Construction Communication

HKU 2013 | Construction Communication

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Co-lecturing with David Erdman, the ‘Construction Communication’ course (HKU | MArch I studio | Fall 2013) introduced students to the methods by which architects strategise, rationalise and communicate architectural designs. In any office whose work is notable, the intention of Construction Documentation (CD) is to encrypt and codify what are otherwise complex architectural effects into clear methods of construction.

“Without the architect’s faith that geometrically defined lines will engender something else more substantial yet discernable through drawing, without faith in the genetic message inscribed on paper, there is no architecture.”

 (Robin Evans, The Projective Cast; Architecture and Its Three Geometries, Introduction: Composition and Projection, MIT Press 1995)


Architects do not build. We communicate a design to builders. This course introduced students to the methods by which architects strategize, rationalize and communicate architectural designs. All architects use the same drawing standards for communicating their projects to contractors and consultants. At their root, these standards are techniques of notation. They are abstract graphical encryptions that leave open their precise interpretation and understanding.

The conventions for assembling and organizing these standards varies greatly between every office; there is no standard construction document set. An intelligent designer has to edit and prioritize different areas of their design. CD’s (as they are referred to) are a reflection of these priorities and are used to make a case for a project’s feasibility.

In any office whose work is notable, the intention of these documents is to encrypt and codify what are otherwise complex architectural effects into clear methods of construction. This knowledge and skill is crucial for any designer. Without an understanding of how to develop a drawing set that strategically reflects the rationale and efficiencies of complex design, built architectural innovation would not occur.

Construction Communication asked students to work in groups. Each group analysed, remodelled, re-drew and formulated a CD set for a given case study. The case studies are among the most innovative projects in the world.

28 projects for case studies were chosen. These were assigned an initial bias for students to investigate: enclosure, structure or geometry. The final required outcome for the course was an abbreviated CD set, containing basic and detailed information that is reflective of the bias, design intent and sensibility of the case study.


Shenzhen Stock Exchange

Shenzhen Stock Exchange, OMA – Ka Men Lee, Tien-Yan Leung & Yicai Chen

Milstein Hall

Milstein Hall, Cornell University, OMA – Yue Wu, Yue Ma & Yixi Wang


Seattle Central Library, OMA – Yuen Wa Chiu, Wai Tim Chan & Lok Yin Chan


Tama Art University Library, Toyo Ito – Fan Wen, Liting Qin & Junni Xie

Rolex Learn Centre

Rolex Learning Center, SANAA – Xiangdong Hu, Liang Li & Haoran Wang

Emerson College

Emerson College, Morphosis – Yucong Wu & Tak Shing Tang


Star Performing Arts Center, Aedas – Chi Yu Cheng, Chen Hei Ng & Yacen Zhang


Prostho Museum Research Center, Kengo Kuma & Associates – Yi Tian, Yi Long & Leilei Jiang


Asakusa Culture & Tourism Center, Kengo Kuma & Associates – Man Lok Choi, Chung Ting Lo & Hin Lung Ng



Opus, Gehry Partners – Lok-Yung Ting, Jian Kang & Kai Kin Leung


Taipei Performing Arts Centre, OMA – Yuan Yang, Wai Ying & Wing Yan

Casa da Musica

Casa da Musica, OMA – Zhen Tong, Yang Song & Meng Chong Lei

Soho Galaxy

Galaxy Soho, Zaha Hadid Architects – Ka Cheung Lai, Ming Ming So & Mengqui Zhang

Innovation Tower

Innovation Tower, Zaha Hadid Architects – Man Hoi Wu, Granda Jan Esteban Henao & Sze Ling Leung

Glass pavilion

Glass Pavilion, SANAA – Shaik Javidh Akram M.A. Maideen, Christopher Ghouse & Piotr Rafal Winiewicz

Sofitel Hotel Vienna

Sofitel, Atelier Jean Nouvel – Xiang Wang, Zhi Xin Li & Tengfei Zhu



Caixa Forum, Herzog & deMeuron – Pak Kan Ko, Fong Tong Chan & Tiu Lam


DeYoung Museum, Herzog & deMeuron – Chuen Yung Liu, Sheung Hay Ho & Lok Yan Leung


MAXXI Museum, Zaha Hadid Architects – Pui Yun Lee, Hoi Yi Chau & Kin Man Wong


Simmons Hall MIT Dormitory, Stephen Holl Architects – Chun Yu Au Yeung, Tsz You Chan & Xiao Lei Wong

Cooper Union

Cooper Union, Morphosis – Ching Yee Ng, Ka Chun Lee & Pok Him Cheng


Perot Museum,  Morphosis – Wai Ning Louie, Ka Ho Ching & Chi Ho Ngai


O-14, Reiser + Umemoto – Shuang Zhang, Lu Wang & Tingzhen Meng


LHT Tower, Rocco Design Partnership – Ee Harn Low, Wan Shun Ho & Wing Shan Kwok

W Hotel

W Guangzhou Hotel & Residences, Rocco – Wai Man Liu & Tung Wan Chau


FRAC Museum, Kengo Kuma & Associates – Tin Man Leung, Po Yu Chan & Cheuk Fai Ng


Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Stephen Holl Architects – Eric Yuen, Suen Wah Yeung & Ying Suet Shiu

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