The significance of the curatorial statement from Alejandro Aravena lies in the enlightenment of the civic public and their contribution as a collective effort to call for changes to some as given living conditions, which are exemplified in the making of new architecture scenes. The responsive curatorial statement from the Hong Kong Curatorial Team looks into the phenomena from a societal point of view, and highlights the different struggles by metaphorically citing the Chinese fighting wisdom “36 Strategems”.
This exhibition is a documentation of the project Viva Blue House in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The story tells not only the architectural renovation to a cluster of worn-out historical residential buildings, but more importantly, the changes in the attitudes, values, judgments, and self-empowerment of the original residents to strive for a chance of staying in their original place, despite the external forces from the government bodies to expel them out with her plan to make the place to a tourist attraction spot. The year was 2007. The collective voice consists of the tenants, social workers, academic professions, architects, planners, writers, artists, and many citizens who care about this issue. They successfully lodged objections to the government’s plan. A year later, the government launched the ‘Partnership Scheme for the Revitalization & Adaptive Reuse of Historical Buildings’, and subsidized the appropriate non-profit-making organization to run the project with social enterprise programs.
I was in the fighting team with the tenants since 2007, and had the honor of invitation to do the architectural design proposal for them. The renovation site works was started in 2012 and was anticipated to complete by end of 2016. The exhibit shown here is a miniature shop front of the ‘House of Stories’ in the G/F of the Blue House where the neighbors celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival every year.