20131114_research abstract


Dip 16 (2013-2014)

Lam Kwong Kit Jerry – 14/11/2013

Research abstract




Urban expansion relies on the infrastructural development. With current technologies, it is possible, as seen in the case of Rotterdam, that the energy production and consumption pattern to be reconfigured to reduce the waste and reuse the energy.


From my initial investigation departing from purely energy consumption/ production perspectives, infrastructure based on regenerating energies tend to form a segregated part of the city; while infrastructure based on adaptive re-use that inject social programmes can bring in human resources, which ultimately seek a spectrum of environmental solutions.


My concern is to look at the junction of industrial landuse and “inner city” on how to engage the community by injecting socio-economic meaning and program into the industrial area. By developing a social incubator based on or reacting on existing industrial typologies, public and private sectors can collaborate more closely and the awareness of citizens can be raised.




Therefore, a hypothesis comes to place: that with sufficient and specific strategies of densification in the inner city, energy can be consumed and produced in sustainable manner, with opened opportunities to formulate new communities and interaction behaviour, hence feeding back to innovations regarding the physical context.


Private interests is often seen as a detrimental factor for the undesirable urban conditions we have in modern days. The most valuable discussion about the RDM Rotterdam Campus is its ability to infuse and reconcile public interests and private interests.  It is therefore hypothesized that programmatic arrangement can be crucial to urban development as it sets up the agenda and positions of various economic forces in the first place.




The result of this thesis would be formulating specific design parameters with regard to thermal behaviour (energy) and investment behaviour (economic). Through de-contextualizing the RDM campus, an instrumental architecture form is developed that can be deployed in a variety of contexts, with variations in design details accommodating a range of material production (prototype development) and immaterial productions (business activities). Surplus heat generated should enable densification of urban fabrics. Various heat-demanding programmes can be introduced foster the social interactions and development of communities. On a metropolitan or territorial scale, the formation of clusters in strategic locations contributes to a larger network of exchange (an energy grid / innovation clusters grid).




The investigation strategy here, will be to isolate the context of RDM campus and its conditions particularly favourable in this case, in order to sort out the spatial and economic parameters that are required to generate such programmatic matrix. Specific arrangement of space constrained by physical distance, order and sequence should be developed. A prototypical design will be developed to test the configurations of material and immaterial productions. This should devise a method of modular construction system that allow the inhabited community to expand on their needs. In the context of London, former dock water (Royal Victoria Dock) is chosen to be the testing ground. The huge volume of water suggests resourceful heating capacity. Dock water is the rarely public space surrounded by private domains. Introducing the campus programmes challenges this condition and at the same time provide a new form of public-private interactions.


The main development parameter with regard to thermal behaviour of urban fabric is the notion of surplus residual heat. Rotterdam has deployed a strategy to redevelop the port and the inner city with cascade energy flow specific programmatic arrangement that suggests densification of urban fabric, and opportunity to inject certain programmes that utilizes and bridge the gap of the temperature scale. Means of heat transfer and energy consumption pattern becomes a critical instrument in determining the formation of community in the future. The technical aspect of this thesis will thus be investigating the spatial and programmatic requirements of effective heat transfers in relation to urban planning. New technologies such as Molten Salt Heating system will be reassessed and renovated to assimilate contemporary urban conditions.




The tangible measurement of the outcome relies on the number of innovations, patents and new business. The turnover rate of occupancy and circulation accounts for the level of activation. Funding flow would also indicate public and private interests on a site. Furthermore, pattern changes in energy consumption and production are expected to be observed. Technically, surplus heat energy is expected to be exported or to enable new programs to inhabit on site as the community develops.

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