Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Initial thoughts for a 1000 sqft skyscraper

Initial thoughts for a 1000 sqft skyscraper

Now that I’ve started designing the affordable housing project in Hong Kong, I set a constraint for the project that will guide its development. The constraint for the project is to design a skyscraper that will be no larger than 1000sqft per floor. In addition, a primary objective for the building is that must have the ability to grow in relation to the need for affordable housing. Here’s how my design is coming along so far.

Initial Floor Plan

Designing for community

From my preliminary research on rooftop slums in China, I learned that the inhabitants built their shacks apart from one another and created a perimeter around an open area. This open area would be used for communal activities such as hanging their laundry to dry and spending time with one another. Thus, a community is formed by the rooftop inhabitants and their shacks are used primarily for relaxing, sleeping, cooking, and watching television.

After learning about these communities and multi-use spaces within the shacks, I decided that the affordable housing design had to maintain and strengthen these ideas. So far, my design concept is to have two living units on every floor that includes a personal bathroom and multi-use space with a foldout bed built into a closet (Murphy bed).

These living units will be extremely compact, about 150-200sqft, and they’ll all be universally designed. Although this design decision requires more space for the occupants, it will allow for more of the population in need of affordable housing to have a space that supports their needs. Based on my research of people in affordable housing, many of them plan to live in their shacks for a long duration of time, which means that they will age in place and need additional support for their daily activities.

Outside of the apartments, there is a shared kitchen, laundry area, dining, and communal living room for the occupants to gather and spend time with one another. This shared area spans two floors so that four units (2 per floor) could share the spaces, which are connected by a staircase.

The exterior walls and structure of the building are structurally reinforced concrete in which the rebar is left exposed at the top of the column and covered for future expansion. As the demand for affordable housing increases, two floors are added at a time to maintain the two floor community design.

Next steps

My next steps for the affordable housing project in China are to develop the designs of the living units and shared spaces. I’ll also brainstorm potential programs on the ground floor and more communal areas on higher floors such as a full floor plate devoted to a two story garden. I’ll also determine my deadline for this project and work towards completing the project within that timeframe.

Stay tuned for more!


A Journey to the Past in New York City

A Journey to the Past in New York City

Next Project - Affordable Housing in Hong Kong

Next Project - Affordable Housing in Hong Kong