Back to All Exhibitors

Chau Lok-kan

Lok-kan Chau is an architect and researcher interested in rite of passage, ecology, and authenticity. He designs architecture that evolves over time, gathers people, and gives a sense of serenity to life. He studied architecture at University of Hong Kong, ENSA Paris-Malaquais and University College London. His drawing ‘Construction Manual for Lantau Commune’ received the Hugh Casson Prize from the Royal Academy of Arts in 2017.


Construction Manual for Lantau Eco-Community Centre

  • 19 Dec 2019 - 15 Mar 2020

  • 10:00 - 22:00


The drawing is an imagined construction manual that narrates a proposed eco-community on Lantau Island, not in its final form, but during its construction process.

Construction is hereby understood as a way to inquire into the immediate surroundings, through thinking-by-making. The proposal incubates innovative sustainable livings, promotes ecological education, and investigates the use of recycled contents and regional construction material. It is also about how the appreciation of the process of making and dwelling leads to an architectural proposition, as well as how that appreciation translates into a drawing method.

Certainly we appreciate architecture as a spatial presence, but there is beauty also in the construction process: the formwork and falsework, the tie bolts and scaffoldings, the sweat, tediousness and exhaustion under the sun. Construction is meant to be a ritual. It reveals knowledge, dignifies labour, gathers people – and it is fun. The proposed the Lantau Ecology Education Centre is partly a participative construction site, at the periphery of the protected landscape reserve. Providing easy-to-assemble construction materials means the builders and dwellers are allowed an extent of flexibility and discovery over construction. The end result is not a fixed building but a cluster that evolves over time: its birth, growth, decay and death resembles that found in nature: the impermanence of being.

The final drawing is twofold: it attempts to illustrate the above proposition in the most straightforward way possible, while also putting the tediousness of labour into drawing practice. The clarity of line axonometric with arrows and reference guides explicates how one should build the proposed commune, almost like a gigantic IKEA manual. These how-to-build details gradually accumulate and become one homogeneous drawing, illustrating the proposal in its half-built condition, as if time is frozen.