Columnar Joinery

Team Leader:
Choi Ching Yu

Team Members:
Ho Kam Lun
Lam Yee Lap

We admire the natural force and the work of nature. We lived in this modern city of Hong Kong famous for its hyper dense cityscape, yet we have the luxury to be very close to the country park to treasure the gift of nature.  With the geological features of the volcanic rocks at Po Pin Chau, it is a reminder of how nature has shaped this land millions of years ago.

We consider the magnificent hexagonal volcanic rock landscape is not merely a geological wonder but the formation of the parallel prismatic columns, i.e., the Columnar Joints 柱狀節理, is a craftsmanship of nature. In our design proposal we would like to pay tribute and echo to the nature by demonstration of craftmanship by mankind through articulation of the signature hexagonal columns. In response to the design brief which asked for a design using natural materials such as wood, we get inspiration from traditional carpentry art that buildings or furniture were crafted by specialized joinery techniques resulting in designs that are authentic in nature.

Our design proposal explores the geometrical characteristics of hexagon. To compliment with the natural Columnar Joints and being less-is-more, our designs only apply hexagonal timber Columns + Joints throughout. By articulation of orientating, layering, interlocking, shearing, notching, cutting, trimming of the typical timber columns together with metal bracket joints, the entrance features, photo taking points as well as viewing platform are created with distinct characters yet in harmony with each other and the nature.

Thanks to the simple and modular assembly, all of the components could be prefabricated off-site in relatively small pieces and of light-weight being feasible to be assembled by hand-held tools. The assembled structures are permeable and not subject to strong wind. The timber material is readily in harmony with the scenic natural environment and of low maintenance. The photo taking points and viewing platform are also elevated from ground so disturbance to the existing site profile is minimized. 

“Constructing things out of wooden sticks or blocks of stone must surely be one of the most primitive and deeply rooted instincts of mankind.”

Stewart T. Coffin