Living together, generously

Challenged by curator Hashim Sarkis to imagine spaces “in which we can generously live together”, Hong Kong’s contribution to this year’s Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition is a collection of 20 installations exploring the theme of Redistribution: Land, People and Environment.

While the pandemic prevented the Hong Kong curatorial team, led by HKIA President and Chinachem CEO Donald Choi, from physically being at the prestigious event in Italy, which runs from May to November, it has instead created an augmented reality experience, the Hong Kong Collateral Event, which can be viewed online and later this year at a local gallery.

“Our exhibitors were tasked with proposing innovative ideas centred on the redistribution of land, people and the environment – three critical resources to enhance Hong Kong’s overall liveability,” says Choi.

One installation, for example, called Porosity for Prosperity, invites the audience to imagine living spaces carved out from Hong Kong’s mountainous topography. Another, inspired by a traditional Hakka village, reminds us that a city cannot be sustainable if its rural hinterland is being ignored.

After reviewing submissions for the event, the curators assembled 20 teams of people – including architects, designers, researchers, academics and representatives of corporations and NGOs – with similar concepts and asked them to collaborate and bring their ideas to life. The collaborative process, noted Choi, was also a meaningful way to embody the Biennale theme of living and working together.

The exhibits address both challenges and opportunities facing Hong Kong, ranging from the city’s ageing population and the impact of global talent migration to the lack of land resources and the need to improve the sustainability of our high-density, vertical city structure and overall urban wellness.

Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation (HKIABF) and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), in partnership with HKIA, the event was also sponsored by Create Hong Kong. The foundation plans to showcase the installations in a public gallery in Hong Kong from October to December. Visit the project website to view the AR event and learn more about the initiative.