Archive for the ‘Hong Kong’ Category

Hong Kong: Living green on a very small scale

June 20, 2010

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world, but offers huge potential for going green.

With each passing year, it seems that there is an ever increasing expectation for people to “go green” within the homes that we live in. Often, the ideas that most people think of are solar panels on roofs (at least in Australia where there’s plenty of sunlight, anyway), installing rainwater tanks, driving less and using less fuel, recycling and using other “green” products. Going further, some will create spaces that are made from recycled and non-energy intensive manufactured materials, and designing the home with a focus on using as little energy during the day-to-day operations of the home by getting it right from the start. In Hong Kong though, one architect has taken this concept of living green to the extreme.

Maybe you’re wondering why the title of this post reads “green on a very small scale” and why bother talking about it if the impact is so small. The title doesn’t refer to the level of impact, but rather the very small size of the home about to be discussed. Some time ago, I was linked through to this really fascinating video of a Hong Kong architect named Gary Chang who converted his tiny apartment in the Sai Wan Ho district of Hong Kong Island into a “Domestic Transformer”. His home features walls which can moved around to form 24 different layout combinations which maximises the value of the 30 sq m available to him whilst minimising energy use.

A bit of background about Hong Kong – Hong Kong is a densely packed city of 7 million people living in a built up area of only about 200 sq km, much of which has been reclaimed from its famous Victoria Harbour and the South China Sea. Compare that with the biggest metropolitan area in the world by population, Tokyo, which has 35 million people covering about 7800 sq km and you get the idea of how much denser Hong Kong is than most large cities. Much of this area includes the busy ports, commercial areas and industry that give Hong Kong its economic might, leaving an even smaller area just for homes. As a result, apartment buildings can be very tall, very densely packed and the individual apartments end up being very small. For Hong Kong residents, this is just part of every day living and they have learned to cope with the small spaces. The following video just goes to show how even the smallest of spaces have huge potential for being environmentally friendly.