Drawing the Shade - HKU

The studio begins with a unique opportunity to blend different architectural backgrounds in education and culture to study a subject of global relevance: the shade. Shadow or shade, a simple act of blocking or diminishing light, carries with it, a complex relevance layered in scale, culture and context.

The studio’s objective is to study shade through an architectural perspective, to distill its complexities, in order to reveal an individuality or local perspective that may shape the students’ critical world view and influence their future architectural practice. The shade, or shadow, is not a new research topic; our studio engages with the theme not through a historical or Eurocentric perspective, but through a Latin approach, where the invention of tools for creating shade is the main component in attaining basic comfort and protection from the sun and heat.

“I possess no specialized knowledge of architecture, but I understand that in the Gothic cathedral of the west, the roof is thrust up and up so as to place its pinnacle as high in the heavens as possible – and that herein is thought to lie its special beauty. In the temples of Japan, on the other hand, a roof of heavy tiles is first laid out, and in the deep, spacious shadows created by the eaves the rest of the structure is built.”

TANIZAKI, Junichiro, In praize of shadows, p.36

Shade has never been a priority in the construction of contemporary cities––it has always had a complementary status, a space in-between functions, in-between spaces. It was up to the shadow to act as a supporting element––through roofs, balconies, canopies and other architectural typologies–– by articulating, formally and programmatically, the functions considered primordial to our society. However, with increasingly greater heat waves and rising temperatures, shade possesses, in its materiality, the flexible possibility of performing different functions; it is, by essence, the emptiness that is suitable to be occupied, the fundamental gesture that protects and creates the notion of territory.


Gustavo Utrabo


Mariane Quadros de Souza


Brenda Chang, Chen Wei, Chung Wingyan, Fan Pinyue, Jiang Naixin, Kent Mundle, Li Rui, Peng Chong, Sun Guolei, Wu Xialin, Xiang Shuyuan, Zhang Xinyue, Zhang Jie. 


University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Architecture

Hong Kong






Wood, Concrete, Textile.