Transplanting Hong Kong high-rise housing during the time of transition
Wanglongmen Residential Quarter, Chongqing, 1982-1992
Hong Kong has been influencing the urban development of Chongqing since China’s post-1978 reform, which is a significant aspect of the contemporary urban history of Chongqing that remains unstudied. This case study focuses on the planning, design and implementation of Wanglongmen residential quarter project (1982-1992) to preliminarily explore how Chongqing learned from Hong Kong in pursuit of modernity in the early reform. The study finds that its planning and design were inspired by orthodox Hong Kong high-rise housing mode, but when transplanted to Chongqing, such mode interacted with the legacies of China’s pre-1978 planned-economy era, including small economic volume, underdeveloped housing commodification owing partly to ideological controversy, and vague building code. The interactions produced walk-up high-rise residences, and influenced building massing and landscaping. Besides, the logic behind some design tactics changed from pursing commercial profit to pursing public interest during the transplantation. The paper argues that when China was transforming from planned economy to market economy in the early reform, the influences from Hong Kong were emerging but the remains of the planned-economy era still prevailed. Such interim hindered Chongqing from duplicating Hong Kong housing comprehensively, but enabled Chongqing to reproduce Hong Kong’s modernity in an innocent and creative way.