Library of Importance is a mnemonic device for survival, the first act of resistance against erasure. Rediscovering the power of architectural language as the tool of education of a city, the library works with the architects who did not surrender to build up a new ground of hope and preserve what we should all treasure.
Cities rarely end. Hong Kong is a city that had ended once as the City of Victoria and is now close to its second extinction. A city could only end if the people no longer recognize it, when nothing is considered important, related and could be removed. Instead of accumulation, it erases. Dominated by the language of nothing, we will soon lose our identity.
This project digs deep into the hidden layer of the city and explores through archaeology methods to retrieve buried ideas with faint traces. Hong Kong’s cultural identity is embedded into the architecture by inscribing and coding its languages, symbols and urban experiences. The library is a magnified boundary stone of the original city, mute from afar, but within architects and citizens are invited to connect with origin, borrow from the lost, celebrate their language. The library is a process of cognition. From unknown to known. From pattern you never care to things that you will never forget. Through experiencing the Chamber of Memory, House of Origin, Recognition Hall and Garden of Remembrance, you change your perception dramatically. The library archives physical items of importance. By displaying the origin or copy of origin, it allows progressive understanding of references and meanings that we embedded and facilitates reading of languages. Associate, Name, Create and Propagate. Young architects and citizens will be surprised by the value of the yellow color, the curve wall and the weird door handle. Once we begin to be able to recognize, discover and treasure our city. The fragments of architects’ struggle become your favorite pieces that you don’t want to let go.
The project is a path for Hong Kong’s survival through utilizing the entire city’s architectural language as a learning tool. Transforming architectural language into the vessel of content, architects will establish a new ground of hope in the surveillance society. Through recognition, naming and decoding, values embedded in the city by architects are resurrected as ideas that are immutable. We name it, we recognize it, we glorify it. The city is no longer the same. The city might end. The collection will not. The Library will continue to build, recognizing every bit that we should care. Each time a patron borrows from the library, it is an act of preservation, to resist erasure. This is how a city could survive. And how we could possibly survive in the worst of times and the best of times.