USC Asia Architecture & Urbanism Study Abroad Program

The Bar: My Classroom

After fourteen hours of flying from LAX to Hong Kong I was so relieved to finally settle into the Cosmo Hotel and just relax. Yet, the second I was handed my room key Andrew said, “Meet downstairs in ten minutes at the bar”. A bit confused, I grabbed my bags, threw them into my temporary home, and went back downstairs to see what Andrew had in store for us. Opening the massive iron door, I saw a projector cued up and a power point presentation, and I knew this wouldn’t be a leisurely welcome drink. As Andrew proceeded to give his lecture, he mentioned mixing multiple programs in one space giving the example as this bar as our classroom.

Then the real lesson began. Walking around Hong Kong I could really see the combined programs Andrew talked about: the subway station as a shopping center, the street as a restaurant, and the lobby of the Bank of Shanghai as a pedestrian road and public gathering space. It made sense that by not limiting program, the city becomes a more lively and urban place.

These extra programs latch onto the major program and feed off of the energy and foot traffic this main program has to offer. An example is the underground shopping that is parasitic to the pedestrian traffic in the subway paths. I experienced this relationship in Hong Kong, Korea, and Taipei; all three times this type of dual programming really contributed to the urbanism of these underground walkways. Combining uses of one space combines users as well. It allows for targeted or untargeted interaction with the public and public realm. By using this type of infrastructure as programs, the density of a city is dispersed to the Z Axis as well and this generates a dense section through the urban fabric.

Making a cut allows you to see the connection of the public realm and how important the intersection of program is for this interaction to occur. The retail and public interaction inside the underground walkways compels the public to retract into the infrastructure while engaging in the collective. This space is now not only a place to access point A from point B; it is a restaurant, a market, a pharmacy, a place to access the internet, a mall, and an optometrist all in one space. Now the juxtaposition of program becomes a sequential narrative for the users, and begins to bring the street-life down into the Z axis. By extending the street, the city becomes more vertically interactive and a much more 3D place. This new urban avenue connects the layers of a city and communicates a temporal sequence that is unique to each person. Creating and weaving new relationships with the city everyday, the user now constructs his or her own perception of life in each urban environment. Good or bad, this relationship is unique and no one else can experience this exact progression through time and space. Inevitably the city and the user unite.

Look at this video to understand the urbanistic layers that mixed programming creates in Hong Kong:


Semone Agasina


Filed under: Program, Uncategorized

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AAU FALL 2013:

University of Southern California
School of Architecture
Asia Architecture and Urbanism
Study Abroad Program

Andrew Liang
Bu Bing
Steven Chen
Yo-Ichiro Hakomori
Andrew Liang
Yuyang Liu
Neville Mars
Academic Contributors:
Thomas Chow, SURV
Bert de Muynck, Movingcities.org
Manying Hu, SZGDADRI, ITDP, Guangzhou
Clare Jacobson, Design Writer, Editor, Curator
Laurence Liauw, SPADA, Hong Kong
Mary Ann O'Donnell, Shenzhen Noted, Fat Bird, Shenzhen
Paul Tang, Verse, Shanghai
Li Xiangning, Tongji University, Shanghai
Daniel Aguilar
Hong Au
Michael den Hartog
Caroline Duncan
Nefer Fernandez
Christian Gomez
Isabelle Hong
Jin Hong Kim
Ashley Louie
Javier Meier
Paula Narvaez
Ashlyn Okimoto
Tamar Partamian
Samuel Rampy
Luis Villanueva
Krista Won
Tiffany Wu

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