The Matrix

Team Leader:
Wong Fai Nam Arthur

Team Members:
Wong Yuk Tsin Beryl
Lam Man Yan
Zhang Fengji
Peter W.Ferretto

This project manifests the instability inherent in what seems to be a system, here a rational grid, and its potential for dissolution in time. It suggests that when a supposedly rational and ordered system grows too large and out of proportion to its intended purpose, it loses touch with human reason. It then begins to reveal the innate disturbances and potential for chaos in all systems of apparent order.

The design begins from a rigid grid structure composed of 2,711 concrete pillars, or stelae, each 95 centimetres wide and 2.375 meters long, with heights varying from 0 to 4 meters. The pillars are spaced 95 centimetres apart to allow only for individual passage through the grid. Each plane is determined by the intersections of the voids of the pillar grid and the gridlines of the larger context of Po Pin Chau. A slippage in the grid structure occurs, causing indeterminate spaces to develop. These spaces condense, narrow, and deepen to provide a multi-layered experience from any point.

Remaining intact, however, is the idea that the pillars extend between two undulating grids. The way these two systems interact describes a zone of instability between them. These instabilities, or irregularities, are superimposed on both the topography of the site and on the top plane of the field of concrete pillars. A perceptual and conceptual divergence between the topography of the ground and the top plane of the stelae is thus created. It denotes a difference in time. The monument’s registration of this difference makes a place of loss and contemplation, elements of memory.

In this platform, there is no goal, no end, no working one’s way in or out. The time of the monument, its duration from the top surface to the ground is disjoined from the time of experience. This is an essential, sober, clean, simple project, trying to provide a different reading of the territory understanding. The simple but striking geometry and the careful variation of width and height create a structure with a strong narrative. Visitors are guided on the poetically choreographed path from arriving at the site to encountering the surrounding hexagonal columns to finally look out at the Po Pin Chau landscape. The series of concrete additions to the hermitage and in its surroundings provides a rich palette of different experiences without putting the old structure in the background. It allows the user to remember its own history and provides the space, path and voids to merge this individual memory into the sites own history.