Afloat is a multi-dimensional bridge that aims to reinforce the health of both humans and surrounding environment. The proposal is situated at the opening of the Kai Tak channel and connects the former runway to South Apron Corner, which is now the site of the first and only Children’s Hospital in Hong Kong and will soon be home to a new acute hospital which is scheduled to open in 2025.

Joel Austin Cunningham 
SMarchS AD

Kwan Queenie Li

More than bridges

Aligning with the latest governmental plan for a recently revised multi-modal transportation service for the district, Afloat offers more than a generic bridging solution. In this project the connotation of ‘bridge’ extends to a multitude of connections between people and the surrounding natural context, and aspires to resonate with the future strategic health zone of Kowloon East.

Myriad temporalities

In an incremental approach, the only permanent component of the proposal is a footbridge that offers a new 200m walking route between the green spaces of the Kai Tak runway and the centre of Kowloon Bay. The meandering form of the bridge then creates a series of pockets which can host a series of flexible and economically constructed floating structures. These installations can be specified to host a panoply of functions under a collective goal of improving the district’s health. These include human oriented spaces which promote an active lifestyle, enriching our cultural quests, and re-channeling the calming power of water for meditation and reflection.

They can also feature elements which look to improve the health of the natural environment and connect the local community to it. This can be achieved through devices that monitor and cleanse the water quality through biological intervention, or an art-tech element that visually communicates the monitoring of the water below with distant viewers, creating an inspiring atmosphere that extends to the residents of the broader neighbourhood, especially those located in the district’s hospital.

Participatory design

The bridge has been designed to accommodate a wide range of floating structures which can be commissioned by local institutions and community groups. This form of participatory design not only responds to the evolving needs of the district, but continuously aggregates different local groups and engages them in reimagining the development of their social fabric. Serving a wide spectrum of users from hospital visitors to general residents, this urban intervention strives to exemplify an understanding of health and accessibility in diverse formats: physically, sensorily, and sustainably.

For Kowloon East, this bridge provides an infrastructure that not only connects the community, but allows it to grow, change and stay afloat in dynamic waves.