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Architecture (MA)

Francis Cheung

Francis spent his early years in Hong Kong and pursued his Bachelor's degree at The University of Hong Kong. Being a design enthusiast, Francis has a deep passion for exploring innovative possibilities in architecture, including forms, scales, functions in relation to human activities. He actively participates in competitions and has achieved numerous international accolades, such as the 1st prize winner of Skyhive 2019 Skyscraper Challenge.

During the two-year study at the Royal College of Art, Francis continued to experiment with various design strategies while working on radical projects. In the previous year, as part of ADS 1, he focused on the potential of retrofitting a declining post-war mixed-use complex, with the aim of transforming it into a communal hub that revitalises the surrounding neighbourhood. This year, in ADS 10, he sought to challenge the framework of conventional practices through architecture. In the first term, he created a large-scale diorama of the Axel Springer Campus, a precedent project by OMA, to explore the realm of innovation. In the second and third terms, he delved into the unexplored domain of reverse logistics in online shopping, aiming to find a solution to the prevalent issue of the Return Culture. His proposal, the Re-fulfilment Centre, tackles excessive consumerism by collecting unwanted return products from Amazon, while fostering collective engagement through the establishment of a local community of making.

1-75 Model of the Re-fulfilment Centre

Given the free return policy, the notorious Return Culture has become the norm of online shopping. Roughly 30% of items are returned for various reasons - half of them get back to the suppliers, while the other half are sent to the landfill owing to the immature reverse logistics.

The Re-fulfilment Centre is proposed to address the bottleneck of returns. Through this centre, retailers could get rid of unwanted returns with a partial compensation; while the local communities could take advantage of the ample return inventory to create something useful and meaningful. It is a new form of charity shopping, taking the shape of a more comprehensive in-house mechanism - from capturing returned goods, to upcycling them in the communal workshop, and to reselling rejuvenated items at the local market.

This is a Theatre of Return Products - a building entirely colonised by objects. The shelf-walls are not only the functional space to store objects, but also the shear walls that effectively support the slabs in the terrace layout, a specific arrangement that has made reference to the Theatre of Memory imagined by Guilio Camillo, a 16th century Italian philosopher.

As a symbiotic association with the e-commerce environment, I believe it could slowly reform the status quo of the distorted shopping culture, almost like the anti-Food Waste app Too Good to Go. Hopefully, the Return Industry could be recognised as a reverse of online consumption where people break away from excess consumerism and come together as a community of making - a Re-fulfilment Centre that is truly fulfilling. As after all, this is a project that challenges the “bizarre normal” of shopping culture, in pursuit of changing practices & collective engagement.

A New Form of Charity Shopping
1-75 Model of the Refulfilment Centre
Long Section of the Refulfilment Centre
The Interior Terraces
A Building Entirely Colonised by Objects
Shelves as Walls
Reconnecting to the Theatre of Memory
1-75 Model of the Refulfilment Centre
Master Plan GF
Floor Plans
A Semi-warehouse
A Semi-warehouse
A Re-fulfilment Centre that is Truly Fulfilling
Street View
The Era of Online Shopping
Is this new normal really normal?
The Fulfilment Centre Out of Reach
The Notorious Return Culture
A product sequence of online shopping at a global scale
A rethink of product cycle from global to local scale
NOW - From a Global Fulfilment Centre...
NEXT - a Local Re-fulfilment Centre
1-25 Diorama - Axel Springer Campus
Axel Springer Campus
A Dialogue with the History
Old vs New
The Valley
Formal vs Informal
S, M, L, XL
Theatre of Return Products


1:25 Cardboard Model


1700W x 1600D x 1500H
An Interior Play within a Box
A Considerate Storage Mechanism
Prototype Model
Prototype Model
55 Morning Lane, Hackney
Figure Ground Mapping
Fight for Hackney
The Hub of Hackney