Carrying out large-scale construction work along a hillside was a challenging endeavor given the technological limitations at the time. The estate’s layout and architecture reflect careful consideration behind each design choice. We invited young city planners and architects to record Ming Wah via drawings.
Master Layout Plan
Ming Wah Dai Ha comprised 13 blocks, east to A Kung Ngam Road while facing Shau Kei Wan market to its west. As the estate was constructed on the steep terrain, steps were built between blocks as passages to connect blocks and as open space to facilitate daily interactions of residents. 11 out of 13 buildings had central corridors suspended between two rows of apartment units on each floor, which was a simple and ordinary design to maximize utilization of space. Block G, situated in the middle of the estate, had a cross plan instead. Block A was rebuilt in the 1970s to meet the needs of different families (see Architectural History). The estate plan and building design accommodated the typology of the hill.
Based on the short elevation facing west, it is believed that the buildings were intentionally designed to avoid residential units exposed to direct sunlight. Central corridors built with ventilating materials in each block allow natural light and air to penetrate. As the corridors were not enclosed and well ventilated, the common area near the ends of these corridors became a place for hanging laundry and a place for social interactions (see Daniel Ma’s story).
Typical Floor Plan
Central corridors in most of the blocks were a significant feature of Ming Wah Dai Ha. Two rows of residential units built along the corridor, with the units facing south equipped with balconies. It is believed that such arrangement is in consideration of sunlights. As the corridor was well ventilated, a laundry room was designed near the end of corridor on each floor. Private bathroom and kitchen were provided in each unit, with windows facing the corridor connected to the air-wells for better ventilation. Apart from staircases situated on both ends of the corridor, there was one more staircase built in the middle to fulfill the requirement of fire safety ordinance. Each block is provided with 3 entrances, allowing residents to go up and down the hill more easily.