Ken Wai recounts that over a meal his client said he wanted to house his extensive art collection, himself and his wife, their son and his family and guests.
And with a prudent eye to the distant future, a special requirement was that the house should be readily convertible into apartments.
Wai points to the discipline and regularity behind the building's makeup which, he says, 'lends the building a dignified expression'. It is this orderliness which makes the tumbling of the staircase enclosure more transgressive. It is expressive not only of falling water but of the idea of evanescence, collapsing elements, the building as shambles. Wai puts it thus, 'Juxtaposed against this regimented exterior a sensuous free form staircase has been inserted and collided into the formal frontage.'
Wai, cites as one of his concept sources an old photograph showing a waterfall dropping through a background formation of stacked basalt organ pipes – and an even older lithograph of a similar waterfall somewhere on 19th century Hong Kong Island. In all three backgrounds including the one before us is archetypal nature: trees, scrub and rock.