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Roots House

Tsz Wai Goh, Yuan Yang Ho

With the selected location in Mong Kok, one of the busiest commercial districts in Hong Kong where green space is lacking in the neighbourhood, the design demonstrates a new biophilic residential typology that allows living in symbiosis with nature while at the same time obtaining privacy and tranquillity away from the city chaos for mental healing.
Taking a typical Hong Kong tenement unit as the base model, which is commonly built with a deep floor plan, solar tubes with inner mirror surfaces are adopted in the design to transmit sunlight deep into inner rooms. The overall concept is inspired by the unique geomorphology in Hong Kong, namely “Stone wall trees”. Stone wall trees refer to the antique landscape which is a series of trees grown on the vertical surface of masonry stone walls built in the 19th century. In our design, stylish fixtures on the façade are designed with various angles to receive sunlight of different daytime. Multiple optical tubes are hidden in the ceiling to deliver daylight to different parts of the flat as if the roots of stone-wall-trees grow in the stone crevice and strive to survive in a tough environment. Rooms are illuminated with the transmitted natural light from ceiling tubes which provide visual comfort and allow plants to grow anywhere in the flat even in rooms with no window.
The transmission of natural light allows a little food garden to be realized amid the flat next to the toilet to grow vegetables for a self-sustained life. Other functional spaces are defined by the ceiling skylight and demarcated by vegetation. Instead of building a garden for home, the design envisions taking home to the garden and to provide an immersive and interactive living experience with nature.
Other than maximizing the use of natural lighting, the design embeds multiple sustainability strategies including natural ventilation, passive shading, and rainwater collection. Some tubes punching the façade are hollow as ventilation vents while one connected to the back elevation is a water pipe to transfer and reuse rainwater for the food garden. The vegetation on the balcony as well as the double-glazed window help to buffer out sound and dirt for physical health and bring in the stunning city scenery.
This biophilic design reinterprets the concept of living, combining individual mental wellness and green building solution through a demonstration of modern renovation on an ordinary unit type amid overcrowded thoroughfares. We believe that co-living with nature and a self-sustained living style as promoted in the design would enhance mental healing and recovery best within the dense concrete fabric.

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