Columbia University: Koo Ho Jung - Detroit's Productivity Spine


GSAPP: M-ARCH 3 Studio w/ Laurie Hawkison

This design studio will address the latent potential of disturbed and derelict environments of industrialization together with their stuff* alongside the seemingly contradictory issues of fragile existing ecosystems within the built and natural environment. This studio will explore strategies for intervening in the transformation of keys sites already at play in Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta and the U.S. with programs and architecture for their occupation and productive re-use.


We desire it, we consume it, and we discard it – sometimes, but not always.

It identifies us, dates us, and outlasts us.

Stuff is the product of the Industrial Revolution and most of our stuff is now being manufactured in China.

Stuff begins as a hole in the earth - and then at its useless end - becomes an aggregation across another landscape.

Our stuff always has social, political, economical, infrastructural, and environmental implications along its’ sometimes, very long, lifespan.

Studio Format:

This studio asks students to select one of these disturbed and derelict environments of industrialization and its related stuff as both their working site and a location for a new kind of production. For our purposes in this studio, the term production will be interpreted in a very broad way – it could be anything from the production of materials, objects, food, spectacle or even the production of public space.

Design work will progress concurrently and parallel with research. Students will work in teams initially to research and present various new industries, modes of energy production, or infrastructural projects that are forward-looking and/or may not already exist.

Students will speculate on potential programs and design strategies that might tolerate or even benefit from these disturbed and derelict environments.

Could these programs and strategies within our sites act as catalysts to add value within their local and global context?

Studio Travel:

Hong Kong, China:
Southeast New Territories (SENT) Landfill
Shek'0 Quarry

Shenzhen, China:
Steven Holl’s Vanke Center
Da Fen Painting Village
OMA Stock Exchange

Dongguan City, China: Redland Precast Concrete
Garment Factory Town

Guangzhou, China: Guangzhou Markets
Zaha Hadid Opera House

Site Selections:

Shek O Quarry – Cape D’Agular Peninsula, Hong Kong

Shek O Quarry started operations in 1965 and now covers an area of 45 hectares on the south cost of Hong Kong Island. The quarry, together with Anderson Rd. Quarry and Lam Tei Quarry are the only three quarries still operating in Hong Kong. The estimated total amount of excavated rock derived from the quarry is 23 million tonnes. The quarry supplied about 1.3 million tonnes of rock products to the local construction industry in 2006. The Government has slated Shek O as one of the three existing quarries to be rehabilitated for public use.

Packard Automobile Plant – Detroit, Michigan

Designed by Albert Kahn in 1903 was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world with the first use of reinforced concrete for industrial construction in Detroit. The 3.5 million sqft. plant covers 35 acres. It is now the largest abandoned industrial facility in the United States.

Plastic Trash Vortex - 135*:155*W to 35*:42*N, Pacific

The site is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean that is estimated to range in size from an area of the state of Texas to one larger than the continental United States; however, the exact size is unknown. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Since plastics break down to ever smaller polymers, concentrations of submerged particles are not visible from space, nor do they appear as a continuous debris field. Instead, the patch is defined as an area in which the mass of plastic debris in the upper water column is significantly higher than average.