ZERO is a traveling research project based in Asia (2009-2010) and supported by the 3rd Jaap Bakema Fellowship. As a number, ZERO is neither negative nor positive but we often assign a degree of negativity despite its ambivalence. A vacated site similarly lies in a liminal state with potentiality. However, we have been trained as architects that the only thing we could present to society is a building, to fill the void again. What can ZERO offer as we live through the Great Recession, when the myth of continuous economic growth is shattered and the assumption of ready capital for development can no longer be guaranteed? Through interviews, documentation and analyses, the research seeks to uncover the manifold meanings, expressions and opportunities of ZERO in a post economic bubble era.
Thomas Kong is a Singapore registered architect and Director of the Undergraduate Architecture and Interior Architecture programs at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He attended the Master of Architecture program at Cranbrook Academy of Art, USA on a merit scholarship and graduated with a distinction in his last year of study. His work embodies the sensibilities of an artist and traverses across a bandwidth of scales and media. Thomas Kong's projects situates architecture as anthropological objects and social sculptures grounded on the horizon of cultural geography. His research on contemporary Asian cities focuses on their dynamic and contingent spatial conditions, which are shaped, evolved and sustained by a bottom-up and sociable process. The research strives to present a different order and relationship between architecture and the city; one that is based on an overlapping ecology of humans, nature, objects and spaces.