04-01-2021

Nature Discovery Park by LAAB Architects in Hong Kong

LAAB Architects,

Otto Ng of LAAB,

Hong Kong,

A park that fosters the discovery of nature in one of the world’s most densely populated cities. This is Nature Discovery Park by LAAB Architects in Hong Kong, complete with greenhouse and urban farm on the K11 MUSEA cultural and retail centre roof.



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Nature Discovery Park by LAAB Architects in Hong Kong Zero-kilometre, farm-to-table production is one of the most effective ways of reducing the environmental impact of the food chain. This trend is on the rise, as we have also seen with a growing number of initiatives dedicated to city-based farming, such as the Vertical Farms, now also making their way to Europe.
Hong Kong is a vast metropolis known for its really high population density. Here, Nature Discovery Park designed by LAAB Architects—the multidisciplinary laboratory for Art and Architecture—on the rooftop of the retail shopping centre, the K11 MUSEA, is intended to send a clear message, demonstrating that you can use residual space and grow food right in the city centre, at the same time creating a patch of nature. Another great thing about this project is that the location is highly visible: K11 MUSEA is the newly redeveloped cultural and retail destination in Victoria Dockside. Inspired by ‘A Muse by the Sea’, K11 MUSEA is designed to enrich the consumer’s daily life through the power of creativity, culture and innovation. This, of course, includes the Nature Discovery Park at the top of this new experiential urban landmark. 
The park includes a glasshouse and an urban farm. A steel structure and aluminium cladding frame the glasshouse, which features large sliding glass doors opening up to the outdoor farm. These doors draw in sunlight and enhance natural ventilation to minimize energy consumption. The steel structure, aluminium cladding and glass were all prefabricated and installed on-site to reduce construction waste. The roof is slightly pitched forward so that the architecture catches the prevailing wind from the harbour. The door handles, pendant lamps, and dining tables were crafted by LAAB using sustainable wood.
The farm’s reflection in the glasshouse bounces off the surrounding skyscrapers and produces a visual reminder of the possible co-existence of nature and urbanism. Because this is the basic idea of the project, where the urban environment can be turned into a space for nature that nurtures. An experience that visitors to the Nature Discovery Park can enjoy as they delve deep into the concepts of biodiversity and sustainability made possible by a series of educational programmes and guided tours.
The nature discovery tour begins with an archive that showcases rare butterfly species. Since Hong Kong is home to a dazzling diversity of these colourful insects, the nature discovery journey ends with a butterfly garden that grows plants to attract butterflies. On the way, there is also an aquarium that shows how the water and tropical marine species of the Victoria Harbour could be if there were no pollution. Inside the greenhouse, a hydroponic nursery brings organically grown vegetables to the table. The farm in front of the glasshouse offers urban farming opportunities for city dwellers, thereby promoting the sustainable activities of 0-Km food production and connecting city dwellers with nature.
Nature Discovery Park by LAAB Architects demonstrates how any residual urban space can be creatively and sustainably used as a small step towards a new way of experiencing nature in the city.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: LAAB Architects
Location: Hong Kong
Year: 2019
Images: Otto Ng of LAAB

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