Master of Architecture students had the opportunity to undertake a 10-day trip in the Pearl River Delta region, visiting the fast-growing cities of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau where they learnt more about urban density, global mobility and temporary dwelling.
The 2016 Endeavour Program funded 16 students on the trip in August this year, with the aim of fostering relationships and connections with Southeast Asia, one of the most dynamic and thriving regions of the planet.
In Hong Kong, students experienced living in one of the most congested hub cities in the Asia Pacific region that is a major gateway to Mainland China, and has one of the busiest international airports. The field trip offered students the chance to reflect upon the transient movement of people through a contemporary megalopolis, occupying the city for different periods of time varying from a few hours, to a few days, weeks or months. During the trip students compared Hong Kong with two other highly-characterised urban realities: Shenzhen, a growing financial centre in the region, and Macau, the "Las Vegas of China".
One of seven design studios within the School’s Master of Architecture degree, the Utopian Urbanism course was coordinated by lecturer Dr Silvia Micheli and researcher Jonathan Kopinski, with the assistance of architect, I-Wen Kuo. The field trip included site visits, detailed mapping exercises, design workshops in the internationally renowned OMA Hong Kong office, discussions with UQ alumni, and thematic lectures at the University of Hong Kong.
On returning to Australia, students completed their urban analysis and developed a suite of architectural projects for the region's increasingly transient population. Illustrative of new scenarios for living in tomorrow's cities, the work will be exhibited as part of the forthcoming eMbARCH Exhibition, which opens on Friday 26 November 2016 at the School of Architecture, UQ St Lucia campus.