Pearl River Necklace

Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) International Ideas Competition 2010.

The idea to construct the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities as “a new Landmark to reflect Hong Kong as a vibrant global and metropolitan city” is an inspiring endeavor. However some of the key elements in the design turn out to be a fixed precondition: the shape of the landmass and more importantly the infrastructure itself are not part of the design task… a missed opportunity!

Beauty comes from within. So if we want to turn the project into a true success we cannot just focus on superficial improvements. We should concentrate on the intrinsic qualities: we should work with the organs and intestines too…

Can we create a Traffic Gem? Pearl River Necklace is a breakdown of the complexities of the Border Crossing Facilities into a ‘Necklace of Shining Pearls’. The objective is to bring to the surface the intrinsic beauty of the HKBCF and at the same time to reinforce the attractiveness of the projected Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Bisecting the enormous complexity of the Boundary Crossing facility in its core elements -Bus/Couch Passenger Clearance and Private Car and Cargo Checkpoints- allows for a simpler and perhaps more ‘meaningful’ organization. By taking the facility apart and remixing it in a new way a remarkably beautiful organism comes into being. What we need is a Houdini to perform some sort of Rope and Knot Magic.

Hong Kong has traffic on the left where China has traffic on the right. In principle this additional complexity has to be solved inside the Border Crossing Facilities. Within the proposed master layout plan this leads to fairly unarticulated intersections. It solves the switch, but does not ‘communicate’ it explicitly. In fact the proposed switches mimic a regular interchange; they do not stage a special event. Can we turn the moment of swapping into an unforgettable spectacle? Can we enhance awareness of motorists while at the same time creating an unprecedented driving experience?

The Flipper Bridge is a device that is designed to ‘celebrate’ the traffic switch. The Flipper aspires to make tangible the change of the road system. It hopes to elegantly redirect vehicles in a smooth and safe way.

Location: Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge
Client: Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities
Collaborators: NL Architects
Year: 2010