Carve: Just an hour drive from the city centre of Hong Kong, the Clearwater Bay area is situated. These peninsulas, with their lush green hills, beautiful bays and little villages, are quite the opposite of the skyscrapers and city buzz of Hong Kong.
New World Development has been working on ‘Mount Pavilia’, an extraordinary new settlement wedged in between the rolling hills and existing villages, since 2014. Small scale, artisan crafts, community and shared facilities are important pillars of the concept of this new neighbourhood. Famous architects like Minsuk Cho (Mass Studies) and Adrian L. Norman (ALN) have contributed to Mount Pavilia, just like a number of internationally renowned artists. The White Yard Club and White Yard Gallery, designed by Minsuk Cho, are community buildings. They have a bright white concrete facade, and house several facilities like a swimming pool, lounge, game rooms, sports facilities, bar, restaurant, café, laundry services, gallery and a food market. An organically shaped bridge connects the two buildings with the complex of 680 apartments and the 25 hectares large Central Park. This park has been designed by ALN and forms the heart of the new settlement, stitching together the outdoor pool, play facilities and urban farming. The apartments are built around the Central Park like a ‘wall’: in this way, every resident has a perfect view on the the community park as well as the lush green surrounding landscape. On top of this, the neighbourhood is car-free; parking is arranged underground.
In 2015, Carve was asked to create a design for five play-spaces in Clearwater Bay; a play-zone for toddlers, urban farming, a play-zone in Central Park for older children, a waterplay zone, and an indoor library and educational play-space. The distinct architecture of the Club House of Clearwater Bay, with its flowing shapes, bright white facades and transparent parts has been the starting point for the design of all play-zones. Thanks to this, the play elements are an obvious part of one family, despite being located separately from each other.
In the most northern zone a play-zone has been created for children aged 2-5 years old. The play-space is surrounded by a low fence and hedge. Inside, there are three cilinder-shaped objects with a white, perforated facade. Every tower has a different function; in the largest, children can climb and slide. The other, slightly smaller, towers, are focused on role play; one is a ‘store’, the other a playhouse. Outside the round towers a hill is created which children can slide on. The ensemble is covered by two lightweight shading structures, which are attached to a circular frame.
The vegetable garden, also referred to as ‘urban farm’, is an ensemble of four zones connected by an informal path, with each having its own distinct function. Starting at the bike parking, the next zone is filled with raised planters. From here, people can continue to an educational zone with seating benches and an integrated herb garden. Here, children can play in a small sandpit and with water. The last zone is focused on ‘food and community’; an intimate, sheltered space where local residents can meet and have a barbecue.
The eye-catcher of Central Park is an ensemble of three cilinder-shaped play sculptures, that tower above the tree tops. With their white facade and warm-coloured surroundings they stand out against the green foliage of the surrounding park. The round-shaped plateaus of the objects rest on ‘mikado-poles’, that are twisted in every direction. These poles give the objects a slender and transparent look. The first play tower, which measures more than six meters in height, contains two play nets, two slides and climbing platforms. The second tower is for climbing, containing climbing poles, a droplet-net and raised platform. The third and lowest tower contains a hammock-forest. All play towers are situated in a slightly sunken pit that emphasises their presence. A concrete path encloses the play-zone and connects the zone to the rest of the Central Park. Parents can sit in close vicinity to the towers on benches that are integrated into the path. In the subtropical climate, shadow is of great importance; in all towers, shading is integrated. Above this, hanging plants adorn the top edges of teh two largest towers.
The waterplay zone is situated next to the swimming pool, and because of its shallowness (5 and 30 cm) it is suitable for children. Carve designed a sliding sculpture and interactive water table, that activate the two zones of the pool in their own way. The water table is part of the deepest part of the basin, and acts as a play island that lies just below the water surface. Children are encouraged to collaborate; by pressing the sensors, different water jets are activated, creating an ever changing game of sprayers and lighting. Especially at night, the result is spectacular. In the shallow zone, the sliding sculpture is situated. The object is made of perforated steel; white on the outside, magenta on the inside, creating a moire effect. The slide is integrated into the object, that stands as a monolith in the water basin, lighting up at night like a sculpture.
Last but not least, Carve designed the interior of the indoor playground, which is situated in the back of the Club House. The interior of the Club House has a clean appearance with a lot of glass facades, meandering and perforated brick walls, sight lines and patios. The flowing shape of the rear wall was a starting point, just like the glass facade that encloses the space and separates the indoor playground from the hall. Within this limited space, a play-zone has been created that includes a library, book shelves, reading corner, a real size doll’s house, and a playhouse in the same atmosphere as the Club House. The playhouse, that – just like all other objects – has been designed exclusively for Clear Water Bay, consists of soft play building blocks on the floor and windows. The blocks can be taken out and children can stack them in different ways, creating their own ‘building’. A chalkboard invites children to practice their creativity.
In the other zone, behind the meandering wall, the ‘dolls house’ has been integrated. A life-size black-and-white drawing divides the wall into various zones with doors, windows and a balcony. In this corner, where the focus is on tranquillity, fantasy and role play, children can play in a relaxed way. The eye catcher of the indoor playground, however, is a long, transparent bookcase, that creates a wall behind the play-zone and the hallway and is a vertical play structure at the same time. Pink perspex panels, stepped shelves and plateaus create an intimate play and read corner, wedged between two glass walls. From the upper shelf, children can slide down from a bright white slide.
Carve won the BCI Asia Interior Award for the indoor playground in 2018.
Short office name: Carve
Carve team: Elger Blitz, Hannah Schubert, Jasper van der Schaaf, Thomas Tiel Groenestege, Marleen Beek, Elke Krausmann, Clément Gay, Mark van der Eng
Role of the office in the project:
In 2015, Carve was asked to create a design for five playspaces in Clearwater Bay; a play-zone for toddlers, urban farming, a play-zone in Central Park for older children, a waterplay zone, and an indoor library and educational play-space. The distinct architecture of the Club House of Clearwater Bay, with its flowing shapes, bright white facades and transparent parts has been the starting point for the design of all play-zones. Thanks to this, the play elements are an obvious part of one family, despite being located separately from each other.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Housing/buildings: Minsuk Cho
Landscape: Adrian L. Norman (ALN)
Client: New World Development, Hong Kong
Project location: 663 Clear Water Bay Road, Hong Kong, China
Design year: 2015-2016
Year Built: Summer 2017