Change Never Ends

Leung Shun Cheung Xylem

The theme is “change never ends”. The unique characteristic in the context is the hexagonal rock feature, which was created by volcanic activities million years ago. It is filled with the traces of the years, flooding through our memories.

Therefore, I think of the trail should be designed with the concepts of “change” and “time”, to make the special contextual feature stand out.

  1. Change vs the context- the geographical nature itself is ever changing.
  2. Change vs. evolution- The trail is shaped by the nature continuously.
  3. Change vs. materials- bio-degradable erosion mat is dominated by vegetation afterwards.
  4. Change vs. succession- pioneer species will be replaced by final vegetation selected by nature eventually.
  5. Change vs. adaptability- trail change with the user’s pattern.   

Soil erosion by surface water runoff/ heavy hiker’s traffic is the key issue. Loss of topsoil will be bad for plants establishment, so the problem will become worse as time goes on….stone kerb (collected in context), around 100mm in height, to create levelled trail platforms to minimize erosion effect. The platform/berms at sides (in wide U-shaped section) will be filled up with soil for hikers to feel the natural vibe. An additional erosion mat, which is weaving in jute yarns (bio-degradable) is added to hold the soil and in turn hydroseeded with native grass.  The sides will be planted with native shrubs. The natural grass surface will surely be a surprise for the hikers!
The function of the erosion mat will be replaced by succeeded vegetation cover after several years. Firstly planted will be fast growing pioneer species, as time goes on, natural succession of the appropriate plants will be carried out. high levelled biodiversity is also expected eventually. horticultural maintenance input will be minimal in the long run.

Viewing Platforms
They will be limited to the approximate extent of the existing barren areas. The treatment will be similar to the trail, which echoes the theme “change never ends”. The photo taking point is a relatively flat area, so no protective barrier is needed. While the viewing platforms are in steep topography and stepped seating features but not visual barriers is provided instead. The hikers can put their worries out of their brains, and just enjoy the fun of nature.
Also, a loop circulation is added to the original dead end of the trail, to enrich the memorable hiking experience. 

Original concrete staircase will be kept and modified. Risers of the original steps will be provided with the stone finishes (collected in context) to serve as nosing edge of the steps. The tread surface will be chipped to expose aggregates and create an amazing texture to provide a high grip for hikers. The original mature tree will be retained, and an iconic logo feature with the idea of the context is added to the entrance, to let people remember this fun and adventurous hiking trail. GRC planters will be provided to the sides of the steps, to welcome the hikers.  

Jury’s Citation

It is the entry that is the best integrated into and harmonised with the natural surroundings corresponding to the aim of the competition. It is appreciated that the designer deliberately plays down his ego and adopts a submissive design approach to show respect to the nature.

The design of the viewing platform conserves the open view at the headland characterised by the dramatic landscape, with boundless open view towards the sky, the sea, and mountains. The steps extended from the viewing platform bring visitors to a lower level at the headland where it opens up for a spectacular view of Po Pin Chau, the climax of the route, to enrich visitor’s experience. The circular loop design of the viewing platform and photo taking points also enhance visitor’s flow, safety and viewing experience.

Moreover, the proposal rehabilitates weakened parts of the landscape and explicitly arouses public awareness for the conservation of natural landscape. It utilises simple and natural materials to demonstrate its conservation concept. The design matches with the existing site profile with minimum changes to the natural landscape and has a high constructability.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, planting of trees and hydroseeding may be technically questionable and should be further studied, and hence the overall setting of greenery should be reviewed. In particular, planting of trees along the route to the headland may not be technically feasible and is not recommended. Improvement for the entrance features should also be considered to signify the entrance and to serve for a gathering function.