B-Asia Magazine - Issue 1, The Stew

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Editorial Agenda Cultivating Inclusivity and Equality

We want to reveal the unsuspected, undeclared and unconventional stories of people’s spatial experience that is less known to us. We want to achieve this objective using the medium of anecdotal storytelling of spaces to create a degree of intimacy and familiarity related to everyday life.

We want to redefine the meaning of ‘Asia’ and being ‘Asian’ founded on the membership and ownership of certain ancestral roots. We extend the identity of being ‘Asian’ for people of all ethnicities and nationalities who are knowledgeable about or intrigued by Asian culture and heritage.

We want to rethink territorial ownership and hope to spark conversations around the idea of boundaries, theoretically and geographically; we want to challenge claims to possess cultural identities and see Asia as an abstract concept and being Asian as a shareable quality.

We want to portray the rhizomatic relationship between cultures and abstain from presenting the assemblage of Asian cultures in a hierarchal form or even more abhorrently a uniform body

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Chef ’s Letter

Dear diners, Welcome to issue 001 of the B-Asia Magazine. Please take a seat. Or if you prefer to stand that is also fine. However, if you find yourself on the move, secure it under your arm and walk on. Whether you’re looking for a full meal, or some coffee for the break, you have skilfully arrived at the perfect place. Our menu includes authentic stories of Asia sourced from around the world and is designed to be enjoyed alone, with friends and family or with a stranger. Aperitivo will be served shortly when you flip the page. Buon Appetito! Editor-in-Ch(i)ef

MENU Aperitivo 00 Opening Words

Antipasti 01 The Faded World of Rural Hong Kong

Primi 02 Overlooked Sounds

Secondi 03 The Borders of 39 Thanh Binh 04 Beyond The City Walls

Contorni 05 Building Where Building is the Problem: On Change and the Role of the Architect in Singapore 06 Wet Markets, Home to Flavourful Narratives

Insalata 07 Script 006: Chaos Out of Order 08 Film Review: “Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo” Finds Rebirth Amid Ruin

Formaggi e Frutta 09 A (guided) Tour of Nathan Road

Dolce 10 Diasporic Dialogue with Brenda Zhang / 张迪 and WAI Think Tank 11 Mombasa to Newcastle

Caffe 12 Sino-Portuguese Architecture in Phuket: Then & Now

Digestivo 13 What is the meaning of public space: A complex relationship of people and public space in Bangkok

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00 Aperitivo “A pre-meal alcoholic beverage designed to stimulate the appetite. A cultural ritual to settle into the dinner routine. Carbonated, bittersweet. Go on, this is your sign to grab a drink...”

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Opening Words ‘It is a fact that Asia, like Africa and Latin America, figures less in major scholarly tomes than do either Europe or North America.’ Graubard, Stephen. 1998. “Preface to the Issue ‘Early Modernities’.” Daedalus 127 (3): v–viii.

It is an honour to be asked to write a Preface for the Bartlett’s new B-Asia magazine. A publication that broadens our understanding of Asia’s diverse cultural and intellectual contributions to architectural discourse and their global interconnectedness is long overdue. The Bartlett is immensely privileged to have so many students from Asia or identifying as Asian, and the wealth of talent, knowledge and experience that they bring to the School is often too easily overlooked. We are confident B-Asia will play a significant role in changing this by providing a platform on which cultural understanding, shared experiences and collaborative academic enquiry can flourish. In responding to this kind invitation from the editors, we felt it apt to use the opportunity to reflect on our own experiences that, as a personal and professional partnership, were born out of academia and straddle ‘East and West’. Like many of you, we met at university as overseas students. We were both foreigners in a foreign country, but it was obvious from the outset that one of us was more foreign than the other. After twenty years of practice spanning every continent bar Antarctica, inequity has been a constant, if unwanted, companion. As a lived experience and an academic question, it is what motivates our work to this day. Graubard’s observation (above), taken from the Preface to an edition of Daedalus titled ‘Early Modernities’, describes the consequence of this inequity on a global scale in the context of academia. Survey the academic landscape and it is clear that this is a terrain constructed by, for, and of the West. Of all the disciplines, architecture is particularly negligent. Clinging to the pedagogic, etymological and intellectual traditions of Europe through a lineage of ‘master’ narratives, architecture is unique in its disciplinary certainty and exclusivity. However, in a world facing existential planetary challenges, architecture needs to break free of its westerncentricity and embrace the infinite possibilities and opportunities of being a truly planetary discipline. This requires a complete reconceptualisation of what it means to be an architect or engaged in architecture and what it is to be human, Asian or otherwise, in the twenty-first century and beyond. This is one reason B-Asia is such an important endeavour. It is a microcosm of the change that is needed in architectural teaching and practice globally and we applaud the team who have worked so hard to make it a reality. Their efforts make us all richer by broadening our knowledge of our chosen field, deepening our understanding of one another and strengthening the connections that sustain us all. We are certain that this magazine will become an important component of what makes The Bartlett such an extraordinary place to study: the diversity and talent of its students. We are privileged and proud to learn from you and look forward to many more editions of B-Asia! May 4th, 2021 Guang Yu Ren and Edward Denison The Stew


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Ciabatta 01 Antipasti “The before-food served hot or cold to awaken your tastebuds. To pre-eat before eating. A traditional first course of olives, peperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, cheeses, cured/pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar...”

Bánh mì

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The F a d e d world of Rural Hong Kong as unwelcoming. My mother lived in a small village known as Sheung Shui Wai, crammed into two small 50m2 lofts with her 8 siblings, parents, and grandparents. Although it seemed strange to me, it was typical for large families of 3 or 4 generations to reside together under a single roof. Several people often share one space separated only by thin translucent dividers. The back of the lofts faced open fields and concrete pavements, where the family could gather with neighbours to play games or share stories. Starting from as early as 4 in the morning, people began leaving the village to start their day of work or school. My grandparents worked at the local wet market selling fish, and would head to the seaport hours before the sun rose, navigating through the dimly lit narrow pavements as they pushed heavy metal carts. Whilst

Growing up, my most vivid memory of Hong Kong was of the Sheung Shui village – the faint sounds of chattering and shouting, of pipes dripping and of metal doors clanking, echoed down the long narrow alleyways. I remember my frustrations as I dragged my large suitcase down the uneven pathway and up three flights of stairs, counting down the days until I could return to my cosy bedroom in Guangzhou. Almost every time I came, I feel stranded in a place I had minimal connection to, miles away from the world I was familiar with. It was not until years after I moved away when I finally understood why this was a place my family so treasured. Although I only experienced life in the city, my parents grew up in the world of rural Hong Kong and found comfort in a place I viewed The Stew


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year. While I can never travel back in time and relive their childhood world, the village is still made up of unique and vivid stories of the life that they once experienced. Sheung Shui is not only a home filled with countless memories, but also a place for my family to build new ones and grow stronger connections to our heritage. It almost seems ironic that as I watch some of these rich traditional villages and their surroundings being replaced by rows of nondescript grey apartments and roads, I feel a stronger connection than ever to a place I once dreaded. Strolling down the same alleyways I did as a child, I see the beauty in walking the paths that my ancestors once took. I think back to the joy I felt when I ran down the muddied roads and played in the small square with my sisters, building memories that I can now pass down to future generations.

my aunt and uncles leave for work, my mother, being the youngest in the family, would race out of the house to join her friends at school. After nightfall, the house was lit up by sounds of conversation and laughter, as everyone gathered around a single round table to eat and exchange stories of their day. When my grandfather came back from a long day of work, my mother and her siblings circled together to count coins and sort rolls. Simple activities like these developed into a routine that transformed their compact house into a lively home. Although I have only heard the story of a single experience, there are hundreds of other families that live in small villages like this, working tirelessly day and night to provide for their loved ones. The idea of home is not defined by the constraint of a 50m2 concrete box, but rather the environment of warmth, rich ancestry, and intimacy that it cultivates. Looking back at old photographs and listening to my parents’ stories of their home, I finally understood the importance of returning to the village every B-Asia SS21

words by Maisy Liu maisy.liu.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu


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Spaghetti – itriyya – aush-e-reshteh ‫ هتشر شآ‬- Memil 02 메밀 naengmyeon 냉면 - Primi Soba 蕎麦 kway teow 粿條 or sen yai เส้นใหญ่ - Udon うどん - Bakmi ꦧ ꦏ꧀ꦩꦶ- Idiyappam இடியாப்பம், ഇടിയപ്പം - Sevai सेवई, shavige ಶಾವಿಗೆ or santhakai சந்தகை “Slang for excellence, first-class. Hot food, usually pasta, risotto or soup. Pasta served in various shapes, textures, sizes, sauces... Often without meat but welcomes a touch of luxurious seafood and truffle...”

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‘Overlooked Sounds’ A Reinterpretation of Japanese Architecture as ‘Aural Space’

interstitial subjective experience4; Kabuki employing aural cues for visual-spatial moments5; Mushikiki (insect listening events) and the ‘listening’ to the inaudible sound of lotus bloom6; Traditional Haiku and their montage of ‘unrelated’ senses7; and the aural-spatial relationships in garden design8. Architecture was not separate from this culture, but was a material manifestation of it.

Following Alberti’s triumph of artificial perspective in 1435, by the late 19th century, the architectural conception of the building had shifted to that of a proportioned and objective ‘Cartesian pedagogical program’ of education; where buildings were ‘cut and analysed graphically according to plan, section and elevation.’1.2. This development changed not only how architects conceived space, but also how they perceived space already in existence. With the tools of spatial description drifting into the objective visual realm, reflections on past architecture drew forth visual conclusions; and so prior intentions and aesthetics that originated from non-visual cues were overlooked.

A re-examination of traditional Japanese architecture through an ‘alternative criteria’ can simultaneously express the limitations of western architectural design as influencing the perception of space (by exposing the aural ignored by such architect’s initial reading) but also, propose a source of inspiration as an alternative - where ‘sound’ is not just a by-product of built form, to be calculated as an engineer would structure; but is instead considered as an influence on built form and taken up by the architect as the designer of space and experience beyond the bland objectivity of architectural acoustics.

Japan’s buildings were analysed through a western visual filter, without regard for the influence of ‘complete perception’ that had been impressed upon space to result in such a form3. The appreciation toward ‘sound’ and its influence can be seen across the cultural spectrum; with Noh-gaku’s overlapping aural and visual performance constructing

‘...architectural historian Hiroshi Adachi writes that “the west discovered the quality of space in traditional Japanese architecture through the filter of western architectural tradition”, the difficulty for the non-western critic is to find any alternative criteria…’ (Denison, 2017:201)

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‘Sounds in Space’

‘I was told that shortly after the Second World War a young man used to practice the trumpet at dusk on this ground. This story impressed me a lot. Now every time I pass by this place I feel as if I were hearing a sad tune which I have never actually heard.”’

Traditional Japanese architecture’s defining feature is its often simplification to that of a condition where the boundary between architecture and surrounding is greyed and melded to form one unified spatial experience. Yet beyond this in relation to the visual, the use of materials in both external partitions and walls, regardless of their state of literal ‘openness’, create un-contained and unified aural spaces, where the boundaries between inside and out are never divided. There is a sense of irony when modernism’s long sweeping façades that were claimed by Taut to be similar to the traditional Japanese architecture, visually connect whilst aurally isolating9.

(Torigoe, 1994:6)

Aural space is not merely composed of those sounds we can hear but also the sounds ‘which we think we do not or cannot hear.’12. Crucially, although the trumpets’ call at dusk has long faded, the expectation and anticipation of a sound, draws into existence a ‘phantom sound’, and much like Husserl’s ‘aural adumbrations’, these shadows and flickers, although not physically present, begin to influence our spatial experience13.14.

‘Ironically glass façades that opened up impressive views to the landscape beyond also shut out the sounds of those visible landscapes, separating vision and sound as isolated senses.’

Beyond the literal, physical sounds, created through activity - the immaterial mental ‘aural adumbrations’ that emerge at the intersection between perceived reality and conceived mental image, must surely be considered as equal. This takes aural space beyond the realm of architectural acoustics; removed from objective calculation and instead laden with spatial and material memory and anticipation.

(Van Lengen, 2020:78)

In contrast to this, acoustic studies of the Shirota residence reveal the exterior ita-do wall exhibits poor sound absorption, resulting in visual opaque timber cladding being aurally transparent and ‘when previously inhabited, the rustling of leaves in the garden … would have been audible within...’10. Turning our attention to openings themselves, Tanizaki describes the ‘narrow windows at floor level; there one can listen with such a sense of intimacy to the raindrops falling…’11. Dividing visual space, these features are instead able to mediate a more subtle aural relationship.

A fundamental aspect of Japanese sound culture is therefore beyond the audible. The objective ‘absence’ of sound, not subjectively experienced as such, shows that an investigation into historical Japanese aural aesthetics should not reside solely in the realm of physical sounds. As Torigoe described ‘Sounds of the past, sounds of the future, sounds in our memories and dreams’ must all be included15.

‘Sounds in Silence’

Kishio Suga’s work is characterised by the use of materials; from natural to industrial, unaltered and still connected to their fundamental state. They are imbued with tension, heavily laden with aural connotations. His work is described as an investigation into the surrounding space itself - referred to as a ‘quiet coup de theatre’, it alludes to a potential change, it draws this anticipation of imminent

Keiko Torigoe’s article within the 9th international ‘Soundscape Newsletter’, describes the ‘Nerima Silent Places Contest’; ten ‘silences’ as identified by members of the public. ‘The Silence of Nostalgia’ perhaps encapsulates most clearly the difference between ‘silence’ as the ‘western understanding of it as absence’ and the Japanese notion: B-Asia SS21


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sound into the present pushing other audible sounds from the attention of the perceiver16. ‘Diagonal Phase’ is poised with the flat ‘clack’ of timber beam on the concrete floor. So too, does the shitomi of Choshu-kaku sit precariously ajar, or the irori of the Shirota residence hang out of deep soot-shadow; both presently still, yet with the tension of instability in their aural futures ‘intruding’ between ourselves and the silent reality.

impossible for a European to look at the photographs and not find them picturesque since the camera cannot smell, sweat and freeze. He perhaps came to realize that his own understanding had been constructed on such images alone.’ (Kaji-O’Grady, 2001:4) It is not a conscious introduction of these aural experiences; rather that the removal of the aural in the consideration and experience of space, was not possible. If we are to move beyond merely the objective impression of acoustics and calculated ‘audible sound’, towards one where ‘sound’ begins to not only influence our experience of space, but are at times there only through our perception of space; then perhaps we may reflect on the traditional buildings of Japan, and at what was once overlooked by the academic field of ‘Architecture’, through its visual filter, notation and bias.

Like the ‘phantom sound’ of lotus, suga’s work; or indeed the trumpeters call that has never been heard, the stillness; the ‘quiet atmospheres’ of Japanese architecture Morse referred to in his initial 1885 publication, is one that exists at the intersection of present and subjective aural memory and expectation - fostered by the formal features; the shitomi and irori; and material honesty in the ama-ochi and hiwada roofing of Japanese architecture. It is a momentary stillness, a ‘quiet atmosphere’ that hangs suspended between the flanking inaudible aural ‘adumbrations’ of past and future, invisible to the acoustician’s machine. ‘Taut lamented that...it was

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words by Ben Sykes-Thompson benjamin.sykes-thompson.13@ucl.ac.uk edited by Eleanor Hollis and Athena Li


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小籠包 03 ‫اتنام‬ Secondi մանթի “/second/, the third course. Meat or seafood main dish, the most expensive section on the menu. If two dishes are ordered at secondi, a pallet cleanser, usually a sorbet, is served inbetween.”



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The Borders of 39 Thanh Binh This chapter is part of Tia Duong’s Bsc Architecture History of Architecture module. The dissertation studies the intrinsic links between Hoang Thi Can (author’s grandmother)’s home, the Vietnamese state and the global context in which it evolved from 1973 to 2020. This is chapter 1. It discusses Hoang’s daily activities in 1973. It describes the house and her neighborhood under the Vietnamese Communist Party (herein VCP) and how directly they reflect the party’s global position.

In 1973, Hoang’s home was given to her by the VCP due to land reform1. The house is located at no. 39, alley 10, Thanh Binh Street, Ha Dong district, Ha Noi. At the time, Hoang was working in the canteen of a government-owned factory. Hoang’s home was an original ‘tier 4 house’: tier 4 or cấp 4 is the term Hoang and most Vietnamese people use to refer to a house of 1 storey height built during the time of collectivisation that is usually 3m by 17m. Nowadays the term carries connotations of being low quality or old. A tier 4 house didn’t have toilets, gas hobs, or significant furniture other than two beds and cupboards. Hoang cooked using firewood in a semi-outdoor area at the back of the house and used public toilets of the area. These standardised houses were initially given to each household for free, according to Hoang. She later had to pay for the home for a cheap price of 2,800,000VND (around USD$121).

products were collected by the government and given value via coupons2. These coupons were then given to workers such as Hoang according to their work hours, which was then exchanged for food. Even though the country suffered from the legacy of the war, Vietnamese people recognised the VCP’s legitimacy internally through nationalism and socialist ideals. The VCP was recognised by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Soviet bloc countries during the 1950s meaning that its legislation enjoyed external reinforcement3. However, the Cold War and the separation of the country (into North and South) in 1954 gave rise to internal questions about the extent of VCP legitimacy. During the 1970s, Vietnamese people in the North still regarded the VCP as the leading party and followed the legislation which it set out. This was the legislation that shaped Hoang’s daily life. “I woke up at 5:30AM every day to cook rice in the cast iron pot in the wood fire. After that I walked to work. We had to be at work by the time they hit the ‘kẻng’ (bell). By 12PM, I returned home to cook lunch. After lunch, I would clean up, do chores such as washing clothes, cleaning dishes, cleaning the house. Sometimes I had time for a nap before returning to work again in the afternoon” said Hoang. She used words such as “spacious”

Hoang’s education before 1969 was of first grade level, but her commitment to working for the government means she received free evening classes up to fourth grade level. As Hoang narrates her daily activities in 1973, she refers to the period as thời bao cấp which directly translates to subsidised period. The nature of this period includes the collectivisation of agricultural goods: farmers’ The Stew


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and “comfortable” to describe her home. Hoang also mentioned time strictness (“because it was subsidized period”) as a suggestion of the discipline required when “working for the government”. The systems of collectivisation and subsidies resulted in a clear routine for Hoang. The lack of desire to fill up the home with items other than essentials along with the security of job and means of living showed Hoang’s satisfaction with the house. Hoang mentioned a sense of fulfilment during these times, with her use of the house as a place to rest and return to twice a day due to its proximity to her workplace.

bombed and destroyed by American troops7. Moving away from her hometown, Hoang considered her new life urban. Following the 1969 bombing, the Vietnamese government had to relocate industrial factory workers to various places around the city, as a result, Hoang was moved to a different factory in Ha Dong district. The effect this geo-political warfare had on Hoang’s longterm home is undeniable with this event. Many of Hoang’s colleagues were also relocated to other areas, in which they later settled and created communities. Additionally, Hoang’s initial desire to have an industrial job was encouraged by the government’s free education, accommodation, and stable pay aimed to promote the then weak industrial sector in Vietnam.

“When I was in the countryside (Phúc Thọ province), I was living with my grandparents and sisters. The house always had six to eight people. I was farming for a living. I didn’t want to farm anymore and wanted to make a living in a different way. Hence, I moved to Ha Dong where they offered me a job”. Hoang explained the reason for her move and change in source of income in 1969 halfway through the American war (1963 – 1975)4. The VCP focused its resources and attention on fighting American troops which eventually led to victory in 1975. However, the country continued to face embargoes from the U.S. and boycotts from other foreign countries. Facing two major droughts, weather difficulties and an increase in population, it became challenging for Vietnam to be self-sufficient agriculturally as a country after 19755.

When Hoang moved to Ha Dong district, it wasn’t yet considered a part of Ha Noi – the capital city. Nevertheless, Hoang and many of her co-workers who moved from the countryside to this district viewed it as an urban space. The VCP was attempting to increase production in the industrial sector by creating incentives such as free education and stability. Whilst the district wasn’t a part of the city, the production demand and unpredictable war effects resulted in relocations in bordering areas of Ha Noi. The organic formation of communities of people who worked in industrial factories such as Hoang’s created pockets of urbanness in spite of the government’s official urban planning. This urbanness was defined by the community as a consequence of how they experienced the area’s industrial characteristics, through the number of factories in comparison with 1973 Vietnam’s common agricultural spaces. Hence, Ha Dong’s urban-ness is the result of: the Cold War conflict, the VCP’s decision of factory relocation, as well as Hoang’s lived experience – linking all of the mentioned despite ‘official’ borders.

With the introduction of collective farming in the 1960s, the percentage of collectivised land rose to 92% by 1968. Despite the efforts of the government and success in urging North Vietnam to become collectivised, difficulties arose when informal trade-offs occurred between farmers due to pressures during the war. Hence, the percentage of paddy rice produced decreased throughout the 1960s-70s6. Without knowing the wider context fully, Hoang recognised the possible difficulties in farming in her rural home. She first moved to Son Tay province in 1969 to work in the industrial sector. However, her factory was B-Asia SS21

words by Tia Duong tia.duong.18@ucl.ac.uk edited by Eleanor Hollis, Shiyan Zhu, Cosmin Ticus and Jarron Tham


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I first encountered the Kowloon Walled City at my uncle’s thennew apartment, when I idly leafed through his photography magazines. The pristine black and white photography in the similarly colourless living room did little to entertain the barely 10-year-old me, but a hefty book depicting a monstrous collage of buildings soon caught my attention. The surreal mega-structure appeared to be hundreds of tong lau (唐樓) – the characteristic Hong Kong tenement buildings – stacked atop of one another in a haphazard manner as if they were boxes in a storage unit. When I turned to ask my family about the strange discovery, they eagerly told me about the building known as the Kowloon Walled City (九龍城寨), a Chinese enclave established in British colonial territory.

individual buildings eventually agglomerated into the infamously dense bricks of inhabitation. The city was built with meagre funds and materials and was unregulated by planning authorities, a rare sight in a commercial city lined with glass skyscrapers. Oddly enough, despite the fame garnered by the Kowloon Walled City, not many had seen what life was like behind the walls. To those who lived outside, it seemed to be shrouded in a cloud of wild anecdotes, passed around by word of mouth. Some recalled their parents telling them not to go near the area, in fear of the lawless site being dangerous. Residents seemed to live in an almost post-apocalyptic world of maze-like corridors, gangs, and dubious businesses. Yet, outside of the walled city, the residents blend in seamlessly with the rest of Hong Kong.

After Hong Kong Island was ceded by Britain following the Second Opium War, the Qing dynasty government built a fort at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula as a military presence, donned Kowloon Walled City1. By the Second Opium War, the Kowloon peninsula and New Territories to the north also became part of the British colony. Yet, the Chinese government were adamant to keep the Kowloon Walled City under their jurisdiction2. After some years, the Chinese eventually withdrew from the fort, leaving the land ungoverned. People gradually built both into and around the fort, unfolding into a slum over the years. In 1925, the Japanese took over Hong Kong and demolished the Kowloon Walled City fort, using its vacant land to construct what would become Kai Tak Airport3. Not long after the Second World War, refugees began to flood into the Kowloon Walled City, where no government had jurisdiction. The now-empty land offered them sanctuary available nowhere else4.

“Charlotte”, worked as an accountant during the day but often had to leave early to return to her home inside the Kowloon Walled City before dark. “That’s when the gang members come out to do their sketchy business in the alleys and hallways between buildings” she explained, as if it was no more than a mild inconvenience in her neighbourhood. “One time I returned home late and I had to call my family so they could walk me back home. We were all scared that time, even my older brother.” She described how her family always had a packed suitcase at home so they could escape quickly in case of an emergency. The buildings were so dense and dilapidated that firemen and policemen would never be able to navigate the paths in time to stop a fire or crime. Alleys were lined with corroded dripping pipes, the innermost corridors plagued with darkness, out of sunlight’s reach. Some alleys between buildings were so narrow, only a child could fit through; occasionally a gang member’s pursuit would be cut short by these alleys as their knife-wielding hands would not fit through.

The Kowloon Walled City slum grew and transformed. Temporary shacks covering the footprint of the ex-fort grew into a smattering of low-rise buildings, then a cluster of 8-14 story buildings5. As more and more buildings were erected to squeeze residents into the ungoverned site, The Stew


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Despite the increasingly dangerous setting as the slum grew, the Kowloon Walled City remained a sanctuary to some. Many unlicensed doctors and dentists set up practice within the structure, earning a living they otherwise would not have. Others found spaces to continue their family trades such as producing fish balls – a popular Cantonese street food. The proximity of flats and high density living also cultivated a sense of intimacy and friendliness amongst the residents, especially children.

foliage of the park, it is difficult to imagine the accountants, gangs, and unlicensed doctors all packed inside the structure, forming an unlikely community of their own. The Kowloon Walled City now only exists in memory. Those who watched it transform and grow from a safe distance and those who inhabited the patchwork of spaces contribute to a new collage of the city with their experience. Many consider the Kowloon Walled City a nightmarish place that should have been torn down decades earlier. Albeit, it was also an astounding piece of architecture founded upon the needs and desires of the original refugees, providing them with respite and sanctuary.

On March 23rd, 1993, a wrecking ball was smashed into the side of the Kowloon Walled city, taking the first chip out of the gargantuan structure which would not be fully destructed until 19946. Afterwards, a park was built on the site with a remaining plaque reading “九龍 城寨”, commemorating the surreal structure that once stood. Looking at the serene ponds and lush B-Asia SS21

words by Jade Wong jade.wong.20@ucl.ac.uk photographs courtsey of Greg Girard instagram @gregforaday edited by Shiyan Zhu, Tate Mok and Eleanor Hollis


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감 자 조 림 04

Contorni “Side dishes of vegetables and potatoes. In literal sense the side dishes are thought to add definition/contour to the mains.”

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Building Where Building is the Problem: On Change and the Role of the Architect in Singapore In his book On Altering Architecture, Fred Scott identified a fundamental contradiction in the role of the architect. He writes:

good places – layered, iterative building, and by extension a city of continuity, history and embedded collective memory. Such qualities, so attractive to the architect, can only arise, paradoxically, in situations where buildings are spared from the architect’s intent.

“All buildings, once handed over by the builders to the client, have three possible fates, namely to remain unchanged, to be altered, or to be demolished. The price for remaining unchanged is the eventual loss of occupation, the threat of alteration is the entropic skid, the promise of demolition is of a new building. For the architect, the last course would seem the most fruitful.1”

In many Asian cities, where the urban fabric is erased just as quickly as it is built, architects have to face this contradiction in exacerbated terms. In Singapore, for example, the ‘churn’ of decades of re-building has made a sense of physical amnesia the norm. A feeling of being un-rooted, of one’s physical surroundings being covered with a veneer of inauthenticity, and of a clamouring for whatever may constitute an ‘identity’ are embedded in the popular psyche of Singaporeans. In addition to its psychological effects, this ‘churn’ contributes immensely to environmental degradation, with little attention paid to embodied carbon and the pollution created by flagrant demolition and new construction. Similar phenomena can be observed in many cities across Asia. New buildings are built where similar but ‘obsolete’ ones used to stand, a process seemingly repeated ad infinitum.

Later, elaborating on demolition and the new building as “the architectural impulse”, he writes: “At its root, architecture seeks to sweep away the present and build a better or certainly different world … However, one may also concede that the beauty of old cities is the result as much of the glacial changes that sequential occupations have wrought as of their planning and their architecture.2 ” In these passages, Scott highlights the two contradictory attractions the architect struggles with: that toward which he can author (a new building), and that toward which he cannot (the passage of time and inhabitation by others). This is where the professional interests of the architect in practice (to build, and therefore to demolish in precedence) run up against what may be considered ‘higher’ architectural values of what makes

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Those of us studying architecture, hailed from this context are thus faced with a paradox: how can we practice in situations where a new building is both the essential remit of the architect, but also arguably the greatest problem of the built environment?


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A Problem Case Study: The Singaporean Building Churn and the Many Faces of Katong Mall its former self, it was once again reinvented, and rebuilt for the new millennium as the bewilderingly named ‘i12 Katong’ (a play on the mall’s address: 112 East Coast Road).

As a child, I lived with my TeochewPeranakan great grandmother in her home in the Singaporean neighbourhood of Katong, in a small two-storey terraced house in which my whole extended family from her generation onwards – my grandfather and his siblings, countless aunts and uncles, and my mother – has grown up.

Then, in 2020, less than nine years since i12 Katong has been opened, it was shut again. Hoardings were put up, walls were knocked down and the curtain wall removed, while a “refreshed and all-encompassing lifestyle experience” was being built.

Ten minutes from our home was the neighbourhood. At the time it was called simply ‘Katong Mall’. It was a dark, cold and dingy box type complex, consisting of housing, after-school tuition centres, furniture shops, an electronics department store, and a supermarket which we frequented. Despite its grungy state, the mall endeared itself to my younger sisters and I by being the locus of our day-today lives. It was where we did our weekly shopping, where I got my haircut at a barber in the basement, where I reluctantly attended guitar lessons, and where my parents bought me ice cream to appease me afterwards. I can still clearly recall images of the cramped basement hardware store where items were stacked floor-to-ceiling, so closely that you had to walk sideways; and the florist by the entrance, a shop so full of flowers that customers could only stand at the door to make their order.

When the new mall opens later this year, Katong Mall would have been ‘reinvented’ four times in the last 38 years – an average lifespan of less than ten years for each incarnation. It is this kind of building ‘churn’ that breaks physical continuities and fosters a sense of dislocation that is endemic to Singapore. Malls replace malls, tower blocks replace tower blocks, often for reasons completely disconnected from physical inhabitation. The social memories, networks of relationships, and the psychological imprints of each building are erased with each successive rebuilding, a premature ending before any of the incarnations could become their own place. The barber, supermarket cashier, florist, and hardware store assistant who became important markers of being at home in the neighbourhood, were all irrevocably lost.

This building hasn’t always been the Katong Mall I knew as a child, however. In fact, the building has been rebuilt before and has been since.

For architects, the case of Katong Mall exists as a microcosm of the broader contradiction outlined by Fred Scott. From a professional perspective, these successive redevelopments can be seen positively: more projects and more buildings mean more opportunities to fulfil the “architectural impulse”. But from the perspective of an architect concerned with place – of layers of built history, social relationships and community - the repeated tabula rasa redevelopment is painful to observe.

Opened in 1983, its first incarnation was as the ‘Katong People’s Complex’. It was then designed in an amusing mock High-Tech style, like a budget Pompidou Centre for a Singaporean neighbourhood thousands of kilometres away from Beaubourg. In 1995, owing to poor commercial success (and perhaps a popular rejection of its architecture – once described as having “an exterior façade resembling a prison cell”), ‘Katong People’s Complex’ was reinvented as the ‘Katong Mall’ I knew as a child.

words by Jacob Meyers jacob.meyers.19@ucl.ac.uk

In 2010, as Katong Mall lost tenants and became a decrepit shell of B-Asia SS21

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Wet Markets, Home to Flavourful Narratives

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The writer brings us on a journey into Wet Markets in Hong Kong through her childhood experiences, thoughts and spatial explorations.

A Red Beating Heart

have not engaged with them, and shed light on issues and thoughts.

A vast array of crimson lampshades appears above, the pungent smell of fish diffuses across, with rain boots of vendors standing on a glistening, wet, concrete floor. A red gloved hand reaches across for a grouper, with a firm cleaver, skilfully removing its spilling viscera, and finally dropping it into a crumpled red bag.

Rosy Journeys inside a Shopping Trolley My earliest memory of wet markets came from the age when I was able to fit inside a fold-able shopping trolley. Vivid colours of stall shades appear before me as I peek through my private chariot, eavesdropping on casual conversations between my mother and sellers about the proper way to steam fish, while I carry out the utmost important job of carrying goods for her. I reminisce kindergarten school trips that made us voyage into wet markets, guiding us on how to purchase goods, as I eagerly pointed at different vegetables screaming out their names.

Such interactions occur in the well-known wet markets (gaai1 si5 街市) in Hong Kong where all you see is red; despite its brevity, this type of exchange is efficient and fills the locals with familiar comfort, based on the vendors’ years of experience, reflected in the smiles of both parties and the informal language used there. Until 2017, there were at least two hundred wet markets in Hong Kong, some operated by the government and some by private enterprises. The name ‘wet market’ dates back to Hong Kong’s colonial past, referring to the act of washing down the market’s floors with hoses to maintain sanitation and cleanliness. It also indicates the goods and produces of these markets, literally translating to ‘wet goods’ in Cantonese (sap1 fo3 濕貨). In this context, ‘wet’ corresponds to how ‘fresh’ produce is.

As I approach primary school age, the journeys into wet markets became an after-school routine as I walked home from school with classmates, exploring the nooks and crannies of the markets, discovering new alleyways for adventure. It was commonplace to tell each other where to get your snacks, such as the infamous ’diamond ring candy’ or ‘mammy noodles’, or sitting down at a dessert stall to enjoy some cold tofu pudding (dau6 fu6 fa1 豆腐花) amid the Hong Kong heat. Several classmates’ parents owned stalls, and I remember venturing out to their shops, having conversations about school while they helped me to find a perfect fit for black school shoes as I sat on a tiny creaking, red, plastic stool.

Wet markets are heavily misunderstood, perhaps by those overseas who see them for something other than gathering spaces for the community to engage and connect. Especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, wet markets have been demonised for the alleged selling of wildlife and exotic animals, which although may be true for some, the majority of wet markets do not participate in these exchanges. Hence, the drive to end wildlife trade distorted into a campaign to forbid wet markets altogether.

Since a young age, the markets have become a familiar place for me, where sellers would recognise me and ask how school was, telling my mother with laughter that I am growing up too fast. I understood it as a place of comfort where locals recognised each other and gave each other casual information on trivial matters, sharing recipes or bargaining with vendors, influencing the language I used to

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taste food samples or ethnic foods. Vendors take great care in presenting their goods, such as spraying water on vegetables, creating a sense of produce being fresher and less processed. Shoppers are encouraged to ask questions about the produce sold and seem to greatly enjoy the experience of engaging their senses, as well as to ‘rub shoulders’ in a diverse crowd of strangers 3.

communicate with other locals. It later became clear to me that wet markets are spaces of sociality, where the proximity of stalls, the multiple entrances or exits and impromptu gathering areas made possible the spontaneous activities of chatting and ‘hanging out’. Sellers would call buyers “Leng3 neoi5/jai2 (靚女/仔, ‘good-looking girl/guy’)”, teasing them, giving discounts and an extra green onion (chung1 蔥), filling the crowded place with a sense of warmth and companionship, known as yan4 ching4 mei6 (人情味, “human touch”) 1.

A Cardinal Disconnection Secondary school was a turning point in my understanding of wet markets, as I transitioned from a local crowd to a more international circle. Although my school was in the same area as the wet markets, the realisation that almost everyone in my new circle knew little to nothing about wet markets brought me a sour disappointment. However, it was a concealed and quiet disappointment, as I had to manoeuvre in a new environment, to fit in and make friends, remaining silent when I heard the

From conversations and interviews with friends, it appears that shoppers, vendors and visitors tend to describe wet markets from their experiences rather than the products sold. Despite the portrayal of wet markets as damp, odorous and loud, with ‘a maze of stalls arranged along narrow aisles with slippery floors’ 2, they offer an abundance of various sights, smells, sounds where one can touch, see, smell and even The Stew


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respect the culture and indulge in the atmosphere and the warmth of human relationships.

typical insults of wet markets as smelly, noisy and dirty. It was at this moment when I recognised the disconnection between different social classes, and consciously noticed how different groups of people went to different places. Perhaps most people preferred the supermarket, but ‘the supermarket has no soul’, distinct from the wet markets that have ‘a basis of appeal and attachment’4. It illustrates the influence financial privilege has on the spaces we visit, and it pains me to see some claiming to ‘love Hong Kong’ whilst never setting foot in a wet market. However, this went both ways, as I never went to the central business areas of Hong Kong before secondary school, nor experienced the glitz and glamour of huge shopping malls as I grew up in the countryside, creating embarrassment by mistaking a nightclub district for shopping malls. Yet, it is worth noting that the ability to appreciate wet markets is not defined by ethnicity or class, but rather being able to

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I thought I left wet markets behind me during this phase of life, yet I was able to reconnect with them through an art project, depicting my adoration for these street sellers in my artworks. Despite all these new thoughts and experiences, it never took away my love for wet markets, the only difference being that I am no longer ashamed to proclaim my love for them. The pleasant childhood memories formed there never faded away, as I still wander around there every week, sometimes bringing new friends over to try local desserts, and feeling so delighted to see them enjoying the lively atmosphere.

Conclusion: A Scarlet Nostalgia Wet markets have been an integral part of my life, something that shaped my understanding of the


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world, from amusing childhood memories to raising questions about my surroundings and the way of living; pieces of nostalgia occasionally find their way to me as I stroll down the streets of London. Yet, more issues seem to surface as I delve deeper into this history and issues surrounding wet markets.

colonial issue where the ongoing ‘Westernisation’ seems to be a catalyst. Furthermore, to a certain extent, the current attack on wet markets as a result of the pandemic seems to feed into the neo-colonial rhetoric which imposes value judgement on other cultures, whilst treating their own as universal. The Chinese have been attacked since the 19th century with the phrase ‘Sick Man of Asia’ (東亞病夫), where it gradually became a symbol of foreign aggression due to various articles and popularisation in the film Fist of Fury (1972) starring Bruce Lee. Yet, a very recent usage (Feb 2020) of this phrase appeared on an opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal, regarding COVID-19 by Walter Russell Mead, titled ‘China is the Real Sick Man of Asia’. As a result, it is not surprising to hear that Asians experience cultural discrimination; and in this context, wet markets across Hong Kong and China are seen as a tool to disregard Asian culture further. Although poor hygiene in wet markets may potentially cause disease outbreaks, the complete removal of them is not the answer, and banning them will result in a loss of Asian culture and history; rather a review of sanitary guidelines and wildlife trade may be the potential solution for the future.

Urban spaces are in fact characterised by class, proven by the fact that economic class segregation is found not just in Hong Kong but across different cities to varying degrees whilst also demonstrated to be measurable5. Residential areas and workplaces can be seen as ‘symbolic markers of social status’, and further extends of places of leisure and consumption, as discussed in this context, such as wet markets and luxury shopping malls in Hong Kong. Hence, these invisible spatial boundaries are quietly manifested in Hong Kong, they exist in a way that can indicate one’s class status and correlates to the social class structures, which may render some spaces ‘inaccessible’. This partition may have been well underway since Hong Kong’s colonial period. Although nowadays people of Hong Kong may look up to its colonial past as a glorious era with romanticised nostalgia, in which Britain is viewed as a superior ‘protector’ against the parent nation of China, the reality is the contrary. Modern Hong Kong under British rule was built on a racial hierarchy where their financial interests were put above the locals, who were treated as cheap labour forces for the colony to ‘thrive’. This subject matter can be seen in movies such as Ip Man 2 (2010) and Chasing the Dragon (2017), a refreshing objection to ‘the white saviour’ narrative. 1960s was an unsettling time in Hong Kong, where anticolonial demonstrations broke out in the city for the manifestation of racial segregation. As wet markets were present during Hong Kong’s colonial rule, we can only believe that such separation between classes was already evident, but further signified as a postThe Stew

The rise of consumerism and the rapid pace of modernisation or ‘Westernisation’ may have caused wet markets to appear foreign in big cities or even lost in other areas, but they remain the beating heart in smaller local communities in Hong Kong. It is a stage that orchestrates the scenes that are familiar to us, where vendors would push trolleys filled with goods; regardless of your ethnicity and background, it is a platform where the community can come together and socialise, nurturing relationships where food is the common language. words by Glory Kuk glory.kuk.19@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu, Athena Li, Eleanor Hollis, Mateusz Zwijacz and Cosmin Ticus


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GomaeInsalata Spinach Salad “vegetables”

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Disseminating Architecture podcast

*Fade in sound of: jackhammer drilling *

Script 006: Chaos Out of Order, March 2021, for B-Asia Magazine, Julæ Lynn

Thank you for tuning in.

* Drilling sound: fade out *

living in the perpetual present, there is no architecture in Singapore/\\ Pearl Bank Apartments was a special building. It was the pioneering high-density residential building in the region that prefigures the present dominance of the high-rise apartment. Its unique horseshoe, concave, three quarter cylindrical design is iconic. This brutalist gem symbolises a rugged individualism, pioneering spirit and practicality that defines Singaporean culture.

\ Dear listeners, I’m Julæ and this is my submission for the B-Asian Magazine, I’m speaking from my home, in the nationstate of Singapore.

I regret never having visited the building yet distinctly remember its unmistakable silhouette piercing the sky above it. It made me proud of who we are as a people, of where we have come from, and

This podcast is titled: Chaos out of Order, living in the perpetual present, there is no architecture in Singapore

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of what we could someday become.

functionally, socially and aesthetically deleterious.

It was a beacon of hope, an embodiment of our past, and a pure vision cast in concrete. Over the years, Pearl Bank Apartments had fallen into disrepair and its land lease was expiring.

\\\ The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture asserts that “Architecture is concerned with the creation of order out of chaos”.

Despite efforts by the principal architect Tan Cheng Siong among others to conserve the building, it was sold to developers and demolished early in 2020.

But in Singapore, the typical organisational processes are supplanted by a merciless insistence on perpetual renovation and construction. Perfectly functional street lamps at my doorstep were uprooted, the underground wiring excavated, only for new lamps to be installed a few paces from where the old ones stood. The two-lane road around my neighbourhood seems always under construction. At this very moment, I can hear the jackhammers hacking at the tarmac to get at the hidden wiring below. After something or another has been repaired, replaced, or added, the road would be patched up for the digging to begin anew.

You may not be surprised to hear that Pearl Bank Apartments is one of many significant buildings that have been erased to make way for a different Singapore: a sanitised and deodorised tabula rasa that has been since reanimated to function as a Disneyland for wealthy investors, multinational corporations, and the mobile elite. The iconic Old National Library Building was demolished to build a tunnel. Swathes of the biodiverse and culturally rich Bukit Brown Cemetery were exhumed to relocate an essentially identical highway from one spot to another.

I promise that these are not extraordinary happenings. In Singapore, the quartet of trucks, jackhammers, bulldozers, and steamrollers can be heard at nearly every intersection.

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This endlessly undermined landscape more resembles chaos out of order than its inverse.\\\\ Admittedly, this despairing state of affairs is not unique to Singapore. I get a similar feeling when I am in parts of Shanghai, when I look at the unreadable glass towers in parts of Pudong and when I stare out the car window at rows and rows of office towers left empty at the periphery of a vast network of huge concrete highways.

\\\\\ I would like to conclude on an old Chinese proverb — “天高, 皇帝远” [ tiān gāo, huángdì yuǎn ] which translates literally to: “the sky is high and the Emperor is far away”. Even in tiny Singapore, neither the governing authorities nor the authoritarian dogmas of neo-liberalism can impose their will completely over the entirety of this country or any other.

Many cities lose significant spaces and many regions have been turned into unreadable urban enigmas of glass, steel and concrete. But because of how small Singapore is, the relentless push toward modernisation engulfs the entirety of this nationstate and renders all buildings contingent.

> As a brief aside, since I first wrote this piece, I have found areas in the periphery of Singapore that feel like another place and can indeed be read in an architectural manner. Perhaps at another time, we could undermine the apparent stability of a nation but for now, I would like to say that this piece applies to the vast majority of Singapore and not its entirety.

Thank you for tuning in, I’m Julæ, this has been my submission for the B-Asia Magazine.

Take care.

* Fade in sound of: construction site *

words by Julæ Lynn javas.tan.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu, Athena Li and Cosmin Ticus

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Film Review:

“Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo” Finds Rebirth Amid Ruin

(Spoilers for Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Rebuild of Evangelion series follow)

In 1996, Neon Genesis Evangelion first aired on Japanese TV. It quickly became a cultural phenomenon as a result of its subversion of the trappings of the Mecha genre of anime and its brutal interrogation of trauma. Its popularity reflected a cultural malaise in post-bubble Japan and a sharp increase in people suffering from mental health problems in the era1, as well as director Hideaki Anno’s own struggles with depression. Throughout the following decade, there have been endless controversies over its abstract ending2, which eventually led to a 4-film remake series from 2007 to the recently released Evangelion 3.0+1.0, which premiered in Japan on 8th March 2021.

series. The audience scrambles to comprehend the imagery in tandem with Shinji desperately grappling with the isolation and bewilderment of his situation. The extremism of the imagery, its hallucinatory abstraction, suggests an entirely new spatial logic for the new psycho-logic of the cast. The vista is reminiscent of a 1968 drawing by Arata Isozaki3, where vast proto-metabolic structures emerge from the wreckage of Hiroshima in 1945. The Metabolists, under the prompting of Kenzo Tange (who designed the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in 1955), explored novel architectural tectonics inspired by organic cell reproduction as a precedent for the reconstruction of a new world4. Isozaki’s drawing shows a transitory space, one where the wreckage of the nuclear bomb still covers every inch of ground, but where strange new tectonics are beginning to flower. In Evangelion, we see an absurd structure of an obsidian-black inverted pyramid, a perversion and literal inversion of the subterranean pyramid of the angel-fighting NERV HQ from the prior films, lofted through the clouds on an improbably thin shaft. The left-behind structural artefact of the NERV HQ, contrasts with the red crosses (supernatural structures erected as a consequence of Evangelion 2.0’s finale), further interpreting the Metabolist notion of the seeds for new growth lying amongst ruins.

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012) is arguably the most idiosyncratic of the series, a harrowing 96 minutes of unresolved narrative, jarring character changes and intense, alienating visuals. The film is a visual puzzle, drawing on 70 years of genre conventions and the series’ own 20-year history to describe a world in transition from ruin to rebirth. Throughout Evangelion 3.0, the audience is kept in a cloud of unknowing, as series protagonist Shinji stumbles from a reunion with the original series’ cast, who now inexplicably despise him, to the original location of the series, Tokyo-3, which now exists as a post-apocalyptic ruin of red. Within these ruins, probably the strongest imagery of the series to date, a new paradigm is created for the The Stew

What is also seen here is the great narrative potential of the ruin. From Piranesi on, the ruin has been used 42

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extensively as a narrative device in the field. Here, tectonic storytelling offers a more immediate yet less explicit and far richer narrative structure than dialogic scenes would.

the Metabolists, of Lebbeus Woods’ crisis architecture, and of the history of Kaiju and Mecha films, there is a startling, uncompromising and ultimately profound originality to its world. As both a lesson in environmental storytelling and the crafting of architectures for a new cultural logic, it excels.

From the very opening of the original TV show, the scale of violence and destruction in Evangelion is tectonic. The very first “angel” - the series’ incomprehensible, unstoppable antagonists - being attacked with a nuclear bomb5. The Evangelions themselves are also bio-chemical subversions of mecha robots that to some extent represent weapon of massive destruction6. The ruins here hint that the nature of the forces at play within the world of Evangelion are beyond the scope of the human cast, the power of the biomachine has grown far beyond their control. This climactic shift is further implied by the lack of enclosure seen in the film’s few inhabited architectures. Most scenes take place outdoors, and the weather appears to be a relentless sun. As Shinji explores the landscape, vast shrapnel craters are seen in the walls and floors, an expression of the scale of the violence that took place between the films, and the scale of the shifts in the nature of the cast.

words by Alfie Gee and Xintong Chen alfie.gee.18@ucl.ac.uk xintong.chen.17@ucl.ac.uk edited by Caitlin Wong, Athena Li and Julæ Lynn

At the end of this scene, we discover that the hell we see is a direct result of Shinji’s actions. He, and the film, asks what do to when redoing isn’t an option. This isn’t to say the message is entirely nihilistic, however. The Rebuild series repurposes the original show’s narrative to explore themes of rebirth and reinvention. The landscape of 3.0 is both one of annihilation as well as fertile ground for new life. The violent severing of the existing world’s structural logic leaves no other option than total renewal, and the emergence of a novel world. Although Evangelion 3.0 received a notably less warm critical reception than the previous films on release, the determination to entirely dismantle the iconography and familiarity of the original series and prior films makes it fascinating. While its world contains traces of the DNA of B-Asia SS21


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‫يواكع نبج‬ Formaggie e Frutta 乳扇 छेना

“For the lactose intolerants among us, just fruits.”

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A (guided) Tour of Nathan Road Nathan Road (彌敦道), also known as the Golden Mile, is a 3.6 kilometre road, aligned from north to south. It was the first road to be built in Kowloon, Hong Kong once it became part of the crown colony in 1860. Over the years, it has developed from a colonial-style, residential area, into a bustling tourist attraction lined with shops and restaurants, along with a few museums, landmarks and parks scattered in between. The road penetrates through four districts, and in this article, I will take you on a tour to the section in Jordan (佐 敦), where I spent most of my childhood.

The Tour Route:

My Childhood Route:

[I] Just off the side of Nathan Road, the daytime Jade Market is tucked away next to the Community Rest Garden. As you enter this sheltered market, individual stalls can be seen lined up on either side. Each stall’s tables overflow with jade jewellery and statues and are framed with curtains of jade bead necklaces. The atmosphere is relaxing as the sounds of vendors chatting or bargaining echo through the street. The occasional clinking of jade swaying in the wind or being picked up to be sold and inspected can be heard in the background.

[I] Between 2008 to 2015, Nathan Road was where I spent most of my time in. It was where my primary and secondary school were, where I had Mandarin and Percussion lessons, where I played hockey matches and where my friends and I hung out. It is the corridor that linked the rooms I grew up in, learned, studied, played, and snacked.

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[II] As a kid, I never ventured into the markets for safety reasons, but I’ve still had my fair share of crowded places: After a busy day of school, I 45

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[II] As you leave the market and continue south, the road becomes busy, full of life and predominantly framed by looming mid-rise buildings. As you walk along it, you engage in a dance of darting in between people whilst dodging water dripping from overhead air conditioning units. The thrum of cars, the squeaking of city bus brakes and the ringing of traffic crossings are constant. When walking, the overhang of residential blocks shelters you, with shop fronts and traffic on either side and crowds of people all around. When driving, advertisements and neon signs jut out of building façades and hang above. During the day, LED signs flash for attention but at night, the neon-krypton glow washes over you reassuringly.

inevitably had to navigate around the waves of students and walk to my external destinations. The beeps of traffic and bumping of shoulders (or umbrellas depending on the weather) fade into the background as I study the herringbone brick pavement, looking for patches of green peeking out of the gaps. [III] On the way to my music lesson, I would walk on the sun-dappled pavement (opposite Kowloon Park), whilst weaving through the roots of banyan trees that were planted along the side of the road. I always looked forward to that walk as it also meant that I could walk past the local egg waffle kiosk and either treat myself to an indulgent snack or just fill my lungs with its sweet scent. The park itself was a safe haven for me and my bored friends. On sweltering days, the cool caves of museums were the best option. We always tried to be on our best behaviour around adults, but our childish giggles always got the best of us. As for the more bearable days, we would, to museum workers relief, wander through corridors of trees, gaze at mirrors of water and daydream about flying as we bird watched.

[III] Kowloon Park is the next stop. The former British Army barracks certainly isn’t as expansive as Hyde Park, but nonetheless, it never disappoints. The sounds of traffic become a distant memory as you walk along the wide paved paths, past benches occupied by the resting elderly. The park has facilities for everyone, and its 13.3 hectares of history can be visited countless times. [IV] Finally, at the corner and an opposite side of the park, sits the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, and St Andrew’s Church respectively. Both structures display their traditional features, with the mosque’s impressive, traditional decoration of minarets, and the church’s Victorian Gothic brick and stained glass. Whilst one stands proudly next to the park, and the other hides behind a foliagecovered wall, both spaces provide a sense of calm for worshippers and a space of wonder for visitors.

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[IV] The church never interested me, and because my Mandarin tutor was right next to it, I often steered clear in fear of bumping into her outside of lessons. [end of tour]

words by Caitlin Wong caitlin.wong.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu, Maisy Liu and Yuxin Liu


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もち ais kacang 酥山 07

Dolce “sweet stuff”

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Diasporic Dialogue with Brenda Zhang / 张迪 and WAI Think Tank

WAI: Coinciding in many online events in a tumultuous and extended year weaved together by networks of solidarity, we have been looking forward to this diasporic dialogue about our experience in China, works of liberation, mutual aid, and emancipatory imaginations. Growing up in Puerto Rico and France respectively, we (Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski) met in Brussels just out of school and founded WAI Architecture Think Tank in the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. In 2009 we moved to Beijing, founded Intelligentsia Gallery 智先画廊 in 2014, and lived in the Chinese capital until 2016, the year we moved to the US. Moving from state to state we’ve been practising, teaching, and developing platforms for alternative critical pedagogies like Loudreaders. Through the similarities between our work and our efforts we have crossed virtual paths many times, although we have never met in person. Bz: Although born within the US, my teaching, design, and organizing have also moved me from state to state— mostly recently to California in 2016. As a Chinese-diasporic person, I’ve never lived in China, but my life has been punctuated with nearly three decades of days- and weeks-long visits to extended family in Anhui and Shandong, usually

flying through Beijing. One of many reasons why I’m always energized and heartened to cross paths with WAI Think Tank is the commitment you both have to speaking clearly, directly, and compassionately to peoples and our struggles, across and beyond the boundaries of disciplines and empires.

There are many things that connect our work, so it perhaps makes sense to start with something that connects us that is not architecture, why did you start painting? I was very confused being a bilingual child (speaking English and Mandarin). Visual language “made the most sense” in that I intuitively felt as a child that I could start to get the responses I was

interested in from other people around me based on what I was expressing—in contrast with the two spoken languages that both did and did not seem to have boundaries.

We were also concerned with language. And perhaps even more so while living in Beijing. Painting was an expansion of language beyond ‘architecture’ at some point in our lives. So, we took painting in our little apartment in Beijing, and one day decided to make 200 paintings in a year. Did you use the paintings for starting conversations?

东西 dōngxi (thing) / 东西 dōngxī (East West) by Brenda Zhang 张迪

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What I like about both these anecdotes about using painting to speak is that it gets past all the hang-ups within painting as a Western discipline, which remains an important context for both of our practices but also can be distracting in lived experience. I do think I use paintings for starting conversations, but perhaps living as an adult in the United States, where I was also born, at this point I often find myself using painting to start conversations with myself.

decades but are extremely fragmented. It was primarily an entry and exit for me as a diasporic Chinese person flying by plane to visit my extended family (in Shandong and Anhui provinces). Some of my earliest memories are of train stations in Beijing and the smells of pork sausages in red wrappers and hot water turning into tea and instant noodles. What was your apartment like in Beijing? How did you fit the practice of painting 200 paintings in a year inside? Where did you get art supplies?

My impressions of Beijing range several

Every single corner, door frame, wall, furniture, was packed with oil paintings, collages, sculptures, frames, and canvases. We were exhausted with the commercially driven character of architecture and started meeting artists. Artists in Beijing are a social class of their own, living in their own communities. Some of our artist friends showed us where to buy supplies. We lived inside the second ring road, in Dongzhimen. A 20-minute bike ride would take us to the National Art Museum and across from it many small stores with supplies. Canvas, stretchers, oil paint, brushes, etc. We would buy whatever we could and then get to work. Morning, nights. Work across media. It was intense, but also liberatory, in the way that you find a new language and can fully invest in its exploration. Having so many friends living like that was also important.

When it came time to show or to find ways to have conversations with them, via the work we were all making, we had to figure out a space to do that. What were some of the ways you were able to have conversations? And what

was said within those conversations?

Initially we realized there was a lack of space to have those conversations. That’s when we developed the program of Intelligentsia Gallery 智先画廊. For us, it was a catalyst for discussing work, positions, ideas. It would bring many friends, not only from Beijing, but from all across China, and the world. The conversations would go beyond borders or limits. Everybody was enthusiastic to have this new opportunity, to engage with many people from anywhere at any point, always through questions asked through the work. A dear friend of mine once learned to box in Havana, Cuba, but upon return to the States, found that the culture of boxing here had lost some liberatory and artful aspect that had made him B-Asia SS21

fall in love with the practice—and he stopped. You’ve since lived in so many North American towns and cities—do you paint now?


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We paint in a more limited capacity. We barely have gotten to know any place we lived in the US. Especially not in the way we knew our city corner in Beijing. Also, Beijing was urban, so we could get anywhere by bike. We would bike 7 or 8 miles to see friends in the outskirts of Beijing. In the US that is not really possible unless you are in NY. And modernity arrived in NY a long time ago. Shandong (my father’s side of the family) have changed in the last three decades. I’ve also heard the two of you describe your time in Beijing as “watching modernization happen.” What did you see?

I am now based in Los Angeles, but as an ethnically Han Chinese US citizen, I feel so sensitive to the ways that Flushing, Queens (the center of my universe, growing up in the New York metropolitan area), Hefei, Anhui (my mother’s side of the family), and Yantai,

Arriving in Beijing in 2009, just after the Olympics put us face to face with the forces of modernization. The whole country was changing, but Beijing particularly was going through some significant transformations. This moment was marked by the ‘opening’ up of Beijing. One thing we were studying there was the first urban commune built just after the foundation of the PRC, and how other contemporary models would provide for collective forms of living or social life. Do you stay in touch with your family in China? It was always fascinating to learn how truly global China has always been. I’m lucky to be in touch with my family—so many relationships to people, histories, and lands are lost in the violent forces driving diaspora. That said, how I relate to China is a constantly moving target. At times in my life I felt more proud to be “Chinese” than “American,” or more intrinsically “American” than “Chinese,” whereas more recently I am disloyal to both nationalist constructions

while remaining deeply grounded in the struggles of my communities on both continents. More than anything else, learning from Black radical thought and Indigenous knowledge systems has given me the possibility to understand Chinese-ness and Asian-ness in a global and/or internationalist way, from the diasporic extents looking back.

That also relates to our continuous struggle, basically leaving Europe because of painful encounters with white supremacy and having to deal (especially in the realm of art and architecture) with the influence of the ‘west’ and the construction of an Asianness or Orientalism that wouldn’t exist otherwise. A lot of our work consisted in finding ways to discuss positions and ideas while refusing to be painted with that homogenizing brush. It was a constant struggle, especially when engaging with people coming from Europe and the US and trying to impose a certain reading of history and place. Something we affirm too is that in many ways we are a Beijing practice even if that cannot fit in many people’s imagination. Living in London or New York, people would not question if the artists were or not born there. While for us, the question of not being ‘from’ Beijing was something that was very present as people tried to understand who we were or what our work was about. As Black radical thought, or anti-colonial and anti-capitalist imaginations, our experience of being a Beijing-based practice has also been central to us. That has definitely shaped our ways of looking at and interacting with the world. In a minor way, I felt a Chinese-ness or Asian-ness about your practice from the first times we spoke because I intuitively knew I could let my guard down in The Stew

talking about China at all. I didn’t feel the immediate, familiar defensiveness and protectiveness that everyone from marginalized identities knows. 50

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Were your ideas about Chinese-ness or Asian-ness intensified or reduced in China? My kneejerk reaction to this question is, “which China?” I grew up absorbing the China that my parents became dislocated from in the 1980s—the richness of Northern and Southern cuisine, the romantic and patriotic music, as well as the traumatic imprints of the Cultural Revolution and the civil war before. Although I grew up seeing my first cousins in China every few years, being with my family while I’m there is

usually insulating. The first time I really encountered other Chinese people of my generation in earnest was in architecture school in Berkeley, California. I’m less pointing out some kind of gap or lack in knowledge that either of us had, but rather a collision for me at the time of multiple “Chinas,” which was vertigoinducing but profoundly exciting and formative. Perhaps this conversation between us also constitutes a “China.”

China is one of the places with the most divergent narratives we’ve seen. Especially in the US (or Europe) where the narratives are so biased. So, it must be really challenging to make a coherent picture of a place that in reality is billions of places at the same time. Challenging … and rewarding on the best days! The divergence and heterogeneity, especially when experienced and then reflected by people rooted in all the other places-within-places around the world, maybe offer us understandings of collective liberatory practice in and outside of China. Of course, all of this is against the backdrop of both Chinese and Western neocolonial interests, intersecting with anti-Black racism,

Islamophobia, Sinophobia, and continued internal colonization. In this light, I’m inspired in particular by Black scholars and activists who are bridging past and present histories -- Robeson Taj Frazier, for example, who wrote The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination, and more recently Kori Cooper, who wrote a recent call to action, “Why China studies needs Black scholars.”

Cooper’s piece makes sense and speaks to the urgency of intersectional approaches to critical theory. Although we could also wonder, if the mere concept of having such a thing as ‘China’ studies is a colonial concept to begin with. We have a deep mistrust of American and European Universities ‘studying’ the world. As with many studies of non-hegemonic subjects all the multiplicities get swept under the rug when it’s the empire who’s writing. The work of many scholars trained in the US and Europe working in China is very predictable. They know three main historical events and then read everything from that starting point. They would never treat Europe and the US with such a simplistic view. But somehow the rest of the world can be understood like that. That’s when Édouard Glissant’s concept of opacity comes in handy. What if we are opaque and can’t be understood? What if we can’t be studied? In that regard transparency is our enemy, it is what allows them to tokenize, fetishize, and historicize us like tropical plants or exotic artifacts.

There is a serious deficiency of critical historical knowledge that reinforces all those ontological reductions. A way to engage with this would be to stop identifying so-called western epistemologies as the status quo, and approach diverse forms of knowledge...maybe then, we would be able to see beyond reductionism. B-Asia SS21


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Yes, absolutely! Rather than allowing the empire to write about us, and anyway, if we “study” in opposition to empires at all, it should be as Fred Moten defines it: “study is what you do with other people.”

understood and processed, and for all of us there is work to do. At the same time, in both my design collective, SPACE INDUSTRIES, and the organizing spaces of Design As Protest and Dark Matter University, and certainly your practice— the spaces have existed, even in architecture, of inherent Black and Asian collectivity, but previously unknown, unseen, and opaque to the inquiring white gaze. In some ways, it felt like an intrusion to be even identified by that gaze as “Black and Asian solidarity” as a discovery. However, I’m more interested in hearing from you about new (and old) approaches to non-western forms of knowledge and knowledge productions...

In the US, I think many of us who are racialized as Asian and Black woke up recently to an absurd and hysterical white mainstream media speculating on how Black and Asian folks in the US can “be allies’’ to each other. As someone who is racialized as a nonBlack Asian person, I embody individual lived experiences of both (internalized and external) anti-Asian racism and anti-Black racism, which need to be

That approach has been central to us too, working with networks of solidarity. Those caricaturizations of Black and Asian (always the ‘other’) are quite prevalent and ridiculous in the media, but also in education. And when it comes to knowledge, it is imperative to understand that the idea of ‘western’ is also a fabrication. Fanon wrote about how whiteness needed Blackness in order to exist, and so there’s an Orient needed to make up an Occident, and vice versa. There’s no such thing as western thought, but rather a narrative of western thought. Through imperialism, colonization, but also through trade and exchanges, ideas and epistemologies have circulated around the world, since the first humans left Africa. We can argue that history doesn’t exist, that all we have are narratives of history. In that sense, the more people can contribute to that narrative, the richer, more diverse history will become. Same with forms of knowledge, the sooner we stop believing in the myth of superior forms of civilization the sooner we can see the best humanity has to offer, who needs to be held accountable, and how we can start with reparations and reconstructions. It also takes very little effort to see who has been at the center of the struggles of emancipation all around the world. The role of women, queer, non-binary people. From the Haitian Revolution, to many socialist, anarchist, and anti-colonial revolts and struggles all around the world. In a way our platform Loudreaders, inspired by the solidary and anti-capitalist practice of education born in the tobacco factories in the Caribbean continues in the digital space what Intelligentsia started (and in a very close way similar to many of the organizations you work with), looking for a global platform that fosters networks of solidarity connecting critical positions and struggles from all around the world, from Beijing to Cape Town, from Rio Piedras to LA.

words by Guest Writers: Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz García Directors of WAI Architecture Think Tank Loudreaders Garcia Frankowski Intelligentsia Gallery Assistant Professors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia Tech Visiting Lecturers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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Mombasa to Newcastle

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A recollection by J. S. Naru inspired by the familial stories he was told as a child.

said, ‘Tutasimama hapa ili tuweze kujaza lori’. I nodded and sat there. The sounds of larger animals had faded as we were nearing the coast. Now the sounds of crickets and other insects dominated the nocturnal soundscape. The driver approached an aged man sat on a red metal chair under the bulb of the building’s veranda. He handed over money for the fuel. I was alone for a moment, sat in the front of the truck with the darkness of the night pressing in from all sides. It was almost fitting, my father had fled Punjab, journeying and arriving in Kenya alone. I was leaving Kenya, also alone.

I, 1952, somewhere on the road between Nairobi and Mombasa. Those Kenyan nights are unforgettable: a vast collection of animal screeches emerging from the intense darkness. The air too – lacking the heaviness of the daytime heat – was certainly cooler and thinner. It was night when I left home for the last time. I was driven by a freight truck driver to Mombasa from Nairobi, a pitch-black nine-hour journey filled with the noises of nocturnal creatures that lived in the Kenyan bush. The only light was from the pin-prick stars that dotted the night sky and the dim headlights that illuminated only a few feet ahead. Much of the road between the two still hadn’t been covered in tarmac – a lightly pebbled track, mostly unsuccessfully cutting through low-lying trees and shrubbery. Nature was rejecting even this light intervention.

As each hour passed the black sky lightened, turning deep blue that became brighter and brighter, closely followed by a pale yellow, then a deep orange. The road became firmer, slowly turning into tarmac as the city of Mombasa became visible, glowing on the horizon in the twilight sky. Small buildings emerged in greater frequency amongst the shrubbery, the tin roofs burning bright with the reflection of the low sun. We drove further into Mombasa, as the air became hotter with the arrival of the morning. ‘Hali ya hewa itakuwa nzuri leo,’ the driver noted, gesturing towards the sky. I agreed. The temporary structures became more permanent and ornate as we travelled west, further into the city

A building approached in the distance about halfway along the car journey. It was three o’clock in the morning and this was the first structure we had seen in over two hours: a tiny, rural, concrete petrol station lit externally only by a single bulb next to the open door. We stopped. The driver of the truck leapt down. He looked at me and The Stew


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towards the Kilindini Harbour. My older brother had left for the United Kingdom a few years before to study in Edinburgh. This was, therefore, not an unusual journey. The majority of the Kenyan-Indian population were leaving, not due to the lack of opportunities here, nor an abundance somewhere else. Rather, it was a need for change (as is normal), spurred by underlying tensions between the ethnic and racial groups. Whilst it was diminishing, there was undoubtedly a thriving community of Asians in Kenya, yet it was separate. It was a home away from home, in a sense.

certainly not desirable when on a boat. The journey was estimated to be around twenty days, travelling up the East coast of the continent and around the Horn of Africa through the Mediterranean. There were other Kenyan-Indians on the ship too, heading to Newcastle to start a new life in the United Kingdom. It was certainly strange being upon that enormous cargo ship, in the middle of the ocean. Waves were crashing on all sides. There were some days when I saw the green shore, and others when it disappeared behind the horizon. The difference from my last night in Kenya was immense, where my surroundings were the endless stretch of the buzzing Kenyan countryside in the darkness. Now, I was in an enormous metal container travelling through the Suez Canal and the sparkling Mediterranean.

II, 1952, Kilindini Harbour, onwards. Ah, there it was: the SS Mohamed in all its maritime glory. A dark, angular steamship that lay in the Kilindini Harbour. The ship was moored along the long docking area that stretched into the distance, with other ships spread out along the entire length. This was, after all, the main port of what was then British Kenya and British Uganda. Long warehouses lay beside the dock that was teaming with life. Nairobi and Mombasa were, and still are both restless cities. Constantly alive, there is activity in every hour of the day. By now it was early morning, and the harbour was in full swing. Boxes and crates were piled up and moved all over the place. People rushed around, with produce going in and out of the ship. The noise of animals and insects in the night had been substituted by the morning commotion of the harbour. I navigated the obstacle course that had been created in the area beside the ship and boarded through the passenger gantry.

III, 1952, arrival. There is always a moment that people never forget when reaching a new, unfamiliar place, where they are going to live. This moment differs for everyone. For me it was when I stepped out of the ship onto land for the first time in almost three weeks. It was certainly cooler than Kenya, even considering the time of year that I had arrived in. I remember looking up to the low green hills and the red brick structures, seeing small clouds of seagulls pass over against the light grey sky. I had been told to go to the seaside town of Whitely Bay for a place to stay temporarily. I was turned away from all the bed and breakfasts and the places that advertised a spare room along the coast as I made my way towards the town. That was when it started raining heavily as I made it to the edge of the town, which was on the coast. Water was soaking into my turban and into my clothes as I continued to walk. I had to stop. I slumped onto a bench overlooking the sea below, devastated and cold. I had completely forgotten my surroundings; they were just a blur at this point. The waves were crashing against the rocks below, and the hum of traffic passed on the road behind me. About twenty

I remember my cabin was about one and a half by two metres. Light filtered through a blind covering a single porthole that was about three quarters of the way up the end wall. The walls were amusing. They had been painted with a sickly light blue, clearly to brighten the small space. Though it had the opposite effect, giving the impression we were below water, something B-Asia SS21


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‘We have a spare room if you’d like to stay with us,’

minutes had passed. ‘Excuse me, Sir?’

the lady said with a warming smile. I couldn’t believe it. The journey was over, I had made it to my new home, to my new life.

I looked up. A small, elderly lady was standing over me with an umbrella held over her head. ‘Are you alright, Sir?’ ‘No, I’ve just arrived, and I can’t find anywhere to stay, I’ve been turned away from everywhere,’ I replied.

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words by Jatin Naru jatin.naru.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu


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‫ ةوهق‬Caffe ‫ةيبرع‬

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Sino-Portuguese Architecture in Phuket: Then & Now An intricate architecture style developed after 1511 when Portuguese settlers came to trade in Phuket, which intertwines Chinese tradition and European elements. Termed Sino-Portuguese architecture, this style is also known under the names of Sino-colonial architecture or Peranakan style. Peranakan refers to the Chinese ancestors who immigrated to Southeast Asia and married local women starting from the 15th century1. They played a key role in the development of Phuket as they were the traders who undoubtedly contributed to the creation of a new culture.

they were divided so as to serve both purposes. Taking an imaginary journey through a typical shophouse from the entrance to the end of it, these rectangular-shaped buildings have a trading area in the front, where goods were displayed facing the road. Further along were the office and the residential living area, with a kitchen in the back and an additional storage room where goods were brought in. Thus, the ground floor was mostly dedicated to trading, whereas the first floor was built for living. The structure of these buildings had to support more than the ground floor, which is why brick and concrete are the primary construction materials. Considering that most houses are adjoined, natural ventilation and light were provided by some openings made in the front and back of the building, as well as the roof3. The shop-houses still operate similarly to how they would have hundreds of years ago, but some have been turned into boutiques or guest houses.

This Sino-colonial style retains the tradition and beliefs of Thai Chinese people passed on from generation to generation, while carefully incorporating some Portuguese features (such as stucco patterns). The houses built in this manner are adjoined, very colourful and unique from one another, even if some recurring elements denote their stylistic origin. The core of these buildings is Chinese - in spirit, meaning, structure, space distribution and interior decoration. The need for order, balance and harmony that is often noticeable in the Chinese culture is seen here in the form of symmetric façades with large inviting doors and luck-bearing symbols in the form of decoration2.

Similarly, the mansions were built for rich traders but were later on repurposed into museums, hotels, shops or restaurants. For instance, the Thai Hua Museum is a SinoPortuguese structure built in the 1930s that was initially the first Chinese Language School in Phuket and it has now been transformed into a carefully curated museum that explains the history of Chinese settlers4 and is thought of as a place for learning.

Most of the Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket are shophouses public buildings or mansions and all have been attributed new purposes throughout the years, while still maintaining the same inviting, colourful look. The shophouses were thought of as places for trading and living, which is why The Stew

Teeming streets and humid air with large wide-open doors and windows in a buzzing atmosphere where people were constantly chattering, going from one place to another with tuk-tuks passing by any second - the Old Town of Phuket preserves 58

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the history, beauty and beliefs of Thai Chinese residents with multiple droplets of colours meant to attract the passers-by. It is a place where each building lures the viewer with its striking colours, beautiful and meaningful decorations, climbing B-Asia SS21

plants pouring down from one floor to another, and of course, the trading - for old times’ sake. words by Ina Ioan ina.ioan.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu


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茅 台 09

Digestivo “settle the stomach”

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What is the meaning of public space:

What is the meaning of public space: A complex relationship of people A complex relationship between and public space in people and public space in Bangkok B-Asia SS21


Bangkok The Stew

Cities have become the main habitable spaces for humans. People are forced to live in compact spaces inside the city, which increased the importance of public spaces in the urban fabric. Public space seems to be an international idea that everyone has a common understanding of, and yet, nuances appear as we analyse its meaning with regards to different cultures and localities. Bangkok is an example of a city whose relationship between public and private space is blurred and complex. It raises the question, ‘can we still call it a public space?’ and ‘what has caused this type of public space to become a unique character of Bangkok city?’ This article will investigate the origin of this type of public space, and its future through the transformation of modern society.

night. This type of space can be defined as a heterotopic space; one with a special condition that is unable to define a specific function for a certain area.

Whilst this relationship between public and private space may seem chaotic, it has developed connections to the surrounding context, serving the needs of local people and providing an additional civic function; many office workers and residents from the area rely on the street vendors. Whilst food services may be their main function, operating at night, they have decreased local crime rates. Additionally, the architecture of the stalls provides passersby with shading, a necessary relief from Thailand’s hot and humid climate. The existence of this urban fabric demonstrates an interdependent character between society and urban structures.

There is extensive research exploring the concept of public space in Thailand. A PhD project by Prof. Sutharin Koonphol highlights an interesting historical analysis of public space in Thai society. Prof. Koomphol, explains that to understand ‘Thai public space’, requires an understanding of the root of the word ‘public’ itself. In the past, ‘public’ in the Thai language meant “satharana” (สาธารณะ). Historically, this word served negative connotations, with meanings of ‘low and contemptuous’. In the late nineteenth century, this translated into public space as the condescending outlook on public eating. This activity was associated with ‘dogs’ behaviour’ and the lack of a respectable home in which one could eat1.

The concept of modern public space has gradually taken over the landscape of Bangkok, transforming areas to follow Government guidelines. This has forced street food vendors to be removed from the streets in order to achieve a set standard of ‘cleanliness, for public safety, and order2’ space. This transition can be seen within the Samyan district, an area representative of the traditional heart of Bangkok. The prohibition of street vendors allowed public spaces to be converted into greenery, with the expectation of the area to develop into the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Thailand3. Whilst this ‘higher standard’ of public space has its benefits to modern society and progression, it ought to have a delicate balance with local lives to avoid homogeneity within our cities.

This research shows that no commitment in the urban planning of the city was made to create specific public space for social gatherings, which resulted in the inseparable relationship between public and private spaces. This can be seen in every corner of Bangkok city, particularly in the food vendor occupied streets. Yaowarat Road (China Town), attracts many tourists and is representative of a chaotic atmosphere and a buzz of social gathering. The street has dual purposes, with the road serving as a mode of transport by day and a space for street food vendors by The Stew

From Yaowarat Road to Samyan district the issues raised within this public space debate support the notion that we need to rethink how public spaces support social differences and adaptability, whilst cohesively working alongside modernisation and progression.

words by Thale Kangkhao thale.kangkhao.20@ucl.ac.uk edited by Shiyan Zhu


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closing remarks “It’s the same way as making pasta, you know, you can use the same ingredients and some people just know how much pepper to put in it, just know how dense the tomato should be, just know the moment at which the pasta itself is edible but not overdone. You know there’s so many similarities between that and architecture.” - Sir Peter Cook [Peter Cook Talks - No17 Some Interesting Architects] in response to athena’s question “what makes an architect or architecture less good?”

Creative Director: athena (jinyi) li athena.li.20@ucl.ac.uk Editor-in-Chief: jonathan (shiyan) zhu shiyan.zhu.20@ucl.ac.uk Graphics Assisstant and Cover Illustrator: ziyan zhao ziyan.zhao.20@ucl.ac.uk The Stew


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Our Chefs “the Editorial Board”

Gregorian Tanto

Cosmin Ticus

Maisy Liu

Shiyan Zhu

Athena Li

Ina Ioan

Caitlin Wong

Jarron Tham

Ziyan Zhao

Eleanor Hollis

Tate Mok

Jaqlin Lyon

Jade Wong

Mateusz Zwijacz

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Julæ Lynn

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Appendix: Bibliography and citations

copyright of all images belongs to the author, unless stated otherwise 002 |Overlooked Sounds| Footnotes: 1. Mitchel, W.J.T., (1984) ‘What is an Image?’ New Literary History, Spring Vol. 15, No.3 pp 503-537 2. Hewitt, M., (1985) ‘Representational Forms and Modes of Conception : An Approach to the History of Architectural Drawing’, Journal of Architectural Education, Winter, 1985, Vol. 39, pp. 2-9 3. Jackson, N., (2019) ‘Japan and the West: An Architectural Dialogue’, (Lund Humphries) 4. Di Mare, L., (1990) ‘Ma and Japan’, Southern Journal of Communication, 55:3, pp. 319-328 5. Odin, S., (1986) ‘Blossom scents take up the ringing: Synaesthesia in Japanese & Western Aesthetics’ 6. Imada, T., (1994) ‘The Japanese Sound Culture’, The Soundscape Newsletter, N.O 9 7. Eisenstein, S., (1929) ‘The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram’, Film Form. 8. Fowler, M., (2014) ‘Sound Worlds of Japanese Gardens : An Interdisciplinary Approach to Spatial Thinking’ (transcript publishing house) 9. Kaji-O'Grady, S., (2001) ‘Authentic Japanese architecture after Bruno Taut : the problem of eclecticism’ , Fabrications, 11:2, pp. 1-12 10. Iwasaki et al., (2020:146) Original : ‘壁1の外は城田家の中庭で、かつての暮ら しの中では、計側室4では中庭の木の葉擦れの音や...がよく聞こえていたと 推測される’ 11. Tanizaki, J., (1977) ‘In Praise of Shadows’ Leete's Island Books 12. Torigoe, K., (1994) ‘Nerima Silent Places Contest’ The Soundscape Newsletter, N.O 9 pp. 6-8 13. Imada, T., (1994) ‘The Japanese Sound Culture’, The Soundscape Newsletter, N.O 9 14. Husserl, E., (1992) ‘On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893–1917)’ Translated by Brough, J.B, Springer Netherlands 15. Torigoe, K., (1994) ‘Nerima Silent Places Contest’ The Soundscape Newsletter, N.O 9 pp. 6-8 16. Casavecchia, B., (2016) ‘Kishio Suga: Situations’ Art Review, December 2016 issue. Bibliography: Denison, E., (2017) ‘Architecture and the Landscape of Modernity in China before 1949’ Taylor & Francis Gould et al., (2019) ‘An Interrogation of Sensory Anthropology of and in Japan’ Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 92, pp. 231-258 Imada, T., (2005) ‘Acoustic Ecology Considered as a Connotation: Semiotic, Postcolonial and Educational Views of Soundscape’ Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology 11(2):13-17. Kondo, D., (1985) ‘The Way of Tea: A Symbolic Analysis.’ Man 20(2): pp. 287-306. (1989) ‘The Influence of Traditional Japanese Aesthetics on the Film Theory of Sergei Eisenstein’, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer, 1989) pp. 69-81 Okakura, K., (1906). ‘The Book of Tea’ (G. P. Putnam's Sons) Pirelli HangarBicocca, (2017) ‘Kishio Suga Situations’ 30 September 2016 - 29 January 2017 [Press Release] Schafer, R. M.. (1969) ‘The new soundscape; a handbook for the modern music teacher’ Scarborough, Ont.: Berandol Music; sole selling agents: Associated Music Publishers, New York. Schafer, R. M.. (1977) ‘The Tuning of the World’ New York, A.A. Knopf. Suga, K., (1969) ‘Diagonal Phase’ Sculpture (wood, stone) Van Legen, K., (2020) ‘Architecture’ The Handbook of Listening, pp. 71-88

003 |The Borders of 39 Thanh Binh| Footnotes: 1. Gordon, Alec. (1981) ‘North Vietnam’s Collectivisation Campaigns: Class Struggle, Production, and the “Middle-Peasant” Problem’. Journal of Contemporary Asia 11, no. 1 (January 1981): 19–43. 2. Ibid. 3. Hiep, Le Hong. ‘Performance-Based Legitimacy: The Case of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Doi Moi’, n.d., 29. 4. Tram, Hoan Thuc Ly. (2019) Memorialization Of The Vietnam War. 5. Nguyen, Nhat Nguyen, Nil Özçaglar-Toulouse, and Dannie Kjeldgaard. ‘Toward an Understanding of Young Consumers’ Daily Consumption Practices in Post-Doi Moi Vietnam’. Journal of Business Research 86 (May 2018): 490–500. 6. Hiep, Le Hong. ‘Performance-Based Legitimacy: The Case of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Doi Moi’, n.d., 29. 7. Boyne, Walter J. (1997) "Linebacker II - Air Force Magazine". Air Force Magazine.

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004 |Beyond The City Walls| Footnotes: 1. Office, H. K. A. a. M., (2020). Declared Monuments in Hong Kong – Kowloon. 2. Crawford,J.,(2019). The Strange Saga of Kowloon Walled City. In:Fallen Glory: The Live and Death of Hitory’s Greatest Buildings. Edinburgh: Picador. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid.

005 |Building Where Building is the Problem: On Change and the Role of the Architect in Singapore| Footnotes: 1. Fred Scott. (2008) On Altering Architecture, New York: Routledge. 2. Ibid.

006 |Wet Markets| Footnotes: 1. Cheung, J.. (2020) Wet Markets, the Heart of Neighbourhood Life in Hong Kong. [online] Zolima City Magazine. (Accessed 29/03/2021). 2. Mele, C., Ng, M. and Chim, M. B.. (2015) ‘Urban markets as a ‘corrective’ to advanced urbanism: The social space of wet markets in contemporary Singapore’, Urban Studies, 52(1), pp. 103–120. doi: 10.1177/0042098014524613. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Swanstrom, Dreier, and Mollenkopf. (2002) “Economic Inequality and Public Policy: The Power of Place.” City and Community. Vol. 1, no. 4, 349-372. Bibliography: Standert, M., (2020). ‘Mixed with prejudice’: calls for ban on ‘wet’ markets misguided, experts argue.[online] The Guardian. (Accessed 29/03/2021). Legco.gov.hk. (2018). 食物安全及環境衞生. [online] (Accessed 29/03/2021). Joseph, L. (2008). Finding Space Beyond Variables: An Analytical Review of Urban Space and Social Inequalities. Spaces for Difference: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1(2). Michael H Bond, Ambrose Y.C King, (1985), Coping with the threat of westernization in Hong Kong, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 351-364, ISSN 0147-1767. Fowdy, T., (2019). The truth about British rule in Hong Kong. [online] Mead, W., (2020). Opinion | China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia. [online] WSJ.

007 |Podcast: Chaos| Bibliography: Rem Koolhaas (1995), “Singapore Songlines, Portrait of a Potemkin Metropolis… or Thirty Years of Tabula Rasa” William Gibson (1993), “Disneyland with the Death Penalty” James Stevens Curl and Susan Wilson (2016), “Oxford Dictionary of Architecture” 3rd Revised edition.

008 |Film Review: “Evanghelion 3.0: Tou Can (Not) Redo” Finds Rebirt Amid Ruin| Footnotes: 1. Strom, S. (1999) ‘In Japan, Mired in Recession, Suicides Soar’, The New York Times, 15 July. (Accessed: 31 March 2021). 2. Godard, J.-L. (2018) Le livre d’image. Casa Azul Films, Ecran Noir productions. 3. Isozaki, A. (1968) Re-ruined Hiroshima. (Accessed: 31 March 2021). 4. Koolhaas, R. and Ulrich Obrist, H. (2011) Project Japan: metabolism talks. Edited by K. Ota and J. Westcott. Koln: Taschen. 5. Honda, I. (1954) Gojira. Toho Film (Eiga) Co. Ltd. 6. Ôtomo, K. (1988) Akira. Akira Committee Company Ltd., Akira Studio, TMS Entertainment. Images:

p.39 - George R. Caron, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons p.41 - George R. Caron, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

009 |Nathan Road| Bibliography: Nathan Road- The Golden Mile. Walking Tour of Nathan Road (Accessed

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02/04/2021) Hotels.com. Jade Market Hong Kong by Stephan Audiger (Accessed 03/04/2021) Hong Kong Traveller. Temple Street Nigh Market (Accessed 03/04/2021) Nathan Road- The Golden Mile. Kowloon Park on Nathan Road (Accessed 03/04/2021)

012 |Sino-Portuguese Architecture in Phuket – Then & Now| Footnotes: 1. Koh, J., (2013). Peranakan (Straits Chinese) community. Infopedia. (Accessed 01/04/ 2021). 2. Tepsing, P. & Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn, T., (2014). The Sino-Portuguese Architectural Identity of Chinese Descendants and Sustainable Development in Phuket, Thailand. 3. Ibid. 4. O'Connell, R., (2019). Sino-Portuguese Phuket: The Quirky, Cultural Side of Thailand's Party Island. Travelogues from Remote Lands. (Accessed 01/04/2021).

013 |What is the meaning of public space: A complex relationship of people and public space in Bangkok| Footnotes: 1. 2. 3.

Koonphol, Sutharin (2001). The Concept and Practive of 'Public Space' in the City of Bangkok, Thailand: a Case Study based on Sanam Luang. PhD Thesis, London: University of London, . Dunlop, Nic. The Guardian (2017). (Accessed 31/03/2021). Group, Asia City Media. “กรุงเทพฯ ต้องการทางเท้าที่ไม่มีร้านค้าจริงรึป่าว?” soimilk. com. (Accessed 12/04/2021).

Bibliography: Phakitnonthakan, Chatri (2017). Silpa-Mag.com. (Accessed 31/03/2021). Pongsawat, Pitch (2020). Matichon Online. (Accessed 31/03/2021). Prachumphan, Chintana (2017). The Momentum. (Accessed 31/03/2021). Tarungsri, Yupaporn. "The concept of beauty, Public space, and the politic of the 'Royal Park'." Silpakorn University Journal, 2016: 77-111.

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by authors and editors of the articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the B-Asia Magazine nor of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

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Special thanks to Guang Yu Ren, Edward Denison, CJ Lim, Bob Sheil, Barbara Campbell-Lange, Mahalia Davis, Sukhi Bath, Julie Evans, Cosmin Ticus, Ruth Evison, @bartlettkiosk, our editors and writers.

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