Due to climate, density of population and traffic, skywalks are a common connection and inter-link between public places, shopping malls, residential developments and public transport, spanning across and along the streets and roads of Hong Kong. In many ways and occasions, argues Hong Kong-based practice cheungvogl, the city shows parallels to Le Corbusier's model of layered city structure.
Hong Kong's first private housing estate, Mei Foo Sun Chuen in Kowloon, (built in stages between 1965 and 1978) provides automotive and pedestrian circulation on the ground level, paired with retail and wet markets and car parks on the lower levels above ground. On top of these, a public podium creates a wide and open space for public facilities and squares, courtyards and retail, connecting all stages of the development via bridges, forming a huge pedestrian zone.
In response to this architectural arrangement, cheungvogl present their most recent project: The Public Layer, Hong Kong. The design reclaims the space above Des Voeux Road and the surrounding area in Central Hong Kong in an attempt to provide the demanded horizontal space for public exhibitions in the vertically orientated city centre. This in turn supplies shade to the street level connection between the public spaces and the MTR (public transport Hong Kong) creating a ‘museum', which is uniquely involved in its context as it is a landmark by its humble integration into the public and urban environment.