Redesigning Hong Kong's

Subdivided Apartments

Because of Hong Kong’s high rent prices, many low-income families are forced to live in subdivided apartments. While information about these flats is not widely publicized, the existence of them is common knowledge. Subdivided flats are not illegal unless they are divided into too many rooms. On average, these units have a median floor area of 108 sq.ft. and are priced at around $4,500 per month. Over 200,000 people live in subdivided flats, many being families with children. The spaces become cluttered and claustrophobic.


In many cases, families live in units where the bathroom is shared with the kitchen space. In addition to the undesirable living conditions, there are also questions of safety during emergencies such as fires. Often the fire escapes are blocked and the narrow corridors between units make it difficult to escape. Most tenants do not have the time nor resources to improve their living spaces and conditions.


With this project, I will construct a blueprint that will improve space usage and overall user efficiency. By taking a look at all the components of a home, I can develop ideas for innovative solutions to problems tenants face. I will be looking at maximizing vertical space, improving lighting, increasing organizational efficiency, and creating more space for movement. I will be taking an existing unit plan, currently inhabited, and transform it for improved living.


At the end of this project, I will prepare an art exhibition that showcases the existing apartment in its entirety, as well as the new, remodelled version according to my blueprint. The audience will be able to experience the difference in livability while also gaining an understanding of life for low-income populations in Hong Kong. The next step will be to find endorsement and sponsorship to renovate an existing home. Hopefully, the exhibit will inspire those with the means to help or access to resources to take action. The project will be created with the idea of reproduction of the design over various units of similar size in mind.


Photo: PBADMIN via photoblog

Designing an Existing Home Layout

While I was unable to, at the start of my research process, visit an existing subdivided apartment, I used the available information and images online to map what an existing home could look like. Using an average area of 11 m² (120 ft²), I included what I had observed in most subdivided homes: a bunk bed, air conditioning unit, washing machine, toilet, shower, and sink. Most flats also had some sort of desk area and small table, as well as different types of shelving units.

To design this, I used SketchUp on computer hardware contributed by TETRA Architects & Planners Ltd. To the left is a birds-eye view of the plan. From articles and images online I learned that, in many units, the bathroom and kitchen share the same area. In some cases, that area is not partitioned from the rest of the apartment. The particular placement of the wall in my design is based upon an image of a real flat (bottom left). 


Photo: HK01

7th July, 2020

Start Me Up HK Festival 2020

Startup Impact Summit (07.07.20-08.07.20)

Hosted by WHub #StartupPassion

During this visit I was able to check out some great start-ups and learn a bit about the different components for developing and growing a start-up for success.