FEATURE: Technology could help with imaginative building design

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - Technology could lead the construction industry to a new stage, but technology is no more than a tool since the sector is led by human beings, Hong Kong architect Rocco Yim Sen-kee told China Daily in an interview.

Architecture needs imagination, but cannot be accomplished just by imagination, he said. Yim believes technology could make some of architects’ ideas come true, he said after winning an award at Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Outstanding Cultural and Creative Industries Awards Ceremony on Friday.

“The development of technology enables us to have a concept of the design via illustrations of architecture and 3D printing models. On this basis, we can further make more studies and discuss more with others,” said Yim, founder of Rocco Design Architects Ltd.

In addition, he said, technology could help produce certain elements and components when construction is underway.

The architect has been responsible for the design of many iconic buildings in the city, including the International Finance Centre in Central and the Central Government Complex at the Tamar site.

Yim was appointed the design architect for the Hong Kong Palace Museum in 2017. The final design for the new addition to the West Kowloon Cultural District had already been unveiled.

He said all the rough design work has been completed. What is left now are details that need to be ironed out after talks with the museum curator and other involved officials.

The main project of the Palace Museum began months earlier. The planned building has been likened to a vase or an ancient Chinese cauldron.

“Basically, it’s a contemporary building presenting traditional culture. The material and the shape are quite contemporary. But we hope it could evoke antiquity. It is more about the temperament of the building,” Yim said.

He expects the museum could “have a dialogue between generations” with other buildings in the cultural district, as there will be a comparison of “the old and the new”.

Yim used to describe the Palace Museum as his most challenging museum project, considering the limited land area. To make the best use of that, he has to have the building extend up in the air.

Museum designs normally have two or three floors with wider areas, while the Palace Museum in Hong Kong will be a five-story building. It will interconnect galleries on different floors and three central atriums with views of the harbor.

Discussing government projects, Yim said that public space will usually be larger in these kinds of projects. For example, the government headquarters at Tamar wasted some sea views and brought more public usage right to the middle of a government complex.

“I proposed to do that, and the government agreed. It turns out we succeeded and had a quite good result,” he said.

The complex now has become a public thoroughfare, with lots of people going through, and is a link between the waterfront and the inner city.