Modular and Inter-Generational Community:
Re-Imagination of Affordable Housing and Building Regulations in Hong Kong

Housing proposal comprised of 320 nos. of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC)

Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) had announced the winning design of the HKIA Young Architect Award (HKIA YAA) 2019. The competition with the theme ‘Housing+ — Re-imagine affordable housing and better living’ challenged local architects aged 35 or below to propose innovative and unique design proposals for the local housing communities.

The winning design, titled ‘Modular & Inter-generational Community’ by Arnold Yok Fai Wong, re-imagines the adaptability, livability and buildability of affordable housing through using leftover Air Space in the city and Modular Construction Method.

Hong Kong is known as a densely populated city with very limited land supply to build upon. Learning from the air rights in the New York City, the proposal is strategically located at the end of the Island East Corridor (IEC) at Quarry Bay to make use of the unused air space beneath the highway.

The Social Valley – Central Social Hub for the community

Through using air space as air rights, the limited land space in Hong Kong can be preserved. Therefore, the proposal anticipates the Government to promote air rights by giving bonus floor and exemption of site area as an incentive for the developers. Assuming two storeys and 80 per cent of the 2 kilo-metres long air space below Island East Corridor are suitable for construction, around 1,300 residential units can be built underneath.

While the project is vertically dense, it also provides a pedestrian-friendly horizontal streetscape for the community and human scale by creating the Social Valley, a central hub that promotes diverse social opportunities with various active and passive programs, such as:

  • Library with amphitheatre seating area
  • A 10-metres wide walking and jogging lane for all generation users
  • Climbing facilities for sports enthusiasts
  • Shops and Restaurants operated by residents
  • Central plaza for events and weekend flea market

Modular construction has not been very popular in Hong Kong until the Building Department officially announce in 2019 that 6 per cent of the Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) floor area of a new building may be disregarded from the gross foor area (GFA) upon application. With such, this project fully explores the potential of the MiC together with the introduction of the first Suspended Modular Integrated Construction (SMiC) to work with the air rights by suspending under the bridges.

6 programmatic MiC modules

The construction will start by completing three main structural cores using slipform construction method before installing 320 nos. of MiC comprised of the following 6 programmatic modules: residential (one MiC bedroom can be converted to two bedrooms), sky garden, library, shop, office, and climbing wall and the back house.

Arnold Yok Fai Wong is currently a Senior Architect at Aedas focusing on both the design and project coordination in various architectural projects. The HKIA Young Architect Award (YAA) jury recognised him as an all rounded young architect who had demonstrated his passion in design, professional development and social participation.

Arnold believes a good design requires social participation and appreciation. Therefore, he has been actively promoting the design and architectural industry to the public. His works had been exhibited and recognized internationally and locally including the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale (2021), UABB HK (2019 & 2015) and Wharf Designer Chair Exhibition (2019), Wan Chai Green Community Station Competition (Finalist – 2018), Hong Kong Young Architects & Designers Competition (Highlighted Entries – 2017) and International Architecture Thesis Awards (First Prize – 2015). In 2014, he was awarded the Hong Kong Young Design Talents by HKSAR CreateSmart Initiative and The Wharf ArchDesign Resource Trust.

Apart from being an architect, Arnold also enjoy doing community service, recently, he has co-taught multiple architectural workshops at secondary schools with Wharf Limited in 2019.

Find out his portfolio on Instagram and LinkedIn!