There was a period in Hong Kong when the public had a stake in the formation of the urban settlement. This extended from the apartment to the yard, street front, block, and collective neighborhood.
There was a period in Hong Kong when the public had a stake in the formation of the urban
settlement. This extended from the apartment to the yard, street front, block, and collective
Today, the remnants of this experiment, the Civil Servant Building Societies, are on the verge
of disappearance despite being increasingly relevant as housing becomes more
inaccessible, unaffordable, and individualized around the world.
By Us, For Us is a public forum on the history, current problematic, and potential future of
housing cooperatives in Hong Kong. In support of the forum, the project will produce a
publication, the CBS Estates Atlas, along with a Federative Drawing in order to further distill
and disseminate the project. This is the first phase of the larger By Us For Us initiative to
establish an action plan to reinstate cooperative housing in the city’s future.
Guillaume Othenin-Girard is an architect and an Assistant Professor at the Department of
Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. His research and teaching explore the
transformative role of drawing in investigations of the relationship between territory and
architecture; relations between making and the material flows that link human and nonhuman
actors; design-build as an action comprising both material intervention and shared
experience. He is interested in collaborative approaches to inquiry and making that bring
architecture into a constant relation with culture. In this spirit, he co-founded Architecture
Land Initiative, a cooperative based in Switzerland that carries out political action through
projects in the areas of landscape, public space and architecture. His work has appeared in
publication such as archithese, DETAIL, Drawing Matter, Tracés, Tec21 and exhibited at the
Venice Architecture Biennale, Artgeneve, the Swiss Art Awards and the Design Museum
Kent Mundle is an assistant lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, and an architect /
researcher with the design collaborative District Development Unit. His work focuses on
developing housing typologies with alternative models of ownership and living in a variety of
contexts from Mongolia to Nepal and Burkina Faso. His work has appeared in publications
such as Wallpaper, Noja Magazine, Canadian Architect and exhibited at the Venice
Architecture Biennale and Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. He is also the
director of a small publishing company, Open City Design Institute Press (OCDI Press),
through which he has edited multiple books on emergent forms of housing.
Architecture Land Initiative (ALIN) is a cooperative based in Switzerland. ALIN is a nonprofit
common-benefit platform. They believe that architecture, landscape architecture and
urbanism must strive for new and inclusive planning processes supporting the transformation
and re-construction of everyone’s milieus. They seek to address the systemic challenges posed by the
current climate crisis, rapid urbanisation and the threat of ecosystem collapse.
By bringing together a changing number of contributors with shared values and work ethos,
ALIN, as a collective, generates projects for the land and the city as architectures of
The platform operates as a flexible infrastructure. It consists of a cooperative legal
framework, a communication structure enabling collective work, a series of studios, as well
as a set of tools and expertise consolidated in practice and made available to all. Its
members – both practitioners and researchers – are connected to various research and
teaching institutions in Switzerland and internationally (UZH, EPFL, HKU).