Fu Tei Au Village Storyhouse
- and a brief history of HK squatter settlements
The Fu Tei Au Storyhouse was renovated based on the squatter structure inhabited by its former squatter family. On one hand, squatting has shaped a majority of the village life, but it also speaks of a remarkable housing phenomenon that spawned within the greater spectrum of the Hong Kong history.
The drastic influx of Mainland immigrants can be traced back as early as the ‘50s through the ‘70s. Post-war refugees flocked to Hong Kong for safety, which resulted in radical population swell and precipitated the large-scale emergence of shanty areas such as Fu Tei Au village. With limited means, newcomers scavenged handy materials to improvise squatter huts as an antidote to being homeless. Scrappy metals and woods are some of the most basic form of components that constitute these temporary structures.
Fire hazards are notoriously common due to the complex environment and combustible items found in squatter houses. To prevent the spread of a fire and minimize loss, many have arranged their homes in separate structures – restroom, bedrooms, and kitchens are of individual dwellings, though constructed close to each other. Also, it is not unusual to find a well sitting at the back of a squatter or near the farming area, as it provides a convenient water source for residents’ everyday lives. All these architectural characteristics are physically embodied by the current storyhouse, a real-life example that demonstrates the distinctiveness of the prevalent phenomenon of squatting that took place in Hong Kong during the last century.
- The main exhibition room presents the historical and cultural aspects of Fu Tei Au through a mixed collection of textual information, images, and 3D models;
- The second exhibition room is a relatively small space that houses traditional farming tools and furniture donated by former and current residents of Fu Tei Au, depicting the way of life in the past;
- The third exhibition room showcases the various design concepts by architecture students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong that revolves around prospective development ideas – a common area that calls upon public awareness and open discussion for countryside sustainability development in Hong Kong.
A pallet wall put together by more than 30 wood pallet boards.
Volunteers painting over recycled pallets.
Volunteers devoted to mural paintings that themed around the nature and history of Fu Tei Au, infusing the storyhouse with tremendous vibrancy.