Skyhigh Creative Partners Workshop

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Skyhigh Creative Partners Workshop
Project Background Tin Shui Wai in Hong Kong has a lot of problems: high unemployment rate, juvenile crime, lack of facilities, drugs problems…etc St. James’ Settlement (SJS), a non government organization took the initiative and take part in collaborating with Commercial Radio Hong Kong (CR), together to set up a new training and employment program “Skyhigh Creative Partners`, to realize the intrinsic talents of young people, which can be channeled through the right platform for the creative industry. Skyhigh Creative Partners will provide multi-media facilities and equipments, including studio, band room, audio-visual aids, computer and software provision. CR will liaise with professionals to introduce the media industries and invite established leaders in such industry to conduct workshops, share their working experience, and if found suitable, even offering the opportunity to work along with the professionals on real projects. The first problem was there’s no space to be rent in the district, and then there is also a limited budget, so constructing even a small building is out of the question. So where do you suddenly find a 1000 sq.m. of space? The Tin Shui Wai area was planned largely as a residential district and there was a lack of non-domestic area for rental. However, it was noticed that due to the generally low average income, car ownership percentage was very low, and there’s a lot of empty carparks in the area. It was then decided that this workshop is to be housed within an existing disused carpark. Obstacles When the brief was first received, the objectives were stated as follows: 1. To encourage young people to express, involve themselves in the community; take initiative to participate in creative industry. 2. To identify their potential in creative industries, further develop their talents into becoming experts in the profession. 3. To provide them with fieldwork practice opportunities. The challenge was how to create a space that can accommodate a group of people, offering the environment to teach, learn and produce creative works, yet not bored them with the typical institutional settings. Furthermore, the carpark has very low ceiling height and induced a claustrophobic state of mind. To add to the problem, the workshop is supposed to be a space for creativity, and your average car park is just the opposite of that. The Idea Our design is about challenging the accepted norm, and breaking through the given monotony. The existing site (car park) possesses a monotonous grid and a solemn tone; the expression of the façade treatment and form of each activity area is crucial in breaking through these. All the columns are absorbed behind slanted walls, and the low ceilings were shielded with a layer of skin which functions as lighting but also a surface to define the space underneath. The original grid has been made disappeared. The entrance, reception, as well as the alignment of the perimeter walls were decided in response to the main access to the site as it must deliver impact while retain an element of surprise by not revealing all. Essentially a deep plan, daylight became extremely precious in most areas. Walls, when connected to rooms on the perimeter, were opened wherever possible with transparent glazing so that the daylight can still be diffused into the central area. The way how the arrangement of opening was decided was partly due to the consideration of provision of daylighting while provide a reasonable degree of privacy. Interactive Teaching Space Other than the usual seminar space provided with live broadcast, recording studios, high quality band room and control rooms, the client requested for some informal space where it can operate as cluster, where the instructor can have a closer working relationship with the apprentice. A hexagonal shape was designed to meet such requirement. Each hexagon contains a different program such as music making and editing, film and animation production, graphic and visual art design. Plexiglas were used and installed at both skirting and privacy barrier to make it “float` above the floor as if it is levitating off the ground. Brainstorming areas were introduced in the in between spaces between function areas to provide sufficient amount of space for creative thinking and group discussions within the Centre in a less formal environment. Ceiling The ceiling treatment plays an important role due to the low headroom within the Centre. A hexagon module made with perforated metal was designed to visually screen off the low headroom and the rigid ceiling beams. And functioning differ from a traditional false ceiling, these hexagonal modules become light features and hide away the true height of the ceiling, yet offering added depth visually. The hexagonal ceiling pattern was also used to define the teaching spaces, provide light and to cover the enormous building service ducts and existing pipes. Lockers Constructed with 2 color plastics, each is suspended by tension cables and facing a different direction, mimicking the many possibilities opened to a youngsters at different stage of their respective lives. These lockers also serve as a physical but not visual barrier to divert the traffic circulation and minimize disturbance to the hexagonal areas. We were also trying to question the meaning and relationship of a wall, a corridor, and storage entities. Can they not be the same but serve different functions at the same time?


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