Zai Xi Jeffrey Wong

MArch I

Stacked Daydreams: Ceiling-Scape for the Neglected 

(Adaptive Reuse Hong Kong Vertical Factory for Elderly Care)

Advised by Eric Höweler 

This thesis operates at the intersection of three domains of neglect: 

  1. In the realm of building elements, the ceiling is often considered as an afterthought in the design process. 
  1. Across building types, the vertical factory sits abandoned and anachronistic to its surroundings, having spiraled into disuse due to Hong Kong’s shifting economic focus. 
  1. In society, the elderly are often subjected to social neglect, seen as a financial burden, and forced toward the fringes of society. 

Due to their obsolescence, these parts experience a sense of solitary indifference that leads to boredom. By combining these three realms of neglect, I intend to develop strategies to invert boredom into daydream, to create a mode of livelihood that incites association between creativity and memories, and to invite interest of care and engagement. 

This is what Mark Wigley calls a place of “real hospitality,” a genuinely open locus that embraces the existence of diverse and interconnected daydreams. It permits experimentations and explorations of the elderhood, allowing this third stage of life to take a step back from the conventional social decorum, and to breed its own life. 

The ceiling returns to its original identity as the plane of culture and aspirations, the medium of daydream. It becomes the protagonist—reusing the vertical factory, reinventing boredom, and reviving the neglected public elderly home and daycare centers in Hong Kong. 

Six plans black line drawings

Two images of the same large atrium room with a single column in the center. A fabric ceiling is set higher in the top image and lower in the bottom image.
A four-level atrium space wrapped by a ceiling of translucent stretch canvas. The top image depicts a morning assembly service, where the remains of a detached column draws all attention to the center. The bottom image depicts lunch hour where the soft ceiling drops, draping over the column relic, creating enclaves of smaller gathering spaces, where elders can come together for lunch.

Rendering of an outdoor open space below a building containing stairs and columns.
Ramp Stairs structure (stramp) creates a series of stepped landings towards the city’s highway, park, and skyline. It is held up by a series of oddly-shaped reinforced columns. It connects the ground floor to the open-air canteen on the second floor. New structural members are stained in yellow concrete to signify the yellow exterior appearance of the factory building.

A large indoor room with a curved ceiling and a large pool of water with people bathing.
A hydro-therapy hot springs. The ceiling of rows of smaller upside-down vaults are curved into a large Roman vault. It diverts condensation away from the center of the bath, similar to the Roman baths, avoiding drippage onto an occupants’ body. The wall is warped into a skylight, a moment where users can enjoy a moment of levity.

An open-air space at ground level below a building, containing benches and greenery.
The open-air natural trail is a double-height space that buffers the transition from public to private residential home care above. The ground trails of the garden are reflected geometrically onto the ceiling, where it forms a system of UV lights for the growth of the greenery at night. The soil level drops below the existing floor grade, where existing ceiling drop panels are excavated as table, and beams are found as handrails. The ceiling becomes accessories.

Architectural drawing of a multi-story rectangular building.
The East West section across the building. Blue indicates new interventions and black indicates existing ones.