Jing Chang

MArch I AP

1200 mm Living Fantasies: Rethinking “Toothpick” Tower Typologies in Hong Kong

Advised by P. Scott Cohen

“Pencil towers” are residential towers with small footprints and tall heights. The appearance of pencil towers occurs due to large demand for housing and limited land resources. Under various external pressures (historical, economical, and legal), pencil towers become exclusive for high-density cities, especially Hong Kong. This thesis focuses on Hong Kong as the context to research the implications of this phenomenon and to explore more possible and feasible “toothpick” tower typologies (the upgraded version of pencil towers) at both urban and architectural scales.

Instead of the existing pure extrusion form, this new type of tower form could correspond to urban contexts, structural needs, and social values. However, on one hand, how could idiosyncratic sites open new opportunities to transform the tower type or to constrain it to change at the urban scale? On the other hand, how could compact spaces be a new design opportunity at the architectural scale?

Based on the above questions, the intention of this thesis is to propose a design system of “toothpick” tower typologies that could adapt to various sites in Hong Kong: street gardens, unused ports, etc. Fully utilizing the land and picturing a variety of living images, the social reconfiguration that the typological transformation leads to, as well as the human-scale space design within the typology, could maintain a more intimate experience, giving Hong Kong its distinctive character.

Jing Chang, MArch I AP. Panoramic View.