Literally Hong Kong: Mapping the urban narratives of building names

  • Research Photo by Andrea Palmioli, 2018.
  • Rural place name analysis of cultural-natural features in Lower Yangtze Delta China: Capillarity and Territory. Paradigms of Diffuse Urbanisation by Andrea Palmioli, 2018.

Building names combine events in space and time within a tangled web of logical relations that transform spaces into places through the process of assigning names. Oikonyms not only bring distinction and status to urban spaces but also establish hierarchies of power and cultural symbolism, thus playing a main role in the social construction of space. The value conferred by naming buildings emphasizes the dual role of architecture as both representationally significant and contextually relevant.

Building names combine events in space and time within a tangled web of logical relations that transform spaces into places through the process of assigning names. Oikonyms not only bring distinction and status to urban spaces but also establish hierarchies of power and cultural symbolism, thus playing a main role in the social construction of space. The value conferred by naming buildings emphasizes the dual role of architecture as both representationally significant and contextually relevant.

By mapping the spatial pattern and temporal sequence of Hong Kong’s oikonyms and correlating them with a number of geo-statistical indexes (e.g., buildings’ economic value, type, scale, and demographics), this project aims to reconstruct and critically enquire the current outlook of this contested process of attaching meaning and contextual semantic transitions to places, and, most importantly, to deconstruct the material condition of the architectural object.

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Design Trust Seed Grant

2020
Grantee: Andrea Palmioli

Andrea Palmioli is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the City-University of Hong Kong where he teaches landscape architecture and architecture studios. Before joining City University, he was Fellow in the Division of Landscape Architecture at The University of Hong Kong and UKNA Fellow at Shanghai Academy of Social Science. Dr. Palmioli holds a PhD in Urbanism at the IUAV Postgraduate School of Urbanism, University of Architecture in Venice, and in Architecture from the EDVTT University of Paris-Est in France. His research investigates patterns and processes of spatial restructuring in China's extended metropolitan regions with a particular focus on the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas. His research fields concern the urban ecologies of bioregional territories; countryside agglomerative economies; cultural landscape and visual identity of Chinese geographical place names. His work focuses on interchanges between ecological and built systems as alternative urban models and prototypes.