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Evan Wu Wins Best Studio Design Award for his Project, CommuniTEA (FLOAT)


Evan Wu (Morningside College ’23) won the Best Studio Design Award at the CUHK School of Architecture’s 27th Master of Architecture Year Show, held in the first week of June. The theme for this year’s Studio Design projects was a ‘social condenser’. Students picked sites in Tung Chung and designed semi-public buildings that could meet a social need. Evan chose the Tung Chung Public Development Pier and its adjacent waters, sensing an opportunity within its natural beauty.


His project is called CommuniTEA (FLOAT) and seeks to meet the needs for sports (recreation) and leisure spaces. It integrates “floating, modular, and transformable elements… to craft an immersive experience that harmonizes with water space”, and was inspired by Hong Kong’s land reclamation efforts and scarcity of space. The design’s “modular floating pontoon architecture” and facade system can be customized to various weather conditions or privacy needs, and combine spaces for water sports and tea-drinking. The transformation mechanism shifts between either a central courtyard with an alley, or multiple islands and water courtyards (see diagram below) that allow people to swim, kayak, paddleboard, or fish.The tea pavillions let visitors socialize and drink tea around or amidst the water courtyards. With this project, Evan aimed to combine the “vibrancy of water sports” and the “tranquility of tea drinking”, fostering a community space that has a “harmonious relationship with nature”.


As he worked on this project, Evan reflected on the challenges he faced at university in moving from abstract and conceptual exercises to architectural skills for design and logical problem-solving, and in holding himself to a high standard in both aesthetics and functionality. His development was spurred by a summer internship that taught him to work within time constraints and compartmentalize big tasks, and the guidance of Professor Nelson Tam, who emphasized to Evan how architects can tell stories through their work. He also cites conversations with Professor Tam as an initial inspiration for his conception of CommuniTEA (FLOAT).


Evan expressed immense gratitude for his project’s selection as the Best Studio Design, stressing the pride and encouragement it gives him as he leaves Morningside this summer. His current work includes working as a Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality designer at CUHK’s Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research (CLEAR). In August, he will commence work at Nelson Chen Architects in Hong Kong, and hopes to accrue experience as an architectural assistant and grow his design portfolio before eventually applying to graduate programs in architecture. As a practicing architect, he hopes to create “spaces that harmoniously blend aesthetics, functionality, and ecological responsibility”.