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AIA Hong Kong – April President’s Message

Dear AIA Members & Friends:

Greetings from AIA HK.

Thank you for your involvement, continued support and participation in all the events planned so far this year. Also I thank EXCO members and Committee members who have worked hard, together with Catherine Wong and Vivian Chan from the Chapter Office in PMQ to make these events happen.

It is time to give you an update on some on the things the Chapter has been involved in over this past month.

We had our first Quarterly at the Qube, PMQ, on April 14 with a cocktail reception and presentations ending in an engaging panel discussion. Our thanks to PMQ, who was our venue sponsor, and to Techoy, the construction company that built PMQ, who stepped forward to be our event sponsor. The event focused on the “Cultural Triangle” a cultural precinct that could potentially be formed with the PMQ, the Central Police Station (CPS), and the Central Market (CM). The discussion brought together for the first time the public sector, the private sector and professionals involved in designing and operating these facilities, together with local community representatives who played a principle role in each project. The evening was supported by other organizations such as the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and many of the local professional institutes in Hong Kong such as the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design (HKIUD) and the Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP).

The Guest of Honor, Dev. Secretary Mr. Paul Chan gave an overview of Heritage Policy and Adaptive Reuse in Hong Kong. It is good to note that he not only answered some tough questions from the audience but also stayed on for almost 3 hours till all the presentations were over. Vincent Ng then shared his experience working on the Central Oasis project with the Urban Renewal Authority including the design for the adaptive reuse of Central Market over the last six years and some of the challenges he has faced. William Tsang the PMQ Project Architect gave a passionate presentation of its design and construction and some of the challenges faced with existing building codes and delivering the project within the tight budget. Victor Tsang spoke about the operations and management of PMQ and making it an attractive destination that is both a creative hub and financially viable. Euan Upston gave a sneak preview of CPS as a cultural destination with some interesting stories and exciting things in store for the people of Hong Kong and visitors when it opens at the end of next year. Brian Anderson discussed the importance of area-based conservation – similar to the Cultural Triangle – and some possibilities with Government Hill as a quick win that Hong Kong could look into. The panel discussion continued with Peter Cookson Smith, Katty Law, John Batten, and Amil Khan, the community representatives who led a passionate discussion on their views about heritage conservation and adaptive reuse in Hong Kong.

Immediately following our Q1 event, The Indian Chamber of Commerce, ICCHK, hosted a networking cocktail event on April 15. This was a great opportunity to meet the Consul General of India, Mr. Prashant Agrawal who gave an update on India, highlighting new opportunities for architects with mega projects such as the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the GIFT City in Gujarat. The Chairman of ICCHK Mr. Arunachalam further emphasised new opportunities in India under the current Government of Prime Minister Mr. Modi. I introduced the AIA Hong Kong to the members of the ICCHK and it was good to interact with the Secretary, Mr. Santharam, and other members of the Chamber. The event was hosted at Ishta, an Indian restaurant offering cocktails and some Indian food. Ken and I talked about making this a regular event and having it next year as well and perhaps new opportunities for members and CAs to interact with other Chambers of Commerce in the future.

We had the Tai O Heritage Hotel Tour on Saturday morning, April 18, and participants found that this was a very interesting and relaxing tour. Tai O Heritage Hotel was designed by Philip Liao and is a sensitive example of adaptive reuse of a heritage site located in Tai O in west Lantau Island. The Tai O Heritage Hotel was part of a government Adaptive Reuse Scheme of a heritage site undertaken by the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation and the Sino Group. Winnie Yueng was the tour guide who shared some interesting stories and anecdotes about the history of the place, the people and the culture of Tai O and some of the challenges faced in the design, construction, operation and management of the hotel. Since the opening of the hotel the number of visitors has grown considerably, and it is attracting more people to come back to Tai O village as well. The Sino Group is committed to making this a great destination in a sustainable manner while ensuring that Tai O village gets its past glory back. We had an engaging discussion during lunch and walked back through the village, and some participants even stayed to have coffee at one of the popular local restaurants opened by a Tai O resident.

The month of May will be less busy as both Ken and I will be heading to Atlanta to the National Convention. Please note that Elizabeth Chiu Richter and Robert Ivy, President and CEO of AIA, respectively, are planning to visit Hong Kong in early June, so stay tuned for more details.

Upcoming events in May and June include the following:

  • May 13-16, 2015 AIA National Convention, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • May 28, 2015 – Joint AIA HK and RIBA Cocktail Event
  • June 4, 2015 (TBC) AIA HK Luncheon with the President/CEO of AIA, Elizabeth Chu Richter/Robert Ivy
  • June 5, 2015 (TBC) Urban Open Space Forum in Seoul, Korea
  • June 8, 2015 (TBC) Our second Quarterly event, a Presidential Forum with the Presidents of AIA, AIA HK, HKIA, RIBA and HKIUD

The Communication Committee is working on curating an exhibition at the Chapter Office focusing on adaptive reuse including all the building tours we had so far this year. Kenneth Hau and I have been working together to increase our membership and bring on board more CAs and potential sponsors. We have been meeting some of our existing, new and potential Corporate Affiliates and members. We plan to meet more of you in the coming months so we can understand your needs better and work together as partners and continue to deliver great content and events this year and next year. With the YAG in place we have younger members reaching out to be more involved with the chapter. If you have any new ideas for programs or events, want to be more involved with AIA Hong Kong or have any concerns please feel free to contact the Chapter office or reach out to me and we can discuss further.

May I take this opportunity to congratulate William Lim our Past President for winning the prestigious Design Award at the recent event in PMQ. My sincere thanks again to the EXCO and Committee Chairs, members, Corporate Affiliate Members and Sponsors for your continued support. With the help of our dedicated staff at AIA HK, who have worked hard we have managed to line up some great events and activities so far this year. I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming events, and I welcome you to join a committee, get more involved this year to make a difference. Let’s work together to make this year great and also lay the foundation for a fantastic year in 2016 and beyond.

Sujata S. Govada, PhD

2015 President, AIA HK