HK-SHZ Biennale 2012

“Density & Openness Revisited”: Recoding Building Bulk in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s cityscape is primarily shaped by the typology of the tower. While specifically in Hong Kong the tower is utilized as an extension of the urban programmatic user surface, the question of public space within this vertical urban fabric remains unaddressed. This research project is the search for an alternative approach to think about open and public spaces in the context of the city and the context of buildings.

In a city like Hong Kong the building envelope, which usually expands to the maximum boundary of the site defines the void space or possible exterior public space. It could be argued that the GFA (gross floor area) for building plots is responsible for this dilemma. While the GFA could be theoretically freely interpreted and would allow for many different versions of integration of public and open space into the building bulk, the common practice is to extrude the boundaries of the plot area in order to maximize the GFA. The building code is conceptually the genetic DNA for the life and success of cities. If the code is misused, the vitality of a city can suffer. Hong Kong is massively shaped by the building code. The call for density is a necessity; however the quality of urban space should not suffer. The question that strikes us: How can we rethink the building code in order to overcome the lack of public space?

This hypothetical project tries to establish an alternative system to define building bulk. Instead of extruding the maximum boundary condition of a given site to determine the building mass, this model incorporates a ratio of open space in the design process. At its core is a computational logic that calculates the amount of open space for each city plot. The rule-based model can adapt to different site and programmatic conditions. It has the capacity to generate new forms of public space, semi public and private exterior and interior spaces. Outcomes never look identical and result in specific massing configurations. The intention of this set-up is to produce varying spaces and varying densities between solid and void patterns.

Project Title:“Density & Openness Revisited”
Location: Hong Kong
Design year: 2012
Construction year: 2012
Type: Exhibition contribution
Client/Organisation: Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale

 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Christian J Lange 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   parametric field 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 
 Density Openness Rocker Lange   Hong Kong Biennale 2012 


Rocker-Lange Architects


Ingeborg M. Rocker
Christian J. Lange

Cambridge, MA, London, England, Hong Kong


2015 100 Van Ness, Urban Adapter, sculpture bench
2015 Shanghai Lilong Tower Urbanism, Towards an Urbanism of Parametric Preservation
2014 The Ideal City of Refigured Civic Space, Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale, Hong Kong
2013 Blend-es-Scape, Beijing, China, A pavilion for the Fifth International Architectural Biennale Beijing 2013
2013 Taichung Cultural Centre, Taichung, Taiwan
2012 Wallhouse, Cambridge, USA,GSD Pavilion 2012 2012 Density & Openess Reviseted: Recoding Building Bulk in Hong Kong, Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale, Hong Kong
2011 Busan Opera House, Busan, South Korea
2010 Serial Architecture Systems of Multiplicities, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
2010 Tokyo Fashion Museum, Omotesando, Tokyo, Japan
2009 Urban Adapter, Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale, Hong Kong
2009 Catalytic Connector - Museum of Natural History, Copenhagen, Denmark
2009 Living Bridge London Bridge, London, UK
2008 Villa Inside|Out Outside|In, The Ordos 100, Mongolia, China
2007 Domicile Heldt, Eckernfoerde, Germany
2006 Villa Risse, Krefeld, Germany

Product Design

2010 Zhuhai Lounge
2009 SP-Table_01
2009 SP-Table_02
2009 Urban Adapter


2010 Parametric Structures, Spring Seminar, The University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture
2009 On the Brink, Spring Seminar, Harvard University, GSD
Versioning: Architecture as Series
Cross scalar and functional scaling: adaptive facades
Algorithmically controlled surfaces


2008 Versioning: Architecture as Series?
2008 Berechneter Zufall: Max Benses Informationsaesthetik
2008 Architectures of the Digital Realm: Experimentation by Peter Eisenman / Frank O. Gehry
2006 Digital Revolution: Feedback between Architecture, Technology, and Culture
2006 Calculus-Based Form: An Interview with Greg Lynn
2006 When Code Matters, in Programming Cultures: Design, Science, and Software
2005 Re-Coded: Studio Rocker
2004 Das Denkmal fuer die Ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin: Erinnern, Bewahren, Hinterfragen
2004 Virtuale: Il Senza Forma in Architettura: Di Ingeborg Rocker
2003 Fugitive Realities: Konrad Fiedler
2002 Versioning Informing Architectures, in: Versioning: Evolutionary Techniques in Architecture
1998 Memorizing, Maintaining, Questioning: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Peter Eisenman
1998 The Virtual: The Unform in Architecture