Porosity (Hong Kong)

Fall 2012/2013 @ Hong Kong Design Centre
29 November 2012 / 03 December 2012

Entitled ‘Porosity’, MVRDV and The Why Factory (T?F) present their ongoing research on the design of skyscrapers and the potential of porosity as a European approach to urban density. The results are presented as scale models made of LEGO bricks.

‘Porosity – Opening the Towers’ was a 4-day workshop with 20 students from various universities from Hong Kong as well as 10 practicing architects from Hong Kong and invited critics to develop the study further within the Asian context. It focused on the search for new principles of organisation of large structures, exemplified with a high-rise building. It was carried out by systematic manipulations of the correlations between private and public spheres, respectively represented in an abstract way by the closed and ‘the open pixel’.

Four thematic experiments (tunnels, balconies, stairs, caves) were conducted with the premise that their results should remain abstract, binary and measurable. They addressed solely interrelations between open, closed, empty and full. The task did not define any specific program, nor aimed at achieving an elaborate design.

The 4 experiments display a form-exhausting collection of 100 models presented as a grid. The grid is divided into the 4 themes which each represent a method to add porosity to the parent solid tower standing in the center of the grid. The grid organizes models along the x-axis according to the percentage of their porosity within a given envelope (10%-50%), while the y-axis assembles them according to the size of their ‘open pixel’ surface (grain size 8×8, 6×6, 4×4, 4×2, 2×2). This extensive catalogue of possibilities served as the first step to a more precise parameterization of the process and a deeper exploration of selected porosity aspects.


Tihamér Salij, Ania Molenda


Randolph LAI, Joshua WONG, Dicky CHU, Noah CHENG, Queenie SHAM, Eleanor FU, Shervan CHAN, Samantha YIP, Ennio LAM (Hong Kong Design Institute); Frankie CHAN, John CHAN, Susan LAM, Chui Shan WONG, Vicky LAM, Gloria HA, Carol NG, Andrew HUNG, Philip LAM, Cherry LEUNG (City University of Hong Kong); Jose CHEUNG, Sun YI, David WANG, Cecil XU, Miracle HUI, Tak LEE, Sylvie HUI, Lai Lok YU, Wentang DONG, Xinhui GUI (HKPolyU); Jack PUN, Billy TAM (PMQ)

Guest Critics

Timothy J. Jachna, Luis Costa, Atul Kansara, Shan Chia, Joseph F. Wong, William To, Carol Leung, Grace Lau