While there is an urgency for building a laboratory for interdisciplinary research on advanced fabrication for climate change in Hong Kong, the project questions how the laboratory could be redefined from secret, passive, enclosed and hidden type of building.
The proposed site is chosen in Shek O, a former quarry site taking advantage of many supportive installation and infrastructure nearby that facilitate a synergic network for interdisciplinary research. The site has been undergoing changes since quarry, now vacant for remediation work, will become an immersed tube construction site, and potentially a new town in future.
The project takes the diachronic process of the immersed tube construction as the opportunity, the precast tunnel can be immediately transformed into a laboratory during its casting work within an open rocky channel in which the adjoining precast construction plant can be shared for advanced fabrication research and practical application.
The design considers how to unfinish the casting work of the tunnel rather than finish it so as to have variety of space within a typical tunnel section. It spans part on the sea, part underground, part on surface and part above ground that orientates towards the Southern China Sea for accessibility from sea for emerging building material such as algae and coral research. It creates a microclimate in relation to the rocky channel, the enveloper is parametrically distorted in front to the South for sun shading and open at the back to the North for day light
The research facilities are arranged according to straight-forward production flow as the solid 'rooms', overlapping with a number of public programme as the void of the building to increase the public awareness away from passiveness that emerges instantly as part of the urban infrastructure.
While the future land use of the laboratory is uncertain, but its flexibility of construction technique allows it to either embedded as underground infrastructure for the new town or just finish the unfinished part to become another 'immersed tube' to move away. The project envisions what Reyner Banham commented on Cedric Prince.'...a way of really not saying, ‘What kind of building do you want?’, but almost of asking first of all, ‘Do you really need a building?...’ that building through opportunistic process of site.