Responsive Structures

Type: MA Design Studio
Name: Responsive Structures
Year: Fall 2020
Supervisor: Eike Schling, Geraldine Borio
Office: The University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture


Hong Kong’s diverse and international festival culture plays a vital role in defining its identity as a liberal, cosmopolitan city. Especially in times of political uncertainty, nurturing this tradition and its future development becomes of high significance.

Located on the east side of Lantau, Peng Chau increasingly attracts visitors who are interested in its historical village dating back from the Qing Dynasty. Kept aside from the last century’s urban expansion, Peng Chau retains an authentic tradition of festivals, which is rare in today’s modern metropolis of Hong Kong. However, when culture is packaged to be ‘consumed’ by a mass of visitors, the fragile local ecosystem and the cultural tradition is at threat of being eradicated. Tourism and heritage are often seen as conflicting entities. But in fact, the risk of suffocation from the local communities is not necessarily related to the number of visitors per se, but to the lack of care in the management and infrastructural installation. When planned well, culture and touristic installation have the capacity to positively nurture the social interactions and to act as a hinge between the young and the old generation.
Our goal is to prepare Peng Chau for future growth while creating an opportunity to strengthen its identity and cultural heritage.


We use cultural festivals, such as the local dragon boat race, as a vessel to investigate Peng Chau’s history, technology and community. Through a systematic analysis of site and culture, structure and craft we will define 10 briefs at 10 locations along the waterfront that address the challenges and opportunities of Peng Chau’s cultural development. The students will engage in a series of workshops that target context mapping, parametric thinking and prototypical development in order to achieve highly articulate, critical and comprehensive design proposals.
Teams of two students are asked to design an adaptive infrastructure for festival events with a permanent and temporary component working in tandem throughout the year. The challenge is to minimize the negative impact on the island while maximizing the richness of contextual and architectural qualities, combining local traditional craft with modern technology.

About eikeschling

Dr.-Ing. | Architect BYAK Assistant Professor in Architectural Structures The University of Hong Kong

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