Senior Assisted Living High Rise Complex in Hong Kong Area: Proposal for Design Investigation

Architectural Issue(s) To Be Addressed

List architectural issues, themes, theories, questions, and hypotheses; state how your work responds to the present cultural conditions, and how it will serve to enhance the human condition.

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In Hong Kong, there are a number of problems for architects, including a severe lack of space, a need to conserve energy use, the necessity to design buildings to stand up to severe weather: thunderstorms and typhoons. In addition, people in Hong Kong are becoming very concerned about the environment and their health, so consideration must be given to the carbon footprint of buildings and the safety of both the building design and the services it delivers to the occupants.

The second problem in Hong Kong is population, especially the aging population. People who need extra care are currently housed in crowded hospitals because there are simply no facilities elsewhere. More nursing homes are being built, but the medium solution of assisted living has not really been explored. Many of the elderly now taking up beds in hospitals could live with just a little support, and are really better off there, since the hospital environment is not really good for them. Hospitals do not encourage mobility and provide no recreation or activities for the elderly who have to stay there because their relatives simply work too much to be able to care for them.

Social services in Hong Kong have long been trying to find solutions for this population. Sending them home to family is not practical when they would be alone while their children work.

Proposed Project Type

Including building type(s), uses, inhabitants, populations served, approximate square foot area. State how your program will augment, support, enhance and facilitate your general thesis topic(s). Beyond functional issues what are your cultural, social, technological, theoretical, or other “programs?”

This proposal is to design an assisted living development, where residents would each have their own space, but share common areas and have needed facilities on site. This group of elderly people would greatly benefit from assisted living developments, where they would have independence, but be provided with meals, some cleaning help, activities, and some health care from health care practitioners. Such a development should include recreation facilities, a recreation and activity program, health and education programs, and common dining facilities and leisure space. In this way, the needs of this growing population would be well served, and the space used to serve them would be less than if they each had apartments, and would cost much less than if they were in the hospital.

The facility should have about 27 residential floors plus underground parking, minus a fourth floor, which would not be usable, due to local superstition. The roof will be a shared area for the building. Each apartment would be about 450 square feet, including the bathroom. Each floor would have a laundry and sitting area with a view.

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Description of Proposed Site

Including location, distinctive site features, existing structures, character (urban, suburban, rural, etc.), and other relevant qualities (densely forested, etc.). How does the proposed site augment, support, or facilitate your general topic and program?

By using shared space for recreation, these seniors would socialize, rather than sit home alone. The apartments would be small since recreation space would be provided. There would expect to be an on-site convenience store with a postal outlet, a dining room, and kitchen, lounge areas, one or two television and reading corners, an exercise room or fitness center, and a meeting room for activities. Local religious groups will be encouraged to create a program for residents.

A salon/barber will be available on site. Some garden areas outside would be maintained with lots of sitting space under trees for shade. A community garden might be included for residents to grow their own flowers or vegetables. Outdoor recreation areas will also be included with areas for games like cricket, croquet, etc, and a small pool will be there since the weather allows these to stay open all year.

The building will be a “smart” building, able to control the environment from a central computer. It will be designed to use as little power as possible and to be built from materials that have a little carbon footprint and are either recycled or recyclable. Recycling facilities will be on site. The building will be wheelchair and walker accessible with bits of help for vision or hearing impaired. All residents will have internet access, local phone service, and satellite or cable TV.

Visitor parking will be available and a shuttle service to shopping, doctors and hospital outpatient clinics will be provided. It should be built near to a largely residential area, like proximity to family is expected to be an issue.

It is expected that social services will want to provide some programs, especially health-related education or activities, and we can expect some government subsidy since we are saving the community a great deal of money while providing much-needed services and facilities.

The site will be urban since this is the population served. There are several sites under consideration in the New Territories and Kowloon. Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island are not under consideration, because the land is very expensive, and there are other areas that are easily accessible via public transport or highway. These include Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Sha Tin, and Sai Kung. There is more land in these areas at lower prices, yet they are near the light train and also accessible via express bus, metro, and shuttle.

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Your Interest and Expertise

Note how and why you chose this thesis/project. What have you done to prepare for it? How will it allow you to capitalize on your unique skills, knowledge, and expertise? How will your interests manifest themselves in your work?

As part of my education, I have studied architecture and design, plus environmental issues and building materials. I am from Hong Kong, so I am uniquely acquainted with this area, the people and culture, and the needs of the population. I know the artistic sensibility and the geography of the location. My background, plus my education will enable me to design a functional building with both traditional Chinese and modern features. Hong Kong has some very striking architecture already. My building complex should be both complementary to existing architecture and exemplary in concept for its use, design features, and practicality.

Your Goals for the Thesis

What do you hope to accomplish through the pursuit of this project? How will it enhance your understanding of architecture? How will it serve you after graduation (in professional practice, graduate studies, or alternative careers)?

I expect this project to challenge my ability to design a space that is original, environmentally sensitive, beautiful, functional, and uniquely suited to Hong Kong. This design will be the beginning of my portfolio. If it is good enough I will propose it to the Hong Kong builders society.

Literature Review

Provide a bibliography of relevant published works you have read or intend to read/utilize.

Sustainable Architecture, 2008, 2008,

There are many phrases being used currently in the building industry that relate to environmental issues. Many of these use the word “zero”, but they do not all mean the same thing. Therefore, it seems necessary to define the terms very carefully.

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  • Zero Carbon Balance:
    • This term means that for whatever carbon is created when building a project, that same amount is saved by means of environmental least sound construction and built-in energy-saving features, and carbon recapture devices.
  • Zero Energy Balance:
    • in contrast to the zero-carbon balance, this term refers to the balance of energy used to create a project and the energy

Literature Review

In order to do a comprehensive review of available literature for zero balance building, or otherwise known as zero-carbon balance building, we must cover all of the different areas that go into this type of building, because there is not a lot of literature on this concept as a whole. Therefore, searches were done on various search strings involving zero balance and zero carbon balance, plus on the technologies involved in energy conservation. These currently number quite a few, including:

  • Insulation
  • Energy-Efficient Materials
  • Energy Efficient Glazing
  • Carbon Neutral Construction
  • Thermal Energy and Heat Pumps
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Energy Construction
  • Alternative Energy
  • Alternative Materials
  • Energy Conservation
  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Energy Efficient Appliances
Downloadable Reports
Daylighting Guide for Canadian Commercial Buildings

General Building Information

Green Building Information Council – Information and links on green building design

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network – U.S. Department of Energy information site

Smart Communities Network – U.S. Department of Energy information on green buildings

American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – standards and conference proceedings dealing with building energy efficiency
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) – U.S. organization championing sustainable technologies and community-based approaches that protect natural resources and assist people, especially the economically disadvantaged, in becoming more self-reliant.

Canadian Government Agencies

Office of Energy Efficiency – Natural Resources Canada’s initiatives to encourage energy efficiency

CANMET of Natural Resources Canada – Information on building research and programs

High-rise and Multiples Innovation Group of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – Information on residential buildings

Public Works and Government Services Canada – Information on the greening of government buildings

Renewable Energy Information

Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI) – federal incentive program for renewable technologies

RETScreen software – for the feasibility assessment of renewable technologies

Solar Energy Society of Canada Inc. (SESCI) – Information on renewable energy and order form for Canadian Renewable Energy Guide

Independent Power Producers of Ontario – Information on private power generation

Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) – information on renewable and energy-efficient technologies

Energy-Efficient Building Information

Commercial Building Incentive Program – for incentives and case studies on energy-efficient buildings

Energy Efficient Windows Collaborative – Description of technologies used in energy-efficient windows

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) – information on energy efficiency technologies

Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) – information on energy-efficient lighting

Energy Star – lists of products meeting energy star guidelines

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – information on energy-efficient building technologies

Indoor Air Quality and Materials

Environmental Building News – on-line version of publication dealing with all aspects of sustainable buildings

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Air Quality – information on achieving good indoor air quality in buildings

Item 1: A Corporate Site Offering Information on Their Technology

Another potentially useful site was found during the academic search: It is the corporate site of Ecofutures Building, Inc. However, they do provide a lot of information concerning energy conservation in homebuilding. Other possible sources are the company sites of those corporations which create the materials used in the building trade. That they have a profit motive does not make their information any less valuable.

Item 2: a comprehensive guide to building efficient and environmentally homes

The natural house: a complete guide to healthy, energy-efficient, environmental homes by Daniel D Chiras Publisher: White River Junction, Vt. : Chelsea Green Pub., ©2000.ISBN: 1890132578 9781890132576 | OCLC: 43615305 | Cite this Item

Subjects: House construction — Amateurs’ manuals. | Ecological houses. | Architecture and society. | More Subjects… I shall try to find this book somewhere. I may have to purchase it. This author and the publisher also have produced several other volumes of interest.

Item 3: Skagerak of Denmark’s Corporate Site

This site offers some information on materials, wood treatment products, and their own environmental policies:

Item 4: McGraw-Hill

When searching on these terms in the connected academic databases, one article was found at the McGraw-Hill scientific publications database: Etsuko Fujita, “Carbon Dioxide Reduction”, in [email protected], , DOI 10.1036/1097-8542.YB010270, last modified: October 5, 2001. This article explained a lot about carbon dioxide reduction, and some of this information will be helpful in identifying useful technologies.

The article’s bibliography identified some possible Other Sources:


E. Fujita, Photochemical carbon dioxide reduction with metal complexes, Coord. Chem. Rev., 185-186: 373-384, 1999.

Other bibliographic sources

Andrews, Clinton J. 1999. Putting Industrial Ecology into Place: Evolving Roles for Planners. Journal of the American Planning Association 65, no. 4: 364. Web.

Andrusyshyn, Karena, 2007, Toward Zero Balance Construction, unpublished dissertation (for bibliography) (You may want to remove this reference).

Blake, Andrew P., and Garry Young. 2000. The UK Economy. National Institute Economic Review: 8. Web.

Bradley, Michael J. 1999. What Does Sustainable Development Mean for a Forest Products Company. Journal of Business Administration and Policy Analysis : 515. Web.

Brown, Lester R. 2002. Planning for the Eco-Economy. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), 31+. Web.

Carbon emission reductions from energy efficiency improvements to the UK housing stock. 2002. Watford: CRC.

CARLSEN, S., 2000. How a house works. Family Handyman, 50, pp. 100.

D.Kemp, David. 1994. Global Environmental Issues: A Climatological Approach. New York: Routledge. Web.

GOLDBERGER, P., 2006. At Home in a Crystal Palace. Business Week Online, , pp. 1-1.

Gore, Al, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006, Lawrence Bender Productions.

HOGREE, J., 2001. THE ASCENT OF glass. (Cover story). Smithsonian, 32, pp. 80.

Lackner, Klaus S., and Jeffrey D. Sachs. 2005. A Robust Strategy for Sustainable Energy. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 2: 215+. Web.

LEACH, G., PELLEW, S. and INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT., 1982. Energy conservation in housing. London (10 Percy St., W1P 0DR): International Institute for Environment and Development.

Miller, Kenneth E. 1991. Denmark: A Troubled Welfare State. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Web.

Moore, Thomas Gale. 1998. Health and Amenity Effects of Global Warming. Economic Inquiry 36, no. 3: 471-488. Web.

NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY, 2001. On the Path to Zero Energy Homes. Washington d.C.: U.S. Department of Energy.

News Briefs. 2000. Building Design & Construction, 41(1), pp. 12.

OGIHARAA, AKIRA, GUEYEB, M. KAMAL, KINGC, PETER N. AND MORID, HIDEYUKI, 2007. Policies to Ease the Transition to a Post-Fossil Fuel Era. International Review for Environmental Strategies, Vol. 7(No. 1), pp. 63-80.

OPEN UNIVERSITY. ENERGY RESEARCH GROUP., 1978. Baths and draughts; [and], Windows and walls. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Owen, Anthony D. 2005. Burning Up: Energy Usage and the Environment. Harvard International Review 26, no. 4: 62+. Web..

ROOZE, A. and JOHNSON, D., 2000. Replace insulating glass. Family Handyman, 50, pp. 72.

Siddiqi, Moin A. 2005. Fuelling the 21st Century: Soaring Fuel Prices Should Ultimately Encourage the Trend towards Energy Diversification. Moin A Siddiqi Looks at Some of the Alternatives on Offer. The Middle East, June, 30+. Web.

STEVENSON, J., 2000. Ways to Spot Curtain Wall Problems. Journal of Property Management, 65, pp. 88.

Towards Zero Carbon Homes, building a greener future towards zero carbon development : consultationby great britain. dept. for communities and local government2006. Web.

Chiras, Daniel D. 2000, The Natural House, Chelsea Green Publishing Co.

White River Junction, Vermont USA.

Architectural Precedents

List examples of similar architectural projects and/or architects who have pursued similar themes; list existing notable works (including artworks) that you intend to learn and derive inspiration from.

(You need to use google and get pictures and descriptions of buildings in HK.)

Other Sources for Information

Include municipal agencies, libraries, museums, institutions, experts, etc. you intend to draw from.. building a greener future towards zero carbon development : consultationby great britain. dept. for communities and local government .2006 [Homepage of Dept. for Communities and Local Government]. Web.

Environment Canada, 2007, The Worst Ice Storm in Canadian History?. Web.

The National Association of Home Builders on Line. 2007. Web.

Submit four copies of this completed form by (a box will be provided in the main office) by 1:30pm, Tuesday, September 4th. The faculty will review these proposals and establish studio sections. Incomplete or illegible forms will not be reviewed.

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