With the support of the Jaap Bakema Fellowship, Thomas Kong, Director of the Ungraduate Architecture and Interior Architecture Programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been researching emptiness in the midst of large Asian metropolises. Entitled Zero Project, Kong's research investigates the value of the void. He asks, "what can ZERO offer as we live through the Great Recession, when the myth of continuous economic growth is shattered and the assumption of ready capital for development can no longer be guaranteed?"
Kong's interpretation and portrayal of zero is not the one of zero-energy buildings, but of emptiness. What is the value of blankness? What happens there? For him, this translates to "new attitudes in a post economic bubble age," collected here. They include: "Think and act Micro," "Be Tactical," "Make Do," and "Celebrate Contingency." An excerpt from Kong:
Empty spaces and gaps in Asian cities offer a relief from the densely built up urban environment. Whether it is an empty courtyard that allows one to see a glimpse of the sky or a vacant space between two buildings at street level, which becomes a physical and psychological threshold separating the private interior from the exterior, the condition of emptiness is a welcomed phenomenon.
Read more here.
All images by Thomas Kong.