Lok Ma Chau – Bridge’in Difference

The Hong Kong-China border is slowly dissolving. In 2010 a part of the frontier area at Lok Ma Chau opened up for new urban developments. By 2047, 50 years after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, the border will no longer exist. This project proposes an inhabited bridge at Lok Ma Chau, connecting Hong Kong and Shenzhen, that recognises both the global movement within the Pearl River Delta as well as the local sense of ‘place’. In an attempt to learn from Hong Kong I ask: What makes place in Hong Kong valuable? What is the influence of globalisation on the local experience of place other than ‘placelessness’? And how as designers can we work with this?

The final design is for an inhabited bridge based on  three (slow, medium and fast pace) atmospheres  that swirl through and around a long ‘void’ that literary and symbolically connects Hong Kong and China. This relational void, as inspired by the ancient Chinese bagua, links the atmospheres to each other and to the surrounding landscape. The quality of the relational void is further developed in the inner and outer façades. The rhythm of the inner void interacts with the rhythm of the outer routes in such a way that the experience of place within movement is further stimulated by the eff ect of anamorphosis. And the swirl of the outer routes takes the bagua concept literary by turning the experience of its architectural elements upside-down; roof becomes façade becomes floor. In this way, what might be valuable (a specific view or experience) for one person, might be insignificant for others. Thus, by means of different speeds and purposes the bridge will become place and movement simultaneously. The Lok Ma Chau bridge therefore becomes a place to not only move through, but also to go to, and thus provides a sense of place within movement.