, culture, leisure and the hub of social connection.
Why is this site
Lan Kwai Fong is renownced for its bustling day-and-night life in Hong Kong. The natural straight inclined
streetscape creates a flourishing confluence of galleries, boutiques, bars and restaurants on street and podium
levels accompanying with extremely crowd busy roads. A tremendous number of people hangs out, meeting and
by-passing this place. Such an fully occupied site with diverse programs and day-and-night happenings creates
a great challenge and lots of possibilities to develop innovative design idea.
Despite of the fascination, a terrible but understandable tragedy once took place in Lan Kwai Fong and caused
20 people dead and more than 100 injured on the New Year’s Eve in 1992. Similar tragedies like the terrorist
attack in Bangkok and the Shanghai New Year’s Eve 2013 countdown recently took place due to the crowd
behaviour of revellers and the lack of the emergent-norm design.
Theorization of the site selection
To further develop my design methodology, I would like to explore how the abstract spatial action can yield in a
larger sense of scale and complexity. Volumetric relationships, proxiities, adjacencies, and experiential factors
should be well considered without being weighed down by the familiar and preconceived notions of what the
space was meant to be.
The spatial connectivity is also emphaszed to integrate the internal qualities, spatial aexperience, sensible
circulation and movement with the external spatial complex. Thus, responding to programmatic requirements
and given site coditions, the transformation of surface into volume is by logic volumetric organization of the
aggregations and combinations within a consistsent design methodology.
Stage 01 – Analytical Design Research:
Case study analysis with similar objective, scale, scope or material. Eg. Reserach on carnival promenade, public space,
entertaining space, high density streetscape or dynamic landscape design. Due on Dec 29.
Site analysis on history, background of the location, entertaining culture, urban fabric, street context, circulation, opportunities and
deficiencies on site. Due on Jan 5.
Stage 02 – Design Synthesis
Generation of Design drawing and model with concept. Eg, Continuity, accessibility, street ambience, program, activities.
Experiement with physical modeling from surface into volume, well categorized and defined conditions of spatial verbs and action.
Exploration for spatial creation and quality. Due on Jan 26.
Review 1.0 Rehearse/ refine/present/write. Due on Feb 2.
Stage 03 – Testing the method
Testing and Refining the method by Physical Modeling on volumes with combined actions and aggregations, related to the site
conditions and needs. Review 2.0 Rehearse/ refine/present/write. Due on Mar 16.
Stage 04 – Revision/Refinement
Justification with digital modeling and renderings, associated programs should be considerably designed as followed. Review 3.0
Rehearse/ refine/present/write. Due on Apr 27.
Stage 05 – Final development/ Touch up.
Final Review. Due on May 25.
1. Richard Serra, 1967-1968, Verb List Compilation:Actions to relate to Oneself, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
2. Le Corbusier et Pierre Jeanneret, 1910-1929, Oeuvre Complete , Zurich: Les Editions d’Architecture (Atremis)
3. Kenneth Frampton, 1920-1945, Modern Architecture, New York: Rizzoli International Publications
4. Steven Holl, 2000, ”Correlational Programming” in Parallax, Princeton_New York, 212-213
5. Léonor Mégrot-Desallais Faculté d’Architecture La Cambre-Horta ULB – Bruxelles – Master inspired by Aldo Van Eyck
6. Shinkenchiku International Residential Competition 2008 (Japan)
7. Vitra Design Museu George Nelson Installation
8. Peter Eisenman Church Competition Roma 1996